Sunday, May 17, 2009


I started this little blog about three and a half years ago to amuse myself, my friends, and any interested readers that happened to wander along. I never aspired to go commercial with it (though I've had a few offers to place ads on my site), nor did I expect to attract thousands of visitors a day like, say, a couple of my very favorites, Smitten Kitchen or The Pioneer Woman. However, I must admit to a wee bit of jealousy when some of my favorite bloggers received free SWAG from food product companies hoping to get advertising on those blogs. If a product is really good, I always share with my readership--as evidenced by my previous post about my latest food find, Blue Smoke Coffee. But I guess my blog still wasn't high-profile enough for anyone to notice or want to court my attentions to pimp their products. Boo hiss.

But then a couple of weeks ago, an email popped up in my inbox from "The PomBlogger" at Pom Wonderful, the awesome pomegranate juice company, asking if I'd like a free case of Pom Wonderful to enjoy. My mama didn't raise no fool, so of course, I said YES! About a week later, a box arrived with eight bottles of Pom Wonderful, cushioned with little ice packs to keep them fresh until delivery. I was tempted to just crack a couple open and suck them down on the spot, or better yet, make a lovely cocktail with some of the sweet and healthful juice. But I decided to ration them and try to come up with some new pomegranate-based recipes. (It seemed the least I could do to thank Pom Wonderful for the freebies!)

Of course, I have already extolled the virtues of pomegranate-glazed pork, but I wanted to develop my own savory recipe. I got to thinking about pomegranate molasses and how it's a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. I knew I wanted to do a meat dish, so that led me to consider glazing some kibbeh (Lebanese meatloaf of sorts), as we might top American meatloaf with a ketchup-based sauce. But I wanted something I could leave to do its thing in the crock pot all day, so I downshifted from meatloaf to meatballs that were flavored with Middle Eastern spices and then cooked in a sweet glaze comprised of pomegranate juice and some of my honeybell marmalade.

They turned out GREAT, if I do say so myself! The meat was juicy and flavorful and spicy with just a bit of heat that truly complemented the sweet, fruity sauce. And it's nice to have another crock pot meatball recipe to add to the repertoire, something different from Italian, Swedish, Hawaiian, barbecue, or that old standby, chili sauce and grape jelly. These would be terrific for a party, as it made a TON! To serve them as I meal, I whipped up some rice pilaf with toasted almonds, and served it all with fattoush--a green salad with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing and bits of toasted pita bread tossed in. Primary ingredients would usually include lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, onions, and fresh parsley and/or mint and the toasted pita bits. Then you also might choose to add feta cheese, black olives, carrots, bell peppers, and especially with this meal, pomegranate arils! Delish! THANKS, Pom Wonderful!

Mediterranean Meatballs with Citrus-Pomegranate Glaze
Makes about 58 meatballs (though you could easily halve this recipe)

6 sets of (4) crackers (Waverly Wafers or saltines)
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sriracha or hot sauce (to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 cup honeybell (or orange) marmalade
8 oz. Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice

Heat the milk in the microwave for a minute or two until hot but not boiling over. Crumble the crackers into the milk, fully submerging them, and set aside to soften. In a very large frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute the onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and saute another minute or two until it has softened.

In a large mixing bowl, place the ground beef and add the sauteed onions and garlic. Mix in herbs, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and spices. Then mix in the cracker and milk mixture. Using your hands, gently combine all the ingredients. Using a regular cookie scoop (2 oz?), scoop out meat mixture into your hands and finish rolling into balls. Fill the large frying pan with the meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula and drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, in the bottom of a slow cooker, stir together the marmalade and pomegranate juice. Add the meatballs to the crock pot and stir gently to coat with the glaze. Cook on high for a couple of hours or on low for several hours.

Toasted Almond Rice Pilaf

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cups long-grained white rice
1/3 pound thin pasta (angel hair or vermicelli), broken into fourths
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped finely
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

In a large sauce pan (that has a tight-fitting lid), melt the butter and olive oil together, then saute the diced onion until soft and translucent. Stir in the rice and pasta and cook until they start to turn golden brown. Pour in the chicken stock, mix everything together, and bring to a boil. Cover with the lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the rice has finished steaming, fluff with a large fork, and mix in the parsley and toasted almonds before serving.

*I realized too late that a pinch of saffron thrown in with the broth before steaming the rice would have been the perfect addition. Oh time.


Camilla said...

Lindsey, you lucky dog! I love POM. And meatballs. POM + Meatballs= Deliciousness.

I loved your comma-spliced extravagnaza--thanks for sharing with me. Oh those crazy students!

Why have I not stumbled upon your blog before? It is wonderful. Happily I now follow...Camilla :)

Cliff Girl said...

so cool! I need more swag in my life :)
The recipe looks incredible! I went to the pom wonderful site and looked around just because of you. Looks like their tea tour is nearby, perhaps we'll go.
Happy Summer Break!