Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Restaurant Review: Aziza's on Main

I guess you could say we are a service industry kind of family. My Dad worked for a long time as a Restaurant Manager for places like Applebee’s, Olive Garden, and Ponderosa. My first job in high-school was working as a salad prep at the Olive Garden on Midlothian Turnpike. My sister started out hosting at Applebee’s on Hull Street. I eventually stopped my service industry career as a server at Sundays’ in Brandermill my senior year in high-school. And, I say good riddance. My sister, on the other hand, has continued to work as a server (mainly part-time) for 10+ years. Her latest venture is at a little spot on Main Street called Aziza’s. I have to say of all the places any of us have worked in the restaurant industry this is by far the best one.
Aziza’s is a restaurant owned by a Lebanese family. The Chef is Billy of Billy Bread notoriety. The set up at Aziza’s is interesting. On the right side of the restaurant it has a bar with tables and chairs and is very quaint and cozy. On the left-side is their “deli.” They make pre-made desserts, hummus, and sandwiches. And, in the back of the restaurant is their new brick oven. As a side note; their pizza’s are delicious! And, they'll be giving classes on how to make bread!

My aunt, mom, and I went to Aziza’s one Sunday for brunch. The service is wonderful. Okay, I’m biased, but really they are very attentive and knowledgeable. We decided to order their hummus and taboli with sliced pita bread.

I love their hummus, however I’ve heard that people have had better hummus elsewhere. Maybe so, but I think their hummus is very fresh and flavorful. My aunt enjoyed it too.

For the main course, I had the ham and swiss sandwich. My mom and aunt had the black beans on toast with a fried egg.

I loved my ham sandwich. I thought the bread was toasted to perfection and the ham was very tasty. All of their sandwiches come with a side salad with a vinaigrette dressing. I think the salad is okay. My mom and aunt very much enjoyed their black bean dish. They thought it was very warm and packed plenty of flavor.
I couldn’t resist getting one of their cream puffs for dessert. It ends up we took one of the last cream puffs and it was only noon! Seriously, if there are any left, get a cream puff when you go. It’s homemade creamy, chocolatey, deliciousness. It can easily be shared between 4 people. They're big!

I’ve been to Aziza’s many times, and I think it’s a wonderful place for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Please check it out and you won’t be disappointed.
My rating: 5 sporks out of 5.
Location: 2110 E Main Street Richmond, VA 23223
Website: http://www.azizasonmain.com/
Cuisine: Seafood, Meat, Pizza, Homemade Bread
Pricing: $$

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Iron Chef Pumpkin: Smoky Cheese and Pumpkin Mini Quiches

For this Iron Chef the secret ingredient was pumpkin. I chose to make an appetizer. I definitely was not going to go all out and try a whole bunch of different recipes like I did with Iron Chef Coffee. But, I did try two different gnocchi recipes that while turned out okay it just didn't make me go; wow! My mom came across this recipe and sent it to me. I did not do a dry run, and just decide to go with it. I mean how can you go wrong with something that includes cheese and bacon and puff pastry?? Well, it didn't go wrong, but it wasn't wowza enough to be a winner. Oh well. I'll win of these darn iron chefs one day. ;0) Alas, I would definitely make this again.

3 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup mashed pumpkin
1 cup grated smoked cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 pinch nutmeg
1 slice bacon, extra
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
First thing you want to do is chop up your bacon and onions. Toss it into a saute pan and cook over medium to medium hight heat until bacon is crisp. I believe it took about 10 minutes. At this point while the bacon is cooking you can go ahead and get out your dethawed puff pastry and take a fluted cookie cutter (about 2.75 inches round) and cut out your dough. I cut out about 18 pieces. Drain your bacon and onion mixture onto a paper towel or into a colander. Now, take a bowl and mix your mashed pumpkin (or pumpkin puree like I used) cheese, milk, nutmeg, and egg. Once the bacon mixture has cooled add it to your pumpkin mixture. I fried up about 3 more pieces of bacon. Take your dough and add it to your little mini quiche pans (or shallow patty pans). Take a small spoonful of the pumpkin mixture and place in the dough. Add a small bacon strip on top of the dough. Bake for 30 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.

(Click here for printable recipe)

Giada's Nutella Cookies

Giada de Laurentis is the Queen of all things Nutella. I, on the other hand, have just started experimenting with recipes that involve Nutella. So, one evening I figured I should look for some Giada recipes to try. Afterall she loooooves Nutella so her recipes have to be good, right? Right. I am in serious heaven with this versatile ingredient. And, Giada's cookies are seriously yummy. If you are craving chocolate give this recipe a try. You will not be disappointed.

1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c nutella
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven @ 375 degrees
The first thing I always do when making cookies, brownies, or cake is to combine all the dry ingredients (unless specified otherwise). So, go ahead and get a small bowl and combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a standing mixer, add the sugars, the nutella, and butter. Stir until the ingredients are fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until incorporated. Gradually add in the dry ingredients at low speed just so the flour doesn't spray all over. Once the dry ingredients are incorporated in the batter add in the chocolate chips and stir. Add the dough to the cookie sheets and bake from 6-10 minutes. The first time I made these cookies I had to throw away the majority of them because I overbaked them. This time I baked them for 8 minutes, and it was still a minute too long. But, I didn't have to throw these cookies away. They were just a tad crisp.

(Click here for printable recipe)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Tonight was an expedition, a cooking quest. Why? I have no idea! This was a simple and straight forward recipe, one that promised amazingly delicious rewards, one that I’ve been excited about since I heard that someone still needed to take on the mac & cheese for Thanksgiving. Maybe it was just the anticipation that caused the chaos.

But somehow I found myself running around the kitchen, annoyed why my sauce wasn’t thickening when apparently some ghost (or myself accidentally) turned off my burner, mixing breadcrumbs in butter for a topping and splattering them across my stove-top, convinced that this amazing recipe, this wonderfully cheesy delectable meal was going to be a total flop.

However, somewhere in the madness, mouth-watering exquisiteness arose. Thanksgiving will be amazing, but wow am I happy I did a trial run!

1 pound elbow macaroni
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp powdered mustard (I know, this is me who doesn’t like mustard! I was scared!)
3 cups milk
½ cup yellow onion (finely diced)
½ tsp paprika
1 large egg
8 ounces shredded cheddar

3 tbsp. butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350.
Boil pasta. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour and mustard, and keep it moving until it is smooth and free of lumps. Stir in milk, onion, and paprika. (Of course, I did this in too small of a pot, so think ahead!) Simmer for about ten minutes.
Temper* the egg. Stir in ¾ of the cheese. After it has melted fold the macaroni into the mix. When thoroughly mixed, pour into a casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the remaining butter and toss with bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Lessons learned:
*To temper means to adds ingredients gradually of different temperatures. In this case, adding cold egg to a simmering sauce might cause scrambling, rather than an even blended texture.
When a recipe says prep time 15 minutes, cook time 30 minutes, be wary. Sometimes they lie.

I also ended up adding in cubed ham here. While easy and a good addition, this won't be part of the Thanksgiving recipe, so I didn't include it here.
Happy cooking!

(Click here for printable recipe)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

I promised one of my fellow bloggers that I would make my favorite chicken pot pie recipe and post it. Well, here it is. I have never thought of myself as a chicken pot pie lover. Maybe it has something to do with working for Applebee's for several years when I was in highschool. You see they served a chicken pot pie and while it was popular, I didn't like it. I thought it basically tasted like your average frozen pot pie dish. Not that I really knew what a chicken pot pie frozen dinner tasted like, but I'm sure it tasted something like Applebee's version. Anyway, so I never really cared for pot pies. Until I tried this recipe from my favorite cookbook The New Best Recipe. Wow. It's super delicious and the pie crust topping is very flaky. I don't add peas to this recipe because I can't stand peas. But, I do boil a couple potatoes and crumble it up into the chicken and veggie mixture. I hope you like it!

1 recipe Savory Pie Dough (see below)
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium-large onion, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 small celery ribs, chopped
Salt and ground pepper
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 tbsp sherry
3/4 c frozen peas, thawed (optional)
3 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves (optional)

Savory Pie Dough Ingredients
1 1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3-4 tbsp ice water

Pie Dough Recipe
First you need to make the savory pie dough, and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
You will need to mix the flour and salt into a food processor and pulse several times until mixed. Put the shortening into the processor and gently coat the flour over the shortening. Pulse with five 1 second pulses. Now, add the butter and continue pulsing until the flour is a pale-yellow and the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl. Sprinkle 3 tbsp of the ice water into the mixture. Take a rubber spatula, and stir the mixture together while pressing with the back of the spatula to flatten the dough. If you need to add the additional tablespoon of water because it seems to flaky then go ahead. I only needed the 3 tbsp of water. Now, take the dough and form it into a shape of a ball. Then flatten it onto a floured surface and from a 4 inch disk. Wrap with plastic and place in fridge.

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
The recipe indicates that you need to put the chicken and 2 cups of the chicken broth into a stock pot and cook until the chicken is done. I had already cooked the chicken, so I just set aside the chicken and the chicken broth for later. If you cook the chicken in the broth, when you remove the chicken set aside the broth for later.

Chop up your veggies, and set aside.
Take your stockpot and place the oil in the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. Once the pan is nice and hot add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sautee until tender. It says to sautee for 5 minutes, but I sauteed for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. I transferred the veggies to a medium sized bowl and then I shredded/chopped the chicken and placed in the veggie bowl. I also added the potatoes I had boiled earlier and broke them into little pieces. Take the same pot, and heat the 4 tbsp of butter over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the flour and cook for about a minute. The flour and butter will look like a large lumpy lump. Just go with it.

Now, add the reserved chicken broth, milk, and thyme. Bring it to a simmer, and keep stirring until thickened about a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper till it tastes right to you and then add in the sherry. I only used about 1 tbsp and a half of the sherry. That's just my preference. Now, I take the chicken mixture and pour it into the pot, and stir to combine it together. If you like peas and parsely add it now. Adjust the seasonings if needed. Pour the mixture into a 13x9 baking dish or 6 12-oz ovenproof dishes. I use a round casserole dish. And, yes, the mixture comes up all the way to the rim of the dish.

Now, take your pie dough from the fridge and placed it on a floured surface and roll it with rolling pin till it's 15 by 11 inch rectangle. In my case, I just rolled it so that it would cover the round casserole dish. Transfer the dough to your dish, and you may need to trim the sides of the dough if it hangs 1/2 inch on the side of the dish. I do trim it some and then I stick the trimmed parts on top of the dough. Tuck the overhanging dough back under itself so the folded edge is flush with the pan lip. At this point you can get creative and flute the edges, or you can just leave it as is like I do. Make sure you gently slice four 1 inch slits in the dough, so steam can escape in the oven. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Around 25-30 minutes for large pot pie. Or 20 to 25 minutes for smaller pies.

(Click here for printable recipe)

Seared Chicken Breast with Quick Pan Sauce

Some nights I really don't want to cook. Or, it would be really nice to make something that is super easy and quick. Especially on those nights when I'm just too exhausted to put in the effort of making something homemade. But, homemade is always better, right? Right. So, I went searching for a quick chicken recipe, and came across this one. The nice thing about this particular recipe is that the site includes several different pan sauces you can make. I chose a Rosemary and Dijon sauce. Seriously, this recipe was very easy and very quick. Just how I like it on those nights when you just want to kick back and take it easy. Hope you like it!

4 skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
flour for dredging
Ingredients for pan sauce (See below)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil

Pan Sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

First thing I did was wrap the chicken breast in plastic wrap and pounded the chicken with a meat tenderizer. I wanted to thin it out a bit before searing it.
Next, take some salt and freshly ground pepper and sprinkle it onto the chicken (both sides) generously. Take about 1/2 cup of flour and put it onto a plate. At this point, you can go ahead and combine your ingredients for the pan sauce. Set aside.
Now, go ahead and take a skillet and heat 2 tbsp of the butter and the oil over medium heat. Dredge the chicken breast in the flour and shake off any excess flour. Go ahead and turn up the heat to medium-high. When the pan is good and hot, add the chicken breast. Go ahead and flour however many more breasts you are making and add to the pan. Let cook for about 4-5 minutes. Do not touch it. Then, beginning with the first breast you had added to the pan turn it over and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
At this point, I turned on the oven to about 125 degrees and I took my chicken breast and placed it on a plate. I placed the plate into the oven so that the chicken would stay warm. Now is the time, to prepare the pan sauce. You will add the ingredients for the pan sauce directly to the skillet and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring while scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan until the sauce thickens. Go ahead and add the last tablespoon of butter. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately.

(Click here for printable recipe)

Angel Food Cake

In my family it's always been a tradition to have mom make a birthday cake. Whatever birthday cake we want she'll make it. Dad always chose German Chocolate Cake, my sister would mix it up from pies to yellow cake with chocolate icing, and I, too, would mix it up. But, one cake I've chosen as my birthday cake on more than one occasion has been Angel Food Cake. Sometimes, my mom will make a strawberry whip to go with it, and it's delicious. Angel Food Cake can be a temperamental cake to bake. I don't always get it right, but when I do boy is it good. This particular cake was good, but I thought I overbaked it by a couple minutes. It was a tad on the dry side. Trust me, you do not want a dry Angel Food cake. Give it a try, and I'm sure it won't be the last time you bake this particular cake.

This recipe was adapted from The New Best Recipe cookbook.

1 cup sifted plain cake flour
1 1/2 cup sifted sugar
12 large egg whites (1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp) at Room Temperature
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp juice from 1 lemon (optional)
1/2 tsp almond extract

First you want to move your oven rack so that it's near the bottom half of your oven. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. You will need a large tube pan, with a removable bottom.
The first thing I did was take the flour and 3/4 cup of the sugar and whisk it in a small bowl.
In case you are wondering what you do with the remaing 3/4 cup sugar just set it aside in another bowl. A word about the egg whites. I used 12 eggs, but I ended up needing an additional 3 eggs in order to get to 1 3/4 cups. Once the egg whites are properly measured (and at room temp) whisk the eggs at low speed while using a standing mixer. Be sure you mix it until just so the eggs are broken and just beginning to froth.
Turn the mixer to medium speed and add your cream of tartar and salt. Beat until the egg whites form soft, billowy mounds. Now, you are going to take the small bowl you set aside with your 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp at a time add it in the mixing bowl (at medium speed). The whites should begin to look shiny and form soft peaks. Now, you will add the vanilla, almond extract, and lemon juice (optional). Beat until just blended.
Next, place the flour and sugar mixture into a sifter and sift about 3 tbsp at a time into the whites. Gently fold in the flour/sugar mixture with a rubber spatula. Continue doing this a little at a time until the flour/sugar mixture is no more.
Now, you will gently pour the batter into your prepared tube pan. Give the pan a couple taps on the counter to release any large air bubbles.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when pressed firmly. It will take anywhere from 45 minutes to 60 minutes.
I believe it took me around 45-50 minutes to bake. Invert the pan and let cook for a couple hours. Before releasing the cake from the pan, take a knife and run it around the edge of the pan. You should be able to release the cake from the pan. You will need to cut the slices by using a long serrated knife and by sawing gently.

(Click here for printable recipe)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pizza Puffs

Pizza is practically a religion in our family. We probably eat it at least once a week. Ok, maybe two times. Or more. Don’t judge. Anyway, when I saw that this appetizer managed to get all the delicious flavor of pizza into a two-bite package, I knew it would be a winner. It’s such an easy recipe, and it’s infinitely customizable—just like a pizza. I started with the basic pepperoni, but you could sub in any kind of meat, cheese, or veggie you want to make your perfect pizza puff! I found this recipe on Susi’s Kochen Und Backen Adventures, via Tastespotting

3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 ounces pepperoni cut into small cubes
Your favorite pizza or marinara sauce for dipping

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees and spraying a 24 mini-muffin pan (or two 12s, like I did). Whisk together the flour and baking powder, then whisk in the milk, egg, salt and Italian seasoning. If you want to add any other kind of seasoning, now would be the time. Then add the cheese and pepperoni and stir (don’t whisk… I made this mistake and the whisk plus pepperoni and cheese doesn’t really work.) Now portion them out into the cups. I decided to sprinkle just a little more mozzarella on the top of the cups (you could use any cheese) to give it even more of a brown crust. Cook them for about 22 minutes and serve with microwaved marinara or pizza sauce. It’s just the thing to satisfy your occasional (or not so occasional) pizza craving!

(Click here for printable recipe)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

For those who know me well; you'll know that I'm not a big fan of winter. As a matter of fact, I really detest winter. I'll take a 100 degree day over a 30 degree day every single time. But, if there's one thing I do like about winter it's the food. Warm, comforting, and yes, fattening food! One of my favorite meals of all time during the cold months is Chicken and Dumplings. Probably my favorite part is the dumpling, and it definitely keeps me warm on those cold winter nights. The recipe I use is from one of the best, fatten-you-up, comfort food cooks of the south; Ms. Paula Deen. The dumpling I use, well, not sure where I got that recipe from, but it's delish. Enjoy!

1 (2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery or cream of chicken soup

2 c flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp melted, butter
2/3 c. milk
Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl combine the milk, egg, and melted butter. Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture, and stir quickly. Wait till the end before adding pieces of the dough to the soup.

To begin, I prepped my vegetables by chopping them and setting aside. Also, I did not use an onion. Instead I used 4 carrots. I also just used about 2 pounds of chicken breast. Placed the chicken, carrots, celery, 2 bay leaves, the chicken bouillon cubes, and the house seasoning into the pot and cook until the juices from the chicken run clear. It took about an hour. Also, about the house seasoning. I just guesstimate everytime, by taking a teaspoon and pouring a little of the garlic powder and pepper, and add more of the salt into it.
Once the chicken is cooked thru, remove it and wait till it cools. Then either shred the chicken or cut it into small pieces (however you prefer). Add back to pot and then add in the can of soup. This time I used cream of chicken, but it really doesn't matter which one you use.

Paula recommends adding 1/4 cup water and 2 tbsp of corn starch (stir together) to the pot of soup if it is not thick enough. I usually do follow this step, and I add it in twice. I also usually add a couple sprinkles of dried thyme to the soup as well. I also add more salt and pepper. Last it's time to add the dumpling dough to the pot. I just grab some of the dough and roll it in my hands and drop into the pot. Cover with a lid and bring to a rolling boil.
Cook until the dumplings are cooked thru. It usually takes about 10-15 minutes for this to occur. Keep in mind that the soup is usually really hot when serving. Enjoy!

(Click here for printable recipe)

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

So. I am clearly a teenage boy trapped in a thirty (ok thirty-one) year old’s body. Because something about this recipe sounds so dirty to me. Those spicy, honey-brushed thighs. It’s something straight out of a trashy romance novel like “His for the Taking,” or “Baby Don’t Forget My Number.” (Those are real titles, by the way. Yes, people get paid for stuff like that). “Erica let her jeans fall to the floor, revealing her spicy, honey-brushed thighs.” I mean—right?

Anyway, regardless of the title, these thighs are seriously tasty, and pretty darn easy to make. Thigh meat in general is juicier than breast meat, so there’s that. I was surprised to find this recipe on Cooking Light, actually (via My Recipes). I always thought thighs were bad for you. But this recipe calls for boneless, skinless thighs, which helps the health factor. It also cuts down the cooking time significantly. This might seem like a lot of spice, but the honey really balances that out, so I may actually put a little more spice in next time.

2  teaspoons  garlic powder
2  teaspoons  chili powder
1  teaspoon  salt
1  teaspoon  ground cumin
1  teaspoon  paprika
1/2  teaspoon  ground red pepper
8  skinless, boneless chicken thighs
6  tablespoons  honey
2  teaspoons  cider vinegar

Start by preheating your broiler. Then mix all the spices together in a bowl. Toss in those thighs and make sure they are good and covered with the spices before putting them on a broiler pan (which you have coated with cooking spray). Then just broil the chicken for 5 minutes, flip ‘em and go for another 5.

In the meantime, mix honey and vinegar in a small bowl. I read a tip that if you spray your tablespoon or measuring cup with cooking spray it helps the honey come out instead of coating the utensil. It worked moderately well for me. I usually just eyeball it to avoid the problem. Anyway, just brush the mixture on one side of the chicken, making sure you coat it well. Broil one minute. Repeat on the other side and broil one more minute. And you’re done! Do not try this with bone-in thighs! You’d have to increase the cooking time significantly, and probably wouldn’t want to broil it.

There you have it. Juicy, tasty, slighty trashy, spicy honey-brushed thighs. I bet this would be a big hit rubbed on breasts too. Chicken breasts. Get your mind out of the gutter. 

(Click here for printable recipe)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oatmeal-Basil Meatballs

Apparently, I like to experiment with my meatballs. The first time I ever attempted meatballs was in June for Iron Chef Melon. Now, those were some amazing meatballs, even though the recipe was a bit unique (those meatballs were served in a watermelon puree - the Iron Chef winner of the evening, I should add!).

Tonight, I tried meatballs again. I started with my ground turkey and tossed it into a bowl, only to realize that I had no breadcrumbs. How do you make meatballs without breadcrumbs?
I went to the internet, and of all of the options, I was intrigued with the idea to swap out oatmeal for breadcrumbs. Those of you that think this is odd, keep in mind, last time I experimented with meatballs, this brought us to watermelon puree. Oatmeal is rather tame in comparison.

So apparently, I’m not fated to make normal meatballs. I am, however, fated to make awesome meatballs. This recipe is a purely original creation. I’m not saying it’s an original idea, just not inspired from any website or cookbook. I always keep my fingers crossed when I attempt such things, but this one was a huge success. De-lish.

1 pound lean ground turkey
1 egg
½ cup uncooked oatmeal
Basil (about 5 shakes of the spice bottle, or to taste)
Garlic powder (about 5 shakes of the spice bottle, or to taste).

In a bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly (this is best done with your hands). Form mix into small balls. Brown in a skillet. Either mix with spaghetti directly or cook for a minute in spaghetti sauce before mixing with pasta, (I did the latter).
This was simple and delicious.

A tip: Something that I have regretted on both occasions in my life when I have made meatballs is that I have taken the ground meat out of the fridge, dumped it in a bowl, and dove straight into the mixing and such, throwing my hands right in. Doing so just after the meat is pulled from the fridge is the hand equivalent to brain freeze. I’d suggest letting the meat sit outside of the fridge for a few minutes before starting.

Happy cooking!

(Click here for printable recipe)

Iron Chef in R Home Magazine

As many of you already know, our most recent Iron Chef party (Iron Chef Coffee), hosted in Cara's lovely home, is featured in the November/December issue of R Home Magazine. The article was written by our own Kris Spisak and features some gorgeous photos of our delicious food and bright smiling faces! I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy yet, but I'm chomping at the bit to see how it turned out. Be sure to check it out! The magazine is available on newsstands now!