I’ve been married to my wonderful wife Jessica for almost 20 years. The union has been spectacular, producing 3 wonderful daughters, several restaurants, a few comfortable homes and a common understanding that I cook and she drives the girls from here to there and back again. Tonight the menu has to be soft, Jessica has had oral surgery and as the pain and throbbing progresses, so will her hunger.
Soft chicken meat balls with spinach and Asian spice simmer in chicken stock as I write.
Why Asian spice you might ask. The truth is today I have no garlic in my pantry, if I did, this dish would have been made with 2 cloves. Instead I turn to the mystery jar, labeled only in Japanese. My best friend from grade school is married to a lovely Japanese woman. She is so wonderful that today she works in Japan for free, serving her country, rescuing dogs and cats that were orphaned in the earth quake. My friend Jeff has been home alone in LA for several weeks now, while his bride Mayu lives on the other side of the Pacific.
On my last visit to LA, Mayu gave me this mystery jar as a gift, it’s a clear glass container filled with what looks like a melange of seeds, chili and garlic. The liquid must be oil if my taste buds are correct it’s a very mild sesame oil. The dark brown contents of this jar provide a wonderful depth of character to anything they accompany.
2 chicken breasts (boneless skinless)
1 cup red quinoa (pre-cooked, cool)
1/2 small white onion
2 pieces sun dried tomato
1/2 bunch parsley
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup diced tomato
1 tablespoon secret Asian sauce
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the Chicken meatballs start with 2 boneless skinless breasts chopped into thumbnail size pieces, 1/2 small onion diced fine. 1 carrot diced fine, 4 tablespoons of parsley chopped, and 2 pieces of sun dried tomato chopped.
Combine all in a food processor and run until it begins to smooth out (45 seconds). then place in a bowl and add 1 cup of pre-cooked red quinoa (chilled). Mix by hand and roll meatballs smaller than a golf ball.
In a sauce pan bring 2 cups of chicken stock to a simmer, add 1/2 cup white wine and 1 cup diced tomato (fresh is best, canned tonight). Season with 1 tablespoon of Asian mystery sauce (or 2 cloves of garlic and a little hot chili paste in sesame oil) and then add the meatballs. Simmer until cooked through. When you’re ready to serve, stir in 2 cups of chopped fresh spinach.