Category Archives: Poultry

Angel Hair Pasta with Turkey Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

You would not believe it, but I have been trying to write a post for about a week now. Obviously, nothing has gone up, so you’ll have to take my word for it, but it has been a crazy week. More crazy than you could adequately shake a rolling pin at. I’m going to leave the descriptions at that and let your mind work at finding a comparable parallel within your own world.

But yes, I haven’t posted. And I will eventually post that post (postypostyposty…) because it features the oh-so-awesome Amber! Eventually, it will go up. But this will have to suffice for now.

From the title, you’d probably guess that I got the idea for this ensemble from the Giada cookbooks I got from the library, and you’d guess right – though she mostly helped me flesh out my initial idea of sketti. I was just going to putz around and see what I could figure out, but I decided to be smart about it (since I was making it for company) and have a guide for the sauce.

Initially I thought wtf about the whole carrots-in-the-sauce thing. Seems a little odd… But it works quite nicely. It lends the sauce a bit more body and substantiality without messing with the flavor. You just have to make sure the bits are chopped small enough to really soften, because if they’re not completely soft they’re a little odd to bite into kinda randomly.

Angel Hair Pasta with Turkey Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 32oz. cans crushed or diced tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves (I used basil because I still haven’t stocked up on bay leaves ><)

In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Sauté until all vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Turkey Meatballs

1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb ground turkey, preferably dark meat
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder, cayenne, or other spices (optional)

In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper. (I added cayenne after I cooked a few and noticed that they were a little on the bland side.) Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Shape the meat mixture in to bite-size balls. (I found that a small cookie scoop worked nicely for the sizing – just cut them in half for more bite-size pieces, or leave them large for a more chunky look.)

In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving or turning the meatballs until brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until all sides are golden brown.

~

Somewhere in the middle of all this, start the pasta. I chose angel hair because I love it, but any long noodle will work. I’ve been reading various books, and I keep coming across the concept that the saltiness of the noodle water should be pretty oceanic, so I decided to add quite a bit more than I usually do. OH MY GOD~! I can eat the noodles alone cold and it’s amazing. Just the right amount of salt to make it a nice interesting taste without being overwhelming. Really. Salt the crap out of the water. It’s worth it.

Anyway, time the noodles to where they should be coming out of the water around when the second or third batch of meatballs is done. The whole recipe is said to make 3 dozen… and that’s about right. It takes a while to cook them all. I did a few batches, ate, then cooked the rest and put away.

Assemble pretty pretty sketti. Eat. Eat more. Burst. Repeat process.

Pictures will come when I feel like getting the memory card out of the camera and making them look more yummies.

Also, I made some foccacia bread to go with this, but I’ll have to post that later.

Not a Frittata

I love reading cookbooks. They give me ideas for things I should make the next time I have whatever ingredients. I went to return a couple of books to the library yesterday and found myself in the cooking section. I ended up grabbing various interesting-looking books, including a baking book from Sur La Table, Techniques of Healthy Cooking from the Culinary Institute of America, a giant book of Cooking Light recipes, and two Giada de Laurentiis books.

I love Giada. If I’m at work, and I turn the TV in the cabana on, I’ll switch it to the Food Network to see what’s on. If Giada’s on, I end up losing a few minutes watching what she’s up to. She has wonderfully simple and elegant recipes, she has a great presence in front of the camera, and she doesn’t add tons of salt like some other personalities (*ahem* Paula Deen >;_>;).

I was flipping through Everyday Italian, just checking things out that might be simple to supplement our coming ingredient reduction, like popcorn with rosemary oil, and drooling over lovely foods like fried calamity, when I came across the description of frittatas. I’ve heard the word thrown around, but had no real idea what it was. I learned that it’s kinda like an omelette, only the ingredients are distributed throughout the egg, and then it’s tossed in the oven to brown on top. I didn’t really think much of it other than it was interesting, but it apparently stuck in my mind a lot more than I realized.

While making my tiramisù, I noticed for the umpteenth time that I had a large batch of egg whites from previous batches of crème brûlée in the freezer. I also had a bunch of spinach and a handful of mushrooms, so I figured I’d use the whites in a relatively simple omelette for dinner.

As per usual, I really didn’t keep it simple.

Not a Frittata

6-8 eggs
1/2 half onion, diced
5 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup packed spinach
1/2 cup pepperjack cheese
1/2 tsp hot chili sauce (can use Asian chili sauces, tapatio works; I used a slight bit of the salsa I had left from the sopes)
garlic (chopped or minced works, but I was lazy and used granulated)
salt and pepper to taste
cumin and sage to taste (I just sprinkled it on, used at most 1/8 tsp)

Toss onions into skillet to caramelize. While they do their thing, whisk eggs with chili sauce, salt and pepper. Preheat broiler to 500°F.

Once onions are mostly caramelized, add mushrooms. Let those cook a bit, then add sage and cumin. Add tomatoes and cook until liquid is evaporated.

Add egg to the pan and make scrambled eggs. Add spinach late in the game to prevent overcooking. Add tiny handful of cheese.

Place concoction in oven-safe pan (I used a pie dish) and top with remaining pepperjack cheese. Place in oven for five-ish minutes and watch the cheese melt and brown a bit. (I had my rack in the middle of the oven so it wouldn’t turn into a crispy mess before I noticed. Also, watching the last minute or so is really interesting and fun.)

Remove from oven. Dish up. Chow down.

 

Thai Noodle Salad with Fried Chicken Bites

I have been trying to sit down and get this post written, but things just keep coming up. Life is getting busier, which is nice: I’m not dwelling quite so much on the over-cloudy/rainy/snowy weather outside, with it’s strange sun breaks right when I can’t get outside. I’m more and more annoyed with western Washington weather.

On another note, pancakes for dinner is amazing.

I came across the following recipe for fried chicken with sweet chili sauce on Pinterest, which has become my new addiction in finding random food ideas. I’ll spend a good half hour or so before falling asleep each night. There are some pretty cute ideas on there, mostly for entertaining. But I came across this recipe, and it sounded really perfect for what I was wanting, but it was only supposed to be an appetizer, so there wasn’t much to it. I looked around for something to accompany…. And had a stroke of food genius. I swear, I could have kissed myself for how awesome this turned out.

Thai Noodle Salad with Fried Chicken in Sweet Chili Sauce

Thai Noodle Salad

1 package rice noodles
4 tablespoons oriental sesame oil

8 green onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter I used crunchy, and it actually added a really nice crunchy texture.
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 cup finely shredded carrots

Cook rice noodles according to the package instructions. Transfer pasta to large bowl; add 3 tablespoons sesame oil and toss to coat.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 6 green onions, garlic, and ginger; sauté until onions soften, about 2 minutes. Add honey, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili-garlic sauce; whisk to blend. Simmer sauce 1 minute. Cool to room temperature. Pour over pasta and toss to coat. Add sprouts and carrots; mix well. Transfer to platter; sprinkle with remaining green onions.

I waited to put everything together until after I had the chicken done. That way, the flavors of the sauce had time to meld, and I had time to employ Mikal in cutting the veggies for me while I fried chicken.

Fried Chicken

1 large chicken breast (boneless/skinless)
1/2 cup all purpose flour corn starch – makes a much lighter skin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
canola or peanut oil for frying
1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
carrots & cilantro, for garnish

Pour 1-2 inches of oil into a deep skillet. Preheat over medium heat.

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside. In a shallow dish, stir together corn starch, garlic powder, salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, whisk egg, milk, salt and pepper together. Dredge the chicken pieces in egg and then corn starch mix.

Place chicken pieces into hot oil and fry until golden brown on each side. (About 3-4 minutes per side.) Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with sweet chili sauce.

Assemble noodle salad if you haven’t yet, and mix in the sauce. Put a bit into a bowl, top with a bit of chicken, and voilà! Amazing food. Holy buttons, amazing food.

Go on. Try it. I dare ya.

Or you could do like me and just make a whole jar of the salad sauce for a nice veggie noodle salad throughout the week. Just be careful with the chili sauce. I slightly overdid it in my last batch @_@;;

General Tsao’s Chicken

When I saw this post on Savoring Time in the Kitchen, I knew I just had to make it. It looked too good in that photo not to try. I ended up not getting any pictures of the food while I was making this, but at least that image is a good one to drool over.

The big things I learned from this recipe: deep-frying on the stove top is a bit more difficult than I realized because of temperature fluctuations in the oil; using corn starch to bread chicken is much easier/better than using flour (though you have to make sure you use the chicken quickly after stirring the corn starch in – I briefly forgot the adhesive powder of corn starch, and spent a bit too much time futzing around with stuff after powdering the chicken – I had to pick it apart manually because the egg/starch became glue); and Susan is right – you will want to make a double batch of the sauce because it’s amazing.

General Tsao’s Chicken

Chicken
4 cups vegetable oil for frying
1 egg
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (you may substitute chicken breast)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 pinch white pepper
1 cup cornstarch

Sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or olive oil)
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 clove garlic, minced
6 dried whole red chilies (I chopped my chiles before I realized they were supposed to be whole, and they were wonderfully warm)
1 strip orange zest
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil

2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Heat 4 cups vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Using olive oil for the deep frying would be a slightly healthier option.

Beat the egg in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken cubes; sprinkle with salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and white pepper; mix well. Mix in 1 cup of cornstarch a little bit at a time until the chicken cubes are well coated.

In batches, carefully drop the chicken cubes into the hot oil one by one, cooking until they turns golden brown and begin to float, about 3 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow to cool as you fry the next batch. Once all of the chicken has been fried, refry the chicken, starting with the batch that was cooked first. Cook until the chicken turns deep golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in the green onion, garlic, whole chiles, and orange zest. Cook and stir a minute or two until the garlic has turned golden and the chiles brighten. Add 1/2 cup sugar, the ginger, chicken broth, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and peanut oil; bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the water, and stir into the boiling sauce. Return to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens and is no longer cloudy from the cornstarch, about 1 minute. Stir the cooked chicken into the boiling sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook for a few minutes until the chicken absorbs some of the sauce.

This is amazing just with rice, or with some steamed bok choi or broccoli. So very filling and good!

Risotto-Stuffed Lemon Thyme Chicken

I’ve had this young organic chicken sitting in my freezer for a couple of months now. It was part of the bundle of food my mom gave me when she moved. It’s about twice the size of a cornish game hen, but not super-large, so I have been saving it for something interesting. Some time last week, I turned the TV on at work, flipped it to Food Network, and saw Giada de Laurentis making something delicious. I can’t remember if she was making risotto or not, but somehow I got risotto stuck in my head.

I’ve never made risotto. I’m pretty much too impatient to make rice most of the time. I’m much more comfortable with noodles. Oodles of noodles. But I was stuck on the idea of risotto. Especially with lemon. Lemon Risotto. The food idea was chasing itself around my brain, so I figured I’d act on it. I mean, how difficult could risotto be? I just need to be patient. Right.

The following (especially the risotto part) is why I generally don’t do anything without a recipe. It just doesn’t work out most of the time. I had a little trouble finding a chicken-stuffed risotto recipe, but finally came across one that worked.

Roast lemon thyme chicken with a lemon risotto stuffing

1 1.8kg free-range chicken
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 bunch lemon thyme, chopped; one sprig reserved
coarse sea salt
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 shallot, chopped
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Reserve 1 tbsp butter. Mix lemon thyme into remaining butter, along with plenty of course sea salt. Rub under the chicken’s skin, concentrating on the breast.

I really have never felt so much like I was molesting a chicken. Not sure why. I’ve rubbed buttery stuff under chicken skin before…. This time just felt so much more….molesty. 

Heat the reserved 1 tbsp butter in heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Fry the shallot and remaining sprig of lemon thyme gently for 5 minutes until the shallot is softened.

Add the rice and lemon zest, mix well.

Add lemon juice, white wine, and stock. Bring to a boil and cook briskly for 2 minutes.

Being the wonderful multi-tasker I am, I started the butter/shallot stuff going as I was rubbing the chicken down. I didn’t realize how long the chicken molestation would take, so I ended up over-doing the shallots a bit.

Remove the lemon risotto from the heat and spoon into chicken cavity. Truss legs into place and position in roasting tray.

Roast chicken for 1 hour, until cooked through.

Remove chicken from oven. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

The chicken turned out very well for the most part. The stuffing risotto was good. But when I tried to make a bit more risotto for accompaniment, I apparently failed. See, every risotto dish I looked at said to do the frying of stuff, add wine/alcohol, cook until liquid almost gone, then add the chicken stock in 1/2 cup increments, waiting until the liquid is absorbed each time. I tried that… Maybe I was rushing (probably), but my risotto came out mushy ._. Apparently I did it wrong. Anyone out there have any ideas?