Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ginger sesame soup with noodles and greens

I've been fighting a head cold/sinus thingy for about a week. Although today I felt much better, I am flying out of town tomorrow and wanted something to get rid of the remaining funk. What better than chicken soup with tons of ginger? This pungent soup comes together quickly, but packs a flavorful punch that will invigorate your taste buds and clear your face pipes. The addition of greens can't hurt, either... I found some fun Asian greens at my local farmers' market over the weekend which added a bit of bitterness and some beneficial vitamins to this healing brew. Finally, good noodles made it a hearty meal!
Ginger Sesame Soup with Asian Greens and Noodles   
-1 hand of ginger (literally the size of a small hand), peeled and sliced into
   matchsticks (about 1.5 cups) 
-1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
-1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
-4 Tablespoons soy sauce
-1 teaspoon ground ginger (yes! MOAR GINGER!)
-1/2 teaspoon white pepper
-4 cups chicken stock
-2 cups water
-2 bunches of Asian greens (such as pok choy, baby bock choy, napa cabbage)
-1 package Chinese noodles (pick noodles that cook in 5 minutes or less)
-roasted sesame seeds, sesame oil and soy sauce to garnish 
Cook the ginger in the oil, along with the sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce and spices for about 5 minutes, just until the ginger is soft. Add the stock and water and bring to a boil, then immediately turn the heat down so the soup is simmering. If any of your greens have thicker stems, chop those parts up and add them now, reserving the leafy parts for later. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the noodles and leafy greens and boil for 5 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked. Serve garnished with black sesame seeds, a few drops of sesame oil and soy sauce to taste.

Friday, September 21, 2012

chili meatball whoopie pie slider on a stick.


Chili Meatballs-1 small onion, chopped fine
-1 shallot, chopped fine
-2 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped fine
-1 Anaheim chile, seeds removed, chopped fine
-1 jalapeno chile, seeds removed, chopped fine
-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
-2 Tablespoons chili powder
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1 lb. ground round
-salt and pepper 
sauce:-1 can tomato sauce
-1 Tablespoon chili powder
-1/2 teaspoon cumin
-1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-salt and pepper 
Cook the onion and shallot in some oil in a skillet over medium heat until soft and starting to brown. Add the tomatoes, chiles, garlic and spices and cook about 5 minutes until everything is soft and fragrant. Let Cool. 
Meanwhile prepare you cornbread buns... use a whoopie pie maker to cook you favorite corn bread recipe (as long as it's not a thick batter... I added more milk to thin mine out a bit, and I added diced jalapeno!). If you don't have a whoopie pie maker (but why wouldn't you?!?) you could cook the batter like pancakes, or cook them in a waffle maker! Or you could make mini muffins and cut them in half. 
Mix the cooled vegetable mixture with the meat and some salt and pepper. Form into ping pong-sized balls. Cook in the same skillet you cooked the veggies in, adding a bit of oil if needed. Cook in 2 batches so they do not crowd the pan. These do not have a binder in them, so don't be alarmed if some of the vegetables start falling out of the balls as you cook them and the meat shrinks. Just be gentle... these balls are tender. Cook through, browning them on all sides, set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. 
Once the balls are cooked, pour the tomato sauce into the same skillet, along with half a can of water. cook over medium-low heat scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to get all the meaty caramelized brown bits off. Add the spices and season to taste. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the balls to the sauce and heat through. Serve on corn bread "buns" with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

roasted veggie burrito

Sometimes you have a week of over-indulgence and fun, and your body just screams for vegetables and fiber and green stuff. Little nutrition maids to get in there and scrub out all the booze splatters and grease stains and put up a nice clean coat of phytonutrient paint.

And sometimes (well most of the time) you want a burrito.

Well, hows about a burrito stuffed with super-foods? Don't knock it 'til you've tried it... this bundle is just as scrumptious as it is healthy. You guys, I'm Iron Stef... I wouldn't post gross recipes, okay? Well, I liked it, anyway.

You can use whatever vegetables you like. I went a little crazy. I will say that the potatoes were a revelation, adding an almost creamy starchiness to the burrito. Adding the spinach to the vegetables right after taking them out from the oven keeps the spinach vibrant, for an overall freshness to the dish. Combining refried beans with whole beans is not necessary, but made a great "glue" to give the burritos structure while still having satisfying texture. 

Roasted Veggie Burritos 
for roasted veggies:-2 Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and cubed
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1 yellow onion, chopped
-1 shallot, finely chopped
-1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
-1 poblano pepper, chopped
-1 Anaheim chile, chopped
-1 jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
-1 medium zucchini, sliced into bite-size pieces
-2 cups sliced mushrooms
-1 Tablespoon cumin
-2 teaspoon Mexican oregano, ground
-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
-salt and pepper
-3 Tablespoons olive oil
-4 cups fresh baby spinach
-juice from 1/2 a lime 
for the beans:-1 can refried black beans
-1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
-2 teaspoons cumin
-1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
-3 Tablespoons Tapatio hot sauce (or to taste)
-salt and pepper 
to assemble burritos:-large tortillas (I used whole wheat)
-queso fresco
Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Combine all of the ingredients for the roasted vegetables except the spinach and lime juice in a large (15" x 10") glass baking dish, using your hands to coat all the veggies with the oil and spices. Put into the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the veggies are all soft and just starting to brown. Remove from oven and immediately add the spinach and lime juice and stir until spinach is wilted from the heat of the vegetables. 
Combine the bean ingredients in a pot over medium heat and heat through. Form burritos by putting about 1 cup of the bean in the center of a tortilla, topping it with an equal amount of roasted veggies a small amount of queso fresco and cilantro, and wrapping into a tight bundle. Serve with your favorite salsa and lime wedges.

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Thursday, September 06, 2012

moroccan chicken balls with skillet grapes and honey lemon yogurt

Lately one of my favorite food sites is Food52. They are consistently tweeting and pinning and posting some really neat stuff. I noticed that they recently wrapped up a best meatballs contest (how did I miss this?!) and instantly got to clicking through the entries. It was the runner-up that really caught my eye: Kefta-Style meatballs with grilled grapes and yogurt sauce? Yes, please! I have been wanting to cook grapes ever since my good pal Kelly made these roasted grapes and brought them to a picnic. For some reason cooking grapes seems like such a crazy concept to me... well not anymore. Getting nature's little juice balls all hot and bothered really brings out their essence... they taste grapier than raw grapes! 
Through the years I have seen several recipes combining chicken and grapes, and they seem to be crowd-pleasers. Inspired by the Food52 kefta recipe, I came up with these Moroccan influenced chicken balls to pair with the sauteed grapes. These were fantastic! I will definitely be making these for parties... they are easy and quick to make, with a flavor combination that will excite people.

Moroccan Chicken Balls with Skillet Grapes and Honey Yogurt
-8 oz. plain Greek Yogurt
-1 lemon (zest and juice will be used)
-1 teaspoon honey
-1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cumin
-1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped (divided)
-1 pound ground chicken
-2 shallots, chopped fine
-1 teaspoon coriander
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-salt and pepper
-olive oil for cooking
-about 3 dozen red grapes, picked from bunch and washed 
Combine the yogurt with honey, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, 1 half the juice of the lemon, 1 teaspoon cumin and a couple large pinches of the parsley, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside in fridge. 
Put about a Tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Add the grapes and cook for about 8 minutes until skin is blistered and starting to brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Cook the shallots in some olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add the remaining cumin, coriander, cinnamon and salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, another couple of minutes. Set off heat to cool while you prepare the rest of the meatball ingredients. 
Combine the chicken, the rest of the lemon juice, lemon zest and parsley in a bowl. Add the cooled shallots and mix well, using your hands. Form meat mixture into small balls, not much larger than the grapes. This will make 30-36 balls. Cook the balls in a skillet coated with olive oil, in 2 batches so they are not crowded. Cook, turning gently as needed until they are cooked through and nicely brown on he outside. Repeat with rest of meatballs. 
Skewer the grapes and meatballs onto toothpicks and serve with the yogurt sauce.