When I have leftover cooked meat from a roast or a stew, or even leftover steak, I often chop it and use it to make stuffing, chili or meatballs like these boulettes ("small balls")a staple in every French housewife's cooking repertoire. You can serve the boulettes on their own with a salad, or brush them with barbecue sauce and serve with mashed potatoes. Here, they're topped with a quick-cooking tomato sauce dotted with tangy green olives.
Recently, Alison Attenborough and her husband, chef Jamie Kimm, created these meatball wraps for a party to celebrate two much-anticipated book debuts. The first: F&W's Cocktails 2009, for which Alison made all the drinks look tempting and distinctive. The second: the duo's first cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Friends, which is full of ideas for dressing up ordinary foods.
"There's nothing better than a simple tempura of a primo vegetable," states Peter Hoffman. For this sensational version, he coats thick onion rings in an ultralight batter and quickly fries them. Hoffman says that any vegetable that slices nicely, like delicata squash, fennel or zucchini, would be great here, as long as it "takes to the batter"meaning the batter stays on.
Nancy Silverton got this hearty meatball recipe from Matt Molina, the former chef de cuisine at Campanile. When the meatballs are almost cooked through, she pushes them to one side of the skillet and adds the ceci (Italian for chickpeas). That way everything soaks up the flavor of the luscious roasted red-pepper sauce.
These delectable, crunchy onion rings are Polo Dobkin's favorite late-night snack. His staff at Dressler devours them too. "We tend to feed a lot of people after hours," he says. To allow room for the light batter on the thick rings to puff as it cooks, use at least 3 inches of oil in the pan.
Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson makes his savory meatballs with a mixture of lamb, veal and bacon and, surprisingly, a little ricotta cheese to keep everything moist. He serves them on an unconventional salad of grilled scallions with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Small Bites by Jennifer Joyce takes the popular restaurant trend of small plates and turns it into a fresh style of entertaining. Joyce's party recipes are clever but extremely doable: She gives chicken meatballs a heavenly sticky glaze, for instance, by rolling them in sugar before baking.