Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

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Meatballs are a kind of weird thing to like but I love them. You can make a sandwich out of them, eat them with spaghetti or if you’re like me, sometimes they’re good all of their own! You don’t hear much about meatballs these days but I’m thinking they’re going to have a resurgence some day just like burgers, cauliflower and fro-yo have. In three years when someone dubs meatballs the food of summer, don’t say I didn’t tell you so!!!

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Smoked-Out Charcuterie

Not only is Charcuterie a fun word to say, but it’s also a word I love because is means delicious cheeses and meats. I am a snacker at heart–I love standing around the kitchen making mini-cracker sandwiches or slicing at cheese piece by piece while paging through a magazine I’d otherwise have no interest in reading.

It also happens to be the perfect snack for a summer day or to graze on while you bake, or both! I got some apple wood smoked Gouda along with Americano uncured salami from Whole Foods while picking up some of their best cocoa for a baking project I was working on that day.

The Gouda and salami were great but after a few pieces, I was smoked-out. The salami was labeled as “sweet” so I thought, “COOL! Smoky and sweet? That sounds like a great flavor combination!” But I didn’t account for the fact that the salami would be sweet and smoky and with smoky cheese–ohhhh wowwwww. I felt like I was eating a wood-burning fireplace. But in a good way?

Anyway, both foods were delicious…but together? Ehhhh. I’m learning about flavor profiles as I go. I’m a foodie-wannabe after all!

Grilled Summer Squash & Brie Sandwich

The sandwich (and store-bought pasta salad) served on my finest China

Like most people I know, I think samples are the best thing about any trip to a grocery store. I used to put up with the most hectic family trips imaginable to Costco because of the free food. (I still say, Costco on a Sunday is the scariest place in any suburban community.) And even though Whole Foods is considerably more expensive than most markets I shop at, the free stuff on Saturdays makes it more than worth my while.

Usually I scarf down the sample and listen to the Whole Foods employee go on and on and on about how wonderful what I’m eating is, and how I should buy it. I keep nodding…and keep eating while pretending to be interested but we both know that I have no intention of purchasing this treat, no matter how delectable.

That was until I tried a sample of  a Grilled Summer Squash and Brie Sandwich. I was actually searching for something to whip up for lunch and then I spotted a Whole Foods lady making the sandwiches–grilling away with brie oozing out of every end. She informed me where the brie was and that it was on sale and I was S-O-L-D.

I picked up the rest of the ingredients, went home and made this immediately. And you should, too. Because it was really freaking good. And kinda good for you. Probably not really, but there are vegetables involved, so we can pretend.

Ingredients:

2 zucchini or medium yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch-thick slices
2 teaspoons of EVOO
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 thick-cut slices of round country bread
1 large garlic glove, split
10 ounces of Brie cheese, sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
1 cup sunflower, radish, or other sprouts

Directions

Prepare the grill for medium-high heat cooking or preheat the broiler. Brush squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill or broil, turning once or twice, until tender and nicely browned, 6-8 minutes. Set aside.

Grill or broil bread until just lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Rub bread on both sides with garlic; discard the garlic. Cover tops of slices with Brie; place on a cool part of the grill and cover the grill or broil until the cheese is somewhat melted. Top with grilled squash, tomatoes and sprouts. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.