Monday, October 20, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers


It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month!

It feels like it has been so long since I've participated in SRC. I had to miss out on all the fun for September because I was busy getting married/going on vacation/not cooking at all. I've been trying to get back into a rhythm as far as blogging is concerned, but I've been slacking. I've needed some good SRC inspiration to get me motivated again.

For those of you who don't know, Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers who make another member's recipe (in secret, of course). Everyone reveals on their designated date and gets to see what another member made from their blog. It's a great way to showcase some of your older recipes and a great way to find out about some cool bloggers who also share a passion for cooking.

This month, I got to explore The Avid Appetite hosted by Rachel. Rachel is a working mom living in Jersey City with her husband, Shaun, and her adorable daughter. Rachel started cooking in an attempt to be a kickass wife who loved football (NY Giant specifically) and knew how to cook. What a lucky husband!

I've made the same attempts with my husband. I cook for him regularly, I've been cultivating an appreciation for football, and I love beer. He could have done worse for himself.

Anyway, back to SRC. Rachel had so many great recipes on her blog that were great for entertaining or having a weeknight dinner. I opted to make her Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers because it just sounded so good. I had a bunch of apples and ground turkey was on sale at the market. Sounded like the perfect recipe.

It was absolutely delicious. The apples and celery gave some moisture to the turkey and the flavor were just like a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. This was a great recipe that didn't need too many changes. I used fresh sage, rosemary and thyme in place of poultry spice. I also made fresh cranberry sauce with my last bag of cranberries in the freezer from last Thanksgiving. Next time, I would probably sautee my vegetables/apples first so I can cook it fully in the skillet (I ended up starting my burgers in the skillet and finishing them under the broiler). I would also add some walnuts or chopped bacon to my burger (because that's how I make my Thanksgiving stuffing)

Thanks so much for this awesome recipe, Rachel! I know it will become a regular thing in our house.


Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers (will make about 6. We halved this recipe)
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 small yellow or sweet onion
  • 1 crisp baking apple, peeled cored (I used honeycrisp, but granny smith would also work)
  • 3 sage leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Fresh or dry rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cranberry sauce (homemade or canned)
  • mayonaise
  • rolls
Directions
  1. Dice celery, onion and apple
  2. Mix turkey, celery, onion, apple, herbs and spices together in a small bowl. Cook a small taster in a frying pan and adjust seasoning/herbs as desired.
  3. Form Turkey burgers into patties and cook in a hot skillet until colored on both sides. Transfer skillet to broiler and finish burgers until cooked through
  4. Meanwhile, toast your rolls (we used ciabatta) and spread with cranberry and mayo. Place burger on your roll and serve immediately. 






Monday, October 6, 2014

Watermelon Sorbet



I can't believe it's already October. Where has the summer (and the year) gone?

I thought I was doing a great job of keeping up this blog during the past year since joining Secret Recipe Club. It has been difficult to get back into the swing of things since getting back from vacation, and for that I do apologize. I'm realizing now that I had a good many photos/recipes logged in drafts from before vacation, so I'm trying to get caught up with those at the moment. It's bad because I have to remember the recipe so long after, but good because it gives you a little taste of something beautiful as the seasons change (in this case, the long-gone watermelon)

This weekend it was 41 degrees Fahrenheit Saturday night. My husband and I were both surprised when we stepped outside to feel the chill and not remember where we had stored most of our winter clothes (we have not even unpacked them yet). Today it was back up to 75, but I'm not looking forward to how the weather will change in a couple weeks.

If you can still find watermelon in your local markets, you should really take advantage of it while it's there. This is a great way to use scrapings or mushy bits from your watermelon (or the edge waste you get from melon balls). The texture is more icy like a granita (probably because of the lower sugar ratio in the simple syrup), but still delicious. This was the first watermelon thing I've ever had that tasted like real watermelon and not like a jolly rancher.

Watermelon Sorbet (for a 2 quart ice cream machine)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups seeded chopped watermelon
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
Directions
  1. Heat water and sugar in a pot to create a syrup
  2. Pour syrup and watermelon in a blender or food processor. blend until smooth and add lime juice. Chill at least 2 hours
  3. Pour into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer directions.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Slow Cooker Pea Soup



It's winter.

Well, it's not winter yet, but it is officially the first day of autumn. And I've had to wear a sweater in the morning on the way to work. That's how I know winter is coming.

Because of that, I felt it was time to post a recipe I've had in my drafts since last year. I just never got around to posting it, and summer never seemed like the right time. But now it's time for soups and hearty foods. This seemed perfect.

Enjoy the rest of the summer as long as it lasts, but when winter finally creeps up you can have this easy soup ready to go.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Ingredients


  • 1 pound dried green split peas, rinsed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and medium dice
  • 2 medium celery stalks, medium dice
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, medium dice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 fresh Italian parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 meaty smoked ham bone or 2 ham hocks (about 1 pound)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (1 quart)
  • 2 cups water
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Put all ingredients in crockpot and set to low for 8 hours. 
  2. Adjust seasoning to taste and add more water to thin out if necessary. Super easy.
  3. Top with sour cream and parsley if desired. Serve with crusty bread

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back from Vacation with French Vanilla Ice Cream


Okay, I'm back from vacation. Took a while to get back into the swing of things

The wedding went amazingly well and the honeymoon was fantastic. We vacationed in Belize (such a beautiful country) with plenty of adventure, relaxation and gorgeous sights. We ate plenty of local food (recipes from a local cookbook to come, for sure).  It was very hard to come back to real life and back to real work.

I made this ice cream before leaving, but I didn't have a chance to share the recipe. It utilizes our new KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment (awesome wedding gift) and the recipe comes the included recipe book

French Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups half and half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2.5 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Simmer half and half until just before boiling, stirring constantly
  2. Mix yolks and sugar with wire whip until thickened and glossy yellow
  3. Slowly temper egg yolks with half and half. Return to stove and heat until steamy, stirring constantly.
  4. Mix vanilla, heavy cream and salt with egg mixture. Cover with plastic and chill overnight. 
  5. Churn according to ice cream maker directions. Freeze until desired texture is reached.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Grilled peach salad with balsamic drizzle



It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again and my partner in crime for this month is Jenna over at Painted Apron.

Jenna is super creative. Her blog is full of great recipes, beautiful tablescapes and ideas for party planning and easy home decor. There are plenty of great dinner party ideas for me to check out...later. (You know, when I'm not two weeks away from getting married, later. When you're reading this, I will be on an airplane to California for the wedding. Sorry if I don't respond to comments promptly)

I normally love SRC post dates, but this month was more difficult than usual. It wasn't Jenna's fault. Her blog had some awesome recipes like this great Stuffed French Toast and these Magic Potatoes made with so much butter and cheese. The one I must wanted to make was her Breadstick Pizza Rosette because it looked so amazing.

And then I realized we were leaving on vacation for two weeks (for our wedding, followed by honeymoon). By the time I found time to make a recipe we were already in the "We ain't going to the grocery store for shit" stage. You know...the stage where you're eating dry cereal because you refuse to buy milk, and a large amount of your dinners consist of pasta and whatever veggies you have in the fridge. Wanna put an egg on it? What about cheese? All perishable foods must go until we're stuck eating takeout for 3 straight days before vacation.

Given the timing of this SRC, I think I did a pretty great job with this recipe for Prosciutto and Peach Salad. I made mine as a combination of two of her peach salads and I think I did a pretty good job keeping the spirit the same, given all of my self-imposed food restrictions.

It was a really tasty dinner. We had a duo of salads that night: peach salad and caprese salad because everything must go! Thanks for the great recipes Jenna. I promise I'll come back and make that pizza rosette after we get back from vacation.

Grilled Peach Salad

Ingredients
  • 2 ripe peaches (either yellow or white)
  • mixed greens (anything with arugula and frisee is always great)
  • almonds
  • salted italian meat (prosciutto or pancetta would be great. I used sopresatta)
  • lemon
  • olive oil
  • balsamic glaze (I used an English Toffee infused balsamic vinegar that was on sale at my local olive oil shop)
  • goat cheese (I didn't have this, but I would use it next time)
Directions
  1. Pit the peaches and grill them either outside or on your grill pan
  2. Sautee your sopresatta or chosen meat until slightly crispy
  3. Lightly dress your greens with a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Lay them down on the plate
  4. Top with grilled peaches, sopresatta, almonds and a little balsamic glaze. Eat immediately and enjoy



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant


I love my CSA box.

I get so many amazing vegetables every week that I would never think to buy on a regular basis. I mean, I would buy french beans, but I probably wouldn't get Indian eggplant when Japanese eggplant was an option.

Most of the time, I would have probably just chopped up this eggplant for curry or a stir fry. This time, that didn't happen. My CSA company sends an email every week with a recipe at the end to give you inspiration. This week, they sent out an adapted version of Smitten Kitchen's recipe for stuffed eggplant.

This was an absolutely delicious dish! The flavors all went so perfectly together and the eggplant was beautiful. The recipe I used was altered in order to fit what came in the box that week. I highly recommend you all try it.

Lebanese stuffed Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 12 indian eggplants (or 6 baby bell Italian eggplants)
  • 1/2 cup jasmine rice (rinsed, but uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb ground beef or lamb (uncooked)
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp chopped flat parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Cut the bottom sliver off each eggplant and hallow out the eggplant with a melon baller, leaving about 1/3 inch eggplant flesh on all sides. Take the interior of the eggplant and roughly chop it.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in large skillet. Sautee onion and garlic until tender. Add the eggplant interior and cook until tender.
  3. Place half the onion mixture into a bowl with nuts, ground meat, rice, allspice, lemon, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix together.
  4. Leave the other half the onion mix in the skillet. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Simmer gently uncovered
  5. Stuff eggplants with the rice filling mixture. Filling will expand, so don't stuff it too tight.
  6. Place eggplants in the simmering sauce and simmer covered for about 45 minutes, turning halfway through. Cook until rice is cooked through.
  7. If necessary, remove eggplant and reduce sauce to desired consistency.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Fish Sauce Dressing


Vietnamese noodle bowls are a summertime staple in our house. This is the main thing I order at Vietnamese restaurants (even when everyone else is ordering pho). There aren't very many rules when you make it at home (this one had corn, because we had fresh white corn) but it always needs to have rice noodles, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, mint, basil and noum cham (citrus fish sauce dressing).

It's great for summer because it doesn't heat up your kitchen. It's light, very flavorful and refreshing. We love it and I hope you do too

Ingredients

  • rice noodles
  • desired lettuce
  • cucumber
  • carrots, seeded tomatoes, celery, or whatever you desire
  • chicken breast
  • cilantro
  • mint
  • basil
  • fish sauce
  • lime juice
  • palm sugar (or brown sugar, or cane sugar syrup)
  • sesame oil
  • warm water
  • thai chilis
  • garlic
Directions
  1. Begin by marinating the chicken in some fish sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. It doesn't have to be very long (half hour at most). Slice thin and cook quickly in a skillet. Set aside to cool.
  2. Next, make the noum cham sauce. Mix equal parts fish sauce, lime juice and sugar together. Dilute the sauce with some warm water and a touch of sesame oil until it's appropriate strength. Thinly slice one clove garlic and one thai chili to mix with the sauce.
  3. Julienne all your vegetables and begin by layering your lettuce at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Cook rice noodles until done and chill in ice water. Drain and place on top of your lettuce
  5. Top with your desired fresh vegetables, chicken and herbs
  6. Drizzle fish sauce dressing over the top. Toss all ingredients together and eat immediately.