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Talking Turkey (Meatballs) – Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze and Carrot Rice

Meatballs are always a family favorite and provide a lot of versatility when I make then. Typically, they start off with a meal that includes some type of pasta, but the meatballs are also fantastic for meatball subs or meatball parmigiana sandwiches. They also make a great addition to a pizza for pizza night. All of that is perfect when you make meatballs in tomato sauce, but once in a while, I like something that is a little bit of a change. I love Swedish meatballs or meatballs in a gravy and have found that making meatballs using turkey meat gives me the chance to play with all kinds of different flavors and create new meals. I had picked up some ground turkey recently at the store and wanted to make something different for dinner, so I combined these two recipes, one from Martha Stewart for a carrot rice and the other from Julia Moskin for scallion meatballs with a soy glaze.

Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze and Carrot Rice

For the Sauce:

½ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup soy sauce

½ cup mirin sweet rice wine, or 1/2 cup sake with 1/4 cup sugar

¼ cup chopped peeled ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander

4 whole black peppercorns

For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground turkey

4 large or 6 small scallions, finely chopped

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped about 1 cup

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil

For the Rice:

Salt

1 cup long-grain white rice

1 carrot, shredded

To make the sauce, bring the sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan set over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar melts completely. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the soy sauce, mirin, ginger, coriander, and peppercorns. Simmer, occasionally stirring, until the sauce is reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Strain the sauce through a sieve. The sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.

To make the meatballs, mix the ground turkey, scallions, cilantro, egg, sesame oil, soy sauce and several grindings of pepper in a medium bowl. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls.

In a skillet set over medium-high heat, generously cover the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding, place the meatballs in the pan and cook them, occasionally turning, until the meatballs are browned all over and cooked inside, about 8 minutes per batch. Arrange on a heated platter, spoon a little sauce over each meatball, and serve with toothpicks. If desired, keep warm in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve. Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired.

To make the rice, in a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and stir, and return the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the rice and cook it until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and top it with the shredded carrot. Let the rice stand, covered, for about 5 minutes, then stir in the carrot and fluff the rice with a fork. Arrange the rice on a heated platter and top with the meatballs and sauce. Garnish the dish with sliced scallions, if desired.

Ground turkey by itself does not have a lot of flavor to it, but when you add the ingredients to the dish with the meatballs and the sauce, you will find that they pack quite a bit of flavor. The scallions and soy shine through nicely, and the meatballs are tender and tasty. The carrot rice is very simple, and the carrots add a nice touch and texture to the rice for something a little different. You can easily just make the meatballs and use them as an appetizer for any dinner, party or buffet you are having as well. I felt the dish was a nice change of pace from the usual meatballs and gives me something different to fall back on when I want to liven the meatball routine up a bit.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Savoring Succulent Sauteed Sea Scallops Over Spaghetti Squash

As much as I love scallops, they are just not something we eat very often. Scallops tend to be very expensive in terms of the fish for sale today. For sea scallops in my area they are generally priced in the twenty dollars and up per pound range, and that may be for scallops that are not even that good. If I am going to spend that much money for scallops, I want to make sure they are of good quality. I always get dry scallops, meaning they are not scallops that have been soaked in a solution to help them look nice and white and to plump them up, making them have a lot of water. When you buy “wet” scallops, they release all of the solution and liquid when they cook, making it almost impossible to get a good sear on them and instead they steam in all that liquid, making them rubbery. It is worth the extra effort if you are going to get sea scallops to make sure you get dry scallops or scallops labeled chemical-free. In any case, I got my dry scallops from Hudson Valley Seafood and set about finding a new recipe to try. I had already picked up my vegetables at the farmer’s market as well and had a nice spaghetti squash I purchased, so this recipe from Martha Stewart came along at just the right time.

Sautéed Sea Scallops Over Spaghetti Squash

2 1-pound spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking pan

4 leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

10 large sea scallops, muscles removed, sliced in half

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup dry white wine or water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1 bunch fresh chives (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the spaghetti squash, cut-sides down, on an oiled baking pan. Cook the squash until it is easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 45 minutes. Using a fork, separate the flesh into strands and transfer the squash  to a bowl; cover the bowl and set it aside.

 

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan set over medium heat. Cook the leeks and shallots, stirring, until they are crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the leeks and shallots to a plate and set it aside.

 

Place the flour in a small bowl and dredge the scallops in the flour. Return the saute pan to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cook half of the scallops until they are golden, about 3 minutes per side. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and set them aside on a separate plate. Repeat the process and cook the remaining scallops.

 

Increase the heat to medium high and add the white wine or 3/4 cup of water. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Slowly whisk in the butter until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Divide the squash and the leek mixture among your dinner plates; top the vegetables with the scallops. Drizzle the scallops and vegetables with the sauce, and garnish with the chives, if desired, before serving.

While the squash takes some time to cook to get it tender enough, that is really the only long part of the recipe. I liked the recipe because it was basic and healthy, giving you a nice, light meal that is great for any day of the week. If you didn’t want the spaghetti squash or can’t find one, I think rice or noodles would substitute well in the recipe, but the squash seems perfect for this dish. Be careful not to overcook the scallops so they don’t get rubbery on you. Just that little bit of flour is really all they need to get some nice color to them so you can enjoy the sweetness of them. I did cut the recipe in half since I was making this for just Sean and myself since Michelle is away on business so we had just the right amount of scallops and a little bit of squash leftover to use for another meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on August 16, 2016 in Cooking, Dinner, Seafood

 

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Steak and Summer Go Hand in Hand – Sirloin Steak with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

There are always some meals that I immediately associate with the summer. Naturally people think a lot about things like hamburgers and hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato salad, watermelon and all of the great summer fruits and vegetables you can get. One of the things I always associate with summer is steak. Even though I made steak throughout the year and I don’t even have a grill to use, the idea of grilling a nice piece of steak is something I love. Since I need to do next best around here, I very often use one of my grill pans when making steak to get that same feeling. As much as I love steak, the price keeps me from buying it too often. Every once in a while I will treat us to a rib eye steak for dinner or a New York strip, but that’s about it and only if they are on sale. When I last went to the farmers’ market here in Monroe, I picked up a meat package from Bishop Farms, a farm out of Fulton, NY that offers some great beef, pork, lamb, chicken and more that are all-natural, no steroids and antibiotics. I had purchased a few things from them before and got a package of ground beef, short ribs, beef kebabs and sirloin steaks that looked awesome. I decided to make one of the sirloin steaks the other night and used this recipe from Martha Stewart to make a quick and easy meal.

Sirloin Steak with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving

1 garlic clove, crushed through a press

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large sirloin steak (about 1 1/2 pounds and 1 inch thick), trimmed and cut into 4 equal portions

1 pound red new potatoes, halved (quartered if large)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together the Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Place the mustard mixture in a resealable plastic bag. Add the steaks, and rub the steaks to coat them well. Let the steaks marinate at room temperature for about 10 minutes or refrigerate them for up to 1 day.

 

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes for about 10 minutes, then add the asparagus to the sheet pan and toss them  with another tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the asparagus with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables until the potatoes and asparagus are tender, about 15 minutes more.

 

While the vegetables are roasting, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan over high heat. Remove the steaks from the marinade, allowing  any excess to drip off. Cook the steaks for about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. If the pan darkens quickly, reduce the heat. Let the steaks rest for about 5 minutes. Serve the steaks with the vegetables or slice the steaks into thin slices and serve over the vegetables on a large platter. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

It’s a very simple recipe that comes out nicely. I used Yukon gold potatoes in my recipe because that is what I had on hand to go with the asparagus. I chose to keep the steak as one large steak and then slice it after it rested, but you could certainly do whatever is best for you. The steak was perfectly cooked and the marinade was quite nice with the mustard and garlic. The marinade would be good on other things like chicken or lamb, but I think I might add a touch of soy sauce to it next time to really boost up the flavor. The whole meal only takes about 30 to 40 minutes to cook, which is great for a weeknight and if you have a grill you could easily do it all outside without having to heat up the house.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on August 13, 2016 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Potatoes, Vegetables

 

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Get Asian Inspired with Pork Tonkatsu and Japanese Cabbage Salad

One of things I can always count on when making a meal Sean will like is to look to an Asian-inspired meal. He has a fondness for Japanese, Chinese and Korean cooking and doesn’t even seem to mind when I make the dishes a little spicier, even though he will turn his nose up at spicy chili or Buffalo wings (go figure). I had some pork cutlets in fridge and was trying to come up with something different to make with them other than the typical breaded cutlets when I thought about Tonkatsu. I had seen recipes for it before but never really thought to try it myself until I realized just how easy it was going to be. This recipe from Food and Wine is very straightforward and easy to make so you can get the crispy meal your family will love.

Pork Tonkatsu

Four 6- to 7-ounce boneless pork loin chops, pounded 1/2 inch thick

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups panko bread crumbs

Kosher salt

Pepper

Canola oil, for frying

3 tablespoons Japanese mustard powder  or Colman’s mustard powder

Japanese Cabbage Salad (recipe to follow)

For the Tonkatsu Sauce:

1 Tbsp. ketchup

2½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1½ tsp. oyster sauce

1⅛ tsp. sugar

Using a pair of kitchen shears, score the fat at the edges of the pork chops at 1-inch intervals, about 1/4 inch deep (this will keep them from curling while they cook).

Put the flour, eggs and panko bread crumbs in 3 separate shallow bowls. Season the flour with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Season the pork cutlets with salt and pepper and coat them with flour, tapping off the excess. Dip the cutlets in the beaten eggs and then in the panko, pressing to help the panko adhere.

In a large skillet, heat 1 inch of oil to 360 degrees. Fry 2 pork cutlets over moderate heat, turning once, until they are golden brown and white throughout, about 4 minutes. Drain the chops on paper towels. Transfer the pork chops to a cutting board and season them with salt. Repeat the process  with the remaining cutlets.

In a small bowl, whisk the mustard powder with 3 tablespoons of water until the mixture is smooth.

To make the sauce, combine the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce and sugar together in a small and whisk until blended.

Slice the tonkatsu into 3/4-inch strips and transfer it to plates. Serve the  with the cabbage, Japanese mustard, tonkatsu sauce and lemon wedges.

Not only is the recipe very easy and turns out great, crispy pork, but you could easily substitute chicken or beef for the pork if you wanted to or even shrimp or your favorite fish. The breading is nice and crispy and it goes really well with the mustard and the Tonkatsu sauce. The Japanese cabbage salad is also very easy to make and there are several different recipes out there that you can try. I used this one from Martha Stewart.

Japanese Cabbage Salad

1 tablespoon white or yellow miso paste

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Juice and zest of 1 lime

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (seasoned)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 cup safflower oil

6 cups thinly shredded green cabbage

Garnish: toasted sesame seeds

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the miso paste, soy sauce, lime zest and  lime juice, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and safflower oil.

 

Toss the cabbage with the dressing and serve it garnished with sesame seeds, if desired.

I didn’t have safflower oil on hand so I just used vegetable oil and it turned out just fine to my tastes. It was a very simple salad that tasted great with the dressing, which was a nice mix of the sesame oil, lime and vinegar. I think it goes perfectly with the tonkatsu and would work well with any other meal that needs a light salad.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on June 29, 2016 in Cooking, Dinner, Dressings, Pork, Salad, Sauce, Vegetables

 

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Martha My Dear – Martha Stewart’s Braised Chicken Thighs with Winter Vegetables

When I was looking for something to do recently with some of the chicken thighs that I had purchased, I was searching around for a new recipe and I came across this one from Martha Stewart. I don’t use a lot of her recipes very often but this one fit in perfectly with what I wanted to make and actually made use of the exact ingredients I wanted to use. I had some cabbage on hand along with some apples and I wanted to try to find a way to incorporate it all into my meal. This recipe, for braised chicken thighs with winter vegetables, is the perfect one pot meal to get everything done in one pan for easy clean up while still having great flavor.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Winter Vegetables

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), patted dry

Salt and ground black pepper

3 slices bacon, diced medium

4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 onion, cut into 3/4-inch wedges

1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

4 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 small green cabbage, cored and thick ribs removed, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large ovenproof pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and cook until they are browned on both sides, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the bacon and garlic. Cook until the bacon fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, potato and carrots and season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the cabbage, apple, red pepper flakes, chicken broth and Dijon mustard. Add the chicken thighs, nestling them into the vegetables and return the pan to the oven. Bake the chicken and vegetables until the chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into one of the chicken thighs registers 165 degrees, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir the vegetables halfway through the cooking time to ensure they cook evenly.

The great thing about this meal, besides that it is all in one dish, is the great flavors that all work together in this one. You get a touch of smokiness from the bacon to go along with the great flavors from all of the vegetables, especially the cabbage. The apple also adds a nice tartness to the meal as well and you get just a hint of heat from the red pepper flakes. Best of all is you do not have to make any other side dishes to go along with the meal and you only have one pan to clean when everything is done. I don’t make enough use of cabbage and it is one of favorite vegetables so I hope to be using more of it in more recipes. In fact I just bought a red cabbage and a green cabbage today and have a plan to try a Mu Shu Chicken meal this weekend, so we’ll see how it goes. Anyway, this one was certainly a winner and you could just as easily do this with chicken drumsticks or breasts if you wanted to, though if you use bone-in breasts you may need to alter your cooking time slightly.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. There’s still lots of good stuff to come. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, One Pot Meals, Poultry, Vegetables

 

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Craving Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

This particular recipe actually dates back to just before Christmas when we had a big snowstorm and we decided to make cookies all day. This was one the Michelle and Sean had picked out that Michelle had picked up online from Martha Stewart. It is for chocolate crackle cookies and while they were a great holiday cookie, I think they would be awesome for just about anytime of year and they were not hard to make at all. All you need is a handful of ingredients and the time to put them together and you can be dipping these in your milk or hot chocolate in just a few minutes.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Chop the bittersweet chocolate into small bits and melt it over medium heat in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water. Set it aside to cool. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until they are well combined. Add the melted chocolate. With the mixer on low-speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk until they are just combined. Divide the dough into quarters, wrap it with plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator until it is firm, about 2 hours.

On a clean countertop, roll each portion of the dough into a log approximately 16 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, using confectioners’ sugar to prevent it from sticking. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap, and transfer them to a baking sheet. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. Cut each log into 1-inch pieces, and toss each piece in confectioners’ sugar, a few at a time. Using your hands, roll the pieces into a ball shape. If any of the cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll the dough in confectioners’ sugar again to coat it completely. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until the cookies have flattened and the sugar splits, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the cookies from the oven to a wire rack to let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

These cookies were delicious with a great chocolate flavor to them. I can tell you that these did not last long around the house and went over pretty well for the holidays. I can see making these again for a party or just as a nice chocolate cookie to have for dessert one night.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another great recipe. There’s still lots of good stuff coming down the road. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Cookies, Cooking, Dessert, Holidays

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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