Lately, I’ve become the kind of person who’d rather eat a little bit of many things, rather than a lot of one thing. At restaurants, I usually prefer to order two or three appetizers than feast over a big entrée, and I’ve never met a tapas bar I didn’t like. I also find that appetizers tend to be more interesting than main dishes, but that’s just my opinion. How else am I going to get my tuna tartare and caramelized onion pizza and asparagus with a poached egg in one sitting? Food rules be damned, I love to mix and match mini foods into the perfect meal.
At home, it’s a little harder to eat this way, since it requires preparing several different dishes. However, with a little extra thought and planning, it’s totally possible, and I made one such meal the other night.
I used my last bit of ground turkey to make mini meatballs which I seared off before letting them braise in some homemade marinara sauce.
In addition to mini meals, I like mini pots, like this one J bought me last year. Cute right?!
The black kale I’d purchased at the farmer’s market last weekend was going to be part of a farro salad, but I just wasn’t feeling it and remembered reading about an Italian bruschetta made with greens- perfect for a little tapas-style dinner- so I just made my own version of that:
Roasted baby carrots pop up often on my menus because I love how sweet and concentrated they get in the oven:
J uncorked a bottle of Chianti and we enjoyed our multi-mini-meal very much.
Turkey Meatballs Marinara
½ pound ground turkey (lean, not extra lean, works better since it still contains a bit of fat)
½ onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp thyme
Splash of red wine (optional)
3 large basil leaves, chopped
2 TBS chopped Italian parsley
1 slice of bread soaked in ¼ cup of milk
¼ cup grated parmigiano reggiano
Salt and pepper
2 cups of your favorite marinara
Put the ground turkey in a medium bowl, set aside.
In a small pan, heat up a bit of olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic and thyme until the onions are soft. Add a splash of red wine, cook until it is completely evaporated. The onions will be nice and red!
Add the onion mixture, basil and parsley to the turkey; take the bread soaked in milk and break it up with your fingers and add that to the turkey as well, then add the parmesan, salt and pepper. Incorporate all of the ingredients with your hands.
Make the turkey mixture into 1 or 2 inch meatballs. Heat up some olive oil in a pan and sear the meatballs on all sides. Once they are brown, add the marinara, turn the heat down to low and let the meatballs simmer in the marinara for about 10 minutes. If the marinara is too thick you can add a bit of chicken broth, red wine or even water to thin it out a bit.
Garlicky Kale Bruschetta
1 TBS olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
A pinch of red pepper flakes
1 bunch black kale, ribs removed, chopped
Splash of balsamic vinegar
6 slices of multigrain bread, baguette, whatever bread you like, brushed with olive oil and toasted.
Heat the olive oil in a pan on low heat, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the oil. Don’t burn the garlic, but let the warm oil infused with the flavors for about 2 minutes.
Add the kale to the pan and toss with the oil/garlic/flakes. It will wilt pretty quickly. Add salt and pepper to season. When the kale is nice and wilted, add a splash of balsamic, stir again. The balsamic will reduce very quickly. Turn off the heat.
Top each slice of toast with a mound of the kale mixture. Enjoy!