Wish Upon A Dish: June 2016

June 22, 2016

Indian Spiced Rice Balls with a Ginger/Lime Yogurt Dipping Sauce.

It's that time again.
Recipe ReDux monthly challenge. I wasn't sure I would have the time to post anything but there was a dish I have wanted to make for too long to remember, so I put the ingredients on my shopping list and crossed my fingers.

I figured if I miss the deadline I could still post the recipe.

June Theme: Celebrate a ReDuxer!
For ReDux’s birthday month, let’s celebrate each other! Pick a fellow ReDuxer, go to their blog and either make one of their recipes or create one of your own inspired by theirs. In your post, give your readers a little intro to this blogger, what you like about this blogger/their blog and either link to their recipe you made or share your brand new “inspired” creation.

My Reduxer is The Foodie Physician and her recipe was Shrimp Biriyani and can be found here at Cooking with the Doc. Sonali (The Doc) won our California Dairy contest a few months back and her entry impressed me enough to want to spend some time checking her other recipes out.

I always wanted to make Biryani (or Biriyani) but the fact that The Nudge will not eat Indian food, I put this into my wish list. When I saw this challenge I knew it was time.

I thought if I made a small side using Indian spices I could persuade him to be more adventurous.
It worked. I served him a small scoop of just the rice a few days ago (which he thought tasted good) and it was time to check my dish off my list.
By the way, I did not tell him it was of Indian origin. He thinks curry is in all of them. And until recently I could not figure out what spice made the curry unpalatable to us. It was fenugreek. Now I make my own without the fenugreek.

I took that rice and make an Indian version of that iconic Italian appetizer Arancini.
I have to say, these came out perfect and with an orange/ginger/line yogurt dipping sauce, were delicious.

Biryani Rice Balls
Makes about 24 balls

Spice blend:
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 star anise
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

* 1 cup dried Jasmine rice, rinsed
* 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil like safflower or grapeseed
* 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
* 1 1/2 teaspoons grated or minced garlic
* 1 teaspoon grated or minced ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
* 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper

* 1/2 cup white sauce
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in saucepan. Mix 1/2 cup flour with 1/4 cup milk and add it to the butter. Once it thickens remove from the heat and let it cool. Mix 1 egg into cooled sauce.
* 1 cup dried bread crumbs in a shallow bowl (I use aluminum pie plates)
* Low moisture mozzarella (Sorrento is my go to)
* 1/2 cup minced chicken, ham, or beef
* 2 cups prepared biryani (recipe above)
* Vegetable oil for frying

1 container plain Greek yogurt
Mandarin Orange Ginger Vinaigrette

Cook the rice at least the day before and refrigerate. All the spices get into the rice and it does make a huge difference.

I made my rice in the microwave.
Rinse the rice and place it into a microwave safe casserole dish with a lid.
Add the spices and the vegetables.
Cook on high for 5 minutes.
Cook on medium power (#5) for 15 minutes. Let it sit, covered until it cools.

Starting with 1/4 of white sauce, add to rice mixture and stir. We want a consistency of wet sand. Something moist enough to hold a ball shape but dry enough that it won't stick to your hands. If it's too dry add 1 tablespoon at a time until it is moist but not mushy (like a moist meatloaf mix).

Using a 1 ounce scoop (medium), wet your hands, release the scoop into the palm of your hand and with a melon baller, make a divot in the rice and stuff some meat and a mozzarella cube into the divot, wet your fingers and work the rice up, around and over the cheese. Roll like a meatball and drop into the dry breadcrumbs. Coat the balls with the crumbs and place on a sheet pan. The white sauce acts as the glue that will adhere the crumbs. Place the balls into the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Fill a dutch oven with 1 1/2 inches of oil and heat to 350 degrees.
Using a slotted spider, slide 2 balls into the oil at one time. These fry up quickly, probably only 2-3 minutes.

 I served these at room temperature and could have eaten them all!!!

June 12, 2016

Layered Turkey Cutlets with Walnut Stuffing and Kale - We ♥ Walnuts! #Sponsored Recipe Contest

Can we talk?
I am about to share a little secret with you. Up till last week I rarely ate walnuts except in a salad, as long as they were glazed and came in little bags.
You're probably wondering why I would participate in a recipe contest where the main ingredient was walnuts.

California walnuts challenged us Recipe Reduxers to incorporate whole foods and walnuts into creative pairings to share with our readers. I knew they were healthy but that was about it, so before I took on this challenge I did research (especially for an ingredient not at the top of my culinary list).

I will make this short and sweet because we are all busy people and nothing bores us more than science talk.

Walnuts are bitter. No, they aren't mad. They fall into the taste category 'bitter' (along with sweet, sour & salty). Walnuts contain iodine. When they are fresh off the tree, they are green and sweet. This is when they are best for pickling. As the nut matures, that iodine tempers and folks in the know will often store them in burlap bags to age.
Most of us don't want to plan that far in advance. We want to toss and eat. Don't blame you, I am all about the toss. So, how do you make that bitter taste better?
Here comes the secret.....

Walnuts have the ability to balance out high-fat foods because they have a fair amount of polyunsaturated fat and have a rich, buttery texture.
Bitter vegetables like sour cherries or grapefruits, along with cabbage and endive, have the same effect on walnuts that walnuts have on sweet ingredients.
Bitter foods + Walnuts = Perfect Bite 
Walnuts + Sweets = Perfect Balance
Too much richness or sweet would result in an unbalanced dish, so the key to taming is in the pairings. Who doesn't strive for that perfect bite?

"I received free samples of California Walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time."

There are 3 walnut pairings in this dish, mushrooms/walnuts for the stuffing, walnuts/Parmesan for the sauce and walnuts/kale for the base.
I used one skillet, 3 times and a processor, 2 times. No need to even clean them out after use.
Easy Peasy!

Kale? Oh, yes.
See the sauteed kale under all that goodness?
Keep scrolling.

There she is.........
Did you know that kale is also a 'bitter' food?
Secret.  The Nudge thought it was sweet spinach. A great way to fool those who aren't enamored about kale.

I used pre-sliced turkey cutlets from the meat counter but chicken, while having less flavor than turkey, is much easier to find.

I sprinkled seasoned salt on both sides of the cutlets and sauteed in olive oil.
I shingled the cutlets over the kale.

Processed and sauteed onions, mushrooms and walnuts were added to a cooked brown & wild rice mix and spooned between each cutlet.

I blended walnuts to a fine crumb & added Parmesan cheese & brandy to make a creamy sauce.
Under the broiler right before serving to caramelize the top and dinner is ready.

This dinner is loaded with nutrition. Kale, brown rice, lean turkey, mushrooms and the star, California walnuts.
As you can see by the chart, walnuts rank second in essential plant-based omega-3 as well as 4g of protein and 2g of fiber.

Now you see why California walnuts should become a staple in your pantry.

I am so sold on this nut that I am even going to make a promise to myself to add walnuts to as many meals & snacks as I can.
I plan on living to 100. Want to join me?

Let's get cooking......

Layered Turkey Cutlets with Walnut-Mushroom Stuffing and Kale
makes 6 servings (2 cutlets each)

* 12 thin sliced turkey cutlets
* Seasoned salt
* 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
* 1 pound button mushrooms
* 2 cups chopped onions
* 2 cups cooked long grain & brown rice
* 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
* 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces, divided (1 + 1/2c)
* 1 bunch chiffonade dinosaur kale
* salt & pepper to taste
* 3 ounces reduced fat goat cheese
* 1/4 cup cognac or brandy
* 1 egg yolk
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute seasoned cutlets on both sides until they get some color. Remove to a platter.
2. Process onions, walnuts and mushrooms until fine texture.
3. In the same skillet you cooked the cutlets in, add another tablespoon olive oil and saute processed onion/mushroom/walnut stuffing mixture until it is dry and add that to the rice mixture. Remove to a bowl and add the tarragon.
4. To the same skillet, add the kale and a 1/4 cup water. Cover and steam until wilted. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Remove to a platter and spread evenly from end to end.
5. In the processor, process remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, goat cheese, cognac and egg yolk. Thin with water if too thick. Should be the consistency as a heavy cream. Remove to a bowl and stir in Parmesan.
6. Layer the cutlets over the kale mixture.
7. Divide the rice/mushroom mixture into 11 portions. Starting with a cutlet, spoon 1 portion of stuffing over cutlet. Repeat with the remaining cutlets, ending with just a cutlet.
8. Spoon the sauce over the layered cutlets and place under the broiler until browned, about 4 minutes. Watch this carefully.


Mujaddara with Crispy Eggplant & Walnuts - We ♥ Walnuts! #Sponsored Recipe Contest

If you are looking for an interesting and uniquely flavored way to serve lentils, make mujaddara.
A dish of Lebanon descent, it grabbed my attention while researching recipe ideas for this contest sponsored by California Walnuts
The basic ingredients are brown lentils, white rice, caramelized onions and spices.
I added my own spice blend, chopped walnuts, pomegranate molasses, yogurt and crispy eggplant.

"I received free samples of California Walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time."

While traditionally prepared in a Dutch oven on the stove, I prepared mine in a slow cooker.
(Tip: leftover rice? just omit from the cooking directions and add when done).

Walnuts have a fair amount of polyunsaturated fat and have a rich, buttery texture.
They also have 2.5g of plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, 4g of protein and 2g of fiber in just one ounce.
Walnuts have the unique ability to tame bitter and equalize sweet so with the sweetness of the caramelized onions, the bitter pomegranate molasses and the tart yogurt, made them the perfect whole food to add to this already healthy dish.

I love the addition of the crispy eggplant and while the slow cooker did it's thing I julliened a small eggplant and fried them in a mere inch of olive oil.
A final dusting with the same spices cooked with the lentils and homemade pomegranate molasses on dollops of thickened plain yogurt make this a meal you could serve to company.
I believe you will make this often. Can be served at room temperature and makes a good addition to a pot luck or backyard party.

Mujaddara with Crispy Eggplant and Walnuts
makes 6 cups

Crispy Eggplant:
* 1 small eggplant, julienned or spiralized
* olive oil for frying
* 1 teaspoon lentil spice mixture (mix to follow) + 2 teaspoons salt

1. Heat on medium, a heavy bottomed frying pan with 1" of olive oil until the handle of a wooden spoon sizzles when placed into the oil (about 7 minutes)
2. Have a sheet pan lined with paper towels sitting nearby.
3. Add half the julienned eggplant to the oil and fry until gold brown. Remove from the oil and season with half the spice mixture.
4. Repeat and when done, place the sheet pan in a 170 degree warming oven until ready to eat.

Caramelized Onions:
* 2 large (or 4 medium) sweet onions, sliced into 1/8" half moons
* 2 tablespoons olive oil

1. In a heavy covered skillet set on low, cook the onions in the olive oil for 40-45 minutes or until amber in color.
2. Reserve half and place the other into the insert of a slow cooker.

Lentils & Rice:
* 1 cup long grain while rice
* 1 cup brown lentils
* 3 cups broth, your choice
* 1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
* 1 teaspoon allspice (+ 1/4 teaspoon for eggplant)
* 1 teaspoon cumin (+ 1/4 teaspoon for eggplant)
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander (+ 1/4 teaspoon for eggplant)
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (+ 1/8 teaspoon for eggplant)
* Pinch nutmeg (+ pinch for eggplant)
* 2 teaspoons salt (+ 1 teaspoon for eggplant)

1. With half the onions already in the insert of a slow cooker, add all the rest of the ingredients and cook on Low for 6 hours or High for 3 hours. Allow the cooked mixture to sit for 30 minutes before removing to a serving platter.
2. Gently spoon the reserved caramelized onion over the rice and lentils, then place the crispy eggplant over them.
3. Spoon dollops of the yogurt over the eggplant and then spoon a teaspoon of pomegranate molasses over the yogurt.