Summer Entertaining

So many things to celebrate in June and July, so many reasons to entertain or BBQ. You really don’t need any special reason to make these divine dishes.

EGGPLANT WITH TOMATOES

From Kay Karim’s The Iraqi Family Cookbook [Paperback] (Hippocrene Books). Kay has collected recipes from generations of her family as well as all the regions of Iraq in this lovingly-compiled tribute to her homeland’s cuisine. Modern Iraqi cooking relies on an abundance of fresh, seasonal produce, beans, rice, fish and quality meats. Typical spices include cinnamon, allspice, dried lime, saffron, sumac and turmeric. More than 150 easy to follow recipes, a guide to spices and beautiful color photographs throughout.

  • 1 large eggplant sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil to drizzle over the eggplants
  • 1 teaspoon salt for the eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced (optional)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Arabian spices (combination of cinnamon, allspice, black pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water

Place the sliced eggplants in the colander and sprinkle salt over them. Place in the sink to drain for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to broil. Remove the eggplants from the colander, place in a bowl, and drizzle olive oil on them.

Arrange them on a baking sheet and place them under the broiler for 7 minutes. Broil them on both sides.

Heat oil in a large deep skillet, and sauté the onion in a pan and add the green pepper, and sliced tomatoes. Add water and simmer for 10 minutes. Arrange the eggplant slices over the vegetables. Pour the tomato sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle salt and spices. Bring to boil; reduce heat and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Check if it needs more water or salt. Serve with plain white rice.

Makes about 3 dozen hours d’oeuvres.

VEAL, PORK AND RICOTTA MEALBALLS

If you don’t already have a favorite meatball recipe, you will after you try this. When making these meatballs, it is important to give them enough time to chill before cooking them. Great when paired with Chianti or a peppery, full-bodied Zinfandel. Every celebration, be it a casual or elegant party, should have delectable treats for guests to nibble on. This book is full of recipes, advice, and pairings, and will make everyone a fabulous host in a snap. From: Wine Bites Simple Morsels that Pair Perfectly with Wine by Barbara Scott-Goodman (Chronicle Books).

  • 2 slices white country bread, crusts removed, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 pound ground/minced veal
  • 3/4 pound ground minced pork
  • 3/4 cup whole- milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon fines herbes or herbes de Provence
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • About 1/2 cup olive oil for frying

Place bread cubes in a food processor and pulse to make fine crumbs. Place in a large bowl and add veal and pork. Mix together with your hands.

In another bowl, stir together the cheeses, egg, herbs, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cheese mixture to the meat mixture and work together with your hands until is well incorporated.

Roll the mixture into balls that are about 1-inch in diameter. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the pan, in batches, and cook until brown on one side before turning. Cook the meatballs, turning occasionally, until they are evenly cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve at once.

For more recipes or details about Sheilah, visit www.cookingwithsheilah.com.

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