Whole Foods’ Curried Turkey Salad – trying to perfect a copy

We truly love Whole Foods’ prepared foods. They are delicious… and also cost like $20/pound, so we don’t buy them often. 🙂 We recently decided to try and make our own version of the Curried Turkey Salad, which, if you haven’t had it, I highly highly recommend. It’s delicious, fairly healthy, and goes great on a bed of lettuce for a quick meal.

I often times look at their list of ingredients and try and repeat what they have and guess on quantities, but I actually found a recipe that was fairly close on this one and just made a few modifications.
I started with this site and added a few other items that Whole Foods had listed, and swapped Chicken for Turkey. So, my recipe ended up being the following (which you can halve, third, whatever you want and it turns out just fine):
1) 3 pounds cooked chicken, shredded or diced (I just poached some chicken, which I had never done before, but it’s super easy. Don’t worry about flavoring it while poaching since the flavors of the curry will overpower whatever you do anyway). Incidentally, this is the thing that takes the longest, so start cooking it first.
2) 1/4 cup diced red onion
3) 3 ribs celery, diced
4) About 1/4 cup of diced green onions
5) 1/2 to 1 cup currants (I personally don’t consider this optional since it’s one of the things that makes it taste so good!)
6) 1/2 to 1 cup chopped almonds (I used sliced almonds one time and almonds cut length-wise another time. Both great).
7) 1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
8) 2-1/2 to 3 tablespoons curry powder, or to taste (I used mild yellow curry powder from Savory Spice Shop. Yum yum).
9) Dash turmeric
10) Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
11) Roughly 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
12) Roughly 1 tablespoon of honey

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked chicken, red onion, green onion, celery, and currants and almonds.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, honey, curry powder, turmeric and salt and pepper, combining until smooth.
Pour the mayonnaise mixture atop the chicken mixture and blend, working gently until chicken is fully coated. Refrigerate until use.

Spoon curried chicken onto greens or atop toasted rolls. Feeds 6 to 8.

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Making your own seasonings

I had never really thought much about the fact that taco seasoning was really just a combo of a bunch of other spices until my friend, Alexa, pointed it out to me. So, from there I worked on finding a really tasty recipe that I could create using fresh spices (which luckily we have numerous shops where we can purchase these locally. I recommend Savory Spice Shop).

I have found a recipe that I really love and it’s so easy to make. I usually make about 4 or 5 times this recipe and then store some for making taco meat later. I just brown up some ground turkey, chicken or beef (you could even use ground meatless) and then add 2-3 tablespoons of this with about 2/3 cup of water and let simmer for 5 minutes. Easy as pie! What I really like about this recipe? It uses cocoa powder. Yummy!

Homemade apple sauce

I am someone who almost always uses a recipe when I cook. I usually feel pretty free to modify as needed (or as I feel), but the great thing about homemade applesauce, is there are so few ingredients, it’s really very very easy! I also like the ability to add tasty spices.

This weekend I made a couple of different batches of applesauce. I used the same kind of apple in each batch (one with Jonagolds the other with Romes, I think. I’m not sure since I got them through my CSA), but you could mix and match your apples and it would turn out just fine. I also have this awesome attachment for my kitchenaid mixer that basically grinds the apples up after they are cooked and spits out the hard stuff (cores, any peel that is too hard, etc), but you don’t necessarily need this either. As long as you core your apples well beforehand, you don’t even have to peel them and you can just chop them up and then once cooked, smash them. I’m just lazy, so I like having kitchen appliances help aid me in that laziness. 🙂

So, here’s what I do:

I typically use about 8 apples, cored (use an apple corer, if you have one) and chopped roughly

Add these to a pot with about 1/4 cup sugar (more if you like it sweeter, non if you want unsweetened) and about 1/3 cup of water. I always start with less water since I figure I can always add more later
If you want spiced applesauce, you can add cinnamon sticks (I added two) or vanilla beans (cut open. Again, I added two). So I made one batch of vanilla bean (with the Jonagolds since they are more subtly flavored) and one batch of cinnamon (with the Romes since they are a stronger tasting apple)

Cook this all on about medium low heat, covered, for about 45 minutes or until the apples are soft.

After they are soft, either smash with a potato smasher or run through that fancy Kitchenaid attachment. And ta-da! You have homemade applesauce which is way way better than anything you can buy at the store. 🙂

Jonagolds (mid-coring)

Chopped Jonagolds with two chopped vanilla beans added to the pot (and the water and sugar) before cooking

Romes before chopping

Chopped Romes

The Jonagolds after cooking about 45 minutes (until smooshy). Make sure to remove the beans before smashing.

The Romes after cooking (with two cinnamon sticks). I removed those before smashing.

My awesome Kitchenaid attachment that makes the smashing go so easily and gives me a smooth consistency. You can make this recipe without it, however!

The final product! You can tell which one had the red apples vs. the gold ones. 🙂 Both are super tasty, though! I didn’t can these (since I knew we’d eat it up before we needed to), but this is an easy thing to water bath can as well.

 

 

Carrots, carrots and more carrots

My CSA has recently been delivering us tons and tons of carrots. The good news is they keep really well. The other good news is this soup recipe which I tasted years and years ago uses a full pound of them, so it means I can use up the carrots pretty quickly.

This recipe is for a Szechwan Carrot Soup. What I like about it is both that it’s incredibly easy to make and very flavorful (I like spicy, and this uses a little bit of red pepper flakes. I always add about twice what the recipe says and it’s still not super spicy). The other great thing that I finally did this time was make the cream sauce topping (using some creme fraiche that I had left over from a different recipe that I made). 🙂 I must say, it definitely added an element to the soup that I had never had before, but I wouldn’t say rush out and buy cream and sour cream to make it. But, if you have it around, it’s worth adding to the finished product.

Epicurious.com is one of my favorite sites to find tasty recipes (I even use the iphone app all the time). Hope you enjoy this recipe!

It’s a little hard to see the beautiful orange of this soup in this photo, but it really is pretty. I use an imersion blender to make it smooth, but you could use a blender. I just think that’s a pain and I do love the easy quick function of an imersion blender!

Apple Cream Cheese Cake

A friend of mine made this recipe for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). I wasn’t on top of it enough to make it for then, but I did have lots and lots of apples to use up, so asked her for the recipe so I could make it later. I followed the recipe exactly, and used a silicon bundt pan (since my regular bundt pan always sticks). I do wish I had a larger bundt pan for this recipe, however, as the batter basically filled mine, which meant when it rose, it kind of mushroomed over and wasn’t super pretty. The good news is it didn’t spill over into my oven. 🙂 And it tasted delicious, so it wasn’t a huge deal, but I would recommend a larger bundt pan if you have one. 🙂

Here’s the recipe and a couple photos of mine (the glaze I wasn’t quick enough to put on the cake, so it isn’t so pretty, but again, quite tasty!).

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Ingredients

CREAM CHEESE FILLING: 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

APPLE CAKE BATTER:
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup applesauce (I used homemade applesauce that I had canned last year)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups peeled and finely chopped apples (about 1 1/2 lb.)

PRALINE FROSTING:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Preparation

1. Prepare Filling: Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Add egg, flour, and vanilla; beat just until blended.

2. Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Stir together 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 3 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apples and pecans.

3. Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan. Spoon Cream Cheese Filling over apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around edges of pan. Swirl filling through apple mixture using a paring knife. Spoon remaining apple mixture over Cream Cheese Filling.

4. Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours).

5. Prepare Frosting: Bring 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 3 Tbsp. milk to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly. Pour immediately over cooled cake (this is where I let mine cool a little too quickly before pouring, so it wasn’t so pretty).

 

The cake after pulling it out of the oven and taking it out of the pan. It’s a bit mushroomed at the (now) bottom, but oh well!

After putting on the glaze (which I let cool a little too much before putting on the cake, so it’s not super pretty).

A view of the inside (with cream cheese filling). This totally made this cake. I’ve made other apple cakes before, which are good and moist. This one with the cream cheese filling totally made it!

 

Using winter veggies

I have a bunch of winter veggies that I needed to use, so was excited when a friend posted this recipe on facebook. I delayed making it so I could find the time to do so, since I assumed it would be time consuming. Now I wish I had just done it earlier. This took very little time (other than waiting for the veggies to roast) and was absolutely delicious and very easy!

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I’ll let you look at theirs. The only change I made was to swap out collard greens for the kale since that’s what I happened to have this week from my CSA.

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/kale_and_roasted_vegetable_soup/

Super easy and delicious!

Making my own ketchup… and it’s green!

Last year a friend of mine asked me to help her learn how to can. She had been growing green zebra tomatoes and thought it would be fun to make green ketchup for her son (who loved ketchup and the color green). The ketchup turned out DELICIOUS (rather like a gourmet ketchup!) but apparently her son wasn’t too pleased and said it tasted too “sparkly” (which I adore). My guess is it was the dill he didn’t like too much, but for me it totally made it!

So, this year we grew 3 green zebra tomato plants and I made the same green zebra ketchup recipe. I was so pleased and had all kinds of ketchup to can. And one of my half-pint jars broke while canning it. Which made me ever-so-sad. Luckily I still have lots of it left, but it was such a waste! Alas.

Anyway, I would highly recommend this recipe to anyone who is drowning in tomatoes and doesn’t know what to do with all of them. This was a great recipe and we love using this ketchup on everything. The hardest part of the recipe is patiently waiting for it to thicken up as you cook it. Other than that, it’s really quick easy! Especially since you don’t have to peel or de-seed the tomatoes! Perhaps the thing I was most pleased about is that I got to use garlic, onions and tomatoes that we had grown in our garden. All local, fresh and organically raised! Wahoo!

You’ll note in the photos that I made two separate batches and the color difference it goes through (from light to dark) as you cook it longer. I tried to show how thick it was once done as well. Hopefully you can tell!