Sunday, April 26, 2020

ChezCindy: Asian-style Turkey Meatballs

This week I tried two new recipes.  One really delicious.  The other, just okay.  You can guess which one worked out in that I am writing about Asian-style turkey meatballs.  The other was for Japanese Fried Chicken.  The recipe looked great, and I had all of the necessary ingredients.  I should have known better not to make the fried chicken.  I rarely have success with deep frying foods.  I just haven't mastered this cooking skill.  When I was a kid, my parents didn't deep fry food, so I guess it is a hereditary thing.  Deep frying food requires anywhere from 6-10 cups of oil.  And then there is the question of how to dispose of all the oil.  Maybe I need to consider getting an air-fryer.  Hmmm.  Another new toy.  For now, I'll stick with roasting meatballs in the oven.

I served the meatballs as lettuce cups.  They'd also be good with fluffy rice and steamed green beans for dinner.  Or as an appetizer for a party.

Asian-style Turkey Meatballs
1 pound ground turkey
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Asian Meatball Sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons gochujang siracha sauce (Weak Knees brand recommended)

Make the Meatball Sauce:  Combine the hoisin, sweet chili sauce, and gochujang siracha sauce in a medium size mixing bowl, stirring to combine.  Set aside for use with the meatballs.

Make the Meatballs:  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Working with a large mixing bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients together, mixing until evenly combined.  Scoop out the meat mixture into 1-ounce portions to form meatballs roughly the size of a golf ball.  Place the meatballs in a single layer onto a large sheet pan with sides.  Roast the meatballs in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven, brush the meatballs with half of the sauce.  Continue baking until the meatballs are browned and reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about another 5-6 minutes. 

Remove from the oven.  Transfer the cooked meatballs to the bowl with the remaining sauce.  Toss to coat with the sauce.  Serve with a garnish of thinly sliced carrots, cucumber, red pepper, and cilantro or parsley.  Serve in a lettuce cup for an appetizer, or with steamed white rice for dinner.  Serve hot or at room temperature.


Saturday, April 18, 2020

ChezCindy: Cinnamon-Sugar Banana Bread

Just when I thought there could not be another banana bread recipe I would write about, along comes this one.

The story here is that I have been making food for our friend who is an ER doctor.  He is a bachelor and does not cook.  During this time of Stay at Home, his options for ready to eat food are limited.  One of his favorite sweet treats is anything made with bananas and chocolate.  No shortage of those 2 ingredients in this house.  I had just given him the banana muffins I wrote about recently and was pondering what to make this time.  I remembered a recipe from King Arthur Flour that was actually their Recipe of the Year in 2018.  Right.  Humble banana bread as recipe of the year.  The standout difference for this banana bread is a mix of cinnamon sugar sprinkled over the top before baking.  It forms a crackling crust as it bakes and smells heavenly.  The original recipe calls for walnuts, but could be easily substituted with chocolate chips.  The chocolate, bananas and cinnamon are a great flavor trio.  Below is their recipe with my slight change omitting the walnuts, using chocolate chips instead.  

I'll  try not to add another banana bread recipe in the near future.  I hope you enjoy this one.

Cinnamon-Sugar Banana Bread
2 cups mashed banana, about 4-5 medium size
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips

1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack in the center of the oven.  Lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.

In a separate smaller bowl, add the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture.  Thoroughly combine the ingredients together.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.  Mix together the topping of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar topping evenly over the banana batter.

Place the pan into the preheated oven, baking the bread for 65-75 minutes.  Check the loaf around 60 minutes to see if the bread getting too brown.   If so, loosely cover the pan with foil.  Continue to bake until a long toothpick comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs.

Remove the pan from the oven, cooling it on a rack for 20-30 minutes.  Turn the bread out of the pan and continue to cool for another 20 minutes before slicing.

Monday, April 6, 2020

ChezCindy: Sweet-tart Citrus Bars

I recently decided to make Lemon Bars for a friend's birthday treat.  I had 5 whole lemons in the fridge.  I thought that would be sufficient to squeeze out 1 cup of lemon juice.  Nope.  I was already in the middle of baking the crust, so I had to decide what to do, run to the store or improvise.  A quick search in the refrigerator bins brought discovery that I had fresh oranges.  Lemon Bars were now to become Citrus Bars.

It is always a pleasure when an improvisation brings forward something better than the original.  Lemon Bars are a childhood favorite that I have never stopped loving.  But these Citrus Bars might have jumped over as my new favorite.  Using a blend of orange and lemon juice brought a more balanced flavor.  There is the tartness of the lemons, but a hint of sweetness from the oranges.  I also used the zest from each, giving the bars little bits of orange and yellow speckled throughout.  Very pretty and so delicious.

Sweet-tart Citrus Bars
For the Crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:
6 large eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest*
1 teaspoon orange zest*
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, roughly 5-6 lemons
1/3 cup fresh orange juice, roughly 1-2 oranges
1 cup all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make the crust:  Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light in color and creamy in texture.  Add in the flour and salt, mix until just starting to come together.  The dough will be crumbly and not fully combined.  Transfer the mix to a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Knead the dough enough to press it into the pan creating an even crust over the bottom of the baking pan.  Chill for 15 minutes.  Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-17 minutes until lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.

Make the filling:  Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon & orange zest, lemon & orange juices, and the flour.  Pour over the cooled crust.  Bake in the oven, on the oven rack centered in the oven, for 30-35 minutes until the filling is set.  Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

When cool, cut the dessert into squares or triangles, dust with powdered sugar.

* Remember to zest the citrus before cutting into the fruit.  It is not impossible to zest the lemon or orange after cutting into it, but it is rather difficult.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

ChezCindy: Roasted Shrimp with Pasta

Scrolling through my favorite weeknight recipes, I was looking for my recipe for Salmon with Parsley Walnut Pasta.  I love this dish.  It is quick to come together with ingredients I usually have in the pantry.  I did have one issue. I did not have any salmon.  But, I had frozen shrimp in the freezer.  I thought the shrimp might be a good substitute for the salmon.  Turned out to be to be a really good change up for the salmon.  

Most often when I cook shrimp, I roast it.  Boiling is generally thought of for how to cook shrimp.  But I find that roasting retains greater flavor rather than boiling it away.  For the Roasted Shrimp Pasta dish, I used the exact recipe for Parsley Walnut Pasta.  Roasting the shrimp as shown below, finishing the dish by garnishing with a bit of Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.  

Roasted Shrimp
1 pound shrimp, 12-15 count
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
few grinds of black pepper.  

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and devein the shrimp, rinse and then pat dry to remove excess water.  Place the shrimp onto a sheet tray.  Use one with sides to contain the juices that will come from roasting.  The shrimp can be close together but not crowded.  Drizzle olive oil over each shrimp, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and a bit of cracked black pepper.  Place the tray into the hot oven, roasting the shrimp for 8-9 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Set aside to cool for a minute, serve immediately with the prepared pasta dish.