Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oh-So-Yummy Turkey Burgers

Ok, so this is the 4th time that I've made these burgers, and I think that I've finally got it down pat. I will admit that this version is a little on the spicy side. So if you don't like too much spice, then add less chipotle & adobo. My husband (a total carnivore) loves these burgers. Hope you all love them, too!

makes 4 burgers

olive oil
1/4 large onion, small dice
1/2 bell pepper (any color will do), small dice
2 chipotle peppers, small dice + 1-2 Tbl adobo sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 C chicken stock
juice of 1/2 lime
3 Tbl chopped cilantro
1# ground turkey
pan spray

toasted burger buns

optional toppings:
4 slices cheese (pepper jack or provolone)
1 ripe avocado mashed with S &P

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large saute pan (that can go in the oven later), heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add onion & peppers. Saute over medium heat until softened and lightly browned. Season with S & P.
Add chipotle, adobo, & cumin. Saute until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add chicken stock to deglaze the pan. Pull off heat.
Pour the mixture into a bowl & add lime juice & cilantro.
Let cool slightly, then add ground turkey & season with S & P.
Mix with hands & form a "tester patty."
Preheat the same pan coated with pan spray & cook the patty to check for seasoning.
Separate the remaining mix into 4 pieces.
Place the patties into a preheated pan coated with pan spray.
Saute over medium heat 3-4 minutes on one side until well-browned.
Flip and saute for 1 minute more, then transfer the pan to the oven.
Bake for 5-6 more minutes, or until cooked through.
Top with cheese & avocado, enjoy!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cinnamon Ice Cream

If you have an ice cream maker, then making your very own homemade ice cream is super easy. My sister and I made this together, and even she was surprised how easy it was. This recipe is for cinnamon, but it's super easy to change this to almost any flavor you'd like.

3 cups half & half
1 cup heavy cream
12 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. cinnamon

In a saucepan, combine the half and half, cream, vanilla, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. In a bowl, combine the yolks and sugar. After your liquids have come to a boil, remove it from the heat. Working with a ladle in one hand and a whisk in the other (or you can get a buddy to make this a little less challenging), slowly ladle your hot cream into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Repeat this until about one third of your liquid has been mixed into the yolks. Now switch your utensils, and ladle the yolk mixture back into the cream, whisking continuously.

Return the pan to medium-low heat. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula, constantly scraping the bottom and sides. YOU CANNOT WALK AWAY FROM THE PAN! You will end up with scrambled eggs in cream. Do this until the mixture becomes thick and coats the back of a spoon. Pour through a fine mesh strainer to catch any little pieces of egg that may have formed in the corners of the pan. Refrigerate until completely cool, at least 4 hours. Churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Freeze and enjoy!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pasta with Caramelized Shallot Cream and Roasted Tomatoes

My husband made this with the homemade oregano pappardelle, and it was so freakin good that I'm requesting it for dinner again tonight. You can purchase roasted, marinated tomatoes at the grocery store, but I think that it's fairly easy to make them and much cheaper also.

For the roasted tomatoes:
3 tomatoes, cut into medium chunks
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 4oo. Toss the tomatoes in oil, salt, and pepper. Spread evenly onto a cookie sheet and roast in the oven about 20 minutes. Toss the tomatoes a few times to get an even roast on them, they will become slightly shriveled and very aromatic.

For the caramelized shallot cream sauce:
1 large shallot, julienne (thin strips)
1 clove of garlic, julienne
salt & pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbl. butter, soft
1 Tbl. flour

fresh oregano, chopped
fresh mozzarella, diced

In a medium saucepan, saute the shallot and garlic over medium heat. Stir often to ensure even browning, season with salt and pepper. When the mixture is caramelized, add the stock and allow it to come to a boil and reduce by half. Add the cream and allow it to come to a boil and reduce until you get large bubbles. Put this mixture in the blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pan. Mix flour and butter together in a small bowl. Whisk about half of this mixture into the sauce, wait for it to return to a boil. This is the thickener for your sauce, you may add more or less depending on what you'd like. Let the flour taste cook out of the sauce by letting it boil for another minute or so. Taste it and adjust the seasoning.

Cook your pasta in boiling, salted water. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss in the tomatoes, mozzarella, and oregano. Serve and enjoy!

makes two servings

Oregano Pasta Dough

This dough will work with any fresh herb you'd like. But I do want to stress that they need to be fresh herbs, dried herbs just aren't going to cut it in this application. I love having my own fresh herbs on my patio because I can just go out and pick what I'd like. The oregano was growing out of control, that's why we decided to use it here.

3 cups flour
3 eggs
4 Tbl. water (this will vary depending on weather and other factors)
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh oregano, stripped from stems

In the bowl of a food processor, blend the oregano, flour, salt, and pepper until the herbs are small and uniform in size. Add eggs, oil, and just enough water to make the dough come together. Remove from the food processor and mix by hand for just a minute, you may need to adjust the consistency with either more water or more flour. You really need to get your hands in it to be able to tell: your don't want it all dry and crumbly, but it shouldn't be sticky either.

Divide the dough into two parts and wrap each in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Don't skimp on this step, it's important. This is enough dough to make pasta twice, or one really large batch (like dinner party sized).

Flour your work surface and remove one of your balls of dough from refrigerator. Only work with one at a time, you want the dough to stay cool. Using a pasta roller dusted lightly with flour, roll out the dough, starting with the thickest gauge and slowly working your way down. You want it really thin, otherwise it will be gummy when you cook it. Cut into desired shapes (a pizza wheel works great for this). I love making pappardelle (flat, long, wide noodles) because it's easy and not as precise as other shapes. Cook in boiling, salted water until done, it should only take about 3 minutes. Al dente isn't really an option here because the pasta hasn't been dried, but you definitely don't want to overcook it. Enjoy!!

makes over one pound of dough

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lemon Poppyseed Torte

I have been thinking about lemon poppyseed cake for days, it's so refreshing and summery. I whipped this one up in no time, and it did not disappoint. I split it in half and gave one piece to my sister and kept the other for myself. Needless to say, my half is almost gone. If you have some limoncello laying around, you could soak the cake just in that, and it would be marvelous!

2 sticks butter
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbl. lemon juice
3 Tbl. poppyseeds

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 cake pan. (You can also use two 9x5 loaf pans) Melt the butter. In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs. Slowly streeam in the sugar. Beat until thick and pale, about 5 minutes.

Sift together four and salt. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold one third of the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Fold the remainder of the flour into the mix in two parts, very gently. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup of the batter into the melted butter, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Gently fold 1 additional cup of the batter into this mix. Then gently fold this mix back into the batter with the poppyseeds.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan(s). Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. After 5 minutes of cooling, turn cake out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and cool.

2 half-pints raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries
2 Tbl. water
2 Tbl. sugar (more or less, depending on the sweetness of your berries)

whipped cream
extra berries for garnish

Combine 1 container of berries with water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to cook until the berries have broken down and you have a sauce-like consistency, about 5 minutes. (If you use blackberries, you may want to strain this because the seeds are a little bit more troublesome than those in raspberries.) While the sauce is still warm, add the remaining berries. Toss the berries to coat and cool.

When your cake is cool, use a serrated knife to trim the sides and top of the cake. Split the cake horizontally into two pieces. Using a pastry brush, generously soak the top of both pieces with the lemon syrup. Top the bottom layer with the berry mixture. Set the other cake layer on top. Finish with whipped cream and some extra berries. Enjoy!!

Tip: If you used the two loaf pans, you're going to end up with two tortes (one to keep and one to give away). Trim the top, then flip it over and follow the assembly directions from there. You'll have a tapered look because of the angled sides, but I think that this looks kinda cool.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bacon & Spinach Soup

This was one of those "I'm going to clean out the refrigerator and make soup out of whatever I find" kinda soups. My husband and I really enjoyed it, I hope you do, too.

extra virgin olive oil
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2'' pieces
4 oz can mushrooms, pieces and stems, drained
1 vidalia onion, medium dice
3 stalks celery, medium dice
2 cloves of garlic
4 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 bunch spinach
1/2 cooked rotisserie chicken, picked and chopped
2 cups water
4 oz egg noodles
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese

In a large soup pot, add just enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Spread the bacon pieces across the pan evenly, and cook over medium heat until browned, but not crispy. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon from the pan, leaving all the rendered fat in the pan. Add the mushrooms, and watch out, they're going to splatter like the dickens! You can place a lid partially over the pan to try to contain this, or use one of those splatter guards. Cook until beautifully browned, and remove from the pan, again leaving the bacon fat in the pan.

Add the onion and celery, toss to coat evenly, and saute until lightly browned. This is going to take at least 10 minutes. Stir occassionally, scraping the pan with a rubber spatula to release the browned bits from the bottom. While you're waiting, you clean your spinach (see Seabass Dinner for Two for directions).

Chop the garlic. While it's still on the cutting board, sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Let that sit for a few minutes, then mush it with the side of your knife. The salt will draw out the moisture, and you'll end up with a sort of garlic paste. Add this to the onion and celery mix, and saute for one minute. Normally, I would tell you to add salt and pepper here, but we're cooking in bacon fat (salty and delicious), so just pepper will do just fine.

Add 1/4 cup of stock to deglaze the pan, again scraping the bottom of the pan with the rubber spatula. Cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the well-drained spinach, and cook until it has wilted down. Season with salt to cut the bitterness of the spinach. The spinach will let off some water, so cook until that has evaporated as well.

Return the bacon and mushrooms to the pan. Add the chicken. (I had this chicken leftover in my refrigerator. If there's any of that gelatinous chicken juice on the bottom of the container, please add this in as well. Trust me, it's delicious.) Let this cook together for a few minutes.

Fill a pasta pot with water, bring to a boil, and salt generously.

At this point, I looked at the savory concoction in my pot and thought to myself, "this would make a great stuffing for canneloni, stuffed shells, etc." If you're so inclined, you could stop here. Cool the mixture, add some ricotta, and you're in business!

Back to the main recipe, add 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock and water. I used a combination of both because that's what I had in the fridge. Let this come to a boil.

Cook egg noodles in the pasta pot, but only about halfway. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water. When your soup has come to a boil, add the noodles and let them finish cooking. This should only take about 2 minutes. Taste your soup and decide if it needs salt and pepper. Ladle into a bowl and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!!!

makes about 2 quarts

Seabass Dinner for Two

My husband and I ate at Monarch restaurant in Maplewood a few nights ago, and it was so delectable! We ate some great seafood dishes, which inspired this dinner. This is a bit more than I would normally spend on dinner, but I think it's totally worth it for a special occassion or just because. It's still cheaper than eating out at a restaurant, and you get the satisfaction of doing it all yourself!

2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch spinach
1/4 cup chicken stock

3 Tbl. butter
2 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
4 oz baby bella mushrooms, medium dice
8 oz mixed exotic forest mushrooms, trimmed

3 Tbl. butter
1 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
2 6 oz pieces of seabass

salt & pepper

Heat garlic and olive oil over low heat. We're flavoring the oil here, and it's going to take about 20 minutes. To clean your spinach, remove all the leaves from the stems. Fill your sink with cold water and add spinach. Toss it around in the water for a bit, and then let it sit for a few minutes. All the sand and dirst should fall to the bottom of the sink. Remove the spinach and put it into a collander to drain without kicking up all that dirt.

Heat butter and oil together and add the baby bella mushrooms. If any of your exotic mushrooms are large, you can add them now also. I had trumpets in my mix, so I sliced them and added them here. Saute over medium-high heat until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Add your smaller mushrooms and saute for a few more minutes until your kitchen smells like woodsy deliciousness. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside until everything else is ready.

In a medium skillet, heat butter and oil until HOT, but not smoking. This is very important! If you want a beautiful, restaurant-quality crust on the fish that you've just spent at least $20 on, your pan gots-to-be HOT! Season all sides with salt and pepper. Lay your fish in the pan, and DO NOT touch it for at least 2 minutes. After this time has passed, you can begin the fat laddling process. Take a large soup spoon, tilt your pan, and spoon the fat over the top of the fish continuously until you can see a color change in your fish. Periodically check the underside of your fish until you get that gorgeous caramelized crust you're looking for and then flip it. Keep basting and cooking for a few more minutes until the fish is done. I will admit, that it may be hard to tell when it's done. I personally think that seabass can be eaten at a medium temperature, but that's up to you. Pull the fish out of the pan, and let it rest for a few minutes while you cook the spinach.

When the garlic in the oil starts to brown around the edges, add the well-drained spinach. It's going to pop and splatter because of the water, so watch out. Saute until it all wilts down, add the stock, and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. It's going to take more salt than you think to tame down the bitterness of the spinach.

To complete your feast, quickly reheat the mushrooms. Lay your spinach down on your serving plate as the bed, layer the mushrooms over it, then crown it with your beautiful piece of seabass (prettiest side up, of course.) Enjoy!!