Friday, September 29, 2017

ChezCindy: Chicken Apple Meatballs with Cider Mustard BBQ Sauce

I love meatballs.  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 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 keeps 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 breadcrumbs
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
3 tablespoons oil for coating the roasting pan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Drizzle 3 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 saucepan; 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

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 versatile and delicious.

Here I have made turkey and pumpkin black bean chili as a change up from traditional chili.  I first created this recipe after Thanksgiving using the leftovers from that wonderful dinner.  Instead of using ground turkey, I shredded turkey meat as the base.  I had leftover pumpkin puree from making pumpkin pie - what to do with that?  Add it to the tomato sauce for the chili.  It all came together as nicely as a traditional chili recipe, with a few clever twists.

Here I have revised the recipe using ground turkey in place of the leftover shredded turkey.  If you want to add some zip, try adding jalapenos for an extra kick of spicy heat.  

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 25 minutes.  Taste and adjust spices as desired. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

ChezCindy: 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

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 I 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 great side dish to my Cabernet burgers.  I think my guests will be happy as we celebrate summer one more time.  

Basil Parmesan Sweet Corn on the Cob
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil leaves
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Additional grated parmesan cheese for serving

6-8 ears of corn on the cob

To make the basil butter:  Place 8 tablespoons of butter into a small bowl.  Add the thinly sliced basil, grated parmesan cheese and kosher salt to the butter, stirring to combine.  Spread the butter over the cooked ears of corn.  Generously sprinkle additional 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

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 corn 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 alongside of BBQ brisket or chicken.  These muffins come together quickly and are perfect for a relaxing weekend. 

Fresh Sweet Corn Muffins
1 cup flour ~ all-purpose or gluten free*
1 cup cornmeal, yellow or white
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup milk**
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.  Line a standard 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or grease the cups with butter.  Recipe makes 12 muffins.

Working in a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, whisking to combine.  In a large glass measuring cup, measure out the 1 cup of milk, add in the eggs, melted butter and oil, whisking to until well combined.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and using a rubber spatula, stir to combine.  The batter may be a bit lumpy, but that is best for a more tender batter.  Stir in the corn kernels.  Evenly divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups.

Bake in the oven for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow the muffins to cool in the muffin pan for 10-15 minutes.  This is particularly necessary if using gluten free flour.  Serve warm with butter and honey if desired.  

* I use Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend.  It is a one-to-one swap with all-purpose flour.

**I left the ingredient list for milk intentionally generic.  Your choice of milk can be whole, skim, buttermilk or non-dairy.  I used unsweetened almond milk for my recipe and the results were spectacular.