Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Verde Turkey Meatball Sammy

Hello Friends!  Thank You for viewing part two of my Verde Chile Chili and Turkey Meatball Sammy combination posts.  Sunday morning found me working diligently in my kitchen, roasting two poblano chiles, two anaheim green chiles, a serrano, a whole yellow onion, quartered and three whole cloves of garlic.  I pureed them together in a little extra virgin olive oil with fresh cilantro and salt and pepper.  It was an amazing, smoky aromatic blend.  Here is how I used it to make Verde Turkey Meatballs. 

Turkey Meatball Ingredients:
 1 pound ground turkey
 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
 1 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed 
 1 teaspoon crushed dried Mexican oregano
 1/2 cup my Verde Chile salsa
 1 egg

I did not add salt and pepper to the ground turkey because I had already added salt to the Verde Chile Salsa.  Now, we normally add a little milk and bread crumbs to turkey to moisten it up, as turkey can run dry, but I added the Verde Chile Salsa, which added a lot of moisture to the ground turkey.  The egg certainly helped keep it all together.  

I took an ice cream scoop, and took a small scoop of turkey meat and rolled it into a little ping-pong sized meatball, passing it between the palms of my hands like handmade tortillas are patted between hands, back and forth, and then placed it into a mini muffin tin I'd sprayed with non-stick spray.  By-the-way, the oven was preheated to 375 degrees.  

 I baked the meatballs in a baking sheet so any run-off drippings could be caught.  This worked out well.  Baking in the cups allowed the meatballs to relish in their own juices and that of the Verde Salsa, so the whole process was an aromatic happy time.  

On Monday, I halved the meatballs, halved a foot-long whole wheat roll, brushed it with a little evoo with garlic and toasted the roll halves.  In a small bowl, I added 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt, a teaspoon of sriracha, salt and pepper and a teaspoon of Verde Salsa, and mixed thoroughly to make a spread.  This was sooo good!  I placed the sauce on the bread, top and lower part, placed Oaxaca cheese chunky slices on the bottom part of the roll, the hot meatballs atop that and fresh torn cilantro atop that and closed up the roll.  So good!!!!  I served it with a side bowl of my Verde Chile Chili and it was a match made in my heavenly little kitchen. 

Hope you make this with love and enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Verde Chile Chili

Ever have one of those months where Every penny must be watched and pinched?  For me, this is one of those months.  The next several recipes, tonight's, tomorrow night's and Wednesday night's are going to be how many different recipes I can make using pantry items, particularly canned pinto beans. This current recipe is one I have done previously, each with varying difficulty.  The first was, I believe, my "fake out verde carnitas" and the next, actual Green Chile Chili; the carnitas I'd made for my son at his place while he was in class at college, and the second I'd made for my staff at work.  Today, it is an easy-on-the-bank account meal and will stretch throughout the week. Let's get to it, shall we?

Here's my starting line-up:

For the chili pot:
1/2 red or yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1-pound, 13oz can of pinto beans  (or, 1 1/3 pounds dried beans, rinsed and soaked overnight)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chipotle or ground pasilla powder
2 16-oz bottles of Salsa Verde
2 cups water or low sodium chicken stock
1 8-oz can kernel corn in water
finely grated cheese
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or grape seed oil (whatever you like)
2 limes, zest and juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, diced


Flavor Base/Roasted Veg/For the Blender:
2 Anaheim green chiles 
2 Poblano green chiles
1-2 serrano chiles
3 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1 small yellow onion, quartered
2 tablespoons grape seed oil (or, again, your favorite)
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 limes, zest and juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro


While the chili can stand alone as an entire balanced meal, I roasted enough chiles, onions and garlic to use with turkey meatballs, with the flavor base being spices and a puree of the roasted veg.

 For the turkey meatballs, I added dried crushed oregano, teaspoon chipotle powder (from my friends @sweetnsavory on Twitter), 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika, and one teaspoon cumin seeds, ground in my mortal with pestle.  I added half a cup of my verde sauce and an egg to the pound of ground turkey.  I used an ice cream scoop to make each meatball, and I put each meatball in a mini muffin tin cup sprayed with non-stick spray.  These are baked.  Very tender and moist! Stay tuned for the sammies tomorrow!



In a baking dish or oven-safe skillet, toss the chiles, onion and garlic in oil.  Spray non-stick spray to the skillet or pan and roast at 400 degrees for about twenty minutes.  Place the chiles in a zip-lock bag for about twenty minutes to steam and cool.  This enables to skins to separate from the meat of the chile and it can then be easily removed, peeled from the chile.  Remove the seeds and stem and add to a blender or food processor along with a drizzle of oil.  Repeat with all of the chiles. Add the onion and garlic, and a light drizzle of oil again.  Pulse until the mixture can be fully blended.  Add lime zest and juice, salt and pepper. Taste, and if good, remove and allow to cool.  If needed, add more lime juice and/or salt to taste.  Now, time to start the chili.
In a large pot or dutch oven, add the oil over medium-high heat.  When it ripples, add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is slightly translucent.  Add the can of rinsed beans and half a cup of water or chicken stock and the zest and juice of the limes.  Incorporate well.  Add one bottle of salsa verde and mix well.  Add the can of corn and the second bottle of salsa verde.  Add the ground pasilla or chipotle powder and stir well.  Add another cup of chicken stock or water.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, over low heat.  Partly cover with the lid or with foil.  Stir about every fifteen minutes.  You may need to scrape the bottom of the dutch oven and the sides.  That is ALL FLAVOR. 

Simmering onion and garlic

The mixture starting to simmer. 

 From the pot to the bowl. 

Simmer about an hour.  When you are ready to serve, add a little sprinkle of your favorite cheese and some fresh thyme.  Deliciousness!

I hope you enjoy this dish.  It is very easy and allows you time to get to other things, such as the turkey meatballs for Verde Turkey Meatball Sammies with Oaxaca cheese!  



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Garlic, Rosemary Gnocchi
It is no secret that I am a burger, taco, pizza and meats guy, but that comfort zone does not stop me from trying new recipes.  I had been knocking around the idea of making gnocchi with friends, but I had this indelible fear of trying out a recipe. With a cookbook recipe in hand, I decided to do it alone.  Solo.  If I was going to mess it up, I was going to do it alone. Thankfully, I saw that Chef Adam Hinojosa, an incredibly talented chef in San Francisco, a chef who has been such an inspiration to me and whom I follow on Twitter, had posted his own gnocchi-making episode. Chef's work was impeccable.  The photos looked as though they should they should grace the cover of food magazines.  So, armed with Chef's advice and recipe tips in hand, I ventured into the land of gnocchi.  

Chef Adam's ingredients ratio:

4 ea potatoes, whole, not peeled
2 ea eggs, whole
3 cups four
Nutmeg (dusting)

Bring one large pot of water to a boil.  Salt and add the washed whole, unpeeled potatoes.  Allow to boil until just softened. Remove the potatoes and allow to cool before handling.  Once cool, remove the potato skins.  Set up your work area, including either a large cutting board or clean flat surface, a large bowl and your ingredients set out for use.  

I decided to include fresh rosemary, 2 sprigs, finely chopped, and 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.   

Following the ration, to the large bowl, I added the potatoes and mashed the potatoes liberally, until they were smooth.  I added the eggs and flour an egg and cup at a time.  I also added the garlic and rosemary a little at a time, along with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Once all of the ingredients had been combined, I rolled out the dough onto a well-floured surface.  The mixture is sticky and needs the flour in order to be manipulated like a dough.  

After rolling the dough into a large log, I divided it into four equal parts.  Covering the others with a moist paper towel, I rolled each part into a long one-inch rope.  I repeated that process until I had four ropes.  I cut each of them into one-inch lengths.  

Gnocchi sections and rope.

The rope cut into one-inch pieces. 

I do not have one of those wooden gnocchi rollers that rounds and adds those beautiful sauce-catching grooves, so I used my fork.  In the process of cooking, the grooves seem to have disappeared, but, they did not with Chef Adam's.  His were perfect.  I must practice.  I am always up for a challenge!  Back to business:  once you have all of the ropes processed and cut, store them on baking sheets over parchment or waxed paper, completely covered until cooking time.  
My fork-grooved gnocchi before cooking in a baking sheet on parchment paper.  

Meanwhile, I brought 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large high-sided sauce pan and salted the water liberally.  I placed a few gnocchi at a time into the water using a spider.  They cook in only about a minute.  Once they float to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon or spider and place on a plate with a little evoo drizzled.  Just enough to keep them from sticking.  

Gnocchi can be served with any number of sauces:  tomato-based, creamy or butter.  I chose a nice brown-butter rosemary sauce with crushed red pepper flakes, flat leaf Italian parsley and fresh rosemary. 

This was a wonderful experience and I completely appreciate the tutiledge of Chef Adam Hinojosa.  You can follow Chef Adam on Twitter @I_am-chefadam.  

Thank You for your time and consideration!  This recipe will impress your family and friends.  FANtastic autumn recipe.  Enjoy!


Monday, October 6, 2014

Taco Empanadas
Not to worry folks, this one is short and sweet.  No long drawn-out novels and stories.  Just a sweet, simple and delicious pantry meal. Your family will love you for providing them with a new (well, not-so-new, I borrowed it from a crescent roll commercial) way to eat tacos.  And a lot of them!  Let's get started. 
 1 tube crescent rolls
1 pound ground beef, lean 
Your favorite cheese.  My mom had grated sharp cheddar, pictured. 
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
Spice mix:  2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon pasilla or chipotle powder, 1 teaspoon granulated garlic, 1 teaspoon cumin seed or ground cumin, 1 teaspoon granulated onion, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, salt and pepper, two tablespoons vegetable oil.

Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a skillet over medium high heat. When the oil ripples, coat the pan well and add the onions and saute for about three minutes.  Add the grated garlic, afterward and saute another minute.  Spread the onion and garlic to the sides of the skillet and add the ground beef.  Brown and incorporate the onions and garlic into the beef.  Add the spice mix evenly around the skillet and incorporate well. 
Next, on a cutting board, dust with flour, add a little flour to the top and spread around gently.  Roll the dough out to about 1/8 or so of an inch thick.  Use a small bowl, about 3 inches in diameter.  Use a paring knife to cut around the bowl.  Remove the extra dough and save it for something else later. 
Once the ground beef has thoroughly cooked, remove the mixture from the heat and set aside to cool by a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  The directions say you do not have to spray, depending on the brand, but I do, anyway.  
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Middle rack.  
Use a teaspoon or regular place setting spoon and add a scoop of cheese, followed by an equal scoop of the beef mixture to the center of the disc.  Roll one side to the other, and, using your fingers as a guard to keep the mixture inside.  Using a fork, use the prongs to press the crescent closed (like pies).  You may need to pinch, also like pies, if the disc is overstuffed.  I even had to patchwork some of them.  You can tell from the photo.  
 Not pretty, I know, but TASTY!!!!
When you have finished making the empanadas (I also call them Taco Pockets) brush them lightly with butter or vegetable oil and place in the preheated oven.  Bake until golden.  Your nose will tell you, but set your timer for 13 - 18 minutes, depending on your oven.  
Serve with whatever toppings you wish.  I simply sprinkled cheese and taco sauce over the top.  Again, this was a pantry meal.  Simple but delicious.  You can doctor it up (as i like to say) however elegantly, or not, you would like.  
Hope you enjoy!!!!