Author Archives: jaredlevan

Hommemaker Jared / Hommemade Meatballs + Brussels Sprout Arrabiata

By Contributing Food Editor Jared Levan

Dear Meatballerz,

Winter is the best season to enjoy a nice juicy meatball and some delicious brussels sprouts. Unless of course you’re a vegan (in which case avoid the meatballs). If I could eat brussels sprouts every day, I totally would. So I’ve put together these wonderful recipes for you to enjoy over the weekend. Or whenever you want. It’s up to you!

Homemade Meatballs

Recipe created by Jared Levan

1 Lb. Ground beef tips
1 Clove fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. pork fat, rendered & chilled
1 Cup small bread cubes
1 Large egg
½ Cup half & half or whole milk
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Combine bread cubes and milk (or cream) in a small bowl and set aside, allowing the bread to absorb all liquid. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Working with your hands, thoroughly mix all ingredients.

Add chilled pork fat, breaking into small pieces to incorporate. Add egg and mix until the mixture comes together. Add reserved soaked bread cubes and lightly mix with hands until just incorporated. Roll into 2-inch round meatballs (makes ~10).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in medium frying pan and brown the sides of the meatballs over high heat. Transfer meatballs to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Brussels Sprout Arrabiata

Mmm, brussel sprouts.

Recipe created by Jared Levan

1 Lb. fresh brussels sprouts, cleaned and sliced lengthwise
1 Can (28 oz.) whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, chopped + juice
½ Medium Spanish (yellow) onion, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1-2 Tbsp. tomato paste (not canned!)
1 Tbsp. anchovy paste or oil-packed anchovies, finely chopped
1 ½-3 Tbsp. red chili flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Toss brussels sprouts and ½ of the olive oil in an oven-safe baking dish and place under hot broiler, tossing occasionally until lightly charred and crispy. Remove from oven and reserve.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a sauce pan over high heat. Saute onions until translucent. Add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute then add tomatoes and juice. Season with salt, pepper and chopped oregano. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally.

Add reserved sprouts, chili flakes, tomato paste, anchovy, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir and simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes on low heat, covered. Place into a serving bowl and serve warm.


Jared Levan

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All That Sparkles Is Not Champagne

By Contributing Food Editor Jared Levan

Dear New Years Party People,

There are few occasions quite like New Year’s Eve and whether you’re staying in for the night this Saturday or hitting the town, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate a year gone by. After all, 2011 brought us so many great things…Before we get started, there’s one I’d like you to remember. Not all bottles are created equal, so before you hit up the holiday party circuit–and we know you will be–here are some basics you should know.

Once you’ve successfully reached the “sparkling wine” section of any wine store, you’re undoubtedly going to find two things: champagne and everything else. ‘Everything else’ being collectively referred to as sparkling wine. So what the hell’s the difference?

Well, only wines made using the traditional French method–called la méthode champenoise–in the historic region of Champagne, France can legally be called “champagne.” This seemingly pointless name game doesn’t stop the rest of the world from bottling their own, however; the spaniards call them cava, the germans, sekt; the italians: prosecco or spumanti. It’s all just semantics, really and nothing more.

Some like their wines dry as a bone, others, not so much. That being said, keep your eyes peeled for some of the following terms to help you find for the perfect bottle for this weekend’s end-of-year toast:

Extra Brut: 0-6 grams sugar
Brut: 0-12 grams sugar
Extra Dry, Extra Sec or Extra Seco: 12-17 grams sugar
Dry, Sec or Seco: 17-32 grams sugar
Demi-sec or Semi-seco: 32-50 grams sugar
Doux, Sweet or Dulce: 50+ grams sugar

*As you’d expect, the higher the sugar content, the sweeter the sparkling wine

Most sparkling wines should be served around 40 degrees F…which means if you serve it directly out of the ice bucket this weekend, you’re good to go. Simply serve as a toast when the clock strikes midnight, then again…why not raise the bar and serve it with food? It’s really not as hard as you may think…but just in case you’ve got no clue where to start, here are some suggestions.

Extra brut or Brut champagne: As any Frenchmen would attest “authentic” champagne should only be paired with French cuisine, but that doesn’t mean you need to whip out your copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking to enjoy it…well not unless you want to. Instead, try pairing with some French cheeses, like a runny epoisses or a nutty comté to compliment the hints of vanilla and cream you get from the champagne.

Prosecco: Served before dinner, apertif-style, this sparkling wine will whet your palate and make you hungry for all the yummy food to come. It’s also great for making the perfect mimosa (add orange juice) and bellini (add peach, mango or pear nectar). If you’ve got leftovers in the morning, host your own New Year’s Day boozy brunch–no point wasting.

Sparkling Red Wine: You may consider these a rarity, but you’d be surprised at how many different types your local wine shop may carry. With intense aromatics of red berries like strawberry and raspberry, this colorful bubbly will go great with desserts like  traditional English trifle pudding or chocolate. Mmm, chocolate.


Jared Levan

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