Friday, May 21, 2010

Turkey-Jasmine Rice Meatballs


Sunday mornings from May to well into the Fall, you can usually find me at the Newburyport Farmers' Market. For me, there's something truly calming and joyful about picking through all the fresh, local produce and surveying the various creations. It's part of my commitment to living more local, and using fresh, whole ingredients. Between our backyard garden and the market this year, I hope to be able to buy and cook with mostly local, fresh, often organic ingredients.

This weeks finds? First off, some lovely Buttercrunch lettuce from Arrowhead Farms in Newburyport. Perfect base for salads and wonderful accompanying everything from salads to falafel. Second, some Nicola potatoes from Heron Pond Farms in New Hampshire. I learned they're low on the glycemic index, so a good, healthy, choice for everyone. Finally, some delicious bok choy from Arrowhead. This ended up being the inspiration for this next recipe.

Turkey-Jasmine Rice Meatballs
Modified from Cooking Light version
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 3 meatballs, 2 bok choy halves, and 3 tablespoons sauce)

Meatballs:
1 cup water
1/3 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
2 large egg whites
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh, grated, peeled ginger (added in my version)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (added in my version)
Cooking spray

Bok choy:
6 baby bok choy (about 1 1/3 pounds)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon shredded peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup water
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch

To prepare meatballs, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in jasmine rice; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is almost tender. Drain; cool. Combine rice, breadcrumbs, and next 6 ingredients (through 1 garlic clove). Shape mixture into 18 meatballs.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Add meatballs; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Cover and reduce heat to medium; cook for 10 minutes or until done, turning often. Remove from heat; keep warm.

While the meatballs cook, prepare bok choy. Cut each bok choy in half lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water; drain well. Arrange bok choy in a steamer basket, overlapping pieces.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup onions, ginger, and 1 garlic clove; sauté 30 seconds. Place steamer basket in pan. Combine water and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper); pour over bok choy. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and steam over medium-low heat 20 minutes or until bok choy is tender, rearranging bok choy after 10 minutes. Remove the bok choy and steamer basket from pan; cover and keep warm.

Combine sherry and cornstarch; add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Pour over meatballs and bok choy, I served with jasmine rice.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spinach and Lentil Soup




This one comes from a cold, rainy day and a real need for soup. It's tangy and super easy. I had a lot of fresh spinach and everything else on hand for this one.
It's modified from this recipe on allrecipes.com.


Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 cup dry green lentils
1 3/4 cups water or chicken broth (I used broth)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (opt.)
2/3 cup chopped fresh spinach
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon (or more) cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Directions:
1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and cook until soft about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped garlic, cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the lentils and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on the freshness of the lentils.
2. Ladle a half cup of the soup liquid into a bowl and whisk in the flour to form a paste. Mix the paste into the soup. Add the fresh parsley (not necessary but it adds a good kick to it), and let simmer in for a moment. Add the spinach, lemon juice, cumin, and salt, let simmer If you prefer a thinner soup, add a bit more water or broth. Cook until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Adjust salt and lemon to suit your taste.
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