Archive - June 2015

Turkey and Spinach Meatballs

I have no idea what’s happening with our broccoli plants. They’re producing broccolini-type veggies now, but they’re just as tasty so that’s fine by me. They were delicious sautéed with sliced garlic and olive oil and perfect with this meatball recipe. The fennel in the turkey-spinach combo is a really nice touch but I will replace the spinach with fresh kale from the garden next time. Definitely a recipe to keep around, thanks to bon appetit again.

Turkey and Spinach Meatballs
2 slices of gluten free bread, toasted
1 1/2 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped sweet vidalia onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
8 oz package of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained of excess moisture
1 large egg, slightly beaten
Salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil

1. Place toasted bread into a food processor and pulse until they turn into breadcrumbs. Use 1/2 cup for meatballs, keep the rest in an airtight container for the next recipe!

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2. In a medium bowl, combine turkey, onion, garlic, parsley, fennel, parmesan, spinach, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and egg. Roll into meatballs, approximately 16.

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3. Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook meatballs for about 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Do not crowd the skillet, you will probably have to cook in batches. Once one batch is done, place on a paper towel covered plate to remove excess oil.

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4. Serve with broccoli and marinara sauce.

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Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe makes a lot of food! Our landlord and two of her friends came over and it was enough for the five of us to have decent portions. Everyone really enjoyed it and asked for seconds, which is usually a good sign. As a first attempt at making an Indian dish, this came out great. Next time I will serve it with basmati rice instead of brown rice. The chicken might also be better if marinated for a bit longer, I only had an hour to do it so I might put it in the fridge overnight next time.

Chicken Tikka Masala
(Recipe inspiration from bon appetit)
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup whole milk yogurt (not greek)
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons ginger, finely grated
4 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
6 cardamom pods, crushed
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 cups heavy cream
Fresh cilantro and brown or basmati rice, for serving

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for one hour, overnight if possible.

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2. In a large dutch oven, heat oil and add onion, tomato paste and pods. Heat until onions begin to soften.

3. While the onions are doing their thing, heat the oven to broil. Place chicken on a wire rack on top of a aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Broil for approximately 10 minutes. The chicken should become crispy but not necessarily fully cooked inside.

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4. Add tomatoes to the pot, crushing them and adding all of the tomato juice to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken, stirring occasionally.

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5. Once the sauce has thickened, add the chicken to the pot and stir in cream. Keep simmering until the chicken is cooked through completely, approximately 8-10 minutes.

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6. Serve with rice and enjoy with your neighbors!

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Garden Cauliflower Soup

The cauliflower in the garden is doing pretty well considering it usually only flourishes in consistently cool weather. We had about four small/medium sized heads that we could harvest this weekend which was incredible. I wanted to use them as soon as possible to capitalize on the freshness so I made some soup with the florets.

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We also had an entire head of butter lettuce — slightly covered in slugs, but delicious nonetheless.

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Garden Cauliflower Soup
4 links of hot chicken sausage
1 small vidalia onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 32 oz box of chicken broth
4 small heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1 teaspoon chili flakes
Salt and pepper
Cheddar cheese and parsley for serving

1. Remove the skins from the sausages or pulse in a food processor until they’re in bite size pieces. In a large soup pot brown the sausage. Set aside.

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2. Add cornstarch to the pot and whisk in a little bit of olive oil if more fat is needed. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth. Add the cauliflower and bring to a boil.

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3. While the stock and cauliflower are coming to a boil, sauté onions in a separate pan with a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Then them sweat and caramelize.

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4. Add the onions to the cauliflower and reduce to low heat to simmer for 25 minutes.

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3. When the cauliflower is tender, stir in the sausage, cream, chili flakes, and a touch more salt and pepper. Cook for another 5-10 minutes so the sausage can heat up again.

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4. Serve with cheese and parsley.

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Pickles!

There are always pickles in the refrigerator in our house. Home from work and need something to tie you over until dinner? Eat a pickle. Finished lunch but it wasn’t quite filling enough and you’re hungry an hour later? Eat a pickle. Purchased 12 mason jars and want to figure out how to start canning? Eat Make a pickle.

I really enjoyed this pickling process and it’s very customizable. It’s a bit time consuming, but not difficult. The hardest part is waiting to see if they’re good! I plan to open the first jar a week after canning to see how the flavor is, if it’s a bit weak, I’ll open the other jars sporadically to see what the sweet spot is. Boiling these jars as a last step is what makes them shelf stable and will allow them to last that long. An update shall come in a few days to determine the success or failure of this recipe.

Pickles!
4 mason jars
3 cups filtered water
3 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coarse salt
3 Tablespoons of fresh dill, chopped
2 Teaspoons red chili flakes
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 Tablespoons mustard seeds
2 Tablespoons black pepper seeds

1. Wash jars and lids with soap and water. Boil in water to sterilize, if desired.

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2. Combine water, vinegar, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil until the salt dissolves to create a brine.

3. Equally distribute the dill, chili flakes, garlic, mustard and pepper seeds into four mason jars.

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4. Cut up the cucumbers as desired, I used spears and chips. Place them into jars without over crowding.

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5. Pour the brine over the pickles, leaving a quarter of an inch from the top of the jar.

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6. Place the tops on and close, but not too tight. Place jars into a large pot of boiling water, making sure the jars are completely covered. Boil for 10 minutes, then remove and put aside to cool.  DSC_0154

Whale Watch Tour

Jason was in New Jersey for a wedding this past weekend. I had a photography class scheduled for Sunday, but no firm plans for Saturday. I randomly decided Friday night that I wanted to go on a Whale Watch Tour. I found one in Moss Landing, only about an hour and a half away from Oakland. It had awesome reviews online and seemed quite promising.

The weather wasn’t going to be ideal and it turned out to be a bit foggy but that didn’t prevent the whales from coming out to show off. It was a great three hour tour, filled with tons of wildlife and beautiful scenery. I can’t wait to go back again to Blue Ocean Whale Watch!

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Wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man on the docks for some reason.

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Seals hanging out at the docks.

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Pelican Island. 

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Whale sighting near shore.

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Seal caught a fish and started shaking it around like a dog trying to break it up into pieces to swallow.

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First Humpback Whale breach!

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Humpback flapping his pectoral fin.

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Still waving away!

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Otter eating some muscles!

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Found a beautiful flower farm on the way home.

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