Sunday, 18 October 2009

That's Gobble not Google

So I bought turkey cutlets for the first time a few days ago, wanting to incorporate other meat choices into our diet (as I’ve learned recently – I need meat in my diet lest I go through life in a haze). Now that they’re in the fridge, I have to figure out what the heck I am going to do with them, and have resolved today IS going to be the day. Having never actually (I admit) cooked turkey in my life, I’ve decided that google is probably my best bet, considering all my cookbooks are still somewhere on the Atlantic. So big surprise, when I type “turkey cutlets recipes” in google and I get a variety of options such as turkey escalope, turkey Milanese, turkey parmigiana, and turkey schnitzel. Thanks google, food network, and various others. I couldn't have thought to bread cutlets myself. I’m Polish. Breaded cutlets are one of our 4 basic food groups. The others are potatoes, pickled vegetables and vodka. I don’t need an excuse to douse something in eggs, milk and breadcrumbs, or instructions for that matter. I was hoping for something a little more original.

Oooookaaay. Let’s try this again: I google “flavors that go well with turkey” and pray that I won’t get a dozen recipes for cranberry sauce. Then it occurs to me, that I’ve never ever had turkey in my house, since I moved out of my parents'. Why is that…which brings up a deeper question: do we really ever eat turkey except for thanksgiving, in sandwiches or as a healthy substitute for other meat? I’ve never had to make thanksgiving dinner, so I have never made a turkey. I’ve never made a turkey sandwich, because I have never had thanksgiving leftovers in the house, nor do I buy turkey deli meat. And lastly, I’ve never used ground turkey or turkey as a substitute, instead of ground beef or pork, because prior to getting married, I maybe bought ground meat twice in space of 5 years. Turkey is like BEYOND new territory, a potentially ground breaking new ingredient in my kitchen, this is a monumental moment in the history of Citygirl Cuisine. Maybe it’s the same for you.

Considering all the facts in evidence, I figure that I could easily make a substitute recipe that is NOT based on making a breaded cutlet. Substituting turkey for chicken is probably the safest bet. So I decide to make a version of Greek Souvlaki, because well I’ve always wanted to try making it and now’s a good as any. So I take out my spice rack, and look through all the spices I’ve smuggled across the border, and am shocked to find out that I have neither dried thyme nor oregano. How is that possible- I seem to have clear memories of them in my pantry before I moved. I am in such disbelief that I go through all of the spices individually, three times, before I am satisfactorily convinced that I am not just hallucinating. Then I remember, I’m not the one who packed the kitchen.

So I guess we’re not having Turkey Souvlaki tonight. Great. Back to square one. What do I have in the kitchen? I drum my nails on the countertop. Well, I do have this Herbes de Provence mix, which 007 threw into our shopping cart on Friday night at Real. What else do I have around? There is that ¼ bottle of semi-dry white in fridge from 007’s birthday, that’s begging to be used. It calls to me every time I open up the fridge. “Use me. Uuuuse meee.” (At least it’s not calling “Drink me” – that would be a real problem.) I root further. There’s that large tomato that’s getting overripe, and I’ve been worrying about. Hmmm. What else? root. root. root. There are these pistachios my mother-in-law sent us in a care package, which I’ve dying to use in something really worthwhile. I think I can do something with this. What am i saying?! I CAN do something with this. I’ve had a breakthrough: Turkey Sauté with Herbes de Provence and Pistachios. And let me tell you, it tastes damn good over a wild rice pilaf and with Quick Cucumber Salad. I’ll get back to blogging about the birthday tomorrow. For now, I’m relishing the sight of 007 licking his plate after dinner.

Turkey Sauté with Herbes de Provence and Pistachios



2-3 medium sized turkey cutlets cubed (I’m sure this would be equally good with chicken or pork)
2-3 generous tbsp Herbes de Provence mix ( if you can’t get your hands on this, you can make your own, using 3 tbsp dried marjoram, 3 tbsp dried thyme, 3 tbsp dried savory, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried rosemary, 1/2 tsp dried sage and ½ tsp fennel seeds)
½ cup olive oil
1 cup dry or semi-dry white wine
½ cup of water
½ a chicken bouillon cube
½ a mushroom bouillon cube (if you can’t get your hands on this use a beef bouillon)
1 large ripe tomato seeded and diced
¼ cup chopped chives
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 handful pistachios pitted and coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

How to:

Combine oil, ½ a cup of wine and Herbes de Provence mix in a bowl and mix together. Place cubes of turkey in the marinade and marinate for at least ½ an hour.

In the meantime get the rest of your ingredients ready. Place a small-medium heavy bottom saucepan on the range and turn on to medium heat. Once saucepan is hot, stir turkey in the marinade one last time, making sure the meat is well coated with the herbs. Using tongs, place in saucepan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and tomato and stir cook for 1-2 minutes and add chives.

In a kettle boil ½ cup of water (or more and make some tea) and split evenly among two glasses. Add ½ chicken and mushroom bouillon cubes to each glass, respectively, and stir to dissolve. Add the remaining ½ cup of wine and bouillons to the saucepan and stir. Bring mixture to a simmer, and cook until reduced by ¾ (about 10 minutes). Add pistachios, stir and cook for 1 minute. Serve on top of wild rice pilaf.

Quick Cucumber Salad for two


2 regular cucumbers or 1 English cucumber, peeled and cubed (1cm)
2 -3 tbsps Balkan style natural yogurt or 18% sweet cream-not liquid (you can use sour cream if you have to, but it will change the taste)
A healthy bunch of fresh dill chopped

How to:

Place cucumbers in a bowl with yogurt and dill. Stir well, serve. I keep fresh dill in an air tight container in the freezer, like my mom does. Dill doesn’t wilt in cold like many other herbs. It keeps for a long time and defrosts almost instantly. <3

1 comment:

  1. You could do a turkey curry a la Bridget Jone's parents! I loved this entry because I had the same struggle this year and decided to cook a turkey for the first time (and probably won't again for a very long time). It was an experience and yielded way too much for one or two people to get through sensibly. I think substituting ground turkey in recipes is a grand idea though!