Hidden Treasure Meatballs

Paleo* Gluten free *

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Sorry about not posting on Friday – I had a really hectic week, but these meatballs are so easy to make and taste so great I’m sure you’ll forgive me for slipping up.  This is one of the recipes I made for the 2nd seder last week (oh my goodness, has a whole week flown by already?).  When I was told the theme for the seder would be converso (Jews who converted to Christianity but continued to follow Jewish customs) I was determined to create a “hidden” element in the menu as well.  This was the recipe I came up with; it was inspired by a recipe in “A Drizzle of Honey: The Life and Recipes of Spain’s Secret Jews” by David M Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson.  I served them as written as an appetizer (1 meatball per serving) with a salad but you can serve 3 or 4 as an entree.  You can also make them smaller and serve them as cocktail meatballs.  In that case I would use only 1/2 date or 1/4 apricot in the center.  I used dates as my filling for the seder, but when I retested and tried the apricots I liked them even better.  You could probably use any variety of dried fruits or a whole assortment for the center surprise.

Oh yes, in addition to making 2 seders and a kosher for Passover meal for the lunch program I have been a little tied up with this or should I say him:


This is my newest family member the day I first saw him at the adoption event.  He was found in an abandoned building in Harlem.  He’s 10 weeks old and his name is…that’s a good question.  I always give my pets food names and the current front runner is Remy Martin, but still in the running is  Benjy Hana, Eggs Bennydict,  Harrycot Verte, CamenBert, Schnapps.  I’m accepting all suggestions.

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This is his first day in his new home.  And what does Bella think of all this?

adoption 003  Remy 037  Remy 036

She thinks this is the best toy EVER!!!  He thinks she’s just kind of annoying.  He knows no fear considering she weighs 10 times as much as he does.

Hidden Treasure Meatballs

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As written these are intended to be served as appetizers, though they can also be used as a main course.  To make them into hors d’oeuvres, use one tablespoon of the the meat mixture to wrap small pieces of the dried fruit.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes

You can vary the spices depending on what you have on hand.  After you’ve made the meatball mixture, fry up a little piece and see if it has enough flavor for your taste.

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound ground beef or lamb

1 egg

8 pitted dates or 4 dried apricots cut in half

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. On a piece of wax paper, stir together the salt and spices.

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2. In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, egg, and spice mixture.

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3. Using a 1/4 cup measure of the meat mixture (2 ounces), place 1 fig or date in the middle; press down, the remove from cup and shape into 8 meatballs hiding the fruit completely.

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4. Place into a baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake 25 minutes or until cooked through.

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Serves: 2 or 3 as a main dish;  4 or 8 as an appetizer  or;  32 hors d’oeuvres

MENU:  Red Lentil Soup,  Hidden Treasure Meatballs, Green Salad, Brown and Wild Rice, Tzimmes or Roasted Squash with Pears and Cranberries, Gluten-Free Cookies and Raspberry Sorbet



  1. Any suggestions for an alternative to the cloves and ginger? You know I hate ginger, and I’m not fond of cloves, either,,,

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