Sunday, October 26, 2014

Food: What's a cafe without it!

I'm just fiddling with this (soon to be a new Page). There aren't any pictures to the recipes, yet, but the ingredients and the back story are interesting to start. If you're adventurous and the meal sounds good ... go for it. My cooking as is this recipe are not exact in their measurements or methods. That's half the fun of cooking in my kitchen. In the next little while (over the winter) this page will grow. Enjoy, experiment, have fun. And if there's a recipe that you love cooking and would like to share it in The Safety Pin CafĂ© please, email me.

Meatball Soup that reminds me of Kaimuki (the old Mongolian Bar-B-Q)

This recipe is just the sort of food I love to cook. The inspiration starts with a fond memory of having eaten something that feeds the soul and the belly. The basic ingredients allow for creative expansion or change depending upon what's in the kitchen, or in season. This recipe for Meatball Soup began with my regular visits to a favorite (no longer there) restaurant in Kaimuki on the island of O'ahu. I was born in this town, and though I grew up a few miles and a couple valleys away my aloha for Kaimuki remains a loyal one. When Pete and I lived on O'ahu (off and on from 1997-2007) the Mongolian Bar-B-Q was one of my not so secret delights. A place I would take myself for a meal that would not disappoint, served by a waitress (and the wife of the cook) who made me feel right at home; and where I could see photographs of Mongolia and feel my Mongolian roots. Mongolian roots I cannot trace in genealogy, but feel none the less thanks to my great-grandfather Chong Amona.

I make a version of this dish when I need the heat of Hawaii, and the warmth of a ginger-based soup. This one includes a hearty and beautiful red winter squash.

For the meatballs

1 lb (give or take) fresh ground turkey or chicken
1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh Hawaiian [if you've got it] ginger (suit your own preference for the root; chop a lot and save the rest for something later)*
2 Tablespoons finely chopped garlic
shake a layer of Gomasio (seasoned sesame seed with sea salt and seaweed from EDEN)
sprinkle of Italian herbs
1/4 cup of round onion finely chopped

Mix well in a deep bowl. Use your hands (washed very clean prior) to mix. You'll know when everything's mixed because it feels 'even.'

Set aside for 5 - 10 minutes. Then roll the turkey mixture into meatballs. Your choice of size. I like them a little bigger than quarter size (diameter) but not quite silver dollar size.

Heat your favorite soup pot and add olive oil to coat the bottom, swirl the oil to cover.

When the oil is hot, drop the meatballs in. Check to see the meatballs don't stick, use a spoon to scoop at the bottoms and flip them around to brown evenly. Add more oil is needed.

For the broth

While the meatballs are browning ...

Chop a good size clove of garlic finely.
Chop up 1/2 an onion into medium chunks.

When the meatballs are browned ...

Add onion and garlic.
Stir and listen for the sizzle. Look to see they brown, but don't burn.

Wash and cut 1/2 of a green cabbage into thin slices that you chop into quarters. I used regular green cabbage. The original soup was made with Napa or Chinese Cabbage.
Add the cabbage and stir to brown with onion and garlic.

The meatballs, onions and garlic will have made a nice layer of broth (not burnt) in your soup pot. Add the cabbage and cover all of it with water (enough to cover everything plus about 2 inches)
Sprinkle another tablespoon of Italian herbs.
Bring to a simmer with the lid on.

3-4 cups of winter squash
Wash and seed a good fresh winter squash. We used Red Kiri. They are delicious and the orange color will delight your eyes before it makes your mouth and belly happy.
Chop the squash into chunks. Wrap the rest of the squash and refrigerator for another meal. In this size the squash can be quickly steamed and ready to eat or add to other recipes. Remove the lid on your soup and add the squash, skin and all. It's important to wash the squash and keep the skin. The vitamins and the flavor are enchanced skins on.
Replace the lid and let simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender and begins to melt into the soup.

Remember that extra ginger from way earlier? While your soup is cooking. Pour olive oil over the remaining finely chopped ginger (or chop more, you won't be disappointed with more ginger). Let the ginger soak up the oil while the soup cooks. If you have it chop up about 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro and add to the ginger-oil mixture. Set aside.


When ready to serve, drizzle or pour coconut milk into each bowl of soup. Like mixing cream into coffee, swirl the coconut milk into the soup.

Serve the ginger cilantro -olive oil as a condiment, or have a little for everyone (a personal dish) and dip the meatballs into it as sauce.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your positive words are welcome here.