Archive for March, 2012

March 20, 2012

Turkey and Bean Chili

Brrrrr! It’s cold—okay, at least for San Diego it is. That means soups, stews and the crockpot. And plenty of leftovers. I was craving chili yesterday, but a slightly lighter version of one, so I decided on ground turkey. I had stray vegetables from my CSA, such as a couple zucchinis and some collard greens, so I decided to toss them in my chili.The recipe comes to me from my neighbor and friend, S. This recipe is very easy and quick, perfect for those evenings you really don’t feel like cooking. You can pretty much throw in whatever you have on hand, so it’s a great way to get rid of those lingering items in your fridge.

I sautéed ground turkey, chopped onions, peppers and garlic in a big pot with olive oil. After about 7 minutes, I added three cans of beans (two red kidney and one great northern), chopped tomatoes (I like the ones from Pomi that come in a box), 10 oz. strained tomatoes, 6 oz. tomato paste, a handful of chopped olives and all my chili spices— 2 TB chili powder, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp dried basil and a pinch of cayenne for a little kick. Season with salt and pepper. I  brought it back to a boil and then added two zucchinis, sliced, and thin ribbons of collard greens, just the leaves. After 20 minutes of simmering, dinner was done! I served it with cornbread and shredded cheese, scallions and Greek yogurt. With all the veggies thrown in, it was the perfect one-pot meal.

March 14, 2012

Pork + Candy = Bliss!

Yes, candied pork. It sounds obscene, doesn’t it? One bite and I guarantee you’ll be moaning in ecstasy. This recipe came to me from my brother, who found it at TastingTable.com. What could be better than combining pork with brown sugar and bourbon? But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, the slab of pork shoulder is rubbed with a mixture of spices, including cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and slow-roasted for many hours (I cooked mine for 6), until it’s tender and falling apart. Then, you brush a mixture of brown sugar and bourbon over the the meat and roast it again until it turns into a sweet and spicy candied crust. Break the pork into chunks and eat like a cave man.

This is a straightforward recipe that doesn’t require much skill. What it needs is time to slow-roast to ensure the meat will melt in your mouth. Making this was virtually a comedy of errors at my house. I had prepped the shoulder for roasting before we had left for church, so it could cook while we were away. Right before I put the pork in the oven, my husband came through the kitchen and saw that the oven was on but nothing was in it. So, he turned it off. On my way out the door, I slipped the roast in the oven, not noticing the oven had been turned off. Three hours later after church, lunch and shopping, as we’re driving home I mention how great the house must smell because of the pork in the oven. To which my husband responded, “Uh, what? I turned the oven off because nothing was in it.”

I tell you, this pig did not want to be eaten. When I got home, I immediately turned the oven on and started roasting the pork. But then, my 3-year-old came along behind me and pulled the lever for the cleaning lock. Thankfully, my oven didn’t go into nuclear mode and clean itself. However, it did shut off the heat. And it took my a little over an hour for me to realize what had happened. When we finally had the candied pork for dinner the following day, the kids went crazy. I had never seen my son eat with such zeal. Both kids made sure they had the perfect ratio of meat to candy before taking each bite.

For S’s lunch I made a couple of pulled-pork sliders. Even after that, I still have about 2 pounds of meat left. It’s time to get creative. Any ideas?

March 7, 2012

Corn and Egg Flower Soup

My mom used to make this corn and egg flower soup for me when I was growing up. It would show up on the dinner table on hectic evenings and when someone was feeling under the weather. Although I loved it, I never tried making this soup. But then, a chilly day drew out the memory of sweet-savory corn and egg soup from the far reaches of my mind. I had to have it. As a child, I never knew the simplicity of the soup. All I knew was that it was tasty and warm, and made me feel like I was snuggling with my favorite blanket.

I have recollections of my mom over a hot stove, stirring creamed corn into simmering chicken broth. Then, she would add chopped ham and occasionally some peas. Lastly, she would turn off the heat and mix in some lightly beaten eggs. With a few gentle, swift strokes, the eggs would turn into beautiful flower petals. Really, this recipe is Betty-Crocker simple, but it yields very satisfying results. My mom used to garnish the soup with chopped scallions and white pepper, but I leave out the onions because the kids don’t like it. However, those scallions would have brightened up the picture some.

S asked me last night: “How come you’ve never made this before?”

Just to be clear, this beats the socks off the bland egg drop soup you find at virtually every Chinese-American restaurant.

Corn and Egg Flower Soup

Ingredients

6 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium

2 cans cream-style corn

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry (optional)

salt and black or white pepper, to taste

3/4 cup deli-style ham, thinly sliced

3 – 4 TB cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water (more cornstarch makes for a thicker soup)

3 eggs, lightly beaten (or you could just use the egg whites)

3 green onions, finely chopped for garnish

Method:

1. Bring chicken stock to a boil. Stir in creamed corn and simmer for another 3 minutes.

2. Stir in the ham, sugar, sesame oil, rice wine or sherry and salt and pepper. Return to a simmer for another couple of minutes, bringing it back to a boil.

3. Stir the cornstarch-water mixture until well mixed and then pour into the boiling soup. Stir soup until it thickens. Turn off heat.

4. Pour the lightly beaten eggs into the soup and stir gently but quickly until they form thin shreds.

5. Garnish with scallions.

%d bloggers like this: