Saturday, January 21, 2012

Turkey Balls

Update on variety of ingredients in Turkey Ball Recipe

Updated photo by The Souper for Turkey Balls using the ingredients shown above.

Turkey Balls by The Souper (photo from first, original recipe.)

How do you make a favorite comfort food a little healthier? Without losing texture and flavor, all you have to do is switch from using ground beef to a good quality ground turkey, of course! That said, you will need to spice the turkey balls up with add-ins or cooking them in a flavored sauce. Update to this recipe: A wonderful pairing of flavor is to add White Horseradish and Sweet Pepper Relish. Yum. Note: I use Gluten-free Horseradish.

The first time I prepared a ground turkey dish was tossing the rounded balls of fresh ground turkey and cooking them in a spicy, sweet and sour sauce in a large pot on the stove top. These were a big hit with guests and of course the turkey balls with sauce partnered well with rice or couscous for a complete plateful.

To cook a very simple, tasty version of turkey balls, I prepared fresh ground turkey with ingredients as if preparing a meatloaf. Everyone has their own version of meatloaf, but I find using Panko Bread Crumbs to be an ingredient giving a meat or turkey mixture some body so the compacted meat does not become too dense. By baking the seasoned ground turkey balls, one saves some calories by avoiding a frying process for cooking.

These baked ground turkey balls can be served as an appetizer with a favorite dipping sauce or served as a main dish along side of a healthy carb and a side salad. Either way, these tiny balls of comfort are satisfying to the palate and are fun to eat.

Basic Recipe:

What you will need:
Lage mixing bowl
Small mixing bowl
Fork or Whisk
Wooden spoon
Lage baking sheet
Parchment paper
Spatula or cooking tongs
Pot holders
Large serving platter or large serving bowl

Fresh ground turkey, one pound
One whole egg OR Two eggwhites
Ketchup, 1/4 cup
Worcestshire Sauce, 1/4 cup
Kosher salt, one teaspoon
Black pepper, one teaspoon, crushed
Smoked Paprika, one teaspoon
Panko Bread Crumbs, 3/4 cups or more for consistancy to form balls
Optional: add an herb or choice or chopped, fresh spinach
Update to recipe:
Horseradish, white, 1/4 cup (or more for personal taste.)
Sweet Pepper Relish, 1/4 cup (or more for personal taste.)

The Cooking Process:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook turkey balls for about 20-30 minutes until they are slightly browned. Do not overcook or they will be too dry.

With the fresh ground turkey in a large bowl, add a well-mixed egg (or only eggwhites) from the small bowl that has been mixed with the fork or whisk.
To the turkey egg mixture, add the remaining ingredients and mix with the wooden spoon to a consistancy to form a small ball with clean heands.
Continue to form balls of mixture and put them on a lined baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put the baking sheet into the preheated oven to bake.
Check often to make sure the turkey balls are not browning too much.
When the turkey balls look browned on the top, shut the oven off and remove the baking sheet from the oven.
Remove the turkey balls on to a clean platter.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Potato Latkes

Potato Latkes aka Potato Pancakes

Keeping it "old school" I prepared fresh, homemade Potato Latkes (Potato Pancakes) for family and friends this past December for the holiday of Chanukah (or Hannukah). Using a traditional recipe from my well-used cookbook (btw those are the best recipes coming from a worn-out cookbook) I had an extra challenge: make Gluten-free Potato Pancakes! No problem since I enjoy several Gluten-free products and know where the very large supply of Gluten-free products are in my market.

Among the many varieties of Gluten-free Pastas, Cookies, Cake Mixes, I saw a bag of Gluten-free Brown Rice Flour! Yes, this would be an excellent exchange for regular white flour. With the little amount I needed for this Latke Recipe, I purchased the Brown Rice Flour and began the process of preparing Potato Latkes as usual.

Guess what? There was NO difference in flavor or texture from substituting Brown Rice Flour for the White Flour. So simple and stress-free!

Brown Rice Flour
(I am not being paid for mentioning this product.)

Preparing this recipe I did need to keep it simple, therefore, I did use a food processor to grate the potatoes and onion. To prepare Latkes the "old-school way," one would grate the potatoes and onion on a box grater which produces a smoother texture. The flavor is still the same with grating potatoes and onion in a food processor producing larger pieces and more string-like crispies as seen in the photo of Latkes cooking in the fry pan.

Serving suggestions for Potato Latkes: a side of applesauce or sour cream and perhaps a plain, thick yogurt.
This recipe produces 20-25 Latkes depending on size of choice.
Preparation and cooking time is about 30 minutes but there is a "refrigeration time" of about an hour before the grating process!
Also, these delicious Potato Latkes make a great appetizer or side dish any time of the year, not just for a holiday celebration.

What you will need:
Food processor or large box grater
Large kitchen knife
Large cutting board
Vegetable peeler
Two large mixing bowls
Large colander
1 small mixing bowl
whisk or fork
Wooden spoon
Large fry pan
Pot holders
Large baking sheet
Paper towels

(Optional: preheat oven to 300 degrees F. to keep Potato Latkes warm on a baking sheet, with paper towel liner removed, until serving time.)

6 large Russett or Yucon Gold Potatoes preferred, all-purpose baking potatoes ok also: peel potatoes
1 large onion, peeled
2 well-beaten eggs
2 tablespoons flour (All-purpose White or Brown Rice Flour)
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed Black Pepper
4 plus extra tablespoons of Canola or other vegetable oil.

The Process:
Peel potatoes and onion.
Soak for about one hour in a large bowl of cold water in the refrigerator.
After the soaking in cold water, drain the water from the large bowl.
Cut the potatoes and onion on the cutting board with the kitchen knife into pieces that are able to fit into the tube of the food processor.
Using the grating attachment for your food processor, grate both the potatoes and onion. (you may have to emptly the bowl of the food processor when it gets full and put the mixture into a large bowl and continue to grate the remaining potatoes and pieces of onion.
At this point after the grating process, you have two options: drain all the liquid out of the mixture from grating by pressing the mixture down in a large colander. Then continue with adding remaining ingredients to the drained mixture in a large bowl.
Option: further grate the mixture in the bowl of your food processor with the blend attachment to get a smoother texture to the mixture of grated potatoes and onion. Then drain all remaining liquid carefully out of that mixture in a strainer with small holes. Then continue adding the remaining ingredients to the blended mixture in a large bowl.
Either process mentioned above will create a flavorful Potato Latke, it is an option for the texture you prefer.
The most important step in the process is draining the liquid away from the grated potatoes and onion. Discard the drained liquid.
Add the remaining ingredients to the grated mixture: beaten eggs, flour of choice, salt and pepper.
Mix all the ingredients carefully in a large bowl with the wooden spoon.

The Cooking Process:
In a large fry pan, add some of the cooking oil and turn the stove burner to a medium-high temperature.
When the oil in the fry pan is hot in just a minute or two, carefully spoon the mixture into the fry pan. The cooking mixture will begin to sizzle and in a few minutes the edges of the latkes will begin to brown. At that time, carefully turn the Latkes over with a spatula to continue to brown on the other side.
When both sides of the Latke is browned, put the Latke on the prepared baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb the extra oil from cooking.
Make several Latkes at one time, but do not crowd the fry pan as it will decrease the temperature of the oil in the fry pan.
Add a little more oil when the fry pan looks dry. It is the oil that makes the Latke have the brownish color, therefore, crispy.
The outer layer of the Latke should be crispy, keeping the center of the Latke softer.

Serve the cooked Latkes immediately on a clean platter or remove the paper towel layer of the baking sheet and put the cooked Latkes onto the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until serving time.