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Archive for August, 2011

Turkeyballssss!

So I don’t eat beef, and so really hadn’t had any meatballs since I was ten maybe.  Then last New Year’s Eve, we had a party and I decided to make turkey meatballs for my Italian themed appetizer spread.  I don’t know if it is because I just forgot how magnificent meatballs are in general, or if these ones are just super amazing, but they are REALLY delicious, and you should try them.  Much like my favorite biscuits I almost always have a stock of these puppies in the freezer, ready to make a quick dinner of meatballs at a moment’s notice!  It’s just so much easier/ cheaper to buy the huge pack of ground turkey at Costco, make a bunch of meatballs and throw ’em in the freezer for later.

What you need:

  • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey/ chicken
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 – 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1  teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1  teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 5-6 dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs

What you need to do:

  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Place the meat into a mixing bowl, and season with salt, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, oregano, red pepper flakes, hot pepper sauce, and Worcestershire sauce; mix well.
  3. Add the milk, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Mix until evenly blended.
  4. Form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs, and place onto a baking sheet.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, 25 minutes.

Note: Make sure the baking sheet is greased, and it helps just place the meatballs on a sheet of foil on top of the baking sheet.

Ready to bake OR freeze for later

If you are going to freeze them, freeze them after you roll into balls.  Bake them straight from the freezer, but you will need to at least 10 minutes to the baking time.

Meatballs served with polenta, parmesan and some marinara sauce

 

Also this is totally unrelated to food or recipes or anything, but I will be out of town for almost three weeks, so don’t expect any posts until late September.   I will be eating and drinking my way through Europe, so I will take lots of photos of all the delicious-ness  and post upon returning.  Hope you don’t miss me too much!

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I seriously make these ALL the time.  I almost always have some in the freezer ready to bake with dinner.  I find that when you are cooking for two (or maybe you have a hectic life cooking for many!), it’s easier to just make a double or triple batch, throw em in the freezer and bake as needed.  This way you only have to make a mess once!

I got the recipe from smitten kitchen, her bleu cheese and scallion biscuits.  I have made these babies many times, with bleu cheese, gorgonzola, feta and cheddar – good ol’ cheddar is far away the favorite of all my taste testers.

What you need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut up into cubes (make sure it’s cold!)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded or crumbled cheddar (or whatever cheese you want to try)
  • 4 – 6 scallions finely chopped
  • 1 cup buttermilk

What you need to do

  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda, salt, sugar)
  3. Blend in butter cubes with a dough blender.  If you don’t have a dough blender, get one!  But you can use your fingers, or a whisk, or even a large fork
  4. Stir in cheese and buttermilk
  5. Drop 12 biscuits onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes
  6. OR if you are going to freeze them, just put them in a freezer safe container and freeze!  When you bake them, you can either bake them straight from the freezer for 20+ minutes (keep an eye on them after about 25), or let them defrost a bit on the prepared cookie sheet while the oven preheats, etc (preferred)


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Pizza Dough

So I made pizza dough, and then a super delicious pizza!  It might seem daunting, but all you need is a lot of flour and a rolling pin to make it totally manageable.  I used my Mixer Bible for the dough recipe (below).  I love any excuse to use my shiny beast of a mixer.  Then, as with most pizzas we make at home, I scoured the fridge for toppings.

What you need for the dough (makes two 12 inch pizzas):

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (100 degrees)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • stand mixer
  • rolling pin (preferably french)

What you need to do:

  1. Stir the yeast, water and sugar together in a bowl.  Let stand five minutes or so until yeast begins to foam.
  2. Stir in the oil
  3. Put flour and salt in mixer bowl.  Mix flour and salt together with the flat beater, then add the yeast mixture and mix until a dough forms
  4. Switch the flat beater for the dough hook and knead the bread on 2 for three to five minutes, until the sides of the bowl are clean.
  5. Cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap on your counter until the dough has doubled in size.  It took my dough like 3 hours to do this, but the book suggests 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 450
  7. Get ready to roll out your dough.  USE A LOT OF FLOUR, trust me on this one.  I probably used at least a cup per pizza dough.  Cut the dough in half and roll it out to your desired thickness.
  8. Top with your toppings, and bake for 15 minutes or so

What I used for my pizza:

  • Marinara Sauce, this kind from Costco is seriously delicious and doesn’t have a bunch of junk in it
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Sliced white onions
  • Minced garlic
  • Asparagus, cut into 1 or 2 inch pieces
  • Turkey pesto sausage from the only place I will eat sausages from, pre-cooked (no raw poultry!) then sliced
  • sprinkling of italian seasoning and romano cheese

Here is the fine specimen after assembly

Then I baked it for about 15 – 20 mins at 450 degrees, before I stuffed my face.

PS you can totally make, and freeze the dough for later (that’s what I did!).  You just might want to let it give a chance to rise again, if you can.

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Saffron Rice

I have had little bulbs of saffron sitting at the back of a kitchen cabinet for over 2 years, untouched.  I don’t know why it seemed so intimidating.  But I finally used it!

I made the rice in my rice cooker, so I basically just threw everything in and felt proud of myself for finally using the saffron.

What you need:

  • Saffron threads, anywhere from 5 to 15
  • Chicken stock.  It depends on how much rice you are making because you are using chicken stock instead of water in the rice cooker
  • Rice!  I used jasmine.
  • 1/4 teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tumeric
  • Minced garlic, your preference
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon

The ONLY thing you need to do besides throw it all in the rice cooker, is steep the saffron threads in warm water or chicken stock.  I used hot tap water, and steeped it for about 30 minutes.  I know it’s hard to see because, or course I grabbed the orange bowl, but you can tell that the water gets a dark orange color.  After the saffron is steeped, throw the threads and the steeping liquid in the rice cooker with the rest of the ingredients.  Make sure you add the appropriate amount of chicken stock for the amount of rice.

Then you get to sit back and do whatever you like.  Like maybe grill some shrimp and zucchini.  When it’s done, it’s such a pretty yellow color!

Grilled shrimp + zucchini on top of saffron rice

P.S. Happy August!

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