Sometimes, you just want a comforting, tasty nosh. Or you have a crowd of folks coming over who like “regular” food. Or it’s just a nacho kind of a day. Of course nachos are not the most healthy choice, but everything in moderation, right? Instead of avoiding things I like, I prefer to add nutrition, hence the veggies. Whip these up and I defy you to go back to “regular”.
1 lb ground turkey
8 oz broccoli, cut into small pieces
8 oz cauliflower, cut into small pieces
Tbsp olive oil
3 tsps cumin, divided
2 tsps chili powder, divided
Tortilla chips, a sturdy sort
Salsa of choice
2 cups shredded cheese – cheddar or monterey jack or pepper jack
2 scallions, sliced
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss the broccoli and cauliflower with the olive oil, 1 ½ tsps cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and spread them on a lined baking sheet. Cook these 20-30 minutes (it will vary depending on size of how they were cut), until they are tender and have some charring. While they are roasting, heat a pan to medium/medium high and add the ground turkey. Mix in the remaining 1 ½ tsp cumin and tsp chili powder along with some salt and pepper and cook until the turkey is no longer pink, breaking it up with you spoon or spatula as you do. Remove to a bowl, leaving behind as much liquid as possible.
Turn the oven down to 400. To assemble, spread a layer of chips over a large, lined baking sheet, making sure to have as few gaps as possible. Start with the turkey and spread it evenly over the chips. Do the same with the broccoli and cauliflower. Top with the cheese and bake until the cheese is melted and everything is warmed through, about 10-15 minutes. Top with salsa and scallions before serving.
I, personally, like when some of the chips get a little soft. If you do as well, put the salsa on before putting them into the oven.
If you want a vegetarian version, swap beans for the turkey and mix in the same spices.
No dairy? Still delicious without the cheese. As an alternative, blend an avocado with some lemon or lime juice and a bit of nutritional yeast, drizzle on top after they are out of a short shot in the oven.
In the local division of my business I crank it out in the kitchen every week-end, baking ordered goods that I then deliver around town to eager sweets fans. I imagine them waiting expectantly and excitedly at the window, dancing like that chihuahua on the chair in that video that went viral a year or two ago. Ok, that might be embellishing, but I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I deliver, so I can’t help but imagine my customers are as excited as I am. I love showing up at my neighbors’ houses, box of treats and love in hand, and being able to say hello and sneak a small peek into their joy that comes with the promise of a goody to come. It would only be better if I could be a fly on the wall to hear the (hopefully) subsequent “yums”. And this should tell you something – that I, as a socially anxious person, so love the connection to that simple moment that I am willing to (yikes) interact with people. I especially love it when I am delivering blueberry muffins. Not any blueberry muffins, but Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins. From the recipe in Yankee Magazine. To my New England neighbors. For the girl who grew up on and fell in love with Holiday Inn and White Christmas and The Windmill Summer – all of which paint perfect portraits of New England quaintness – this is all practically too much.
If you are not from around here, you might not know that Jordan Marsh was a Place and their muffins were a Thing. If you speak to someone who grew up in or near Boston, they know the Marsh and the Muffins. I never had the real deal. As a newbie (only lived here 25ish years), I never had the chance. (Though I did have a reboot when we took our kids to the revived Enchanted Village that moved from Jordan Marsh to Jordan’s, another Boston area legend.) You hear the stories, though, so when I ran across the recipe I knew I had to try them. Not surprisingly, they have been one of my biggest sellers. I don’t often use others’ recipes and rarely without some sort of tweaking or changes, but from this one I do not stray. I suggest you don’t, either. (and, yes, I used a stock blueberry image for this post because the last few times I made these they legit disappeared before I could get a decent picture)
Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins, by way of Yankee Magazine
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2-1/2 cups large fresh blueberries
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons sugar (for top of muffins)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
In a second bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar mixture along with the milk and vanilla.
Optionally, mash 1/2 cup of the blueberries, and stir in by hand (this will turn batter a light shade of blue and add a touch of blueberry flavor. This step may be skipped, if you wish, but I don’t think you wish). Add the remaining whole berries and stir in gently by hand.
Line a muffin tin with paper cups and fill. Generously sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin after several minutes to free it from the pan and cool on wire racks.
What is it that etches some memories in the brain more deeply than others? I would think it would be largely a matter of impact or importance, big moments vs mundane days, but in my experience, and I am guessing yours, that isn’t necessarily the case. Every summer with the first really steamy day – the sun is intense, even through the haze, the air is damp and not a hint of coolness is to be found, not even in the breeze, if there is one – I am vividly transported back to mid to late 70’s upstate NY. It’s flip-flops and cut off shorts. It’s hoses washing wood panelled station wagons, Steve Miller Band on fm, nights of neighborhood-wide games of kick the can, and my friend’s pool. It is also, and here we get to the point, the Worst Sunburn Of My Life. Maybe it’s Severe Pain that is the strongest etching tool, haha, because, boy, do I remember that day. I had been at this friend’s yard, at the pool but also helping with…something. That part hasn’t stuck around. What has stuck with me is the aftermath, sitting on the couch, watching The Hobbit, my mother plying me with grape Kool-Aid and salty chips (from the metal tin that came from the chip delivery man – WTH was that? The 70’s were weird – and wonderful). So that flavor memory, for whatever mysterious reason, has strongly stuck with me. Years ago my husband and I spent way too much money on one meal, a fancy tasting menu by a fancy city chef and I barely remember one or two courses. Chips and kool-aid? With me forever. Go figure. In any case, it has been so persistent an impression that I figured that I needed to do something with it. The first thought to come to mind was to try a cake. I made a cake that had the kool aid mixed into it with crushed chps in the frosting, and one with finely ground chips added to the cake with a kool aid frosting.
Served them both to the fam. The consensus? Decidedly MEH. Boo. Ok, that’s fine. Back to the drawing board, because I am determined to work this hounding devil of a flavor monkey out. Stay tuned, but if you want to try the cakes out yourself, have at it. (Basically, add 1/4 cup powdered kool-aid to your favorite yellow cake or 1/2 cup frinely crushed potato chips. Or whip it into a butter cream. I am not going to bother with a recipe since I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome). Better yet, if you come up with a tasty version, please share! Hmmm…maybe a cocktail for my next attempt…
Another day, another set of random bits in my refrigerator that can’t really be used for anything on their own, so time for a mash up. Today I found these boys.
Not unusable, but a little too far gone to be tasty on a sandwich or dipped into anything. Then this friend joined the party (has been zested and a portion juiced for a different recipe – looking pretty!).
Some more scrounging around and before long, I had this going on, the makings of a spread/jam.
Tomatoes, pepper, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, honey, knob of butter (had been using it to grease pans for baking), sprig of tarragon from friend’s garden, decent pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Boil it up.
This really needs smell-tech. Also, if you turn your attention away and it happens to start to get more cooked than you planned, you now have delicious Charred Tomato Jam/Spread/Business. With added depth of flavor. Really – this did not ruin anything and in fact added dimension to it. I just made sure to avoid the black bits as much as possible when I was scraping it out of the pan.
And there you have it. I pureed it smooth, my daughter would have done it chunky. Your choice. We spread it on bread, dolloped it on eggs, dipped vegetables and shrimp in it. Get creative! Now, listen, I will write out the recipe for what I did here, but promise me you won’t feel like you need a recipe to do this with your own fridge bits. Just remember to cover all your balance bases – acid, fat, sweet, salty, and spice if you like. Be bold, do not be afraid. Cook fearlessly!
3 slightly mushy tomatoes
1 wrinkly pepper
juice from 2/3 of a lemon
tbspish apple cider vinegar
a stem of tarragon
1 tbspish brown sugar
1 tbspish honey
2 tbspish butter
large pinch of pepper flakes
Pop it all in a pan, bring it to a boil and then keep it at a lively simmer for about 20 minutes, until it thickens. Add a little water if it goes too far. Remove the tarragon stem and puree totally or leave it chunky. Yum it up.