THAI-MEATBALLS OVER WILTED BOK-CHOY

These turkey meatballs lean towards Thai cuisine, but I took a few departures and incorporated a Brazilian moqueca touch. If you want to make the meal heartier, serve some rice or noodles as side dishes. Soba would work great.

THAI-MEATBALLS WITH WILTED BOK-CHOY
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the meatballs (makes about 16)
2 pounds ground turkey (I use 85% fat)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 egg

for the sauce:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 cup pureed tomatoes (canned is fine)
1 cup coconut milk (low-fat is ok)
2 tsp fish sauce
salt and pepper to taste
juice of one lime

for the bok-choy:
6 to 8 baby bok-choy, sliced in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
drizzle of soy sauce
drizzle of lime juice

Heat oven to 420F.
Make the meatballs combining all ingredients in a large bowl. Form 16 meatballs and place them on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Spray the foil lightly with olive oil, then spray lightly the surface of the meatballs also. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven and reserve. This can be made hours or a day in advance.

Make the sauce. Heat the oil and sautéed the shallot for a few minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the red curry paste and cook for a minute or two, stirring. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, fish sauce, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes, add the reserved meatballs and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add the lime juice right before serving.

Make the bok-choy. Heat the oil on a large skillet. Add the bok-choy, cut side down, cook for a couple of minutes without moving them, to get a nice browning on the surface. Flip the pieces over, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle soy sauce, lime juice, cover the pan and simmer for a few minutes until tender. Serve right away, with the meatballs and sauce.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Traditionally, this type of recipe calls for coconut milk as the main component of the sauce. I find that a bit too heavy, also very high on the saturated fat content. So I tone it down with pureed tomatoes. You can just use a full can of coconut milk, if you prefer.

The meatballs have a nice texture, and incorporate the flavor of the sauce well. As to the red curry paste, I have a favorite brand now, after seeing it recommended by cookbook authors and food bloggers: Mae Ploy. It is much better than any brand I’ve used in the past. You can find it online if not available in stores where you live (click here). Leftovers (meatballs only, bok-choy was gone) were delicious on day #2 and day #3. And yes, they were mine, all mine…

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LOW-CARB SUPER FAST CHICKEN PARMIGIANA

Air-fryer to the rescue again… I will give you pretty loose instructions, because how you make it will depend on your carb goals. If you want to do close to zero carbs, omit the bread crumbs. The texture will suffer a bit, but it will still work. If you want to do moderate carbs, use the mixture I did. I am quite surprised by how much I liked the texture of the meat, and the fact that frying the chicken breast on the stove top before baking was not needed at all. A leap of faith was needed for me to try it the first time. I’ve made it three times ever since.

LOW-CARB AIR-FRYED CHICKEN PARMIGIANA
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, lightly seasoned with salt
2 eggs, whisked with a teaspoon of water, salt and Herbes de Provence to taste
50:50 mixture of bread crumbs and almond flour
(lower carb alternative 50:50 mixture of almond flour + finely grated Parmigiano cheese)
tomato sauce
mozzarella cheese

Dip the chicken breasts in the seasoned whisked egg mixture, coat both sides with your choice of “breading.” Spray the basket of the air-fryer with a little olive oil. Carefully place the pieces of meat side by side in the basket. Turn the air-fryer to 390F and cook for 10 minutes. If you are using very large breasts, cook for 12 minutes, but the recipe works best with smallish pieces of meat.

Gently flip the meat over, add tomato sauce and cheese. Air-fry for 6 additional minutes. Remove the meat and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: There are three little issues that might annoy you with this method. You know I never lie…

First: if you go real low in carbs, the coating is on the soft side. It will be very hard to flip the chicken piece without losing part of it to the basket. Even with the bread crumbs a little bit is lost. I am not sure if the flipping of the piece is necessary, and intend to try without doing it next time.

Second: it makes a bit of a mess in the basket once the cheese melts. I am a neat-freak and that means I spend quite a bit of time cleaning it up and inspecting every little corner. It still does not prevent me from making it, but keep that in mind and don’t get mad at me…

Third: if you have a smallish air-fryer like I do, you can only do two pieces of chicken at a time. It turns out that when I make this, I do the regular kind (stove-top, fried then baked) for the husband, and this lower-carb version for me. But if you are feeding a family of four, this is not a good option.

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SUNFLOWER SEED “RISOTTO” WITH EDAMAME

It is not often that a recipe blows my mind and I get so excited about it I can hardly wait to share here… This is not rice-based. There is no rice at all. The whole concoction is made with sunflower seeds, soaked for several hours. It is absolutely delicious, hearty but considerably lower in carbs. The starting point for my version was a recipe from Naturally Nourished, by Sarah Britton. I was not sure the husband was going to like it that much, but he thought it was one of the tastiest side dishes I’ve made in the recent past. So there you go!

SUNFLOWER SEED “RISOTTO” WITH EDAMAME
(inspired by Naturally Nourished)

2 cups raw, unsalted, shelled sunflower seeds
1 tsp salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 fennel bulb, diced small
2 cups vegetable stock (you won’t need the full amount)
frozen edamame, about 1/2 cup or amount to taste

Soak the sunflower seeds overnight or all day with the sea salt in a large bowl of water. Drain and rinse the sunflower seeds.

In a high-power blender (I used a Vitamix), add 1/2 cup of soaked seeds and half a cup of water. Blend util fully smooth, remove and set aside.

In a non-stick skillet or small stockpot, heat the oil, add the fennel, season with salt and pepper. After about 2 minutes, add the soaked and drained whole sunflower seeds, stir to coat with the oil, then add vegetable stock to completely cover the seeds. It will depend on the size of your pan, but you will probably need less than 2 cups. Add a little salt and pepper if so desired.

Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved sunflower seed cream, stir, then add frozen edamame, spread all over the surface, and cover the pan again. Cook gently for 5 minutes, then check that the seeds are tender and the edamame warm. If needed, add more vegetable stock, or alternatively remove the lid and let the excess liquid evaporate.

Serve the “risotto” right away.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I fell in love with this dish at first bite… The cream of seeds made in the Vitamix has a strong taste, and gives the grain a luscious texture without the need for butter. You won’t use all, but it is hard to make less in the Vitamix. I am saving the leftover for next time, because it will happen again very soon… You can add different veggies, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, whatever you feel like, adjusting the timing or cooking the veggies before incorporating in the “risotto.” Sometimes it is hard to find raw sunflower seeds, but when we have them available in our grocery store, we buy several packages. Now that this dish will be part of our regular rotation, I cannot afford to run out of them!

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TORTA DI ZUCCHINI, A FLASHBACK

This is a recipe I used to make all the time and for some odd reason disappeared from our menu. The other day I was searching the blog for ideas, and fell on this post from twelve years ago! I made it twice, two in a row, and tweaked it slightly. This is a lower-carb version, and if you skip the breadcrumbs on the topping it can also be gluten-free.

LOW-CARB TORTA DI ZUCCHINI
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 zucchini, 2 grated, 2 thinly sliced
4 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup almond flour plus more to sprinkle on plate
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
topping: 1/4 cup breadcrumbs + 1/8 cup Parmigiano cheese
drizzle of olive oil

Grease a pyrex pie dish with butter. Sprinkle some bread crumbs or almond flour to coat.

Mix the beaten eggs with the lemon zest, herbs, Parmigiano cheese, 1/4 cup of almond flour, salt and pepper. In another bowl, place the grated and sliced zucchini. Shake the dish carefully to distribute the slices more or less evenly. Add the egg mixture to it, mix gently, and pour into the prepared pie dish. Sprinkle the remaining mixture of bread crumbs (or you can use almond flour) and cheese on top, forming a very light coating. You may not need to use it all. Drizzle a bit of olive oil.

Bake in a 375F until set and golden on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is the type of recipe that makes the cook a bit nervous. As you put it together, it seems impossible to work. But trust me, it does. Normally recipes using zucchini tell you to squeeze the liquid, but this one does not. The mixture of grated zucchini with the slices is what makes the whole texture perfect. Think about a baked frittata, but without that intense eggy flavor that some people object to. I used almond flour in place of bread crumbs in the body of the recipe, but added some bread crumbs to the topping. You can just use almond flour instead for an even lower in carb concoction.

It is very important to let the torta rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. I actually like to leave it for about half an hour and enjoy it barely warm. That’s when everything sets nicely. I don’t know why this delicious side dish left our rotation, but it is so simple and so tasty, I felt it was worth re-blogging, with the minor modifications I introduced in this version. I hope you give it a try… Next on my plans? To make a mixture of carrots and zucchini. Stay tuned!

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