Enjoy! Because life is too short to deprive the palate!


After-Thanksgiving Turkey & Mashed Potato Croquettes

'Tis the season for Turkey! While turkey soup and cranberry turkey sandwiches are a definite must-make, I also like to get a little creative with my Thanksgiving leftovers.

So for Seasonal Sunday this week I present: Turkey and Mashed Potato Croquettes; blending all your Thanksgiving favorites into one deliciously crunchy morsel. Paired with gravy, sour cream, or homemade cranberry sauce, these savory croquettes are fun, simple, and serve up a nice spin on your holiday extras.

For this recipe you will need a food processor or chopper, a large, deep frying pan, small sauce pan, whisk, 1 sheet of wax paper, a cookie sheet, and a slotted spoon.

Turkey & Mashed Potato Croquettes 
  • 1 1/2 Cups Turkey, finely minced in a food processor
  • 1/2 Cup Stuffing, finely minced in a food processor with:
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 2 Tbsp Cilantro
  • 1 Cup Mashed Potatoes 
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onions, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
*In a food processor, combine turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and garlic. Pulse lightly and then transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle with italian seasoning and black pepper. Set aside. 

*In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and one Tbsp of flour, stir to coat. Cook for 2 minutes, adding the second Tbsp of flour after one minute. Pour in the chicken broth and milk, and turn up the heat. Add the garlic powder and bring to a light boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer. Stir in the final Tbsp of flour and allow to thicken for approximately two minutes. Remove from heat.

*Combine the flour mixture with the turkey mixture. Blend thoroughly. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed (the saltiness of your stuffing, mashed potatoes, and turkey will vary from person to person). Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. 

  • 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Corn Meal
  • 2 Cups Herbed Breadcrumbs, finely ground
  • 2 large Eggs, whisked with 1 Tbsp cold Milk
  • Wax Paper Lined Cookie Sheet
*On a large plate combine the flour and corn meal and spread out to cover the surface of the plate. On another plate, spread out 1 cup of the bread crumbs. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk. 

*Remove the turkey mixture from the refrigerator and scoop out in 1/4 cup intervals, shaping into rounds. (This will be messy and sticky!) Dredge the rounds in the flour mixture, coating all sides and then dip into the egg mixture. Shake lightly to remove any excess egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs, patting them into the turkey round, to form a thick shell. Set on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  

*Repeat until all croquettes are formed. Let sit, uncovered in the refrigerator, for 1 hour. 

Cooking the Croquettes:
  • Canola Oil, for frying
  • Large, Deep Frying Pan
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Paper Towels, for Drying
*Pour the canola oil into your frying pan, approximately 1/4 inch deep. Heat for 5-8 minutes, or until temperature reaches 370 degrees F. Cook the croquettes in batches, being sure not to overcrowd the pan, until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on a bed of paper towels. 

*Makes 8 Large Croquettes

To Serve: Serve the croquettes immediately drizzled with hot leftover gravy, a side of sour cream, and/or topped with cranberry sauce. Pair with a light salad or with a cold side of my Gingered Butternut Squash Soup

With a crispy crunchy shell on the outside, and a creamy savory Thanksgiving twist on the inside, these Turkey and Mashed Potato Croquettes are a great way to reinvent your typical holiday leftovers. 

Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving as much as I did! Now onto Christmas! 

Enjoy :]

<3 Marea

Linking up to The Friday Potluck @ Ekatskitchen.com

Turkey Breast- صدر الديك الرومي- صدر الحبش


November's Daring Cook's Challenge: Soufflés!!

I've been so excited about participating in The Daring Kitchen-- and then I go and miss the post date!!! Alas, here is my lovely November Daring Cook's Challenge- still delicious even two days late.

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided many of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

After much research on various methods, I chose to create a savory soufflé using my utmost favorite ingredient: GARLIC. My Roasted Garlic and 3 Cheese Soufflé, which, after a few small tweaks to the flavor, came out absolutely beautifully! The process is fairly tedious but it helps if you create a clean and organized mise en place- plan, gather, and pre-prep. A key to a good soufflé is cooking in a state of constant readiness; this includes the guests! The best part of the soufflé is its glorious moment when it first emerges from the oven, that brilliant rise which every mouth must witness! Even on my second run I wasn't able to capture the full rise in time *ahem, Santa Claus please bring me a better camera pretty please? :]

To complete this recipe you will need: An electric mixer, whisk, saucepan with lid, skillet, and a deep 9-inch glass dish, or 7-8 oven-proof ramekins, or soufflé cups.

Roasted Garlic & 3 Cheese Soufflé

  • 3 Whole Garlic Cloves, tops cut off
  • 3 additional cloves, pressed
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 1/2 cups Milk
  • 1/2 large Vidalia Onion
  • 3 Thyme Sprigs
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Whole Peppercorns
  • 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Herbed Bread Crumbs, finely ground
  • 5 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • 4 Large Eggs, separated, plus 4 Additional Egg Whites (room temperature!)
  • 1 Cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1/4 tsp Apple Pie Spice
  • 1 Cup Aged Swiss Cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 Cup Beemster Cow's Milk Cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 tsp Himalayan Crystal Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Canola Oil Spray
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Fresh Sourdough for serving

*Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bundle the whole garlic cloves in tin foil and drizzle with the olive oil. Wrap to seal and place in the oven for 1 hour. When finished roasting, uncover and set aside to cool. At this time turn the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

*In a saucepan, bring milk, pressed garlic, onion, thyme, bay leaf, cloves, and pepper to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes, covered.

*Lightly spray individual soufflé cups, or one large round 9 inch glass dish with canola oil. Add 2 Tbsp of Bread Crumbs to each individual dish, or 1/2 cup to the one glass dish. Shake to thoroughly coat the bottom. Set aside.

*In a skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, to create a thick roux. Let simmer, whisking frequently over low heat until lightly browned.

*Strain the milk mixture through a fine mesh sieve and add the liquid to your roux. Bring to a soft boil and simmer, whisking frequently for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

*Vigorously mix in the 4 egg yolks (8 egg whites have been set aside) one at a time. Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skins and add. Next whisk in the parmesan and apple pie spice plus 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper.

*In a standing mixer or large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

*Fold in the swiss and beemster cheese to your roux and milk base, alternating between folding in 1/3 of the egg whites. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites and quickly transfer to your soufflé cups or dish. Smooth tops and sprinkle with italian seasoning.

*Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until fully risen and golden brown.

To Serve: Remove from the oven and serve immediately before the center falls, with warm fresh slices of sourdough or crackers. I served my soufflés as appetizers but they can definitely constitute a meal if paired with a light salad, such as a frisée.

Wine Pairings: I suggest pairing with an American Cabernet Sauvignon, such as 2005 Ravenswood Vitners Blend ($12 bottle) which boasts unusually soft tannins, with a more generously round and juicy taste. Also, to play off the flavors of the cheese, you may like to try a 2004 Domaine Lorache ($25) Chablis.

As my guests commented, this soufflé had a distinctly "Christmas-y" "holiday" feel (definitely due to the apple pie spice!) which provided for a warm, cheerful belly and a nice segue into my main course of hanger steaks and matchstick frites! This dish makes a nice edition to any winter menu.

Enjoy :]

<3 Marea


Shrimp Tempura & Banana Roll with Coconut & a Sweet Chili Sauce

Despite my great love for Soup Season, my deepest foodie desire is, and always will be, Sushi. I've been experimenting in the kitchen with various roll combinations and as of late this tasty twist on shrimp tempura has emerged as my audience's favorite.

Shrimp is such a distinct yet mild seafood and I find it to be a great compliment for many fruit combinations. The sweetness of the banana pairs perfectly with the bite from the chili as the texture of the coconut flakes brings in a nice palatal variation from the softness of the rice and the fruit.

Be sure to check out my past post, Spicy Tuna Roll, Gingered Crab Roll, & Seared Ahi, for more roll ideas and an additional step-by-step guide to rolling and serving your homemade sushi. You will need a Large Wok or Deep-set, heavy Skillet to make the tempura.

Shrimp Tempura & Banana Roll
With Coconut & a Sweet Chili Sauce

*For the Shrimp Tempura:
  • 6 Jumbo Shrimp or Prawns, peeled & deveined but with tails on
  • 2 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Ice Water 
  • 1/4 tsp White Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Salt, divided and Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Oil for Frying

*In a small bowl mix together the rice wine vinegar with 1/4 tsp of salt. After you have cleaned the shrimp, lay it out on its back and make two light incisions where the shrimp curls. Do not cut all the way through the shrimp. This will keep them from curling up during cooking. Place the shrimp into the bowl, stir to coat, and then cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

*Heat the oil over medium-high until it reaches 375 degrees F. If you do not have a kitchen thermometer this typically takes 12-15 minutes and can be checked by dropping a  small cube of bread into the oil. If the temperature is correct it will brown in under 60 seconds. 

*While your oil is heating, combine the flour, starch, baking powder, sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and corn meal with the ice water and egg. Sprinkle with black pepper and 1/4 tsp Paprika. Dredge the shrimp/prawns in the mixture, thoroughly coating all sides. Deep-fry them carefully, being sure to not overcrowd your pan, until golden brown, approximated 1 and 1/2 minutes per shrimp. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a mat of paper towels. 
*For the Roll:
  • 1 small Banana, peeled and sliced into long thin strips
  • 3 Tbsp Dried Coconut Flakes, divided
  • 3 Tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce (I use Mae Ploy Brand)
  • 2 8" lengths cut from 1/4" block of cream cheese (Slice a long, thin strip vertically from an 8oz block of cream cheese)
  • 3 Sheets Nori
  • 2 Cups Sushi Rice, Cooked (Instructions Here)
  • 1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • Chili Flakes, Pepper, and Sesame Seeds
*In a wok or skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the banana strips and increase heat to high. Sprinkle with pepper and chili flakes (add to your personal heat preference) and sear, shaking the pan vigorously until the banana has browned on both sides. Remove from heat. 

Making the Rolls
*When everything is prepped and your rice has cooled you are now ready to make the rolls. Be sure to give yourself a large, flat, clean surface in which to work your magic. Fill a glass or small bowl with warm water to seal the sushi and set a clean towel within arms reach for your fingers. Most Sushi Chefs use a sushi mat but since I didn't have one when I first began this venture I became quite accustomed to "free rolling". 
  • Lay your Nori out flat, crease side down. Take a spoonful of rice and pat it into the Nori, repeating until you have made a thin flat layer of rice, leaving about an inch of Nori free on the 3 sides closest to you, and about 3 inches on the end side. Sprinkle the rice with the Sesame Seeds. 
  • At the edge of the rice closest to you, lay a long thin strip of cream cheese. Sprinkle with scallions.
  • Now add 2 shrimp per roll, tail-side out, extending past the edge of the roll in a horizontal line to yourself. 
  • Add 2-3 strips of banana, laying them in a thin line parallel to the filling. 
  • Now the fun part!! Gently pick up the edges of the nori, and roll them in and away from you, slowly tucking the edge closest to you under, as you would a sleeping bag. As you roll and tuck, moisten the nori by dipping your fingers in the water and running them along each edge. As you near the end, make the final seal with water across the end crease. Roll your hands over the roll, back and forth as you would a rolling pin. You can do this several times to secure the roll. This will become easier with practice but if you've ever seen sushi made before you'll pick it up quickly.
  • To cut the sushi you will need an extra sharp knife. Run the blade under hot water before cutting. I find it helps to clean it after several cuts, as the rice will begin to stick and disrupt your slices. I cut all my rolls at once as I am ready to plate them. 

*This Recipe makes a total of Three Rolls*

TO SERVE: Once your rolls are cut and plated, top with 1 Tbsp of Coconut Flakes and 1 Tbsp of Sweet Chili Sauce, per roll. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and any remaining scallions and serve immediately with sides of: 
Soy Sauce
Pickled Ginger
Check back soon for another edition to my sushi saga: A Classic Shrimp Tempura Roll and everyone's Favorite, The California Roll. Again, be sure to check out my past post, Spicy Tuna Roll, Gingered Crab Roll, & Seared Ahi to make your sushi feast complete!

Happy Feasting Friends!

Enjoy :] 
<3 Marea 


Gingered Butternut Squash Soup

Seasonal Sunday is back in action! And staying in step with my soup season ecstatics I now present you with a simply sweet and smoothly spicy winter soup: The Gingered Butternut Squash Soup. 

Not only will this soup warm your insides but it works quite delightfully to clear the sinuses as well! 

You will need a large saucepan and a food processor to complete this recipe. 

Gingered Butternut Squash Soup
  • 2lb Butternut Squash, skinned, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Ginger, skinned and grated
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 medium Vidalia Onion
  • 1 large Carrot, diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock, canned or Homemade Recipe Here
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
*After you have prepped all your ingredients, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 

*Once onions and carrots are soft, add the ginger and garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute. Next, add the butternut squash and chicken stock and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes before reducing heat to medium-low. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*Next, carefully ladle the soup in batches into your food processor, and pulse until well-blended and smooth. Return to saucepan and reheat if necessary. Salt and pepper to taste.

*To Serve: Ladle into bowls and lightly drizzle with a tsp or so of heavy cream or plain yogurt. Serve hot with a hearty baguette for dipping. I complimented mine with some warm homemade potato and onion bread. 

This soup is yet another reason to love the cold; or go wild and mix up a hot meal by serving this soup for starters, chilled ala gazpacho-style. 

Enjoy! :] 

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