Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: May 2018
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Uyghur Nan Bread #CooktheBooksClub


Well, here I am flying in for Cook the Books Club at the very last second!  I’ve had the book read for ages, but just didn’t have the time or motivation to make a recipe.

Why was I so unmotivated?

Well, you can read my GoodReads review of Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop (also if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – anytime a title is *that* long, the book is certain to be pretentious)


Shark's Fin And Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in ChinaShark's Fin And Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was ok for a memoir I enjoyed learning about Chinese culture and how very different not only the food but also the people and culture are in different regions.

At times, the book was overly self-congratulatory. At other times, the foods describes were gag-worthy and I thought I'd scream if I read the words "offal" and "stench" and "tang of urine" describing foods anymore.

Ok, I just changed my rating from a 3 to a 2 - ick.

By the end, I was skimming to get through it. The book should have ended 4 chapters earlier. The book became depressing and boring as the author felt the need to wax on about endangered species, pollution, and climate change. While all of these topics are real issues in modern day China, the way in which they were presented was pretentious and boring.

The final chapter tried to lighten the mood but only mildly succeeded.

And the epilogue went right back to self-congratulatory pretentiousness.

Is this worth reading?

Sure, but I skip around to the good parts

View all my reviews

Oy.

I wasn’t making offal (*hurk*) or pretty much any of the recipes included in the text – they were either vile or included such difficult to obtain ingredients (remember I’m in the sparsely populated great plains region) that I couldn’t do it.

I thought of just making a stir fry. But since all of my stir fries are basically the same teriyaki-ish base it felt like a cop out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Spinach Salad with Gyro Turkey Meatballs


So, I almost missed this month’s Fantastical Food Fight – what with graduate school finals, and romaine trying to kill us and all.


Sarah of A fantastical Sharing of Recipes hosts each month as participants create something based on the monthly theme - this month's food fight is: Salad!

So yesterday, yes yesterday, I finally had some spinach (it will be a long, long time until I trust romaine again *shudder* (ps – if you’re not in the US or are in the US and living under a rock, romaine has been making friends with E. Coli lately and has been recalled)) and decided to try and make something for this food fight!

I had no real dinner plan other than, “swing by the grocery store while Dude is at piano and see what meat is on sale”.

Honestly, I was expecting to buy chicken breasts or pork loin or something.  But no, it was ground turkey that was on sale.  Hmmmm…

It definitely called for some creativity.  I wanted my food fight salad to be a main dish salad with some protein, but ground meat is not general what I think to combine with salad!



I ultimately decided that the ground turkey had to be transformed into meatballs.  But turkey meatballs are boring so they needed some amazing spices.

For some reason, I was reminded of my Gyro-Style Pork Salads and decided to try a turkey meatball version – with an amazing tzatziki dressing this time!

Though I’m the only one who really liked the tzatziki dressing (my family and I are all pretty like-minded when it comes to under-dressing our salads), the rest was a hit with the whole family (and I couldn’t get enough of the dressing *with* the salad!

It was so delicious and a welcome break after eating rather heavily during finals week (I rocked by finals, by the way – woot!!) I’m super glad I was able to participate and stretch myself with this recipe!



Spinach Salad with Gyro Turkey Meatballs
Inspired by Food & Wine 

Tzatziki Dressing
½ cucumber, peeled and diced
1/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh chives
Salt & pepper
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Meatballs
1 pound ground turkey
¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
1 egg
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Salad
Fresh baby spinach
Cucumber, diced
Kalamata olives
Avocado, sliced
Pita chips


To make the dressing, place the cucumber, yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chives in a mini food processor or blender.  Pulse until smooth.  Add the feta and pulse to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the meatballs, mix all meatball ingredients until combined.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook meatballs until completely cooked through, flipping once.


To make the salad, place spinach on salad plates.  Top with cucumbers, Kalamata olives, avocado, and meatballs.  Drizzle with tzatziki dressing.  Garnish with pita chips and serve.







Thursday, May 10, 2018

Crunchy N'Dizi



Wow, has this month flown by!

It’s already time for the Eat the World challenge again.


You guys –

Evelyn was taking it easy on us choosing Cuba, Ireland, and Thailand so far.  This month, she chose Kenya.

Not only am I completely unfamiliar with Kenyan food, it is also difficult to find authentic recipes online!  Or at least ones that I could convince my family to eat.

As I researched, it became clear that desserts, if present at all on the Kenyan table, are usually fruit-based.

Eventually I found a recipe for Crunchy N’Dizi and I was intrigued.  In this recipe, bananas are dipped in butter, rolled in peanuts and roasted.  The over-weight American in me wondered if I shouldn’t be adding some sugar somewhere along the way, but I fought the urge and made the recipe as written.

I popped the n’dizi out of the oven and gave one a try and...meh.

Not so great.

But then I reminded myself that these were meant to be a topping, not a standalone (at least in the preparation I saw).  I dusted them with cinnamon (because cinnamon is delicious and plays a prominent role in Kenyan cooking) and put them on top of some cinnamon multigrain pancakes

Friday, May 4, 2018

Roasted Asparagus & Carrots #BrunchWeek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.



Who loves roasted veggies???

*raises hand enthusiastically*

I’m a huge veggie fan – I like vegetable way better than most fruits - apples and watermelon are the only fruits I consistently love.  Well, I also love strawberries but mostly in pie or margarita form or otherwise doused in sugar.

So I’m all for my roasted veggies at brunch – or actually brinner because my family is way into breakfast for dinner and usually too lazy to make brunch!

It was so perfect that there were awesome brunch week sponsors that provided some of my favorite vegetables for recipes inspiration!

Asparagus (my all-time favorite brunch vegetable) from Michigan Asparagus.


Fresh carrots from Cal-Organic Farms.


Plus, a nice punch a flavor from capers provided by Cento Fine Foods!



I love to keep the flavor profile simple when I roast vegetable to let the natural flavors shine through, so these veggies are lightly dressed with balsamic vinegar, salt, & pepper.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Macerated Strawberry Sauce #BrunchWeek

  
This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples Dixie Crystals Sugar and LorAnn Emulsions to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.


A few weeks ago, I made Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes with sugar strawberries on top.

Then I got to thinking – what if I let those strawberries macerate overnight and added a little vanilla?

I had some fabulous sugar from #brunchweek sponsor, Dixie Crystals



And three amazing emulsions from LorAnn, so I decided to give it a whirl!


You guys – it was such an amazing choice and so perfect on our leftover pancakes!  I hope you’ll give it a try too! 

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