We just returned from a trip to New York for Fleet Week 2012, and had an amazing time there. Having been to New York before, we didn’t fill up our schedules with touristy must-sees but just hung around in our area and visited family that lived close by. With a baby, this was perfect, because we didn’t have to worry about tiring out the little one (or me! haha) by sight-seeing different places. We just walked around the area we stayed in, went to some parks along the Hudson River, and visited my cousin.
Before we left, my friend Ngoc had emailed me a list of must-eat places to visit, or some splurges that you won’t find anywhere else. I am happy to say that we conquered most of the list and then some – man, New York has some amazing food! Shake Shack has some awesome burgers – try the small vanilla frozen custard with strawberry puree and hazelnut brown butter streusel. Eataly is an Italian marketplace that has no comparison – just go there and you’ll see. At Doughnut Plant, try the Tres Leches Cake doughnut. Luke’s Lobster – I am not a lobster fanatic, but had the 1/2 roll of lobster there. It was definitely something worth going back for! Some extra places we visited were Vinyl (try the Thai deviled eggs there) and Blue Smoke. How can I leave out il laboratorio del gelato? We tried the rhubarb gelato, honey lavender gelato, and yellow watermelon sorbet there. My husband, who doesn’t much like sweets, loved it, and baby did too.
And for a date night, my cousins watched the baby and made us a reservation for Please Don’t Tell, a swanky speakeasy that was hidden underneath Crif Dogs. We tried the Kim Chi hotdog there. For someone who’s never had kimchi before (I know, I am a weirdo), this was so good, and kind of addicting! We also went to Momofuku Noodle Bar and shared a bowl of noodles and the pork bun, something they’re famous for. Afterwards we went to the Momofuku bakery, called Milk Bar, a few blocks down, and ordered a couple slices of their Crack Pie and Compost Cookie for us and the cousins to-go. Hey, with names like that, my curiosity was piqued!
On our return home, I was itching to get cooking again in the kitchen with all the inspiration I found on our trip. At Vinyl, they made deviled eggs Thai-style, which were so good, because I usually don’t like deviled eggs but putting an Asian twist on them was interesting. So I was browsing around the grocery store, and thought of making meatballs, Asian style, with lots of herbs like ginger, in a broth that you can serve with brown rice. Grrrreat idea, and perfectly comforting after all that eating-out we’ve been doing. Serve this with some sauteed Swiss chard on the side, but it’s perfect with some plump, button mushrooms and nutty brown rice. You may have lots of fun traveling, but it’s always good to be home.
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Asian-Style Turkey Meatballs with Mushrooms
makes 20 meatballs
for the herb mixture:
6 garlic cloves
1 stalk green onion
2-inch piece ginger, peeled
1/2 cup cilantro, packed
for the meatballs:
1.25 lb lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup whole-grain breadcrumbs
1 large egg
canola oil spray
for the rest of the dish:
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz button mushrooms, halved
2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Optional: serve with red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For the herb mixture, place garlic cloves, green onion, ginger, and cilantro in the work bowl of the food processor and pulse until everything is minced finely. In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 of the herb mixture with the ground turkey, low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, pepper, kosher salt, breadcrumbs, and egg until incorporated. Form 20 meatballs, about 2 tablespoons per meatball, and arrange them in 5 rows of 4 on a baking pan coated with canola oil spray. Bake the meatballs for about 18 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, and when hot, add the rest of the herb mixture. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the baking pan with a spatula and add them to the skillet with the herb mixture and mushrooms. Add the chicken broth. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water. Add this to the meatballs and chicken broth and gently mix all ingredients together. Mix in the low-sodium soy sauce and sesame oil. Bring to a gentle simmer for about 15 minutes and serve with brown rice, optional red pepper flakes.