SECRET RECIPE CLUB – TURKEY CHILI WITH ALMOND BUTTER

Last Monday of the month, and here I am once more sharing with you the recipe I chose to make from the blog Natural Noshing, which I was thrilled to receive as my assignment in The Secret Recipe Club.  Natural Noshing, as the name implies, is a blog centered on healthy cooking, whole grains, a lot of gluten-free recipes, but as will become clear as you browse Nora’s site, there is no compromise of flavor.  I love the way she describes herself:

I am an active, twenty-something “foodie” with a passion for nutrition and eating natural, real food — nothing too fussy, over-processed or complicated.  Growing up, I was the girl that didn’t read novels or magazines – I read cookbooks and recipes.

This was a super busy month for us for many reasons, including a trip to Arizona and wrapping up experiments to get a big manuscript ready for publication.  To make life easier, I concentrated my search on her poultry recipes, and had three serious contenders fighting for the spotlight in the Bewitching Kitchen:  her Chicken with Pepian Sauce, her Kickin’ Cashew Chicken, and this amazing Turkey Chili that ended up as our dinner.   I am unable to resist anything with almond butter these days.  😉

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TURKEY CHILI WITH ALMOND BUTTER
(slightly adapted from Natural Noshing)

1/2 lb ground turkey
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 small shallot, diced
1 zucchini, shredded
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp New Mexico Chile powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
cayenne pepper to taste
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can Pinto beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp creamy almond butter
salt and pepper to taste
minced fresh cilantro, to taste

In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add turkey and shallots and saute until cooked through and shallots are translucent stirring frequently, about 5-6 minutes. Break up any large chunks of meat while stirring.

Add zucchini and spices and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, beans and almond butter and stir until combined.

Turn heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, until thickened. Garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream, avocados, or other toppings of your choice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments:  This chili rocks. I was surprised by how much flavor it packed in such a short cooking time, making it doable on a weeknight. In fact, I stopped at the grocery store on my way home, grabbed the ground turkey and the zucchini (I had everything else at home), and in less than 45 minutes we were enjoying this meal.  The zucchini disappears during cooking, you won’t be able to see it, but it definitely contributes to the complexity of flavor.  And the almond butter, oh, my…  what a great addition to this chili!  Once you add it, you will see that the texture changes and the sauce gets that substance that normally you would get only with a long and slow cooking.   Awesome recipe.  We enjoyed leftovers for a couple of days, it only got better.  By the way, you can use any type of meat for this chili, as well as any type of beans, so go ahead and improvise. Keep the zucchini, and of course, if you skip the almond butter I might have to stop talking to you…  😉

Nora, it was great to stalk your blog this month, I hope you had as much fun with your own assignment!

For my readers: if you want to marvel at the productions of other members of my group, go poke a blue frog…  (now that sounds pretty nasty, but she is harmless, and enjoys the attention).

ONE YEAR AGO: Secret Recipe Club: Leek and Cheese Tart

TWO YEARS AGO: Secret Recipe Club; Triple Chocolate Brownies

THREE YEARS AGO: Shaved Asparagus Salad

FOUR YEARS AGO: Indonesian Ginger Chicken

CHESTNUT FLOUR SOURDOUGH BREAD

On the last In My Kitchen post, I promised to come back to talk about a bread made with chestnut flour brought all the way from France. The Bread Baking Queen Farine was the one who got me into this bread adventure, and advised me to search for this exotic flour in Paris. When I sent her a photo of the bag I bought she was super excited because it turns out chestnut flour from Corsica is considered the best in the world!  Amazing that it was exactly the type available near our hotel. Pure luck. With the stars so beautifully aligned, I was sure this would turn out as a wonderful baking project!  Was I right?  Well, let’s say that troubles were brewing faster than the wild yeast in my sourdough starter.

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CHESTNUT SOURDOUGH BREAD
(from Farine’s blog)

(makes 4 small loaves)

For the pre-fermented dough
175 g mature white starter
494 g unbleached all-purpose flour
258 g water
26 g raw wheat germ (I used toasted)
12 g salt

For the final dough
750 g unbleached all-purpose flour
400 g chestnut flour
700 g water
450 g fermented white dough
5 g instant dry yeast
25 g salt
200 g whole, peeled cooked chestnuts, crumbled into chunks

For the fermented dough
Mix flour, water and white starter until the flour is well hydrated, cover with a cloth and let rest 20 minutes. Add salt and mix until you get a gluten window (when you stretch some of the dough really thin, you see strands of gluten and almost-see through spots). Put in an oiled bowl and cover tightly.

Let rise at room temperature for about two hours, then put in the fridge for up to 48 hours

Remove from the fridge at least two hours before using

For the final dough
Combine the flours in the bowl of the mixer, add the water and mix well. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 30 minutes

Add the fermented dough and yeast and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic. Sprinkle the salt over it and mix some more.

Very lightly flour your work surface. Place your dough on it, rough-side up, and flatten it out with your fingers. Spread the chestnut pieces over the top and press them well into the dough. Fold a few times so that all the chestnuts are incorporated into the dough. Form the dough into a ball, put it into an oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rest for 40 minutes.

Lightly flour your work surface again, and turn the dough out on it. Fold the dough (on all four sides), then put back into your bowl, cover with baking cloth and let it rest for another 20 minutes. Lightly flour your work surface again, turn out the dough and divide it into 4 equal pieces.  Shape as desired.

Place on a semolina dusted parchment paper over a sheet pan. Let rise, covered with baking cloths, for 1 ½ hour or until just doubled in volume.

Meanwhile turn on the oven to 500ºF/250ºC with a baking stone in it and an empty cast iron (or metal) pan on the bottom shelf. When ready to bake, score the breads the way you like, pour 1 cup of water in the cast iron (or metal) pan and slide the breads (still on their parchment paper) onto the baking stone, spray some water into the oven and close the door quickly.

After 5 minutes, turn the oven down to 440ºF/220ºC and bake for another 20 minutes. Check to see if the loaves need to be turned around or if they need to switch places, then bake for another 10 minutes as needed

Let cool on a rack.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: When you buy 500g of chestnut flour several thousand miles away from home, you become very protective of it  A recipe that calls for 400g (in other words, 80% of my treasure) prompted me to launch a quick email to Farine, asking her thoughts on halving the recipe.  She is far more experienced in sourdough baking than me, so when she speaks, I listen. Once she gave me the ok to go for it, I felt empowered, on top of the world. Yes, I will be able to bake this bread and have a lot of chestnut flour leftover to play with. How cool is that?  So, being the super smart person I like to think I am, I made a nice table in which all amounts were cut in half, and went to work.

The catastrophic event was completely neglecting to look back at the table when mixing starter with the other components of the dough. I would have noticed that only HALF of the fermented dough should be added. So, that beautiful photo you see above, with a stretched out dough and the chestnuts waiting to be incorporated, was taken right before the piercing cry, the calling myself names, and the scared dogs running after Phil as he dashed out of the kitchen.  It is shocking and appalling to realize how little sympathy I get from those who live with me.

It is not easy to think rationally under duress, but I figured that the only way out of my self-inflicted misery was to discard half of that dough (ouch, it hurt!)  and add more of all other components to the other half, except (obviously) the starter.  Two problems with this strategy: I would not have time to let the flours go through autolyse before mixing, and I would have to use more of my precious chestnut flour.  With a heavy heart, that’s what I did.

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I was absolutely sure the abused bread would turn out to be a complete failure, but the Gods of Bread are a lot kinder than the Gods of Golf, so all had a miraculous happy ending.  Maybe the crumb turned out a little too tight, but I can tell you this bread tastes amazing!  If you can find chestnut flour where you live, or if you can order it online, try this bread. And, I echo Farine with one piece of advice she gave me: it is ok to scale down the recipe, but do not substitute walnuts or other nuts. Chestnuts are essential…

MC, thanks for the constant inspiration, and sorry I messed up the recipe. There’s always next time, as long as I find a good source for chestnut flour here in the US. Amazon.com to the rescue?  😉

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I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGO: Kinpira Gobo and Japanese Home Cooking

TWO YEARS AGO: Walnut Sourdough

THREE YEARS AGO: Thai Chicken Curry

FOUR YEARS AGO: Zen and the art of risotto

 

 

MAJESTIC SEDONA, TAKE TWO

A couple of years ago I wrote about Sedona, a place I fell in love with at first sight. Impossible not to.  What I did not know at the time is that Sedona would be back in our lives for a very special reason. It was the place chosen by my stepson and his fiancée (aka “the coolest couple in L.A.) to tie the knot.  And tie the knot they did,  on a breathtakingly beautiful spot around a rock formation known as “Merry-Go-Round Arch“.

CarlyCaseySedona, April 12th, 2014

We drove over 16 hours to attend the magical wedding ceremony performed by a Native American Indian.  As the sun slowly set down on the horizon, we were all mesmerized by the beauty surrounding us, and united in our wishes of happiness for the newly weds.

Our trip was an opportunity to connect with the three “kids”, who are kids no more. It was also an opportunity to connect with our beautiful planet.  It could not have been more special than it was.

I share a few additional shots of our adventure
(click to enlarge each composite photo)

 

There was some golf… (both good and bad golf, as expected). Obviously, I am standing up too straight to start the shot, oh, dear Lord of the Golf, when will I ever learn?)

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We had a great rehearsal dinner at René Restaurant in Sedona. Here we are, waiting for our guests, Phil carefully studying the wine list… Me? I was trying to win the fight for attention with the wine list. Not an easy task, but I like a challenge. That explains the golf too.   😉

RehearsalComposite

The afternoon of the big day, and the excitement of getting ready for it… Remember my other stepson? J & M got married only 7 months ago.  He got his PhD in Cancer Research at the University of Arizona, in a flawless defense we attended a couple of days before the wedding, and they will move to San Francisco very soon. This was a week with many reasons to celebrate!

GettingReady

The jeep ride to the site, and the arrival of the beautiful bride with her proud Dad…

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After the wedding and the jeep ride back to town, we had dinner at Heartline Café.  During the meal, a fantastic caricaturist made drawings of all the 13 members of the party. What a cool idea that was, everyone left with a unique and quite personal souvenir of their wedding day!

Drawing-side

I close this post with something special we found while walking around town the day before our departure. Rings made by a local artist, in copper and silver.  We decided it was a nice additional souvenir to remember their happiness, and celebrate ours…   😉

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 ONE  YEAR AGO: Secret Ingredient Turkey Meatballs

TWO YEARS AGO: Swedish Meatballs and Egg Noodles

THREE YEARS AGO: Italian Easter Pie

FOUR YEARS AGO: Black Olive Bialy

CLEMENTINES IN CINNAMON SYRUP

Three ingredients.  Four if you count water. It was one of the best things I’ve made in the last few months, though.  Slices of clementine soaking in a light caramel infused with cinnamon.  First, let me assure you it is not going to be too sweet. It is a perfectly balanced mixture, the clementines lose any of that harshness often found in the raw fruit, and the syrup is so good that I drank what was left in my small bowl after enjoying the fruit. Yes, I grabbed the bowl and drank from it as if it was a glass. What’s more amazing, I did it in the presence of members of our department gathered in our place for a get-together with a guest speaker. That should give you an idea how irresistible it was. I found this gem of a recipe on the fun blog hosted by Zach and Clay, The Bitten Word. If you don’t know about their site, make sure to stop by, you will become a regular visitor… 😉

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CLEMENTINES IN CINNAMON SYRUP
(seen at The Bitten Word, original recipe from Martha Stewart)

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
8 clementines, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise

Bring water, sugar and cinnamon to a simmer in a small saucepan. Cook until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute.

Arrange clementines in a large bowl. Pour warm syrup over top, and let stand for at least 30 minutes.

Divide clementines and syrup among 4 bowls.

 ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

I hope you won’t let the simplicity of this “recipe” prevent you from making it, telling yourself that it cannot be worth it.  If you like fruit and a dessert that makes you feel light as a feather and pretty energized (must be all that vitamin C, and the cinnamon oils), this is it.  Maybe some might feel tempted to serve it as a topping for ice cream, but for my taste, nothing else is needed.  Just make sure you have enough caramel sauce to soak the slices, and to satisfy your desire to drink every single drop of it.  Slurping is optional, depending on the audience. 😉

ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2013 

TWO YEARS AGO: Thrilling Moments (CROISSANTS!)

THREE YEARS AGO: Maple-Oatmeal Sourdough Bread

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pork Trinity: coffee, mushrooms, and curry

 

 

SMOKED SALMON APPETIZER

If you want to serve an elegant appetizer for your next dinner party, but would rather pick something simple to prepare, this recipe is just what you are looking for. All you need is a couple of endives, some smoked salmon (get the best quality you can afford),  and a little Boursin cheese thinned with creme fraiche.

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ENDIVE WITH SMOKED SALMON AND CREAM CHEESE
(inspired by Gluten Free Blondie)

1 or 2 endives (see comments)
Boursin cheese, room temperature
creme fraiche to taste (you can also use sour cream or yogurt)
smoked salmon, very thinly sliced
ground black pepper
fresh dill leaves, minced
.
Cut about 1/2 inch off the bottom of an endive spear. Start pulling off individual leaves. As you uncover leaves that are still attached at the base, cut another 1/2 inch off the bottom. Continue separating the endive leaves until you get to leaves that are too small.  One endive will give you about 12 leaves large enough to serve in this type of appetizer.

In a small bowl, mix the Boursin cheese with enough creme fraiche to give it a nice spreading consistency. Arrange the endive on a platter. Spread each leaf with about 1 teaspoon of the Boursin mixture. Top with a sliver of smoked salmon. Sprinkle all of the salmon and cheese topped endive with freshly ground, coarse black pepper, and a little dill.

Refrigerate until serving.
.
ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  We loved this appetizer, it is luscious enough with the creamy cheese, but the use of endive instead of a cracker gives it a much lighter feel. Next time I will go one step further and add a couple of capers to each of the servings.  Two endives were butchered to get  enough leaves for the platter you see in the photo.   You might do a lot better than me, but just in case, save yourself some trouble and bring an extra endive home.  I made it 2 hours before serving and the leaves retained their texture reasonably well.  I would not make it more than 3 hours before serving.

I hope that next time you have a dinner party on the horizon, you’ll consider this recipe.
So simple to put together, but it will impress your guests for sure.

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Clementine Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Springtime Spinach Risotto

THREE YEARS AGO: The end of green bean cruelty

FOUR YEARS AGO: Torta di Limone e Mandorle