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 ) 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!