Clares Lace Cookies

One thing to love about the "Aunt Dimity" series of mysteries by Nancy Atherton, is a lovely recipe added in at the end.  Something casually featured in the story, nice but not necessary.  Just delicious.  And for lovers of good food and murder mysteries (what exactly is the connection there?) the perfect ending.  You not only get the puzzle solved but a treat as well.  That is if you make the effort to cook it up.

Right now I'm reading Aunt Dimity: Detective, and the treat at the end is The Pym Sisters' Gilded Gingerbread, which I'm looking forward to trying.  These Lace Cookies were the nice surprise, the fillip to finish Aunt Dimity's Christmas.  Light, crispy and delectable.


Creamy Dill Sauce with Tunaballs for Daring Cooks

The June Daring Cooks’ challenge sure kept us rolling – meatballs, that is! Shelley from C Mom Cook and Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to try meatballs from around the world and to create our own meatball meal celebrating a culture or cuisine of our own choice.

I chose to do another take on my Tunaballs, with a different sauce.  The last time I made these Magnificent Tuna meat balls it was a variation of a variation on Jamie Oliver's.  This one is a variation on an old Fish Patties recipe of mine, origin unknown, deep in the dark past.  An old recipe 3x5 card.

What I like about this version is the utter simplicity, not to mention good taste.  Also, utter simplicity, the Creamy Dill Sauce, and just what the Tunaball Dr. ordered to be lopped around and over them.  Thank you Nancy for the lovely home-grown dill.

I would say this is a mixed ethnic expression.  Like me, and probably many of us, a blend of various cultures and genetic background.  There's a bit of the Scandinavian in both the sauce and those fishy balls.  Not exactly lutefisk, thank God.  Though I'm sure there are a few Norwegians who have made left-over lutefisk into balls or patties.  A dollop of Italian in the pasta. Not sure what cuisine uses ground sunflower seeds as a binder?  So in celebration of cultural smorgasbords.

As I shared in that earlier post, it would be a culinary travesty to use fresh ahi tuna in these.  Sorry Jamie.  The whole point is to take something from your pantry, a can of tuna, and turn it into something special.  Flake and mix with the seasonings, and ground sunflower seeds. 

Tuna Balls with Creamy Dill Sauce

1 can tuna, drained
1/2 chopped onion
1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
3/4 cup ground sunflower seeds
salt and freshly ground black pepper
seasoning/optional additions:
2 anchovies
1-2 tablespoons minced dill or sage
2 teaspoons chopped capers
salted preserved lemon, minced
3/4 oz. grated parmesan cheese

Sauté the onion in a bit of oil until translucent.  Flake fish in bowl and add remaining ingredients.  Mix well and form into balls, squeezing together  (wet your hands with a little water).  Put the tuna balls onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper and let sit while you preheat your oven to 400F.

Bake for about 20 minutes or 'til lightly golden.

1 cup cream
1/2 cup finely minced fresh dill
1/4 cup white wine
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper to taste

Begin heating 2/3 cup of the cream in a skillet.  Meanwhile, beat the egg yolk well into 1/3 cup of the cream, add the wine and whisk into the heated cream.   Continue whisking while it simmers, and until thickened.  Add the dill and Tuna Balls, then heat through.

Serve with pasta or potatoes, add a bit of salad or maybe some steamed asparagus.  I marinated cooked, cooled beets for a salad to go alongside.  We enjoyed this Challenge meal.  Both the tuna balls and sauce were delicious.  Wasn't really much of a challenge though, to tell you the truth.   Easy peasy.


Friday Book Beginnings

This is a new meme for me, focusing on books, rather than books plus food or just food.   Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays, about which she says:
Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.
My beginning is taken from Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich.  The first paragraph actually.

New Jersey was 40,000 feet below me, obscured by cloud cover.  Heaven was above me, beyond the thin skin of the plane.  And hell was sitting four rows back.  Okay, maybe hell was too strong.  Maybe it was just purgatory.

A favorite author of mine, and with her next book I will be totally caught up on this series.  I hate coming to the end, forced to wait for another.  Such a funny writer, she usually has me cracking up right through.  So this beginning is a good foreshadowing of her style.

On another subject, I should be wearing yellow and get my friend Jan to paint my face like a honey bee.  I've been pollinating vanilla plants the last few days, hoping that I'm doing it right.  Even though a friend showed me how, still not sure.