Meatballs and potatoes made in the Greek tradition, accompanied by piquant vegetables. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

I had the opportunity to stay with my brother and his wife recently and was served this luscious meal made by my sister-in-law.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

Mary, who is of Greek descent, is one of the most generous people I know and this trait certainly shows up in her cooking. She is a lavish home chef who creates beautiful meals. This dinner in particular, served mid-week, perked up an ordinary dark and dreary day and made it special.

My only contribution was the formation of some of the meatballs. I have to say, it was completely wonderful to do nothing. The deliciously well-seasoned meatballs served with lemony potatoes, crunchy marinated vegetables, crispy pitas and tzatziki sauce were all just what the doctor ordered.

While the three of us sat around the kitchen table leisurely enjoying our entrée, the apples simmered in their aromatic juice in the oven. This old-fashioned, homey dessert was elevated by the simple additions of caramel and salt.

My brother took care of the clean-up while I contemplated how loved, cozy, relaxed and full I felt. It is sweet to do nothing and rest afterwards.

Greek Meatballs

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 egg
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
Zest from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/4 teaspoons coriander
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Combine all other ingredients. Form mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs (about 36) and place 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

3 pounds baby potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/8 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 large lemons
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth

Place potatoes in a large bowl, coat with olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings; toss to coat. Place in a baking dish and pour chicken broth over all. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time until tender and beginning to brown. (More broth can be added if needed.) Yield: 4 servings

Greek Salad with Pita Chips

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 European cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata black olives
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette and toss. Yield: 4 servings

Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Toasted pita chips

4 pitas
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Tzatziki sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut each pita into eight triangles. Place in single layer on baking sheet and brush each side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until crisp. Serve with tzatziki sauce. Yield: 4 servings

Salted Caramel Baked Apples

4 apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup boiling water
4 tablespoons caramel sauce
Flaky sea salt
Vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of each apple. Remove the core and seeds, taking care not to cut through to the apple’s bottom. Place in baking dish.

Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts in a small bowl. Spoon filling into apples, mounding up over the top. Place 1/2 tablespoon butter on top. Pour boiling water into bottom of pan. Bake for 35-60 minutes or until very soft. The timing will depend on the size and variety of apples.

Place apples in individual serving dishes, drizzle with pan juices and warmed caramel sauce. Sprinkle with salt and serve with ice cream. Yield: 4 servings

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