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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fresh turkey burgers with guacamole

I have a few random notes before I get started on the "main dish."

First,  as a VERY belated birthday gift for my stepmom Debbie, I took her out for lunch at Lucia's in Uptown.  We were lucky enough to go on one of the few nice days we have had this summer, so we ate on Lucia's lovely and quaint patio.  It's like a little slice of Europe.

I ordered the fish cakes with spring pea hash, baby carrots and lemon-caper aioli.  I can still taste the fish cakes melting in my mouth.  What I loved most about Lucia's was the freshness.  Each bite was a burst of fresh flavor - as if the veggies were hand-picked in the backyard and the fish freshly caught.  Another great part about Lucia's is that the menu varies depending on what is in season locally.

Secondly, Emily and I have been discussing recently that it is so hard to get "restaurant flavor" in home cooking.  My mom seems to have mastered it, but Emily and me, not so much.  Most meals we cook seem to lack some serious flavor.

Last week, however, I invited my mom and Blair (my youngest sister [17]) over for fresh turkey burgers.  I am proud to say that Emily deemed them "restaurant-worthy."  I'm not really sure I would go that far, but they were very good, and I would most definitely make them again.  One down side, however, was that while grilling them on my George Foreman, my apartment smelled like wet dog.  Don't let that deter you;  I assure you that it was worth it in the end.  And the smell?  Nothing a little incense can't cure.  I also made fresh guacamole as a fix-in for my turkey burgers.  I'd say the guac is what made them taste "restaurant-worthy."

So sorry - I don't have any photos for this post!

Turkey Burgers, adapted from Food Network Magazine

1 large portobello mushroom cap
1 T coarsely chopped shallot
3 T dried parsley
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 C grated Gouda
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 t Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Use a spoon to scrape out the guts inside the cap of the portobello mushroom.  Cut the mushroom cap in to cubes, and transfer to a food processor.  I used a manual chopper, which worked just as well.  Add the chopped shallot and pulse until chopped.

Transfer the mushroom mixture to a large bowl.  Add the turkey, Gouda, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, 1 t salt, ground pepper and parsley.  Mix with a wooden spoon until well-combined.

I put two turkey patties on to the George Foreman at a time.  I formed the meat in to balls then flattened them in to patties.  I think they cooked for about eight minutes or so.  If you poke at them with a fork you should be able to tell whether or not they are done.  The tops will become brown, and the juice should run clear.

Here is my "secret" recipe for the very best guacamole:

1 ripe avocado, mashed
1 clove garlic, pressed
A little chopped red onion
A little chopped tomato
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Freshly squeezed lime juice

Mix everything together and enjoy with turkey burgers and tortilla chips!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lucia's sea salt chocolate cookie - Cookie one of the top ten local cookies

I haven't been blogging lately, as I am sure many of you are aware of.

So here's the deal:

I just graduated from college and am now working full-time,  which is totally great, and I am really ecstatic about my new job.  I am realizing, though, which may seem completely obvious, that work takes up a lot of time!  I guess it just feels that way because I am in one place for a large portion of my day as opposed to running here and there for class / work.

As a result I have a bit lame on the hobby front.

Since work started about four weeks ago I admit that I have only baked twice, though I have cooked a few times (nothing spectacular, unfortunately).  This weekend I made white chocolate and chocolate chip cookies with kosher salt, which is the best way to make cookies.  A little sweet and a little salty - nothin' better.  I also made homemade granola, which is delicious.  I have to say that I may become a granola snob.  Now that I've had homemade I'm not sure I'll be able to go back to store-bought.

So that's that.

Today at work I decided that it would be a great night to start on Dara's list of top ten best local cookies (see my previous post).  Naturally I wanted the sea salt chocolate cookie from Lucia's.  Anything containing sea salt and chocolate / caramel has to be good.  And Lucia's adorable website would have sold me if ever I was on the fence about which cookie to try first.

And let me tell you - it is a great night to have a good cookie.  It's pouring rain, and I am cozied up under a blanket on my big comfy chair, eating (or having ate) a yummy cookie with milk, and blogging - finally.

Now on to the cookie.

Delicious.  Dark cocoa, but still sweet, not too sweet.  The sea salt is definitely noticeable.  And it's not just salty.  You can taste the sea, like the smell of the ocean, but it is not overbearing.  The cocoa is definitely stronger than the salt.  Soft but not doughy.  Just the right amount of crispiness on the edges.  Emily said, "I think it's slightly awesome."  And I would have to agree.

Also,  I just discovered this awesome new local foodie blog fresh tart.  Check it out!