Nom Nom Nom

So I had to share this photo of me with my new favorite t-shirt ever. Yes, it’s a brontosaurus eating tree leaves that says “Nom Nom Nom.” Thanks to my friend Kari for an awesome t-shirt. You know, it’s the little things that make me a happy panda, er, brontosaurus.

Nom, Nom, Nom!

Speaking of nom nom noming, this Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings recipe from Everyday Food magazine was spectacular. I love dumplings. I grew up eating my Mimi’s chicken and dumplings dish when I was little – my gosh she made the best I’ve ever tasted! I’ll have to share the recipe with you someday won’t I?

This dish had tons of flavor with a wonderful blend of carrots, celery, green onions, green bell pepper, thyme, beer (!) and chicken thighs. What we couldn’t get over was the texture and taste of the sauce; it was thick, creamy and packed a delicious punch.

I pretty much followed this to a “T” but did include about a 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic with the veggies, and I threw in a pinch of cayenne pepper when I added the vinegar to give it a little spice.

This was one of David’s first experiences with dumplings and he loved them. YAY! And as he likes to state after a successful meal, “Absolutely blog worthy.” The recipe is not online so here you go lambs. As the magazine states “This stew has a zesty New Orleans feel,” well, I  say let the good times roll with this one poodles, it ROCKED.

Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings, Everyday Food, April 2011 (p.114)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1 ½ pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • ½ bunch scallions, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
  • 2 celery stalks, diced medium
  • 2 medium carrots, diced medium
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 bottles pilsner or another light-or-medium bodied lager (12 ounces each)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 recipe Cornmeal Dumpling Dough
  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons butter, scallions, bell pepper, celery, and carrots to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions and celery are soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in thyme and flour and season with salt and pepper; cook 1 minute. Return chicken to pot and whisk in beer. With your hands, roughly tear tomatoes and add to pot along with juices. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, uncovered 30 minutes. Season to taste with vinegar.
  2. Reduce heat to a medium simmer and drop dough by rounded tablepoons on top of stew. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through 7 – 10 minutes.

Cornmeal Dumpling Dough

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), 1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal,  1 ½ teaspoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon coarse salt. Using your fingers, work in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter until small crumbs form. Stir in ½ cup buttermilk.

 

That’s A Spicy Meatball!

Ah Sriracha sauce, what a fiery little condiment you are. I don’t know how you came to be so popular these days, but I’m certainly happy you did. I’ve enjoyed you mixed in with mayonnaise to make a spicy dip, on Bahn Mi sandwiches and as an added kick in some of my favorite Asian soups. But in meatballs and marinara sauce? Me thinks not. For those of you who enjoy Sriarcha you know this packs a spicy punch that hits your palette and fades away so you are not writhing in pain. Everyday Food has a whole section dedicated to Sriracha in their January/February 2011 issue including recipes such as meatballs and marinara, potstickers and chicken wings. According to the magazine: The sweet and spicy blend of red chiles, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar is named after the seaside town of Sriracha (SIR-rotch-ah) in Thailand…The California-based company Huy Fong Foods makes most of the Sriracha sauce sold in the U.S. It’s rooster logo earned it the nickname “rooster sauce.”

 

It was a tough choice, but I decided to make the Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs dish. The only thing I had to substitute was very lean ground beef for pork, otherwise I followed this exactly and it was killer. Killer because it tasted good and because it was SPICY. I think as a young child growing up in Texas I gravitated towards anything spicy and now my tolerance level is starting to fade rapidly. There might have been some perspiration, mouthbreathing and sinus clearing during and after eating this but I still loved it, and yes it faded away as quickly as it came. What a unique take on pasta and marinara sauce! We really loved the flavor of the meatballs and how they held their shape beautifully. I think broiling in the oven really helped. I can’t find the recipe online so here you go. If you like spice you will LOVE this!

Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs, Everyday Food, January/February 2011

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground white-meat turkey
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For the sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup Sriracha sauce
  • 1 pound spaghetti or other long pasta
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped, for serving
  1. Heat broiler, with rack in top position. Place pork, turkey, spinach, breadcrumbs, egg whites, oregano, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. With your hands, mix to combine; roll into forty 1-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil until golden brown, 10 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  2. In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and Sriracha and bring to a simmer. Add meatballs and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain pasta, add to pot with sauce and meatball, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

This Week’s (Overly Ambitous) Menu Plan

So, I decided to give ALL of the food magazines in the universe love this week.  I’m so lying, not really all because all would be crazy but I did manage to encompass Food  and Wine, Cooking Light, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Everyday Food and one of my favorite recipes from the National Mango Board (my former client!).  That’s a lot of different food magazines and recipes in less than one week and I think  our kitchen is already tip toeing away from me as I type this… it knows what’s coming.

I’m so excited about the pizza tonight that I wish tonight would get here right now.  It’s 10:00 a.m., this is going to be a long day isn’t it?

Happy Friday everyone!

Friday: Sweet Potato, Balsamic Onion and Soppressata Pizza

Saturday: Vegetable Enchiladas with Spanish Rice

Sunday: Pan-Fried Chicken, Grilled Hearts of Romaine with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette and Pickled Red Onions

Monday: Tortilla Soup with Dried Chile, Fresh Cheese, and Avocado, Jalapeño Corn Bread

Tuesday:  Sausage and Caramelized Onion Bread Pudding and Hotel Russel Erskine Salad

Wednesday:  Cider-Vinegar Braised Chicken Thighs with Rice

Thursday: Mango and Bacon BBQ Pizza