Tag Archives: meat

chicken fennel kebobs with tzatziki

to say that it is grilling season in texas would be somewhat incorrect–it is always grilling season in texas. we like our meat, we sometimes like to fetch it ourselves (aka hunting), and we like to cook it outdoors because it’s usually too hot to turn on the stove and, let’s face it, it’s the right thing to do. regardless of where you stand on charcoal or wood vs. propane, direct or indirect heat, or barbequeing vs. grilling, most everyone agrees that cooking outside kinda rocks.

this is a fairly light preparation and works well when you are feeling overwhelmed by the summer heat but have a hankerin’ for more than just another salad. the cool creaminess of the tzatziki compliments nicely the char and warmth of the kebobs. and, if you’ve never grilled fennel, oh boy. it becomes sweet and caramelized, all while still retaining it’s crisp nature. add in some sweet red onion with singed edges, moist and lemony chicken, wrap it up in a seared pita and top the whole thing off with a cool sauce and let the magic happen.

chicken and fennel kebobs with tzatziki (4 servings)

adapted from bitchin’ camero

kebobs:

2 lb boneles, skinless chicken breats, cut into large cubes

2 fennel bulbs, remove frond and stem ends, clean and cut bulb into 2″ pieces (reserve a few fronds for the sauce)

1 large red onion, cut into 2″ pieces

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

salt & pepper

tzatziki:

7 oz plain yogurt *

1 cucumber, seedless variety, or seed a regular one

1 tbsp chopped fennel fronds

1 large clove garlic

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp salt

*greek yogurt will make a particularly thick sauce or you can just drain regular full or lowfat plain yogurt for a similar effect.

prepare tzaziki first so the flavors have some time to develop–sometimes i’ll make this a few hours ahead. grate cucumber with a box grater onto a paper towel or cheesecloth. make a small package of the papertowel and twist the ends up, squeezing out any liquid from the cucumber. you may or may not be alarmed at how much liquid you can get out doing this–DO NOT skip this step. chop garlic and make into a paste on the cutting board with the salt, by smashing it with the side of the knife. place garlic/salt mixture in a bowl with the yogurt, cucumber, fennel fronds, and lemon juice. adjust seasoning to your preferences. in other words, taste it. if you like more garlic go for it, but remember the flavor will be more pronounced as it sits.

alternate placing chicken, fennel and onion pieces onto 8 separate skewers. sprinkle with oregano, salt & pepper, then drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice. place on a (preheated-very important) medium-high grill and cook for a total of about 20 minutes, rotating skewers every 5 minutes or so. you want a nice char on all sides and the chicken to be cooked through. allow to rest for a few minutes before serving with tzatziki and grilled pita.

this goes really well with a glass of nice, dry french rose. but everything, including another glass of rose goes really well with a nice, dry french rose this time of year, doesn’t it?

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Filed under chicken, main dish, meat

italian meatloaf (with super sophisticated balsamic glaze)

plated-meatloaf

i wish i could tell you that i had very fond memories of coming home on a cool evening after playing outside for hours to the inviting aromas of freshly baked meatloaf.  but the truth is, i just can’t. we were latch-key kids (remember that term?), often getting home hours before mom and fending for ourselves half the time. but before you go all feeling sorry for me and everything, i have to tell you that in reality, we did quite well for ourselves. i might not have ever learned how to bake bread, make homemade butter (we actually did this!) or  make cookies if i didn’t have to. i am glad for the basic skills i acquired and wouldn’t trade them for anything.

mom did cook when she could, but meatloaf was just not in her repertoire. and that’s ok, because i believe there are much better versions of it out there these days than in the 1970’s. it is now understood, for instance, that manhandling the mixture will produce a heavier, denser loaf. and that shaping it into a loaf, rather than stuffing it into a loaf pan, produces a less greasy version than it’s outdated cousin. the use of bread quickly soaked in some milk does the trick of adding bulk and keeping it moist, instead of breadcrumbs from a can, but those’ll work, if that’s all you have.

i use 3 types of meat for my meatloaf. the ground sirloin and ground pork sausage are strictly for flavor, while the ground turkey helps keep it light:

meats-for-meatloaf

add the veggies and other stuff and form into a long loaf and place on top of some parchment paper on a sheet pan or baking dish:

bare-meatloaf

slather on the ketchup-balsamic glaze–as thick as you wanna. i actually wish that i had made twice as much to put on top. (sorry the photo’s not so great, but you get the idea):

ketchup-balsamic-glazed-meatloaf-raw

make your mashed taters and veggie while it’s baking and you are livin’ the good life!

 

italian meatloaf with ketchup-balsamic glaze

 

1/2 pound ground turkey thighs

1/4 pound ground sirloin

1/4 pound ground pork sausage (we use one large link of homemade pepper pork sausage from our butcher-look for something interesting and flavorful!).

2-3 slices bread

1/3 cup milk

1 small onion, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh flat italian parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

2 eggs

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

a few splashes worcestershire sauce

1 teasoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

for the glaze:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup ketchup

 

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

place bread in a small bowl and cover with milk mixture. in a large bowl, gently mix together meats by hand until fairly homogenous. add bread, tearing apart into small pieces, and soaking milk to bowl. add onion through pepper and mix by hand just until mixed, try not to over mix as this will cause meatloaf to be too dense.

form into a long loaf shape and place on ungreased parchment paper on a sheet pan or baking dish.  bake for 50-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. move to a platter or cutting board (out of it’s own ‘juice’) before slicing.

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mmm…bacon.

pork-belly-packaged

if you are not a meat eater, you may want to sit this one out. i am one of those that think not much can’t be improved without the addition of bacon. a few weeks back, a few of us went in on an entire pork belly from our local farmer’s market source, richardson farms. they are friendly folks and their meat is local and hormone and antibiotic-free!

fat side up (no skin, which i guess in retrospect would have made for some pretty good cracklin’s):

pork-belly-fat-side-up

and the other side:

pork-belly-fat-side-down1

we portioned it out:

pork-belly-portioned-out

as far as our portion, we have decided to make bacon (insert joke here) and pancetta. i will update you over the next few weeks to let you know how it’s all progressing.

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Filed under bacon, meat