Tag Archives: Holiday

Mediterranean Cocktail Meatballs

30 Dec


When you have a child, you don’t attend as many parties as you used to, pre-child. At least, my husband and I don’t, but that may not be the best indicator of what most people do or do not do. I mean, we rent movies from the library (it’s free! You can keep them for three weeks!), and, up until about a month ago, I’d been using the same cell phone that I’d had since 2007 (what? It still worked—sort of). What I am saying is, we’re not your average people. If anything, we’re probably pretty below average. All right, now I am just starting to feel a little depressed.



Moving on, sometimes when I think of the holiday seasons my husband and I used to celebrate, pre-child, I fondly remember the packed tables of tiny finger foods, petite glasses of sparkling beverages, and the dulcet tones of—all right, so none of that ever really happened. Mostly our pre-child holiday party experiences were a lot like our pre-child any-time-of-the-year party experiences: beer, chips, band in the basement.



The thing is, I’ve never been a dedicated party person. The experience of too many humans packed into one space tends to leave me a bit cramped and annoyed, and, to be candid, whenever I tried to enjoy a loud basement band I inevitably spent the majority of my band-watching time being worried that people might spill stuff all over the floor or drunkenly slam into me, or perhaps spill stuff all over me while drunkenly slamming into the floor. I’m too much of a wienie for parties.


But! I still like party food, even if that food is decidedly different from the type of foods I ate when I actually went to parties. How nice would it have been to walk into a (calm) party and see these delightful little turkey meatballs sitting on a platter, self-decorated Italian parsley-adorned toothpick dutifully saluting forth from each one? With little pearls of feta cheese hidden in each bite, the taste pairing so beautifully with the mellow spices and bright hit of lemon zest, these meatballs are the perfect addition to an offering of tasty party snacks. We ate them on a quiet evening, as a party of three, then retreated to the living room afterwards to partake in a bit of dancing. To Minor Threat. (What? We haven’t completely changed.)


More Party-Appropriate Foods: Smoked Salmon Canapés on Potato Crisps, Tiny Party Sandwiches, Quick All-Parmesan Crackers (gluten-free!), Savory Walnut and Olive Oil Sables, Crispy Roasted Masala Chickpeas and, wow, I am only now realizing how many tiny, fork-free foods I have on this site.

Mediterranean Cocktail Meatballs

1 pound of ground turkey, not lean

¼ cup chopped onion

1 large clove of garlic, finely minced

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

4 ounces crumbed feta cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Alternately, if you want to pan fry the meatballs instead of bake them, you can forgo the baking sheet and oven and just grab a large skillet.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, except for the feta cheese. Using your hands or a sturdy spatula, mix together all of the ingredients until they are well combined. Gently fold in the feta until uniformly incorporated.

Form about 1 level tablespoon of the meat mixture at a time into a small meatball. You can either place the meatballs on the parchment-lined baking sheet and then bake them for around 12 to 15 minutes until they are cooked through, or you can pan fry them in a little olive oil in a hot skillet, turning every couple of minutes until the meatballs have browned on the outside and cooked completely through.

Makes roughly 40 meatballs, give or take a few, depending on how generous your tablespoon scoops are.

Rum Cake

12 Dec


It’s been a long week. You know what? It’s been a long couple of weeks. A long past few months, years, and on and on and on. But, if there is anything the Internet does not need any more of, it’s complaining. So, I am not going to talk about the past few years of difficulty, wasted energy, and general disappointment. Instead, I am going to talk about someone who inhabits the very antithesis of all the crass inequity doled out by the universe. And then I am going to tell you all about the cake I made for her.



My friend Corinna is the genius behind Piddix, a one-woman operation that sells collage sheets of images and designs that have been meticulously curated by Corinna herself. If given a million years to ponder, never would I have come up with such a brilliant, creative, and fascinating business idea. But this is what Corinna does. She’s got sort of a magic touch when it comes to stuff like that—ideas, inspiration—and I tend to think that quite a bit of Corinna’s magic is the result of her incredible niceness. No, really. I am fairly certain that Corinna is the nicest person I have ever met. She would, of course, disagree with my assessment, but that is what nice people do. Nice people are also modest about their niceness, because, to them, being nice is just a way of life, not a noteworthy trait to be lauded and celebrated.




But, come on, we should be allowed to celebrate just a little bit, right? It’s not everyday you meet someone like Corinna, and I have had the pleasure of being in Corinna’s company for 18 years now, which seems like a fantastic stroke of luck to possess. So, if there was anyone I knew who was deserving of a cake—a cake made possible by the generosity of others—it was Corinna. And, lucky for me, when it comes to cake, Corinna is a tough cookie to please, meaning that making a special cake for a special person would, in this case, require me to delve deep into the recesses of my mental baking archives and come up with one showstopper of a cake.




When the flour dust cloud in my kitchen had cleared, this is what emerged. A moist sour cream cake, fortified with rum, rich with butter, then glazed with a heavy hand of even yet more rum and butter. As described by Corinna, it’s reminiscent of an old-fashioned doughnut, but still in possession of cake-like qualities. Also, it’s got booze in it. Which means that if you are going to celebrate a person or an event, you’ll get a good jump on things by introducing this cake into the celebration.


Corinna and her cake

Rum Cake

2 ¼ cups cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup dark rum

1 cup sour cream

Rum Glaze:

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons water

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup dark rum

pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place an oven rack in the middle position.  Thoroughly butter and flour a 10 or 12-cup bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until light and creamy.  Add the sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until well blended, about 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and rum and beat until combined.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add one third of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.  Add half of the sour cream, and beat until just combined.  Add half of the remaining flour mixture, beat until just combined, then add the remaining sour cream, mixing only until just combined.  Add the last of the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan, and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake emerges with just a few moist crumbs attached, and the top of the cake is golden brown.  Cool the cake in its pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool.

To make rum glaze, melt the butter in a small or medium saucepan. Stir in the water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved, then, over medium-high heat, bring to a gentle boil. Allow mixture to simmer for 5 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally, then remove from heat and stir in the rum and pinch of sea salt.

While cake is still slightly warm, brush all over with rum glaze. Allow the first coat of glaze to cool a bit, then glaze again. Repeat until all of the glaze has been brushed onto the cake. Layering the glaze applications will result in a fantastic coating with a really great, toothsome bite.

In Praise of Pie

20 Nov

Though I have previously stated that the best part of a Thanksgiving meal is the plethora of side dishes, I have to confess that, upon further consideration, it has become very clear to me that that statement is simply not true. Because I forgot (I know, what?) about the pie. Of course! The best part of Thanksgiving dinner (or any dinner, should you be so lucky) is the pie. Whether you decide to lean in the direction of traditional (apple pie) or not-so-traditional (lime coconut tart), here are some pie and tart recipes from the Savory Salty Sweet archives that will stoke your dessert fire and get the pie train rolling.

Pear Nougatine Tart:

Dutch Apple Pie:

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Tart:

Lime Coconut Tart:

Sour Cherry Pieyou’ll have to hunt down some frozen sour cherries (which are not terribly easy to find), but the effort will be totally worth it:

Sky-High Apple Pie:

Easiest Skillet Fruit Pie–this is a great pie for beginning pie-makers, or for people who are looking for a more casual dessert entry.


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