Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lemongrass Chicken with Fresh Veggies, Mint, and Basil

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You know what feels so great? Being able to fully recreate something you’ve had at a restaurant. You know what also feels so great? Knowing that you have late night in the fridge waiting for you when you’re out at a bar. While the latter is irrelevant to this post, I can’t help but think back to this one time when my second year of college, my roommate Kate and I made nachos for dinner and saved ourselves a perfect late night portion for after we went out. It may have made that month of my life that much better.

Or, for those of you recently out of college, how awesome was it to come home on break and have your favorite snacks awaiting your arrival at home? I’d often come home to the Costco melon-sized muffins and boxes of Ghiradelli brownie mix just ready for my friend Cessie and I to dig into. I can imagine, well, actually I know this because my parents have been very upfront with me about it, that when you’re a parent you’re trying to keep your kids around as long as possible when they come home from college. My mom would always have the snacks at our house, hoping that it would secure our house as the preferred location for friends reunions. In fact, it was and is still fairly successful, and I think I may have taken on this activity as I try to make my house welcoming.

I’ve got a two word recommendation for you: candy. bowl.

There’s an art to the candy bowl and it goes along with the motive behind this dish. There’s a move to get people to come over (the main dish) and then there’s the move to get them to stay (the candy). In this case, I’d say I was cooking with close enough friends where I didn’t really need the candy bowl but it’s seriously so funny to me to see people who visit for the first time light up at the candy bowl. Especially when I have candy in there that I wouldn’t have expected some people to like.

Have nothing to talk about to a friend of a friend who is visiting your party? “um so, can I offer you a reeses egg?”

Trying to console a friend and can’t find the next thing to say? “Ugh, I know, boys right? Let’s discuss over dark chocolate caramel-filled Ghiradelli squares”

It’s all about engaging whomever is around. With this lemongrass chicken dish, I wanted to get my friends involved in what is one of my FAVORITE dishes as of late. At most Vietnamese places, people are always about the pho. I’m really not a huge soup person, so I always go for the lemongrass pork or chicken if they have it. I love the fact that you get this really moist, flavorful cut of meat with a scoop of rice and a mound of raw veggies and fresh herbs. The combination of the fresh herbs with the hot chicken is to die for.

A few months ago, my friend Julia and I frequented a pho place post-karaoke with two of our other friends and I had a very delicious version of this dish. Since then, I’ve been thinking about recreating it and finally got to it about a month ago.

I say I wanted to get everyone engaged because it’s a dish that involves a lot of chopping but little precision. For a group dinner, you want everyone to feel included and like they have “a job.” I’ve found this to be very important with a group of close girls as it makes it so much easier to continue the endless gabbing when there aren’t stressful time constraints or intense skills required to make the dish!!!

One person can cook the meat (or two who can switch off) while the others can chop and make rice. At the end, we ended up just making a big platter of some cooked veggies, some raw veggies, herbs, and the delicioso chicken. I took this recipe from one meant for pork and adjusted it for chicken thighs.

I am VERY confident you can make this and serve to your favorite gals and guys. It’s a great way to experiment with other cuisines and learn about new veggies/herbs. I’ve never cooked with lemongrass before and found it easy to figure out! (considering I looked up a video on youtube for how to cut it :))

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Lemongrass chicken with fresh veggies, herbs, and rice

adapted slightly from this Userealbutter recipe, serves 4 or 5 comfortably (you will NOT have leftovers :))

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 tbsps light brown sugar
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 tbsp shallots, chopped
3 tbsps lemongrass, chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce (or thick soy sauce) – I just used regular light soy sauce from TJs…
1 1/2 tbsps fish sauce
1 tbsp flavorless vegetable oil

1 cup rice

An assortment of cucumbers, carrots, fresh basil, fresh mint, zucchinis, and bell peppers of all colors

1. At least 2 hours before you want to start cooking, marinate the chicken. You could also do this up to 24 hours in advance. I think this is a really important step as you want the chicken to be as flavorful as possible! In the bowl of a large food processor or blender if you don’t have one, puree the lemongrass, shallots, garlic, and brown sugar. As recommended in the original recipe, if you dont have any of these tools, you could totally just chop it up really finely.

2. Add black pepper, fish sauce, soy sauce, and vegetable oil and puree until smooth. Place the chicken thighs in a large freezer bag and pour marinade over top. Swish around the marinade, ensuring all pieces of chicken are evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 24 hours – taking the chicken out about 30 minutes before you want to cook it.

3. When ready to cook, take your chicken out of the refrigerator to bring to room temp. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to boil with a pinch of salt. Once boiling, add rice and bring temp down so the rice is simmering. Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until done.

4. After you’ve poured everyone a glass of wine (yes, Arianna, Kate and Julia, I will admit mine is the smallest), get to work chopping. Rice is a-cooking and chicken is ready for the stove. Ask your friend who is least afraid of raw meat to help you cut up the chicken into strips for sauteeing. You could also grill the thighs whole and chop them up afterwards. Sautee the chicken in batches for about 5-8 minutes on each side, until the pieces are no longer pink.

5. While one or two people are cooking the chicken, sautee some zucchini and peppers. For the raw vegetables, I like carrots and cucumbers julienned like they have at the restaurant. And lastly, for the herbs, chop the basil and mint into small dice or thin strips as it’ll be the garnish for the finished product.

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6. Once the chicken is done, put the veggies, herbs, and chicken on a large platter and let your friends serve from there! I like to start with a bed of rice, topped with chicken and veggies on the side. Make sure to add a generous topping of sriracha in whatever proportion you like. Enjoy! Oh, and don’t forget to offer a piece of candy for your guests on the way out 😉

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“Brinner from the Threeg”

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Here it goes….first guest post (from the one and only Edward. For those of you unfamiliar with “the Threeg,” it refers to an apartment in the land of Buckhead where Ed and his roommates live).
This post is dedicated to my dear friend Miss Katie.  It is truly an honor to have been asked to be the first guest poster for the blog; and you can only image how humbled and flattered I was when the BeetsMe queen herself asserted that I was “the most handsome and culinarily gifted of [her] friends” **

**(In true BeetsMe fashion, we may be taking a few liberties with the facts / quotes here).

Wthout further ado…

 BeetsMe Presents: Brinner from the Threeg

The inspiration for this recipe comes from a Sunday family tradition in the Sampognaro household – Breakfast for Dinner (“Brinner”).  Mama Carmen was always a visionary in finding the most efficient ways to feed the present and future physicians of America, and the Brinner tradition is no exception — no better way to get rid of the Sunday scaries than with a simple, tasty meal everyone can look forward to.  I like this recipe in particular because its quick, highly customizable (there are various combinations of meat and vegetables you can substitute), and makes for great leftovers.  I made up this recipe myself for 2 main reasons: 1) to have a pre-made breakfast prepared for the rest of the week, and 2) to incorporate more vegetables into my diet earlier in the day.  But you don’t need to have these goals to appreciate this recipe.

Breakfast Shepherd’s Pie

Portion serves 5 average eaters, or 1 cross training private equity professional

What You’ll need

Ingredients

·         9 Eggs (beaten)

·         12oz ground bison (but you can substitute for any lean ground meat)

·         1 medium onion (diced)

·         1 large sweet potato – (baked or raw, diced roughly)

·         2 cups broccoli (chopped)

·         1 TSP paprika

·         1 TSP salt

·         1/2 TSP black pepper

·         Your choice of oil

·         8oz of cheddar cheese [Optional]

Other

·         Favorite outfit [read: dress for comfort – Coffield approval Optional]

·         Chef’s Choice Music [HMU if you need any spotify or soundcloud recommendations]

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Directions

1.        Preheat the oven to 350°F

2.        In a large bowl, beat the eggs together with the paprika, salt and pepper. Mix in the chopped sweet potato. Set aside.

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3.        In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat add oil and brown your choice of meat. Once meat is cooked, remove it to a separate bowl.

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mmm.  bisons

4.        In the same skillet, add the onion and broccoli and sauté on medium heat until they are softened (~6 mins), then returned the cooked meat  to the pan.

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3295.        Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Turn off the heat and stir the ingredients to combine.  Once complete, cover the top with your choice of cheese (if you are electing to do so)

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6.        Put the entire skillet into the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the eggs are set and not runny.

I forgot to take a picture of this part….

meem

7.        Serve directly from the skillet or slice and store for leftovers.

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Sesame spiced Turkey Meatballs with Bean and Quinoa Salad

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This summer, I visited my friend in New York and made it very clear that I HAD to find the best falafel truck in the city. It was really the most unique food I had ever tried at age 8 when I went to visit my cousins one year for Thanksgiving. Ever since then, I’ve had a special place in my heart for gyros, lamb shwarma, and yummy meatballs like these that would fit snugly in a those aluminum-wrapped pita pockets. No, they’re not fancy, but seriously I find turkey meatballs to be some of the most flavorful, moist, and easy meats to cook. While I was making these, I started to dream of a falafel-esque sesame spiced meatball sub with a tahini sauce instead of marinara. Plans to come…

So these are adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and I’ve made them a bit less spicy than the recipe calls for. Deb suggests serving these over a smashed chickpea salad, but I really love white beans, so I made a quinoa bean salad. Somehow most of the food I make makes you want to curl up on the couch and snuggle. I think that’s why I’m trying to eat more quinoa. It screams pop culture, civilization, getting on with my healthy self. Basically it helps me get off the couch 🙂 Last week I made another version that came out of Mardi Gras angst: black eyed pea, okra, cajun seasoning quinoa salad. Try it!

With this meatball recipe comes a chance to use the cast iron skillet! Which just happens to be another chance for me to build some arm muscle (transporting a skillet from stove to oven takes MUCH more effort than I thought). I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why people love pie so much and it kind of makes me think of meatballs too. Go with me for a second. I really think that part of the obsession with pie is its perfect circle shape. Putting something in the oven and it coming out the exact same shape as when it goes in is weirdly comforting. Maybe it’s the blanket of dough on the top that snuggles in the filling that’s so comforting? Anyways I think the same is for meatballs. Some people are kind of weirded out by ground meat, but then others of us love the rich, moist, decadence of a good meatball. Maybe it’s breaking into a perfectly round piece of goodness. Well, now that my understanding of basic shapes is out there, on to the recipe!!!

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Sesame-spiced Meatballs – adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1 lb ground turkey – I like to use 93% lean, but you can use 99% if you like

2/3 cup French breadcrumbs (Take some leftover crusty French bread and turn it into crumbs in your food processor)

1/4 cup water

1 tsp table salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp paprika

pinch of cayenne (or more depending on your taste)

2 TBS sesame seeds, toasted

 

Quinoa- Bean Salad ingredients – measurements up to your taste buds, cheffy-friends

White quinoa (I used 1/2 cup)

Half a can of white great northern beans, drained and rinsed

diced celery and carrot, sliced red onion

fresh parsley

chopped tomatoes

green olives,

dressing of : dijon + red wine vinegar + olive oil + lemon + honey

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and stretch your arms. After stretching, dig out your cast iron skillet and heave it up to the stove. (Yes I do find the stretching important here, lol). In a large bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients and mix together lightly with a fork, your hands, or a spoon. I say lightly here because you want the meatball ingredients to be evenly spread through out, but with turkey I never like to overmix.

 

2. Once the mix looks evenly incorporated, get a plate ready for your meatballs. Take a clump of the mix and start to cup your hands into the shape of a meatball. That’s how I like to start to form the ball, then roll it gently between your hands to make the ball compacy. These should be about the size of golfballs. Place them on the plate, waiting to jump into the skillet!

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3. After prepping the meatballs, heat the skillet to about medium-high and pour a thin layer of olive oil on the pan. Add the meatballs carefully (don’t break them!) and give each enough space to brown. I have a 12 inch skillet and managed to fill all of them in one batch, but if they need more room in your skillet, make a few batches.

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4. While you’re testing your patience waiting for these to brown, mix up your salad. In your bowl, start with some spoonfuls of quinoa, then add your toppings, I like equal parts of everything, but I get it if you wanna skip the veggies and just have a simple quinoa bed for the meatballs. In a small glass, mix together dijon, honey, vinegar, and lemon juice. Slowly whisk in olive oil to form a dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Dress your salad and toss with some fresh sprigs of parsley!

5. After about 3-4 minutes of browning, start to rotate your meatballs to get them browning on all sides. Give the other side another 3 minutes or so to brown. Once the outsides are browned and a lil crispy, turn off the heat and transfer the skillet to the oven using a thick potholder. Muscle-building, here.

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6. Cook the meatballs in the oven for between 10-15 minutes, until they reach 160 degrees F. You can test this by sticking a meat thermometer in one of the meatballs. Mine took about 11 minutes. Take out of the oven and serve over your yummy quinoa salad!

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Popcorn cookies to share

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**This one goes out to you Coffield**

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe ever since I got the Smitten Kitchen cookbook back in December. After reading Deb’s hysterical writing on how she decided to add popcorn to a cookie recipe, I couldn’t help but feel that maybe I was in on the funny story too? Like I was actually in on the joke with her. So as I’m making this cookies, I was smiling to myself about this joke that I have with Deb Perelman but now that I’m thinking about it, I was just unnaturally happy because Deb and I weren’t laughing back and forth together….in fact, I just made the cookies by myself.

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Well I certainly didn’t eat them by myself! I whipped these up for the first summer barbeque back in Atlanta for a reunion of sorts. Though I wanted to make a pie or some sort of fruit dessert to contribute to the pulled pork, buttermilk chicken, and cheese grits dinner, these were the easiest to transport. And you know, since we’re only two months or so out from the Great Cake Toppling of 2013, I’m still recovering. Recap: cookies are easy to drive over to a friend’s house. Or, when you’re sharing a car with my popular sister, they’re easy to carry in the passenger seat when you’re getting dropped off.

These cookies made my house smell so good, from the lingering buttery popcorn smell to that quintessential creamed butter and sugar marriage that brings a smile to my face. There was no wasting in this recipe either. Though my sister decided she didn’t want to join me in baking, the smell of popcorn is sure to lure her out of her room. Those extra popcorn pieces really brought us together!

I think these were recieved quite well, however I would like to add chocolate chunks to the recipe next time. I think they needed some more flavor along with the crunchiness of the popcorn. Let me know what you think if you’ve also tried this recipe! The next day, I made some cracker-jack-salty-peanut-chocolate cookies to remedy my longing for chocolate.

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Easy crowd pleaser – White bean garlic dill dip

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I’ve made this dip before for my grandparents and it was even better the second time around! It’s tricky to serve up a healthy dip when all you really want to do before the meal comes out is gorge on some buffalo chicken dip (amiright?) So, say you’re starving. You show up at as a guest at someone’s house and not wanting to be rude, you don’t ask what’s for dinner. But then, you’re like, okay what if the food is not going to be enough? Then I’m just stuck at the dinner table trying to stay engaged in the conversation whilst chewing on what would be a delicious paella if the guy next to you hadn’t taken all the chicken and sausage. So now you’re just eating some spanish rice and wishing you would have eaten more of the delicious chile con carne dip served during cocktail hour.

Um, point being, (where’s my point…) you need a dip that’s hearty but not too hearty as to overpower the meal if it is going to be alot!! Whew. We had a delicious tandoori chicken, Indian cauliflower, and curry-peanut slaw for dinner, and this dip was a light yet wonderful hors d’oeuvres for the meal. My mom is growing some dill outside, so she asked me to come up with some kind of dip that could use this up. I’ve made HowSweetEats’ version before, and it’s SO SIMPLE to add/subtract from.

My version with only one ingredient-chopping necessary: Add 2-3 cloves chopped garlic, a few squeezes of dijon mustard, one can of rinsed white northern beans, about 2-3 tsps lemon juice, a few sprigs of washed fresh dill, salt, pepper, and a little less that 1/4 cup olive oil to a food processor. Puree until it reaches the kind of chunkiness you’re looking for. Refrigerate to thicken it up for ~30 minutes or serve immediately with crackers or cucumbers

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