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Recover the American kitchen.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Don't tell ME there's no food in the house.

see anything you like?

Leftovers. Don't scream and run-away, just hear me out.

 I offered my sister-in-law a challenge. "Pull a bunch of stuff you want to get rid of out of either the fridge or freezer and I'll cook dinner tonight." 

Just put whatever on the cutting board. I have something to prove. Keeping basic, good ingredients at ALL times means you ALWAYS have dinner. So with an evil laugh as she was leaving for the day and out of sight, she did just that. I heard thunking and that plastic bag rustle. I came out of hiding and took a quick look. Just like that certain TV show I have to use all the ingredients but can add anything else from the pantry. 

Neat, right? Let's get to work. 

We have as you can see. 
Ground turkey 
Roma tomatoes
Some peppers
Bacon bits
Pre-cooked brown rice. 
Black apricots
Whole-grain mustard
garlic, onion scraps
Green chilies in a jar

And of course my sister-in-law keeps a mean kitchen with a great selection of spices, fresh herbs and the like. I love her to tiny little bits. 

In addition I used some fresh mint and basil from the backyard. An egg, some bread crumbs. Pinch 'o' this and that. You'll see. 

ok first thing is to get organized and prepped. I knew I would have to get the skin off those apricots so I started some hot water and got a bowl of ice. This is called concasse. Just drop them into boiling water, count to 40 and plunk them into the ice water. 

Peels come right off. Chop it up. I found some of those kiddy cups of Mandarin orange slices and added one of those to the mix. Chopped up 2 stalks of celery, chopped seeded Roma's, the chilies, a dab of the mustard and the left-over brown rice. Found a bit of unflavored greek yogurt (perfect) added that as my binder with fresh Basil, Mint and Parsley. Checked my seasoning and added a touch of paprika and cumin. 

Put that in the 'fridge to chill. 

Ground turkey time. Meatballs are pretty easy but without any fat in them are really really blah. Lucky for me I had some bacon bits to play with but I didn't want the smokey flavor so I did what anyone would do, I put those bits in a strainer and poached them in hot water. Leaves behind the bacon, takes away the fake smoke flavor.

 On my way. Added chopped onion, garlic, mint and parsley again, salt-pepper, a little chili powder, one egg, some bread-crumbs I found and a splash of milk. 

use your hands to mix !!

Got it all mixed together and using slightly damp hands got the ball rolling. I just baked them off at 375. 

Time to finish up. 

A word about curry. Unless you are buying it from a nice man named Ghandi, do not buy the pre-made stuff in a tin box. Easy enough to make your own. Just follow the list of spices and add or subtract at will. Here's the ratio I use. Turmeric (yellow), Cumin(brown), a touch-a-touch of Cardamom(grey) and some chili powder(red). 

Mine looks like this. 
When working with ground spices you should always throw them on heat first rather than add them to a finished sauce. In this case I added them after I started the peppers, celery, garlic and onions. 
I heated up my pan added 2 TB of butter, yes butter. Then the veg and tossed them around with the spices adding a pinch of salt and black pepper. 

Add about a TB of white flour at this point and toss that around to absorb any remaining butter, we're basically making a roux.

 Finish by adding some whole milk which is what I had. Even better if you have any coconut milk around but I didn't. Bring it up to simmer and continue to stir until thickened.


The meatballs should be done by now so I just lifted them from the baking pan and added them to the sauce, turning to coat and let them on simmer for a few. Pretty much done at this point.

I plated with some trimmed Romaine lettuce. A nice spicy bite with the meatballs with a cool-down from the rice salad.

We are cooking poor, eating rich. 
Go get your grub on.