Evidently, these are a thing. I, however, just stumbled on to them. And I just had to put my own spin on them.
Really, it came to me in a late night snack search. I decided I wanted a sandwich with toasted bread, but after I put the bread in, I found out there was no lunch meat in the fridge. The closest thing I had was a package of deli slices of prosciutto and salami. I knew making a sandwich with those would be ridiculously rich. I considered peanut butter and rejected it. I considered eggs and rejected that idea too. What to do? Then I saw the Roma tomato (which I prefer the flavor of over standard hot-house tomatoes until summer rolls around) sitting on the kitchen island that needed to be used before it got too soft. Bingo.
After the toast popped, I spread a thin layer of mayo, topped that with sliced tomato and sprinkled a bit of sea salt and granulated garlic. (The second time I made this, I sprinkled the garlic on the mayo before adding the tomatoes.)
I figured the garlic could mix with the mayo to make a simple alioli. Bingo again! But what really topped it off was topping the tomato with a few slices of the salami and prosciutto. Heaven. Paired with a little pickle on the side, the tang balances the fat of the meat and the sweet of the tomato.
I know, I know. You saw that title and asked, “What the heck is a porcupine meatball?”
Those are porcupine meatballs (served with broccoli, obviously). They are amazeballs. They also come with a family legacy (at least three generations have made them) and a funny story involving fourth grade me, my mom, and an ill-balanced carrying container.
First, the recipe. Mix together:
- 1/4 cup tomato soup
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/4 cup uncooked rice
- 1 egg (slightly beaten)
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 2 tbsp minced parsley
- 1 tsp salt
Shape the mix into balls (makes approx. 16). Brown them in 2 tbsp (or less if your ground beef has higher than 7% fat) shortening with a small clove of minced garlic. Once brown, add the rest of the tomato soup and 1 cup of water (though I’d like to try it with vegetable broth), and cover. Simmer for 40 minutes, or until rice is tender, occasionally stirring.
I try to serve it with a green, like broccoli or sautéed cabbage (which is my favorite veg–it’s the German in me).
Now for the funny story. So, from what my mom and I remember, my fourth grade class was doing some sort of bring ethnic family food to class to share thing, and I volunteered to bring these. I loved these as a kid (still do), and they’re bite size so they’re perfect for sharing a batch amongst a class of 20 or so. Because they’re served hot, my mom decided to bring them to my classroom just before I was to give my presentation about them. I have no memory of talking about them, but I do remember that while we were waiting for her to get to the classroom, our room phone rang and it was the front office. I was called up and my mom was on the phone. I think maybe you can see where this is going. While she had been walking through the cafeteria to my classroom, the *glass* bowl of the meatballs had fallen and they had splatted pretty well on the floor (it was a big cement outdoor place, as is common in Southern California). The bowl was in shards and my class was now going to be meatball-less. It was disappointing, but we can laugh about it now.
So I have a warning for you if you make these: use plastic!
Shawarma Chicken Bowls with Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette
1 lb / 453 gr free-range organic chicken breast, cut into 3-inch strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
6 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 gr spring greens
1 cup / 5.3 oz / 150 gr cherry tomatoes, halved
2 handfuls torn fresh basil leaves
1 avocado, sliced
2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, smashed
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons olive oil
In a bowl whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, curry powder, cumin and coriander until combined.
In a shallow sealable container or in a large Ziploc bag, combine chicken strips and marinade.
Cover or seal and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (marinate overnight for fullest flavor.)
When you’re ready to make the meal, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add a tiny bit of olive oil, add the chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes turning regularly, until juices run clear.
In the meantime make the vinaigrette. In a food processor (or small blender), process the basil, garlic, salt, and lemon juice until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil. Blend until combined. Set aside.
To make the salads, add the greens in a large bowl and toss them with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the chicken on top along with the tomatoes, basil, and avocado.
Drizzle the bowl with the basil-lemon vinaigrette.