Thursday, January 15, 2009

Politics, Meatballs & keeping something warm on the stove!

Molly Ivins the late & sharp witted Texas writer was quoted as saying:
"Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented."

As I watched the news about the Obama transition to the White House & see the newscasters gearing up for the upcoming Inauguration activities, I see Ivins was not far from wrong in her statement. However entertaining Texas Politics can be; it's entertaining on a much larger scale in D.C. How can it ever not be entertainment on some level in the high speed digital age of CNN & Fox News? I shudder to think how the transition from one Presidential administration can ever be truly painless or lacking in entertainment. Food likes & dislikes alone from one Presidential administration to the next no doubt can be staggering. Take Ronald Regan's favorite Jelly Beans, Bill Clinton's love of Mango Ice Cream & Big Macs, Jacqueline Kennedy's adoration of the refined French cuisine or LBJ's chili (my own personal favorite). I imagine the White House staff will be most eager to please the two youngest Obama children. The palate of a child can be far easier to please than adults in most cases. Can't wait to hear if the girls will enjoy Mac & Cheese or PB&J while they ease into life in the nation's mansion. I seriously doubt the likes or dislikes will impact my life here in Mexico but it should be interesting in the very least...

In the spirit of Presidential politics, food & favorites here are a couple of faves we've had here South of the Border. A much warmer version of the Kennedy French Onion Soup & a slimmed down Meatball as Meatballs were supposed to be a favorite dish in the Truman White House. My Wilted Spinach recipe is my daughter's favorite & a very healthy dish at that! At one time there was a tradition of the outgoing Presidential family to leave something warm on the stove for the next first family. I do wonder if this tradition still continues?

**A shout out to my niece who will be working on the big day in D.C. with Fox News~stay warm Sweetie & capture it all!

French Onion Soup or Onion Soup with a kick!
1 1/2 lb red onions
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. fresh Thyme & extra for garnish
2 Tbsp. chopped & crushed chili Ancho
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups vegetable stock
Black pepper & salt if needed.
6 slices of toasted french bread or whole wheat bread
10 oz. shredded Oaxaca cheese

Heat oil in large, heavy bottomed stock pot & cook onions over med-low heat till they are beginging to brown. Stir in garlic, sugar, thyme, Ancho chili, reduce heat & continue cooking over low heat for 30 min. or till the onions are slightly golden brown.

Sprinkle in flour, stir in wine. Gradually add stock & bring to boil. Reduce & heat for 30 min. Remove from heat, ladle soup into bowls float a piece of toast in soup & top with cheese. Garnish with sprig of thyme & serve.

Chipolte Chicken Meatballs
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb ground chicken
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup dry chipotle seasoned breadcrumbs*
Sesame seeds to roll the meatballs in (approx 1/3 cup)

Mix all of the ingredients together well incorporating all of the breadcrumbs then form the meatballs into balls the size of golf balls & roll in sesame seeds. Place on baking sheet & bake @ 375* for 20 minutes. Serve hot with yogurt sauce or as is.

*Chipotle Breadcrumbs are easy to find in Latin grocery stores but using regular breadcrumbs & adding 1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper is a good substitution.

Wilted Spinach

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound well washed spinach, stems removed
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
Coarse salt and black pepper
Sesame Seeds for garnish

Add oil and garlic to a large skillet. Cook over low heat, until garlic is cooked through. Remove garlic. Add spinach to pan, turning to wilt. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, sesame seeds. Serve immediately.


Chef E said...

Oh yeah! my kind of meal their Dee...I have onion soup on the list to make at my clients and personally...I had forgotten that tradition about keeping something warm on the stove since the first Bush was leaving office...thanks I enjoy your posts!

Dee said...

Yes, I heard a rumor that Bush Sr. didn't leave something for the Clintons since they were bitter after only 4 years at the White House...could it be a rumor? One does wonder.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful meal! Your niece is really brave, we are staying away from the downtown and watching Obama on TV in our Virginia suburb. :)

Dee said...

5 Star~the views on t.v. might be somewhat better & far easier than fighting the crowds. Besides think how nice & warm you will be watching it from home:)

Tangled Noodle said...

My husband loves onion soup and this one will sure to be a hit with him! It's a matter of pride among Filipinos and Fil-Americans that the current White House chef is a Filipina. This cuisine is still not very well-known in large portions of our nation - I always wondered if she slipped in a few Pinoy dishes!

Reeni♥ said...

The onion soup looks amazing!! And I have never heard of Chipotle Breadcrumbs, I will be on the hunt for them. I made almost the same Spinach the other night but without the nutmeg, it was so bitter. I will try it with nutmeg next time.

Dee said...

Tangled Noodle~so glad to know the connection in the White House kitchen. I learn something everyday. Certain sounds like alot more culinary excitement in the kitchen there. So glad you & Reeni like the Soup recipe. Those Bread Crumbs are an item I find here but I know they have them in the states in a Latin Grocery. Reeni, make certain the spinach is very fresh & small baby spinach is best since they are so tender & not bitter as a rule.

Hornsfan said...

Not sure if you were refering to me or Jackie (favorite spinach dish), but it's a good one for sure! Plus you've got the added dish with the onion soup, another fav of mine! I'm looking forward to Tuesday because at the office they will be using Slingbox to screen the inaguration via the internet and project it onto the wall in our "green room" (common area) and will have Rudy's BBQ (some of Texas' finest!) and other "all-American" favorites to celebrate inaguration day. Should be a good time.

Dee said...

Hornsfan~so excited for you guys to be able to have a party like that at work & Rudy's is the perfect BBQ. There will be an Inaugural party here for the ExPatriots, I am making a dessert.

McTasty said...

Great picture! Looks really tasty also!