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Friday, September 29, 2017

ChezCindy: Chicken Apple Meatballs with Cider Mustard BBQ Sauce

Chicken Apple Meatballs with Cider Mustard BBQ Sauce

I am a meatball fanatic.  There is just something about the ground meat, the seasonings and the sauce that come together into one tiny perfect package of deliciousness.  One of my favorite cookbooks is The Meatball Shop Cookbook by Daniel Holzman & Michael Chernow.  The cookbook outlines the authors' story, philosophy and recipes that came to be their fabulous restaurant in New York City.  Yep, a restaurant all about meatballs.  And it is quite a success. 

This recipe is not one from their book, but I do follow their cooking process when making meatballs.  Their recommendation is to oven roast the meatballs as pictured below. 


Roasting the meatballs provides even cooking and helps to keep their shape.  Once cooked, I then remove them from the pan and add the sauce of choice.  Certainly you could braise or fry meatballs, depending on the recipe.  I also use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to portion out the meatballs.  This keeps the meatballs uniform in size and aids in even cooking.   

The BBQ sauce I use for this recipe is one I make.  A store-bought one could be used, jazzing it up with cider and mustard to make it special.  The grated apples in the meatballs lend just a hint of sweetness and keep them moist.  A blend of ground beef and pork, in place of the chicken, would also complement the apples and mustard used in this recipe.

Chicken Apple Meatballs with Cider Mustard BBQ Sauce
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated apples, skin on
2 tablespoons grated onion
1 egg
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon wholegrain Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons oil for coating the roasting pan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil into a 9x13-inch roasting pan; spread to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. 
 
Combine all ingredients into a large bowl.  Stir to combine.  Portion out the mix to form meatballs roughly 2-inches in size.  Place the meatballs into the prepared roasting pan, lined up to fit closely together.  Roast for 25 minutes until the meatballs are firm and cooked through, 165 degrees when tested in the center of a meatball with a meat thermometer.  Remove the pan from the oven.  Allow the meatballs to rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a large bowl.  Add the sauce to the meatballs, gently toss to lightly cover.  Serve extra sauce on the side as desired. 

Cider Mustard BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients into a small sauce pan; whisk to combine.  Cook over low heat for 15 minutes.  Serve with your favorite recipe.  Store extra sauce in an air-tight container in refrigerator. 

If using store-bought BBQ sauce:  Measure out 1 cup of sauce.  Add 1/4  cup cider and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard.  Stir to combine. 




Tuesday, September 26, 2017

ChezCindy: Turkey and Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

Turkey and Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

Most everyone has their favorite chili recipe, made often during the Fall-season.  A standard dish served while watching football games or just enjoying the cooler weather.  Whether you make your chili spicy hot with chunks of beef or ground meat, beans or no beans as some "authorities" claim chili has no beans, or vegetarian with squash, tomatoes and legumes, chili is easy, versatile and delicious.
Here I have made turkey and pumpkin black bean chili as a change up from ground beef.  I first created this recipe after Thanksgiving using the left-overs from that wonderful dinner.  Instead of using ground turkey, I shredded turkey meat as the base.  I had left-over pumpkin puree from making pumpkin pie - what to do with that?  Add it to the tomatoes sauce for the chili.  It all come together as the traditional chili recipe, with a few clever twists.

Turkey and Pumpkin Black Bean Chili
1-pound ground turkey
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Working in a large pan over medium heat, brown the ground turkey meat, breaking into small pieces.  Add in the diced onion and bell pepper, cooking for 5 minutes until softened.  Add in the can of diced tomatoes and the juices, stir to combine.  Add in the black beans, pumpkin puree, chicken stock, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, gently stirring to combine.  Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.  Taste and adjust spices as desired. 


Thursday, September 14, 2017

ChezCindy: Apple Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Dressing


Apple Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

This refreshing salad is a surprising delight.  The recipe is from The Apple Lover's Cookbook by Amy Traverso.  A well written book devoted to apple recipes, apple tips and tools, apple history, and information on how to buy and store apples. 
Ms. Traverso refers to the recipe as an apple salsa.  I found it to be more of a salad than a salsa, as I was eating it for a mid-day snack or a light lunch. 
The use of firm-tart Granny Smith apples allows for the salad to be stored in the refrigerator for several days without breaking down the apples.  The apples and the cucumbers remain crisp, which makes this a great recipe to make ahead for a party or a buffet. 

Apple Cucumber Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
2 large Granny Smith apples, about 1 pound
1 cup diced English seedless cucumber, unpeeled
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon finely minced jalapeno pepper

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon thinly sliced mint leaves

Core and dice the unpeeled apples.  I leave the skin on the apples and cucumbers as this makes a nice contrast of color.  In a medium bowl, combine the apples, cucumbers, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper; stir to combine.   In a second smaller bowl, combine the fresh squeezed lime juice, honey and salt.  Pour the dressing over the apple mixture and stir to combine.  Add the sliced mint, gently stir.  Serve cold or at room temperature. 




Monday, September 4, 2017

ChezCindy: Basil Parmesan Sweet Corn with Cabernet Burgers


Basil Parmesan Buttered Sweet Corn

Summer is winding down and so too are my basil plants.  They did well this second year planted in a new location in the herb garden.  I have already made a lot of pesto, frozen away for future uses. Wanting to use the pungent green leaves one more time, I began thinking of classic combinations for side dishes to go with burgers on the grill.  Sweet corn and basil butter came to mind.  Not quite a pesto, but thought a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese would go nicely on the cooked ears once they had been basted with the green-flecked golden butter.  Perfect.  A perfect side dish to my Cabernet burgers.  I think my guests will be happy as we celebrate summer one more time. 




To make the basil butter, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan.  Thinly slice basil leaves to yield 1 tablespoon.  Mince 2 small cloves of garlic.  Working off the heat, add the basil and garlic to the melted butter, along with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a few turns of ground black pepper.  Stir to combine.  Baste the butter over the cooked ears of corn.  Generously sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the corn.

Below is the link to learn how to make my Cabernet Burgers.
Chez Cindy Cabernet Burgers

Saturday, September 2, 2017

ChezCindy: Corn Muffins with Fresh Sweet Corn

Corn Muffins made with Fresh Sweet Corn Cut from the Cob

This weekend I was inspired to make corn muffins using fresh corn cut from the cob.  Inspiration came from two sources.  One, my sister shared fresh corm muffins at her granddaughter's birthday party and they were sweet, eggy and delicious.  And two, I had way too many ears of fresh corn from my CSA and my favorite farm stand.  So I searched for a muffin recipe using fresh corn.  My sister's recipe made mini-muffins that were more of an appetizer style.  The recipe I am sharing below is a traditional cornbread muffin recipe with the addition of fresh corn.  Not too sweet, making it great for breakfast with a bit of honey, or to be served along side of BBQ brisket or chicken.  These muffins come together quickly and are perfect for a relaxing weekend. 

Fresh Sweet Corn Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
6 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup corn kernels, cut fresh from corn cob or frozen

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray standard-size muffin tins or use paper muffin liners.  Recipe makes 12 - 15 muffins.

Working in a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, whisking lightly to combine.  In a large glass measuring cup with a pour spout, measure out the buttermilk and oil; add the eggs and melted butter.  Whisk to combine.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and using a rubber spatula, gently stir to blend.  The batter may be a bit lumpy, but that is best for a more tender batter.  Stir in the corn kernels.  Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin tins.
Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until the tops are golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tins for a few minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.