Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gobble Gobble...What's for Dinner? Turkeyballs!


Why gobble gobble? Cause I make my meatballs with lean turkey breast, and trust me, in this preparation you won’t be saying “Where’s the Beef”.
As a gal always trying to keep the waistline fit and trim (failing but trying); I replaced ground meat with turkey a number of years ago as there are a lot of health benefits associated with lean ground turkey. That said, LindySez “BEWARE”, read the label. Lean ground turkey is not the same as ground breast, although you could mix them together and still be better off than you would be with beef; especially since you would need to buy beef that has some fat in it to get the same texture that you will get from these Turkey Balls. Really!

Here’s the breakdown:


Fresh Ground Turkey Breast has (per 4 ounce serving) – 120 calories with total fat of 1.5 grams; 0 saturated; 0 trans (and we all know now to avoid those bad trans fats right?)…Fresh Lean Turkey (mixture of dark and light meats) – 140 calories with 7 grams of fat; 2 of those are saturated; still no trans fats… Lean Ground Beef (that’s 97% lean) weighs in at 170 calories with 8 grams fat; 3 of those are saturated; and again no trans. So the hands down healthy choice is Ground Turkey Breast; lean ground turkey and beef showing not too much of a difference in numbers, but overall, the texture of the turkey will still come out better IMHO with this recipe.

You might also see that I never use cooking spray on my pans. That’s because the propellant they use to make that oil come out puts a film on your baking pan that becomes like cement. If you do use something like Pam, you probably notice over time you simply can’t get the pan clean; and if your hubby is like mine and likes to leave the pan in the oven after the foods been removed to give it just that extra bit of baked on goodness, well, let’s just say I was buying new pans on a regular basis. So here’s an idea if you like the convenience of the spray, get a little spray bottle, fill it with oil and voila. Otherwise, I suggest you line your baking pan with foil and then spray it…you can just toss the foil, no harm, no foul.

Here’s another little trick, if you want to taste your meatballs to check the seasonings, and you know that you shouldn’t be eating raw meat…right…we all know not to eat raw poultry especially…make a little ball with some of the meat and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then eat it…I mean taste it…adjust the seasonings and if you want to, do it again. We must taste until we get it right…right?

So if you’ve been paying attention to this blog and had or have a lot of tomatoes in the garden, or rushed out to the Farmer’s market to buy some, you now have your own delicious homemade tomato sauce. If you don’t, then when you check out the recipe, use the canned tomato method, or if you insist, go ahead and use your favorite prepared pasta sauce. If you want some wine with dinner, any light red will do. Try a Chianti, Sangiovese or be adventurous and try another Italian wine, like Primitivo, Dolcetto or Barbera. Add a simple green salad, some garlic bread and let’s call it dinner!


LindySez: Cheers…I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mangia, Eat, Enjoy the Taste of Italy with this Italian Inspired Menu


Labor Day weekend…a time when our thoughts turn toward the long winter months coming ahead.  The kids are back in school, or soon will be (thank god); the days are getting shorter, and for many people, Labor Day signals the time to put away those lawn chairs; cover up the grill and get ready to hunker down.  So why not invite a few people over to celebrate the end of the season with you?  And why not make it a special “vacation” themed party; how about a vacation in Italy?  How about a vacation in Tuscany?  LindySez..WTF…why not?
This menu A Tuscan Vacation Grill, is designed to use all the fresh fruits and vegetables you can find, in their prime, right now.  Of course I recommend going to your local Farmer’s Market, to get your ingredients; keeping that carbon footprint to a minimum, but if you must, a supermarket will do just fine.  And another beautiful thing about this menu is it can be made almost entirely in advance allowing you time to relax and enjoy your own party.
Prep your vegetables (except for the eggplant, it doesn’t do well sitting around) for the Grilled Summer Vegetables a day ahead and store in zip top bags; the dressing can be made at the same time…store it in a jar in the fridge…just remember to take it out a couple of hours before you want to use it so the oils will liquefy again.  The Skewers with Italian Style Chimichurri can also be cut in advance, and really should have an overnight to marinate anyway, so that’s done…when ready to grill them, have the kids put them on the skewers or do it in the morning and keep them on a cookie sheet or in a baking pan, covered and in the refrigerator.  Make the chimichurri and let it sit for at least a couple of hours at room temperature, or make it, store it in the refrigerator and take it out a couple of hours before you need it to allow it to come to room temperature.  Even most of the dessert,Grilled Polenta Cake with Stone Fruit and Olive Oil Vanilla Ice Cream can be made a day or two ahead, you could make the Polenta Cake and store it, covered for a day or two, or three and the ice cream can be kept in the fridge for last minute ice cream making magic, or entirely made in advance and kept frozen (although if you have a hand crank ice cream maker and a few kids they love to make homemade ice cream); or you could buy some Hagen Daz… but what’s the fun of that?  The only thing that really needs some last minute love is the Grilled Tuscan Bread Salad, but that’s so simple to prepare, it will only take a nano second of your time.
LindySez: ” SoSouMe - Open a couple bottles of some good Italian wine, perhaps a chilled Pinot Gris, or a Rosso from Toscana and enjoy these dog days of summer.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lindy Get's Sauced


OK…not that kind of sauced…It’s just getting to the point where I almost am afraid to go out into the garden; how many more zucchini and eight ball squashes (about the size of a bowling ball, not an eight ball by the way) and tomatoes will there be?  I know I will be sad when they are all gone, but right now they just stare at me and yell WORK!  Pick ME…figure out what to do with ME…NOW…before I get any bigger, or riper…NOW Lindy…NOW!  So, I showed them and made sauce.  So there you are you little tomatoes you,  all squished up and in the freezer waiting for winter when all that will be left resembling a tomato is those sad anemic things in the stores they call tomatoes, but we all know, they aren’t really tomatoes.
If you don’t have a garden full of them…go to your local farmer’s market and buy some while they are in their prime.  You don’t need to buy the best of the bunch, as a matter of fact, most of the farmer’s will have a few boxes of “not too pretty and too ripe to sell” tomatoes for the cheap.  Just ask them.
OK…let’s get started…you will need…
Tomatoes
Tomatoes
Tomatoes - sort by color. Although putting different colors together won’t really affect the flavor too much, it will change the color of the final batch.  One year I did a whole batch with yellow tomatoes, then made a Frutti de Mare with them and called it Frutti de Marilyn cause it was blonde, sometimes I crack myself up…




Then add a big non-reactive pot
Non-Reactive Pot
Non-Reactive Pot
non-reactive pot is one that doesn’t allow the acids from the food to react with the composition of the pot.  This enameled 5-quart Dutch oven is a perfect choice.  This one, is from Mario Batali, and is cheaper, but just as good as Le Creuset IMHO.
Prepping the tomatoes
Prepping the tomatoes
Cut the cores from the large tomatoes,  remove the leaves and stems from the smaller ones, but you can leave them whole.
Prepping the tomatoes
Prepping the tomatoes
Pour a little extra virgin olive oil into the pot, put it over a medium heat, and start adding your tomatoes.  You don’t need to wait for them all to be cut up before beginning to add them as they will break down from the bottom.  You can also add just a pinch of salt; but don’t add too much.  Remember LindySez you can always add, but it’s really hard to take out.
Cooking the tomatoes
Cooking the tomatoes
Just keep them simmering, and stir every once in a while to bring the bottom to the top and the top to the bottom.
Almost there
Almost there
Now that the tomatoes are nice and soft and have given up most of their juices, turn them off and let them cool just a bit, cause now we’re going to put them through a food mill…I use the middle medium fine disk, if you want to make sure there are no seeds in your sauce, you can use the smallest one, it just takes a bit more “elbow” grease to get the job done.
Food Mill Disks
Food Mill Disks
Many food mills come with interchangeable disks.
Set the mill over a bowl to for the sauce to go into and then…

Mill away…

Skin and seeds
Skin and seeds
You will be left with this beautiful heap of skins and seeds; great for composting into acid loving plants.
If you don’t have a food mill, you can blend the tomatoes in your blender, use the puree mode.  Once it’s a pretty fine liquid, force it though a fine mesh stainer to remove the skins and seeds.
Now, return the puree to the pot, and over low heat, simmer for about 1 hour, to allow some of the water to evaporate.  This will leave you with a rich tomato sauce.
Rich Tomato Sauce
Rich Tomato Sauce
Let it cool and then either put it into zip top bags or plastic containers.  Label them and stack them in the freezer for a little taste of summer in the middle of winter.
LindySez: It will be worth it!