Scones & Chili

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Breakfast Scones

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Turkey Chili

There is a good reason why Peter usually does the dishes.  I just cut my finger quite badly washing the knife given to me by renowned chef and cookbook author Martin Yan.  And I’m typing in pain.  With my finger wrapped in bandages, I can now truly attest to the sharpness of his knife.

What I made today were variations of the recipes that I had posted on the blog before.

For breakfast, I made the gluten-free, dairy-free scones from my earlier recipe.  I switched the dried fruit and the nuts.  You can make endless variations on the combination of dried fruits and nuts with this scone recipe.

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For dinner, I cooked turkey Chili.  I used a can of organic diced tomato instead of fresh tomatoes and the marinara sauce and I used the whole can of kidney beans instead of 1/2 can.  I also added 1/2 a red bell pepper.  It was as delicious as I remembered it to be.

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Turkey Meatball Sandwich and Baked French Fries

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Yesterday, Peter and I had a meeting with the high school college counselor for Angela.  And today we had a parent-teacher conference with Audrey’s teacher and advisor.  I remember that when the girls were little, we loved those meetings where the teachers would tell us funny little stories about what our kids did in school.  Every cute little thing they did was an achievement.  Nowadays, these meetings have become somewhat stressful.   Any flaw uncorrected may now “affect their future.” 

I forgot to schedule the parent-teacher conference for Audrey.  I could conjure up all kinds of excuses, but the fact was that I simply forgot.  I “pulled a Chen.”  I apologized to the teacher when I walked in the office and he commented that perhaps Audrey inherited my disorganization.  Imagine my guilt.  I am not only disorganized, I have also possibly passed the terrible trait on to Audrey.

These meetings usually happen at lunch hour because that is the only time Peter is free.  Today I brought Peter meatball sandwiches and baked fries to eat while we sat in the car and talked about the unknown future for our children.

Peter told me that he liked the leftover meatballs in the sandwich even more than the original freshly made ones we had eaten for dinner the night before. 

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Italian Turkey Meatball Sandwich

Ingredients for Italian Turkey Meatballs:

10 oz 99% fat-free ground turkey

1/4 tsp dried Italian Herb Seasoning

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs

2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano)

2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

2tbsp finely chopped scallion

1 large egg

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 tsp kosher salt

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 425F.

In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients.  Use a tablespoon to make the meatballs. 

Spray baking pan with oil.  Line the meatballs in the pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Ingredients for the Sandwich:

6 inch French baguette, sliced in half

4 meatballs sliced in half

1 tbsp marinara sauce

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Arugula and grape tomatoes

Preparation:

Drizzle olive oil on the inside of the sliced bread.  Toast it on high until slightly browned.  Mix meatballs in marinara sauce.  Line the meatballs and the rest of the ingredients on the bread.

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For Baked French Fries recipe, please check out: “Chifa Beef with Baked French Fries”

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Chinese Turkey Meatballs

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Lion’s head — large braised meatballs made of pork —  is a famous Shanghainese dish.  When I was a child, meat was scarce and lion’s head meatballs were only made for special occasions.  Sometimes, we craved for lion’s head meatballs, but only had enough meat to make one for the entire family.  We would cut the lion’s head into four pieces when we ate it, as the size of the lion’s head itself could not be compromised no matter what.  

Today, I made lion’s head meatballs with 99% fat free ground turkey meat, and steamed them.  Peter and I ate them in chicken broth with rice noodles.  Peter the cardiologist couldn’t praise it enough. He said that this is one meat dish he could encourage his patients to eat.  You can also try the lean turkey meat in a lettuce cup.

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Chinese Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients:

1-1/4 lbs 99% lean ground turkey

1 large egg

1 tbsp ginger, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 scallions, chopped

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp Shao Xing Cooking wine, or other Asian cooking wine

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup chopped water chestnut, fresh or canned

Preparation:

In a large bowl combine the corn starch, ground turkey, water chestnut, egg, salt, scallions, ginger, cilantro, 1 tbsp of the soy sauce and 1 tbsp sesame oil. Gently mix with your hands until combined well. Shape meatballs 1/4 cup in size and transfer to a steamer. 

Boil water.  When the water is boiling, put in the steamer with the meatballs.  Steam on high for 10 to 12 minutes.

I also pan fried some smaller meatballs as finger food.  Audrey, the weekend meat eater, loved them.  I think they can make a perfect appetizer for the Oscar night.

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Recipe inspired by skinnytaste

Spicy Turkey Sausage Chili with Avocado

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Cleaning out the closet today, I debated the fate of an old sweater from the 1993 Telluride Film Festival.  I have pulled it out from the donation pile many times through out the years.  It’s more than 20 years old and quite tattered, but I just can’t part with it because there is quote on the sweater that I found beautiful.  It says, “Through out her youth, she was often disconcerted to discover her most secret, most formless sentiments and desires, given their own robust life every Saturday afternoon, at the picture show.”  This evocative image of an ordinary woman transfixed and transported in the cinema, is extraordinary to me.  I want to make films for her.

Some possessions I seem to discard without batting an eye lash, such as my old iPhones, but some others have a mysterious hold on me, such as this dear old sweater.  It goes without saying that it’s going back into the closet drawer.

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Spicy Turkey Sausage Chili with Avocado

Ingredients:

3 links lean turkey sausage, casings removed

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tomatoes, diced

2 tablespoon marinara sauce, or 1 tablespoon tomato sauce

3/4 chicken broth

1/2 tsp cumin, or to taste

1/2 can kidney bean, rinsed and drained

1/4 tsp paprika

1 bay leaf

fresh cilantro, for garnish

1 teaspoon lime juice for coating the avocado after it is cubed

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Preparation:

In a large skillet, brown turkey over medium-high heat, breaking it up as it cooks into smaller pieces.

When meat is browned, add wine, onion and garlic; cook 4 minutes over medium heat. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, cumin, chili, paprika, and bay leaf, stir for about 2 minutes.

Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf, add avocado (coated with 1 teaspoon lime juice) and cilantro.  Serve immediately.

This recipe makes 4 servings, but Peter and I each had two large bowls of it.  I had to refrain from licking the bowl.  Yes, it’s that good!

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Carrot Noodles with Lean Turkey Sausage & Mushroom in Cashew Cream Sauce

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Today, our family attended an event hosted by the 1990 Institute, an organization I am on the board of.  There was a lively discussion with the upcoming ABC series Fresh Off the Boat star, Hudson Yang and his father Jeff on the portrayal of Asian Americans in the national media.  Fresh Off the Boat is a story of a Chinese American family based on chef Eddie Huang’s book Fresh Off the Boat, a Memoir.  I’m sure there will be lots of cooking in it — one more reason for me to check it out!

Today

Hudson Yang is the 11-year-old boy between me and his father Jeff Yang.

When I got the female lead Mei Mei in Taipan in 1985, I was fresh of the boat myself.  I began acting to support myself through college and never thought that I would still be acting 30 years later.  Back then, there were no meaningful parts for someone like me in American cinema or television.  I used the Taipan contract from Dino De Laurentiis to get a loan for a little house in North Hollywood, where I was going to open a home for seniors.  I heard that the US government would pay me to cook and care for old people.  That was one thing I was confident I could do as a FOB.

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Photo from Taipan, my and Kyra Sedgwick’s first film

From Taipan to today, we have come a long way in getting our faces shown and our stories told on the large and small screens in America.  I am proud of and happy for Hudson and all his co-stars on the show and I’m so looking forward to watching it!

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Ingredients:

  • For the pasta:
  • 2 large carrots, sliced with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 lean turkey sausage links, skin removed
  • 1/4 sweet onion, thinly sliced

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 diced sweet onion
  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and then drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of low-sodium vegetable broth + more for thinning as needed
  • salt and pepper, to taste

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Preparation:

Place a medium saucepan filled halfway with water and a pinch of salt over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the carrot noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes or until al dente. Once cooked, drain into a colander and set aside.

While the carrots are cooking, place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the onions and cook until onions softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside, keeping the skillet over medium heat.

In the skillet, add in the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cover and cook for 5-7 minutes or until wilted. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, add in the sausage and cook 5-7 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to the plate with the mushrooms and set aside. Wipe down the skillet and keep off heat on the stovetop, for later use.

Place the cooked onions into a high-speed blender along with the cashews, garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, broth and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust to your preference or thin out with more broth, if too thick.

Place the same large skillet back over medium heat and add in the mushrooms and sausage, carrot noodles and toss. Pour in the cashew cream sauce. Toss to combine thoroughly until the cashew sauce is heated through.

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Recipe adapted from Inspiralized.com

“Pulling a Chen” & Spicy Turkey Sausage Pasta

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Hi, this is Peter, the dishwashing husband.  Joan is packing again for a short trip to LA, so I have been “recruited,” euphemism for coerced, to write this guest post.

I will tell you a funny story about Empress Chabi that is not very Chabi-like. Joan called me from a public phone at SFO after arriving from Shanghai on Sunday. She was distraught that she had left her iPhone in Shanghai. We spent Sunday afternoon at the Verizon store looking at the new iPhones and calling plans. 3 hours after we got home with her new gizmo, she found her iPhone tucked away in her toiletry bag. Adding another chapter to the “Pulling a Chen” story collection.

I really enjoyed the spicy turkey pasta that she whipped up in a flash. Hope you will like it as well.  Joan was so tired that she kept calling the Marinara sauce “Marijuana sauce.”  

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Spicy Turkey Pasta Ingredients:

8 oz. penne pasta, preferably 100% whole grain

1/2 pack of lean spicy turkey sausage (2 1/2 links)

1/2 onion, sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

1/2 yellow bell pepper. sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup marinara sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoon white wine

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, shaved

1 tablespoon parsley, minced

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Preparation:

Cook the penne pasta according to package instructions.  Err on the side of less done.

Sauté garlic and onion in a pan on medium heat until aromatic.  Turn stove to low and add the sausages without the casings.  Add the wine to the meat and slowly break the sausages apart with spatula. 

When the sausages are completely broken, turn the stove to medium high and mix in the bell peppers and cook until soft.  Add the marinara sauce and cooked pasta and stir until well coated. 

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