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Monday, January 26, 2009

replicating a favorite

do you have a dish from a restaurant that you absolutely love? i know i do. eating out is expensive, but sometimes you really just want that delicious, professional, mouth-watering restaurant taste... can you have it at home?

i think you can! the trick is just finding, or creating, the right recipe. here are a few tips:
  • check the restaurant's website. some restaurants, like olive garden for example, posts recipes on their website. easy as that!
  • google it. chances are there is a recipe online for it somewhere! caution: this doesn't mean it will be fabulous, but if you find it somewhere reputable, it's bound to be good!
  • check your favorite food blogs. or your friends blogs for that matter. my friend amy recently posted her mom's recreated cafe rio salads and pf changs lettuce wraps. jenny at picky palate recreated one of her restaurant favorites - the pizza pie - and it looked delicious!
  • recreate it yourself. check the menu at the restaurant for ingredients first. what is that flavor you just can't identify? it might just say it on the menu - i.e. "a hint of lime", "drizzled with garlic and olive oil", etc. don't forget to share it with the rest of us when it's fabulous!

enough with tips... on to the food. i got really hungry the other day for a favorite from our favorite family restaurant - macayo. not the best mexican food, but for some reason tradition always makes it taste better than it probably actually is. :) either way, i was totally craving albondigas soup, spanish for "meatball" and a macayo specialty, so i googled it and it turns out one of my favorite food bloggers - elise at simply recipes - had a recipe for it. a few skinny bovine modifications and mmmm.... we had delicious albondigas soup for dinner. check it out!

albondigas soup

adapted from simply recipes

serves 6-8

yes... my camera captured the steam coming off of the soup. way cool.

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small/medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 - 1 cup of tomato sauce (i want to use 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes next time)
10 cups beef broth (or chicken, i used beef though) (elise said: "we usually use half stock half water as the meatballs will create their own stock" - i used 8 cups broth 2 cups water since the ground turkey doens't create as strong a broth as ground beef)
2 large carrots, sliced
1 pound ground turkey
1/3 cup of raw white rice + an extra handful
1 raw egg
4 teaspoons dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
dried oregano
salt and pepper

4 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
chopped fresh cilantro

1. heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. add onion and minced garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. add tomato sauce and broth mixture. bring to boil and simmer. add carrots.
2. prepare meatballs. mix rice into meat, adding parsley, salt and pepper. add raw egg. form beef into 1-inch meatballs (i used a small cookie scoop - worked like magic!).
3. return soup to gentle simmer. add meatballs to soup, one at a time. cover and let simmer for 1/2 hour. add spinach towards the end of the 1/2 hour. add a few pinches of oregano and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. garnish soup with chopped fresh cilantro.


stacey said...

that looks very yummy, britt! I got a cookbook for Christmas that was published a while back I guess but it's called Top Secret Restaurant Recipes. So far the things I want to try the most out of that cookbook, though, are the desserts! That's why I'm NOT the skinny bovine and you are. :) Tomorrow I'm going to the store so I might have to pick up some stuff to give a main dish a try - you're so inspiring!

BrittWilk said...

desserts are always the most fun to cook - i don't blame you! that sounds like a cool cook book. share some recipes if you try some good ones! :)

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!