February 24, 2016

4plates Spicy Turkey Meatballs

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My experiences with turkey as a stand in for red meat haven’t always been so terrific. The flavorless, dry turkey burger will never beat a juicy, carnivorous, extra-large greasy burger from your favorite burger joint. But when done right, a great turkey burger topped with all kinds of deliciousness can stand up to any beef burger in my book.

Lucky for me, one of our favorite local restaurants, Bowman’s Tavern, serves a damn good burger – turkey or otherwise. Bowman’s Tavern in New Hope is top of my list for honestly, just about everything. This little hide away spot on River Road is the place you’ll find my husband and I many a Friday or Saturday night. I’ll be sitting at the bar, drinking a Victory Headwaters and eating a turkey burger. The perfect way to kickoff a weekend. Friday nights they have a piano bar if you want to belt-out some show tunes after a few cocktails.

Thinking about Bowman’s killer turkey burger inspired me to apply the same logic to meatballs. A skeptical, red meat loving, Italian-o-file of a husband couldn’t sway me – but I was going to make awesome turkey meatballs and he was going to eat them!

In a quest to make sure they were moist and flavorful I decided to mix half ground turkey and half spicy turkey Italian sausage. I prefer Martin’s brand Italian turkey sausage. While many of the brands miss the mark on authentic Italian sausage flavor, Martin’s wins the prize. I buy Martin’s at None Such Farms.

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Sadly, I did find after poking around online at other turkey meatball recipes, Giada has a recipe using a similar combination of ingredients. I thought I was being so creative. With that said, I will say this recipe was adapted from her just to make sure I acknowledge that we are of equal genius in the kitchen. Ha!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 small yellow onion, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1lb spicy turkey Italian sausage, casing removed
  • About 1/4 cup water
  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Brush the foil with olive oil and set the pan aside.

Combine all the ingredients up to and including the garlic in a large bowl. Add the two meats and using your hands, mix everything together being sure the sausage meat is evenly incorporated throughout the mixture. Add some salt and pepper. Start to add water to the bowl a few tablespoons at a time, mushing the meat mixture with your hands. You want it to be fairly wet and sticky. You shouldn’t need more than a 1/4 cup of water and may even need less. Water is the trick I also use for my meatballs marinara, it keeps them moist and delicious every time.

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Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a small fry pan over medium heat. Take a little of the meatball mix and form into a small patty. Fry it in the pan, flipping after a couple of minutes, until cooked through – about 2-3 minutes per side. Taste it. It should taste really flavorful and delicious. At this point you can decide if it needs a little more salt or pepper, or maybe a little more cheese… or maybe it’s perfect : )

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Form your meatballs and place them on the sheet pan. I make them the size of golf balls. Once done, brush the top of each meatball with a little olive oil and place the pan in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

While you’re waiting for your meatballs to cook, throw together a big pot of marinara sauce. Use your favorite recipe, my recipe or even a couple of jars of your favorite sauce (we’ll never tell).

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When the meatballs are done, remove the sheet pan from the oven and using a spatula, gently lift them from the foil and put them in the pot with the sauce. Now just sit back and relax. Let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for a nice long time. I say at least 1 hour is fine but 2 hours is awesome.

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Then just nom nom nom……

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Enjoy!

 

January 20, 2016

Mediterranean Cauliflower (kind of) Couscous Salad

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I know things have been on the quiet side here. Sometimes you just have to take a little break once in a while when life gets in the way, but the holidays are over and it’s a new year. I haven’t stopped cooking for a second. In fact, I have tons of recipes to share. If you don’t follow me on facebook or instagram, please do. I tend to post lots of good stuff there almost daily, while these fancy formal blog posts seem to be happening much more infrequently – emphasis on the “much.”

As always, we’re still trying to eat healthy here. I wanted to share this recipe I found on the kitchn website, some creative licensing on my part included. I know it’s not very winter’esque, but I love cauliflower! I keep seeing these cauliflower recipes popping up everywhere. Has anyone tried making the cauliflower grilled cheese? Mashed cauliflower used in place of potatoes is really good. Throw in a little cheese and it’s a nice stand in for the spuds. I’ve seen cauliflower fried rice, cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower gratin… so many cauliflower recipes! I included a few links to more recipes below.

The recipe said that by pulsing the cauliflower florets in the food processor, being careful not to purée it – you’d end up with something that resembles couscous. I was poking around online and found that some recipes say to use the cauliflower raw at this point, while other sauté it in a little olive oil so it will be more tender. In this case, I used it raw. The whole family was surprised at how good this was. It has an addictive crunch and my husband and I found ourselves unable to stop eating it – nom nom nom! Really delicious. Do you think this looks like couscous?

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INGREDIENTS

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Place the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking to emulsify the dressing. Set aside.

For the salad:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 – 15oz can chickpeas – drained, rinsed and dried
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 large cucumber – peeled, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 large handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts*
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Separate the cauliflower into florets and place in a large food processor. Pulse, careful not to purée the cauliflower. Once it resembles dry crumbs, pour into a large salad bowl. Remove any large pieces that may have not chopped properly and run them through the food processor again. Maybe my cauliflower head was large, but I had to do this process in a couple of batches.

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the cauliflower and toss to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the cauliflower and toss again. Enjoy!

* To toast the pine nuts place them on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 5 or so minutes. Watch them very carefully. They go from pale to golden quite suddenly. Allow them to cool before putting them into the salad.

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Some other fabulous cauliflower recipes:

  1. Food and Wine Cauliflower Recipes 
  2. well+GOOD Cauliflower Grilled Cheese
  3. Closet Cooking Cauliflower Pizza 
  4. Eating Well Cauliflower Recipes
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