Basically, the moment this recipe went up on Smitten Kitchen a few weeks ago, I knew I had to try these ASAP.  Made these right before tonight’s episode of Hannibal, and snacked a bit on them throughout; fast tracking these was definitely an excellent decision.  

I got to use the herbs at the least fresh from the garden (which’ll get its own post on here eventually), so the amounts used were changed slightly there.  I also didn’t have the patience to zest a lemon, so lemon juice was used instead. Otherwise, this recipe was followed pretty closely to the original.

Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Olives, and Lemon
Lasts 5 to 6 meals, depending on # of meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1.25 c panko
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 T water
  • .5 c crumbled feta cheese
  • .75 t salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • appx 4 T lemon juice
  • 2 T olive oil

Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 glugs red wine (I used part of the large bottle of Yellowtail Sweet Red Roo I had in the fridge)
  • 28 oz crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 1 T fresh oregano, torn
  • 1 t salt
  • .5 c kalamata olives, pitted, drained, and chopped
  • 1 T fresh peppermint, torn
  • lemon juice
  • feta cheese crumbles (I used what I had leftover in the cup after using the rest)

Take all of your meatball ingredients and combine them using a fork in a large bowl, until you have one big coherent ball of meat.  Once the Allmeat is combined, break off small chunks and roll until you have the size of meatballs you want (I went with about medium sized). While you start to make the balls, heat up your olive oil in a pan on medium heat.  Add the balls once rolled ot the pan, and roll them around with a chopstick in the hot oil to brown completely.  This may take more than one batch of browning.  Once the balls are browned (lol), remove them to a small dish.

Take the remaining fat and add your garlic and onion from the sauce ingredients, cooking until soft (about five minutes). Then, add your red wine, scrape up anything that might’ve stuck to the pan, and cook it down until it’s almost gone.  Then, add your remaining sauce ingredients (except for the feta and lemon juice) to the pan, and bring to a low simmer.  Once simmering, add the meatballs back in, and simmer for another twenty minutes.

Sprinkle the lemon juice and feta over the meatballs, and then nom!

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This is my 100th recipe post!  😀  And it’s a damn good one too, especially with yet another goddamn polar vortex on the way.

Google Translate is a cook’s best friend.  Why? It takes recipes that are posted in foreign languages (such as the one that this one originated from), and makes them relatively understandable for those of us who aren’t exactly fluent in it.  It doesn’t do the conversions for you, sadly, but maybe that’ll happen in a future version.  😛

This is a wonderful, hearty winter meal, and if you love tomatoes and feta, you’re gonna love this.  I subbed dry basil for fresh basil, because as I’ve said before, fresh basil is hella expensive right now, and left out the onions, as I tried it with this before and wasn’t that big of a fan of how it turned out. 

Tomato and Feta Bake
Lasts four lunches

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs roma tomatoes
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 16 oz feta cheese (in a block)
  • olive oil
  • dried basil and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 (mine was at 325, because hot, it runs). Slice your tomatoes so that they cover the bottom of a glass baking pan.  Sprinkle the cherry tomatoes over the top.  Then, take your block of feta and slice it up so that it’s layered on top of and in between all the tomatoes.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with dried basil and pepper, and then put it in the oven for about thirty five minutes, until the slices and cherry tomatoes get a bit wrinkly, and the feta begins to brown at the edges.

The result is a warm, juicy tomato and feta bake that’ll fill you up.

Note to self: make this when tomatoes are in season, it’ll taste way better. Also up the feta.

I tried this recipe almost immediately after Deb posted it on the Smitten Kitchen last year, and ever since then, it’s been a mainstay.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a grill on you – the oven works perfectly for this. And man, the simple perfection of warm, melty cheese and roasted tomatoes and olives cannot be overstated.  

Mediterranean Baked Feta
Lasts 4 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • .33 c pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (forgot this this time, whoops)
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 block feta (you want a good sized block, this was closer to 16 oz, at minimum you want 8 to 10 oz)

Half your tomatoes, chop your olives, and then mix everything except your feta block in a small bowl, tossing so that the olive oil coats everything.

Preheat your oven to 400 (mine was at 375). Put your block of feta in a baking dish, and then pour the tomato-olive-oregano mix over the feta.  Cover your dish, and cook for fifteen minutes – your cheese will get soft and warm, but not quite melty.  

Don’t worry if you can’t eat it all right away (though you will be tempted to) – this reheats easily, especially in the oven.