Meatballs: A Teriyaki Twist

For this post I decided I wanted to write a throw back post to a recipe I made this summer–(yes, these Tsukune (Japanese Chicken Meatballs) from Cooking Light have still been on my mind!)–they are just that good! I recommend making this dish during the summer months but there is no reason to say you can’t read this post and go make them right now 🙂

ImageFor the meatballs you’ll need: 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil; 4 oz. sliced shiitake mushroom caps; 1 1/2 tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger, divided; 1 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic, divided; 2 tbsp. dry sherry; 2 tsp. red miso (soybean paste); 1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken; 1/2 c. panko; 2 tsp. cornstarch; 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; 1/4 tsp. kosher salt; 2 green onions, thinly sliced; 1 large egg white.

For the sauce you’ll need: 3 tbsp. mirin (sweet rice wine); 3 tbsp. lower-sodium soy sauce; 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar; 2 tsp. sherry vinegar; 1 tbsp. lime juice; 2 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger; 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced. 

Steps to making these delicious meatballs: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat; add oil, swirling to coat. Add the mushrooms, 1 tbsp. minced ginger, 1 tbsp. garlic and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the sherry and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a blender and process until very finely chopped. Then combine the mushroom mixture, 1 1/2 tsp. minced ginger and garlic, chicken and next 6 ingredients (through egg white) in a bowl. Shape into meatballs and put onto skewers. Chill for 30 minutes. 

For the sauce combine mirin, soy sauce, sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan; Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in juice, 2 tsp. grated ginger, and serrano (reserve 2 tbsp. sauce). 

ImageHeat a grill pan over medium heat, place the meatball skewers in the pan and cook until brown on all sides. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with sauce. 

Voila! There you have it–delicious meatballs. I served these with edamame and cold sesame noodles; all together the flavor profiles of this dish were exquisite. The heat of the meatball was complimented by the chill peanuty flavor of the noodles almost perfectly. You can serve these with rice or broccoli, whatever floats your boat. But until next time, keep eating! 

Fish Tacos You’ll Get Hooked On

With fall just around the corner and hot soups on the menu, this was my last chance to make one of my favorite summer meals. What’s that you ask? Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos from Cooking Light. The lightness of the fresh fish, the flavor packed in the sour cream and cilantro sauce, and the warm tortillas, all combine to make this dish simply irresistible. 

One of the perks of summer is all the fresh seafood and this recipe calls for just that. For this recipe you’ll need: 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream; 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro; 2 tbsp fresh lime juice; 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped; 1 c. thinly sliced white onion; 1 1/2 tsp paprika; 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar; 1 tsp dried oregano; 3/4 tsp garlic powder; 1/2 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp ground cumin; 1/4 tsp ground red pepper; 4 (6oz. tilapia fillets); 1 tbsp canola oil; 8 corn tortillas; 1/2 ripe peeled avocado, thinly sliced; and four lime wedges for serving.

Image How to whip up these delicious tacos: Combine the first 4 ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Then, combine jalapeno sauce and white onion in a small bowl; Next, combine paprika and next six ingredients (through the ground pepper) and sprinkle evenly over the fish (apply generously); Then, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Lastly, warm the tortillas up (don’t skip this step–a warm tortilla goes a long way). To serve, divide the fish, onion mixture, and avocado among each tortilla and serve with lime wedges. This dish will be gone in minutes. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve made this dish this summer. I seem to ALWAYS have a craving for it. It’s quick, it’s fun to make, and it’s simply refreshing. It’s the perfect meal to eat outside on the deck (just make sure you have lots of napkins!) Trust me, once you take a bite of these tacos, you’ll start to crave them as much as I do. I’m sad to admit this is probably the last summer meal I’ll make, but I’m excited for all the foods/flavors fall has in store (can you say pumpkin??). But until next time, keep eating!

It’s Lobstaaa Time!

Fresh steamed lobsters? Check.  Steamed Jersey corn on the cob? Check. Melted butter for dipping lobster into? Check.  Fresh medley pie for dessert? Check.  Put all those things together and what do you get? An absolutely delicious meal.

I would eat lobster every day if I could BUT if you eat something every single day you’ll start to get sick of it and that would be devastating (it’s happened to some of my family and I’m certainly NOT taking any chances).

This meal reminds me so much of Maine. My grandmother was from there and I have vivid memories of taking a road trip up there eating fresh lobster (literally having just been brought up from their traps in the sea) and picking fresh blueberries from a field. So when my mom suggested lobster the other night for dinner, needless to say I was on board.

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The fact that this meal is super easy too, is another bonus. All you need to do is buy however many lobsters you would like at your local grocery store (and they’ll even steam them for you which saves you a step). Once you have those, you’re all set to go. For the corn simply husk it and put it in a pot large enough so that when you cover them with water and turn the heat to high, they won’t boil over.  Boil then for no longer than 10 minutes. Talk about fast. For the butter, take a stick (or two) and melt them in a measuring cup until creamy. Pour into a dish and voila, melted butter—need I say more? For the pie, if you’re a master chef and can whip up a fresh pie in no time, I commend you. As for me, I prefer to buy mine from a local market. Heat that up in the oven and serve!

Throw some newspaper on your table for an authentic Maine feel (or for an easier cleanup) and dig in. It’s a messy meal—certainly NOT a good date food, I promise you.  This makes for an awesome summer meal you must try! But until next time, keep eating!

A Shrimp Tale

I’ve found that if you’re looking for an easy, simple dinner, shrimp are your answer.  I personally prefer lighter food in the summer, especially when it’s unbearably hot outside. Tonight’s menu is shrimp: 2 ways. I decided to take a spicy bolder approach with curried shrimp over a pineapple salsa as well as a more classic approach of juicy, crunchy coconut shrimp. Both are easy and utterly delicious.

Let’s start with the curried shrimp served over a tangy, spicy pineapple salsa. For the salsa, you want to take pineapple (I used a cored one just to make it even easier), and chop that into cubes. You then want to seed and mince one jalapeno pepper, coarsely chop up some cilantro, season with a healthy dose of salt and pepper, mix up, and serve. Talk about easy. For the shrimp, all you need to do is defrost about 1 ½ lbs. of shrimp and toss with ¾ teaspoon of curry powder, salt and pepper. Add to a skillet and cook until done. I found this wonderful recipe from a Martha Stewart Everyday Living cookbook (or you can find it at: http://www.marthastewart.com/341234/pineapple-salsa?czone=food%2Fbest-grilling-recipes%2Fmenus-and-more).

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For the coconut shrimp, I relied on Gojee to find a recipe (I had never heard of this app before and let me tell you it’s incredibly helpful—definitely a must to check out). It led me to this awesome recipe for coconut shrimp. It’s quick and easy. I haven’t had coconut shrimp in a while and preparing this reminded me of how much I love them…..this will definitely become a regular meal of mine. For the recipe check out Mehan’s Kitchen at: http://mehanskitchen.blogspot.com/2010/01/coconut-shrimp.html.

Try both these recipes and let me know what you think! You can never go wrong with shrimp when it comes to a light and easy summer meal. If anyone has any other seafood recipes they are willing to share, please do! (And I’d be more than happy to re-post them on my blog!) But until next time, keep eating!

Ode to the Humble Chickpea

Naked Chip Update: I’m home, recently graduated, and am looking for a PR/marketing job in the culinary world…..is anyone out there???

Now that I’m home I have more free time on my hands. Not to mention more pots and pans, an array of spices, more counter space, and more food in general to work with.  My dorm kitchen seems minuscule to my kitchen at home. Oh have I missed this….

Since I have so much free time on my hands, I can exercise my creative license when it comes to food. On the menu today: chickpeas. Chickpeas are somewhat of a miracle food—they are loaded with protein (which is great for your waistline) and even happen to taste delicious.  They are versatile, allowing you to do many things with them. You can season and roast them to make a delicious snack, turn them into hummus, eat them plain, or mix them into a salad.

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I decided to mix them into a salad. Yes Greek salad (I simply love all the flavors as seen in my earlier post It’s All Greek to Me!). You can’t go wrong with a simple Greek salad. It’s light and refreshing and perfect for a hot, humid, summer day—and trust me, living in New Jersey it’s hot and humid EVERY day, so I’m always on the lookout for a good summer salad.  All you do is mix together olive oil, lemon juice, red onion, cucumber, grape tomatoes, feta, chickpeas, olives, parsley, and salt and pepper. It’s as simple as that. What’s so great about it is that you can store it and take it as a quick on-the-go lunch if you’re in a hurry or make a huge batch of it for a party.

If anyone knows of any other great recipes using chickpeas, please don’t hesitate! I would love to know! But until next time, keep eating!

A Lobster Kind of Summer

One of my absolute favorite meals was had sitting at a picnic table in Maine. My great-grandmother had her lobsterman friend pull up one of his traps and she steamed lobsters that had been out of the ocean for all of half an hour (talk about fresh). The richest, tenderest lobster, that you ate with your bare hands, and dipped it in this fabulous melted butter sauce. You could practically taste the salt water! It was the perfect meal on a hot summer day! Sweet, ears of corn, that had a slight crunch, as a side dish, and Maine blueberries (that we handpicked in the field earlier that day) baked in a cobbler for dessert. Simple, incredibly fresh, and outstanding! Well tonight I had a meal that reminded me of those days: Maine lobster, artichoke, and Mornay (which I had no clue WHAT that was and later figured out, with some assistance from Google, that it is a cheese sauce) flatbread that was utterly delicious.

ImageAs I took the first bite, memories of my time in Maine started to come back to me. My great-grandmother would always tells us that if you eat too much lobster, you’ll get sick of it (I would ask myself—how can anyone possibly be sick of too much lobster???) It just didn’t make sense—and honestly I love lobster too much to prove her wrong. I always associate lobster with summer. It’s so fun to sit outside on your deck, a fresh, juicy lobster in front of you and a cracker for the shells by your side—oh and of course one of those always fashionable bibs! While they aren’t much of a fashion statement they are essential when consuming lobster.

Unfortunately lobsters aren’t the most practical food to cook in an on-campus apartment with windows that don’t open—seafood in general can always be very fragrant. So I’m left dreaming of those summer nights where we have lobster for dinner (and they can’t come soon enough). If you love lobster check out the Artisan Bistro, and order the Maine lobster flatbread—and while a butter sauce doesn’t accompany the dish, it was still extremely delicious. I hope there are some people out there that share my love for lobster—but until next time, keep eating!

A Reason to get Crabby?

There is something about crab and citrus that makes for an unbelievable combo. Lump fresh crab, some arugula, grapefruit, orange, and a creamy dressing—can anything be better on a hot, sunny day? It is the perfect refresher after walking around in the sun.

The best thing about this salad (besides the crab) is that you can modify it any way you want—the only thing I would keep would be the fresh crab—head to the local supermarket, pick up some crab and whatever else you want and voila! You have the perfect lunch on a spring or summer day.

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I would add some type of citrus fruit (think grapefruit or oranges, watermelon, even mango if you’re feeling adventurous), some fresh avocado, mixed greens—arugula, spinach, or a salad blend—and as for the dressing it’s up to you, but I do recommend sprinkling some fresh lime juice over the top. It’s your own crab salad with a twist (and yes you can say you actually made it—next stop, Food Network’s Chopped).

If you want to try this check out this awesome recipe I found on Pinterest—I promise it’s not as hard as it looks! If you need more variety—particularly food for those hot summer days—make this awesome crab salad, you won’t regret it (a regular salad won’t cut it anymore). But until next time, keep eating!