I like to cook. Sometimes my daughter likes to eat.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Turkey Parmigiana

Since Parmigiana dishes are mostly an American riff on Italian food, I don't feel the least bit bad about the liberties I took tonight. We had turkey cutlets because they're quick and readily available at TJs, but I didn't feel like preparing or eating any of the French-influenced sauces recommended in my Cook's Illustrated Quick Recipe cookbook. "Can you make Parmigiana?" asked R. Why yes, in a manner of speaking.

It turned out to be a tasty dish easily made of items we always have around: matzo meal, eggs, frozen homemade marinara, and havarti cheese slices (makes for quick-n-easy cheese toast). My sensibilities were far more offended by the sauteed bock choy I served along side, but that's my anti-fusion issue.

1 package turky cutlets (~1 lb.)
1 T flour
1 egg
1/2 cup matzo meal
1/2 t Italian seasoning
2 T + 1/2 cup grated parmigiano cheese
salt and pepper
2 cups marinara-type tomato sauce, or make a very simple marinara with lightly sauteed garlic and one can of tomatoes, puree to use
Cheese slices suitable for melting

Arrange the turkey cutlets on a plate and allow to rest 10 minutes at room temp. Meanwhile, spread the flour in a plate. Lightly beat the egg in a pie plate and arrange it next to the flour. Mix the matzo meal, 2 T grated cheese, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste in a third plate. Begin prep for a salad or veg side. Pour a glass of wine. Then blot the cutlets with paper towel and lightly salt and pepper.

Using tongs (this gets messy), dredge the turkey cutlets one by one in flour, egg and the matzo meal mixture. Shake lighly after each dredging to rid excess. Some cutlets will follow apart, salvage the small pieces that make sense and keep going. Transfer the turkey cutlets to a plate and let sit for ten minutes while the coating sets. Turn on the broiler, heat the sauce and cook the veg and a pasta shape to accompany and make the salad.

Heat a 12" nonstick skillet on med-high and add 1 T EVOO. Heat until it's hot enough to sizzle a crumb of matzo meal mixture, but not smoking. Add the turkey cutlets and cook for 2 minutes, turn over and cook for 30-60 seconds until just browned. Transfer to aplate lined with paper towels, and continue to saute the turkey in batches as necessary.

Arrange the cutlets in a casserole and ladle a few tablespoons of sauce over each, then top with the remaining grated cheese and torn-to-size pieces of sliced cheese. Place under the broiler till the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Remove and plate on top of a bit more tomato sauce. Toss the pasta with the remaining sauce. Serve with cutlets over the pasta and with the veg and/or salad, enjoy with a glass of wine, of course.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

A Matter of Convenience

So many recipes to catch up on: there was a fabulous shrimp scampi pasta, a carnivore's take on Greens' Zuni stew (add pork), and the return to turkey burgers, this time vaguely South Asian/mid-East-style with Hamati bread, sweet and sour carrot sauce, a very tasty yogurt sauce, and thinly sliced cucumbers from our *new* CSA box.

Our major challenge lately has been getting food on the table quickly. I'm working more and we're inevitably rushing. We try not to rely on take-out and I'm constantly trying to redirect my brain from involved Cook's Illustrated dinners to quick, tasty sustenance.

The latest discovery is Trader Joe's pre-cooked rice. I wouldn't dream of heating it in the plastic pouch with all the phthalate hoopla these days. But a little diced onion, sliced mushrooms and water with the jasmine rice/quinoa/flax seed blend made for a great 7-minute pilaf on Saturday night -- a great product to have around for a quick side, and it went well with the more time-consuming roasted baby artichokes I inherited from my sister's fridge before she left on vacation.

I've also recently discovered the Asian American Food Company, source of delicious and convenient Chinese dumplings. In a little storefront on Noriega, they make the dumplings in the back room and sell them out of enormous freezers in front. The owner is incredibly nice and his website details the cooking instructions for all his products. We've had the boiled dumplings for breakfast with some fresh fruit, and for dinner with a stir-fried vegetable. Tonight I'm making a quick soup of their Shanghai wontons, some defrosted chicken stock and leftover sauteed pea shoots. If you open my freezer, you'll find bags of chicken and chive, pork and napa cabbage and lamb dumplings, as well as xiao long bao and a tryer pack of pork and cabbage potstickers. Delicious!

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