Sunday, November 21, 2010

Turkey Sweet Potato Meatballs

As you may have seen via my tweets earlier this week, I went to a "Friendsgiving" celebration on Friday night hosted by my co-worker, friend and fellow foodie, Christine Liang of Your Food Party.  During my dish brainstorm with Christine, she mentioned that it was looking like it was going to be a turkey-less Friendsgiving.  Which got me thinking.  I obviously wasn't going to turn a bird out on Thursday night after work, but I decided I could provide turkey for the celebration in some way, shape, or form and then it came to me- meatballs!  So versatile, so easy, yet somehow everyone thinks you're a superstar when you put them out at a party.  My Friendsgiving meatballs (a teriyaki version) were a huge hit, but I'm not gonna lie, these are even better.  So since I was on such a roll with my meatball making, I figured why not dream up another turkey variation- 'tis the season after all!  While roaming my neighborhood farmer's market today, New Amsterdam Market, I picked up some great sweet potatoes and splurged a little on some amazing dark amber Vermont maple syrup from Ledgenear Farm.  And with those ingredients, some ground turkey and a few other items I had on hand, this fabulous new variation was born.  

1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 cup sweet potato, mashed
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced  
2 handfuls parsely, chopped fine
3 tbsp. breadcrumbs- I like the whole wheat variety
2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated 
1 tsp. good maple syrup
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Chop onions, garlic and parsley and combine in a large bowl.  Mix in breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.  Save yourself some time and microwave the sweet potato.  Mash and add a 1/2 cup to the bowl.  Add ground turkey, drizzle in maple syrup and season generously with salt and pepper.  Mix ingredients with your hands until well combined, being careful not to over mix or the meat will become tough.  Lightly grease a 9x11 baking dish and place meatballs in rows.  Bake for 30 mins or until cooked through.  Eat alone, in a sandwich, or top a salad with them.  Any way you decide to go, I guarantee you won't be able to eat just one!  And definitely double the recipe when bringing some to your "Friendsgivings" :)

Makes about 15 meatballs  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Thai" Chicken Salad

For me, moving to New York and falling in love with Thai food seemed to go hand in hand.  I quickly realized that this is one genre of food that had seriously been lacking in my California upbringing.  And while it pains me that I'll probably never find comparable Mexican food in my new hometown, I've realized that on the other hand I'll probably also never find comparable Thai food in California.  So to each its own.  Bring on the Thai, New York.  Although I don't really attempt to re-create many of the Thai dishes I've come to love (note the purposeful quotations in this recipe title), this salad is one item I've taken a stab at.  Traditional Thai Papaya Salad is prepared with green, unripened papaya, cucumbers, carrot, tomatoes, crushed peanuts and a slightly sweet and salty dressing.  It's simple, delicious, and the perfect compliment to any spicy Thai specialty- such as my favorite, lemongrass chicken.  So take a baby step into Thai cooking with my take on this salad.  I use a little green cabbage in place of the papaya (because I've yet to find an unripened papaya in regular grocery stores) and the addition of chicken makes it a little more substantial as a main course option.

3 cups mixed greens
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped (or more to taste!)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 chicken breasts, grilled or pan sauteed

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
a pinch of salt

Begin by grilling or sauteing the chicken breasts, seasoning simply with salt and pepper on both sides.  While the chicken is cooking away, get your other salad fixings together.  Combine mixed greens and cabbage in a large bowl.  Shred the carrots (or buy them pre-shredded as I do), chop your tomatoes and cucumber and toss with lettuce.  When chicken is cooked through, remove from pan and allow to cool.  When the chicken is cooled, chop and combine in bowl.  Whisk together your dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over salad.  Top with cilantro and chopped peanuts and dig in!  Make sure to dress only half of the salad you've built if you plan on saving some for lunch!

Makes 2 large Thai-riffic salads :)