Asian meatballs made by Teri Robl on March 23, 2020, in her Homer, Alaska, kitchen. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Asian meatballs made by Teri Robl on March 23, 2020, in her Homer, Alaska, kitchen. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Kachemak Cuisine: During uncertain time, slow down and cherish good food

Join me in the kitchen, if only in spirit, and make a pot of soup from scratch.

It’s spring! During this uncertain time, I’m going to take a deep breath and let the dog take me for a beach walk in the warm sunshine. I’m going to cook and bake. Join me in the kitchen, if only in spirit, and make a pot of soup from scratch. Notice how much better it tastes, the different flavors, texture and aroma.

You can take the time to slow down and enjoy the steps and concentration it takes to make artisan bread made with natural sour dough leavening. If you are home with the kids, have them join you in the kitchen for a cooking class. I bet you will both be smiling and laughing.

The kids might enjoy making their very own, special recipe if you’re trying to find fun and interesting things for them to do on these long school-less spring days. When was the last time you made a batch of no-bake cookies? You probably have everything in your pantry to make them.

Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar

1⁄2 cup milk

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter

1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Large pinch kosher salt

1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment.

2. Bring the sugar, milk, butter and cocoa to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then let boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the oats, peanut butter, vanilla and salt, and stir to combine.

3. Drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, and let sit at room temperature until cooled and hardened, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.

Meatballs for all

Make a batch of meatballs with the kids with the hamburger or mooseburger, salmon, pork meat or brats you have stashed in the freezer. Keep those little hands busy helping to get dinner on the table. There are lots of flavor combinations you can try, so in addition to Taco Tuesday, you can have Meatball Monday. What can we make for Wednesdays? Ask the kids and let me know.

Methods to cook meatballs:

Bake: Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet; bake at 425 degrees F, about 15 minutes for 2-inch meatballs.

Pan-Fry: Cook, in batches, in 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil over medium-high heat, turning, 8 to 10 minutes for 2-inch meatballs; pour off the excess fat before adding any sauce.

Deep-Fry: Cook, in batches, in 2 inches of 350 degrees F vegetable oil, 3 to 6 minutes for 1-inch meatballs (small meatballs are best for deep-frying).

Different Flavor combinations

Beef or moose

Italian: Mix 1 pound ground beef or moose, 1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan, 1⁄4 cup each breadcrumbs, chopped parsley and milk, 2 grated garlic cloves, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon kosher salt; season with pepper. Form into balls; bake. Simmer in 2 cups each marinara and water, 20 minutes.

Mexican: Pulse 8 ounces each ground beef or moose and fresh chorizo, 1⁄2 cup crushed tortilla chips, 2 chopped scallions and 1⁄4 teaspoon cumin and ¼ teaspoon dried oregano in a food processor. Form into balls; pan-fry. Simmer in 4 cups chicken broth with 1 cinnamon stick, 1⁄4 cup cooked rice and 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 30 minutes. Remove the meatballs and cinnamon stick; puree the sauce.

Korean: Mix 1 pound ground beef or moose, 1⁄2 cup panko, 2 teaspoons grated ginger, 1 egg and 1⁄2 teaspoon each sesame oil and kosher salt. Form into balls; bake. Simmer for 3 minutes in 1⁄2 cup each water, brown sugar and chopped kimchi, 1⁄4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chile paste) and 1⁄2 teaspoon cornstarch.

Pork

Dumpling: Mix 1 pound ground pork, 1 cup each chopped scallions and napa cabbage, 1⁄4 cup panko, 1 egg, 2 teaspoons each grated ginger, garlic, soy sauce and rice vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon each sesame oil, sugar, kosher salt and white pepper. Form into balls; pan-fry. Serve with ponzu sauce.

Japanese: Make Dumpling Meatballs as instructed above. Using 1⁄2 cup scallions, add 1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro and 1 tablespoon miso paste to the meat mixture. Form into balls. Dredge in flour, dip in beaten egg, then roll in panko; deep-fry. Serve with teriyaki sauce.

Hawaiian: Puree one 12-ounce can Spam. Mix with 8 ounces ground pork, 1⁄2 cup panko, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon grated ginger; season with pepper. Form into balls; roll in panko and deep-fry. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.

Italian Sausage: Mix 8 ounces each ground pork and hot Italian sausage (casings removed), 1 egg, 1⁄2 cup each grated provolone, Parmesan, breadcrumbs and chopped parsley, 2 grated garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Form into balls; pan-fry. Serve with jarred vodka tomato sauce.

German Sausage: For sauce, simmer 1 cup beer, 1⁄2 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon grainy mustard, 10 minutes; add chopped parsley. Mix 1 pound raw bratwurst (casings removed), 1 egg, 1 cup chopped drained sauerkraut, 3⁄4 cup fresh rye breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon grainy mustard. Form into balls; pan-fry. Add to the sauce.

Breakfast Sausage: Mix 1 pound bulk pork breakfast sausage, 2 chopped thawed frozen waffles, 1 egg and 1⁄4 teaspoon each cinnamon, dash of nutmeg and black pepper. Form into balls; bake. Serve with syrup.

Salmon

Mash two 6-ounce cans salmon or 12 oz. cooked salmon; mix with 1⁄2 cup panko, 1⁄4 cup each diced small boiled potatoes, finely diced onion or shallots, ¼ cup finely diced celery, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons each fresh chopped dill and creamy horseradish. Form into balls; pan-fry. Serve with more creamy horseradish or a white sauce flavored with lemon juice and zest.

Mushroom

Saute 8 ounces chopped mushrooms in olive oil; cool. Pulse in a food processor with 1 cup each breadcrumbs and toasted walnuts, 1⁄4 cup each fresh parsley and dill, 2 chopped scallions, 2 eggs, ½ teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Form into balls; deep-fry. Serve with ranch dressing.

Reach Teri Robl at easthood.queen@gmail.com.


• By Teri Robl, Homer News


Grandson Kase and Nani, his grandmother Teri Robl, make cupcakes for his 3rd birthday on March 21, 2020, at his home in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alyssa Robl)

Grandson Kase and Nani, his grandmother Teri Robl, make cupcakes for his 3rd birthday on March 21, 2020, at his home in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alyssa Robl)

More in Life

File
Minister’s Message: Who is this man?

Over and over again, they struggle to rightly name who he is and what he’s up to

A still from “Casting Maya,” a film about Ascension Bay on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is seen in this screenshot. From Pure Films, the short will be one of nine shown at the International Fly Fishing Film Festival on Aug. 10 in Kenai, Alaska. (IF4/flyfilmfest.com)
Anglers’ night out

Annual International Fly Fishing Film Festival returns to Kenai

Candy pecans make a sweet snack to enjoy on excursions. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Road trip reimagined

Candied pecans accompany more subdued wandering

Robert C. Lewis photo courtesy of the Alaska Digital Archives 
Ready to go fishing, a pair of guests pose in front of the Russian River Rendezvous in the early 1940s.
The Disappearing Lodge, Part 1

By the spring of 1931, a new two-story log building — the lodge’s third iteration — stood on the old site, ready for business

Viola Davis stars in “The Woman King.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)
On the screen: Women reign in latest action flick

‘The Woman King’ is a standout that breaks new ground

Artwork donated for the Harvest Auction hangs at the Kenai Art Center on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Auction, juried show to showcase local talent

Kenai Art Center will host its annual Harvest Auction this weekend, juried art show next month

Sweet and tart cranberry pecan oat bars are photographed. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Cranberries to match the bright colors of fall

Delicious cranberry pecan oat bars are sweet and tart

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Take a chance

The fact of the matter is, you can find a way to hurt yourself in just about any athletic endeavor.

Alaska Digital Archives
George W. Palmer (left), the namesake for the city in the Matanuska Valley and the creek near Hope, poses here with his family in 1898 in the Knik area. Palmer became a business partner of Bill Dawson in Kenai in the last years of Dawson’s life.
Bill Dawson: The Price of Success, Part 5

Thus ended the sometimes tumultuous Alaska tenure of William N. Dawson.

File
Minister’s Message: Plenty

The Bible story of Joseph in Egypt preparing the harvest in the seven years of plenty teaches us some vital lessons

A still from “Jazzfest.” (Photo provided)
DocFest could be the golden year of documentaries — again

Homer Documentary Film Festival returns for 18th year with solid mix

From left: Lacey Jane Brewster, Terri Zopf-Schoessler, Donna Shirnberg, Tracie Sanborn and Bill Taylor (center) rehearse “Menopause Made Me Do It” on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Applause for menopause

Kenai Performers’ new play takes aim at ‘not the most glorious part of womanhood’