Asian Turkey Meatballs

Asian Turkey Meatballs

You guys are all seeing the Internet hoopla about “The Dress” aren’t you?

For those that aren’t, you should so you can join in on the conversation. Here ya go: check it out.

See? Now, let’s say it all together. What colors is the dress?

BLUE AND BLACK.

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Wait, what?! I know some of you guys aren’t like Jas and ACTUALLY see white and gold? What’s the matter with you? The Dress is blue and black; blue and black, I tell you!

This actually sparked a debate in my house last night; me and Ashley stand by the assertion that the dress is blue and black. Jas and my mom are convinced it’s white and gold. We were split right down the middle. I just couldn’t see it. I didn’t understand. It was a mystery.

But apparently the whole thing boils down to the ability of the cones in our eye retinas to mix and process colors through out brains. The people that see blue and black have cones that are better able to do this; people that see white and gold have cones that are…different.

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(Ha ha Jas.)

But in all fairness, since last night I have taken another couple looks at the picture (this is all  over social media by now so it’s kind of impossible not to) and I will admit: if I try really, really, REALLY hard…then I can see the dress as white and gold. It’s like mentally flicking a light switch on in my brain and literally ‘forcing’ myself to see white and gold. It only lasts for a few seconds, but it does work. Honestly it reminds me of one of those optical illusion pictures where there are actually two drawings within one and depending on whether or not you’re left brained or right brained, you see one or the other.

My first instinct with this dress will always make me see blue and black, but if I try to, then I can see white and gold.

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I know what you’re thinking: “Jess. What does The Dress have to do with this post?”

I was getting to that. See, this post has been in my Posts folder on the WordPress dashboard for nearly a month. I’ve been purposely passing it over in favor of other recipes and at one point, considered deleting it altogether. It’s not that this is a bad recipe; it’s actually delicious.

The problem was I just didn’t like the way the pictures turned out. Or at least most times, I didn’t.

Photographing brown food is really hard, guys. If you have crap lighting, then forget about; it’s not gonna work. But even under the best lighting circumstances imaginable, there’s still the risk that the dish you’re shooting will turn out looking…not appetizing.

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I did what I could to prevent this from happening; including other colors,making sure my sauce was fresh and shiny and sticky, and creating texture with sesame seeds…but when it was all said and done I still wasn’t sure.

At one point, I would look at these pictures and think that the meatballs looked good. Then the next day I’d look at them and think they looked like….

Well, you get it.

But today I feel like they don’t look too shabby. And considering I DID put in the work in cooking and photographing them, I figure I’d make it worthwhile and just put the friggin post up regardless. You guys be the judge.

Just think of it like The Dress photo; give it a few tries and see if you can see things differently than my more negative/self-depreciating side. Let me know if it works. And if it doesn’t, then do me a favor: don’t feel obligated to point it out. Just don’t tell me. Deal?

Oh yeah and Happy Fiesta Friday #57 at The Novice Gardener.

fiesta-friday-badge-button-i-party

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Asian Turkey Meatballs

Recipe Adapted from Food Network Magazine

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Ingredients

For the Meatballs:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (about 1/4 head)
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 2 -inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha chile sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated

Directions

1. Make the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer the cabbage to a plate to cool.

2. Wipe out the pan, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and the mushrooms. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the plate with the cabbage to cool.

3. Lightly beat the eggs and egg white in a large bowl. Add the pork, scallions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and cornstarch. Add the cabbage, mushrooms and a few grinds of pepper and mix with your hands until just combined (do not overmix). Dampen your hands and shape the meat mixture into 18 balls (about 2 inches each); arrange on the prepared baking sheet.

4. Make the sauce: Mix the hoisin sauce, Sriracha, vinegar, sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl; set aside 1/2 cup for serving. Brush the meatballs with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake until cooked through, 18 to 22 minutes. Serve in lettuce leaves with the reserved sauce.

Sticky Hoisin Chicken

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Throwing the word ‘sticky’ in front of just about any food has the potential to boost its appeal up by approximately 45%.

It’s true. Well…sort of. I kinda made that up. Just a little. Okay, so I made up the whole 45% thing.  But not because I don’t think it’s true, because I definitely could believe that it is. Think about it- foods that are sticky are usually the the types of things that make little messes on our fingers and lips that are good for us to lick and smack up to the last drop. We don’t care if they  make a mess- we’re willing to get down and dirty to enjoy them.

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Some of my favorite sticky foods consist of Snickers candy bars, crunchy peanut butter, honey, syrup, Rice Krispie Treats, caramel, sour gummy worms, sticky buns, Gushers (do they even still make those?), pecan pie-

I can definitely keep going, but you guys get the point.

One thing that I noticed about all those things though, is that they’re all ‘sweet’ things. But don’t think that my 45% Rule of Sticky Food doesn’t apply to savory food. It definitely does.

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Case in point: this dish. Guys- the word ‘sticky’ doesn’t just boost this chicken’s appeal up by 45%. Try doubling that number. And then some. Forget every takeout dish you ever had at your local Chinese restaurant. They don’t matter anymore. God knows I love chicken, but even this exceeded my expectations.

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For those unfamiliar with it, I always think of Hoisin sauce as the Asian version of ketchup or barbecue sauce. It’s quite sweet, but not quite as cloying as say, plum sauce. It’s my favorite ingredient to use when cooking Asian-inspired dishes, and the best part of it is that it has that ‘sticky sauce’ effect.

This recipe in and of itself didn’t create enough sauce for me, so I decided to tweak it a little bit. After the chicken was done baking, I poured off the excess juices that were in the pan into a saucepan, then I made the recipe for a marinade again and added it to the saucepan over high heat with about a tablespoon of corn starch. I let it cook until it began to bubble and thicken to that lovely, sticky consistency I was looking for. After it cooled down, I poured it over the finished chicken.

And voila. Sticky Hoisin Chicken. It was thoroughly enjoyed by yours truly and her family with these Baked Egg Rolls, but it would also go well with Low Carb Lo Mein Noodles. Or by itself- that would work too.

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Sticky Hoisin Chicken

Recipe Courtesy of Oprah.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or white wine
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 12 small cloves)
  • 4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts halves (about 3 pounds)

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine hoisin sauce, wine, ketchup, soy sauce and garlic.

2. Trim chicken breasts of any excess fat and place in bowl. Toss to coat and place in refrigerator to marinate, about 10 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. Cover a jelly roll pan with foil; arrange chicken skin side up, spooning marinade on top. Bake until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a breast reads 170°, 40 to 50 minutes.

 Transfer chicken to a platter; serve warm or at room temperature.

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