I’m embarrassed about how long it’s been since my last post! It’s an understatement to say that life has gotten in the way, just a bit. My hubby’s online skateboarding business has taken off and the next obvious step for us to take was buying our own commercial building. Needless to say, but between scouting out real estate, negotiating with brokers, juggling inspections and sweating bullets over a scary down payment, it’s been a little exhausting. Well, the transaction will be final on Tuesday and the keys will be ours! Between the stress and the late night life talks, you can bet good food was the one thing that held things together over the last month.
I have my mom to thank for this one and she has Sunset magazine to thank. The recipe has morphed a little each time it changed hands and this is my version. These chicken burgers are healthier than most, and suprisingly moist too. Between the rosemary speckled throughout the patties, juicy caramlized onions and a pungent gorgonzola sauce balanced by spicy arugula, this burger is a flavor explosion. I like to make small patties on dinner-roll style buns since I’ve never been one to finish a normal sized burger. Plus, if you end up eating two you won’t feel so bad about it! Please give these a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Rosemary Chicken Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola
Makes 4 Small Burgers
1 lb ground chicken
2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
4 kaiser rolls
handful of arugula or spinach leaves
2 large shallots, sliced thin
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Turn your grill onto medium-high heat.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine well. Form into 4 equal patties and let those sit while you get the other ingredients ready.
In a medium saute pan or frying pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and the onion along with the pinch of salt and sugar. Saute for about 30 minutes or until a light golden brown. Once brown, add in the balsamic vinegar (optional) and keep warm on low heat until everything else is ready.
Place the chicken burger patties on the bbq and grill for about 6-8 minutes on both sides or until cooked through and there’s no more pink. Toast the buns on the grill as well.
Mix together the gorgonzola and mayonnaise in a small bow.
Assemble the burgers! I take the toasted bun, smear some of the gorgonzola sauce and top with the arugula, chicken burger and balsamic caramelized onions.
I have a weakness for bite-sized nibbles. Everything is so much cuter when it’s pint-sized or wrapped up in a neat little package. The thought of a obese cheeseburger makes me cringe. But, if that cheeseburger was divided into 20 petite sliders, I could eat my weight in them. Just a simple triscuit cracker transforms with an elegant topping which is where my fig & olive tapenade recipe comes into play.
Remember when I said I used to be a picky eater? Well, olives used to be one of the foods I despised. So in order to slowly introduce them into my diet (baby steps remember) I would mix them with something a little sweeter to dull their briny flavor. Awhile back I stumbled across a recipe for this tapenade (which may have been this David Lebowitz recipe) soon lost it and was forced to wing it. Every time I make it, I’ll just dump all the ingredients into the food processor, or at least all the ones I can remember, and pulse it together.
Even though I absolutely love olives now, I still prefer this tapenade with luscious figs. It’s more of a compote really. In order to balance out the sweetness of the tapenade, I love to pair it with a thin ribbon of proscuitto and a dallop of goat cheese. Those components tie it all together in a nice little package. Just like I like.
One of my favorite things to do is to open people’s eyes to lesser known foods, particularly ingredients that they never would have touched otherwise. I didn’t grow up an adventurous eater. Tuna noodle casserole and sloppy joes were the norm in my diet. Trying lemon meringue pie was the equivalent of tight-rope walking across Niagra Falls. In fact, “picky eater” in the dictionary featured my picture til I was 18.
But now, I love roasted brussel sprouts dusted with sea salts as much as french fries. So what changed things around? When I met my now-husband, I couldn’t cook so much an eggo waffle, but that was all about to change. One day, I plopped in front of the TV and stumbled across the Food Network. As I watched the episode (I wish so badly I could remember which one it was!) I realized it didn’t seem that hard afterall. So little by little, I began to branch out and try new things.
What I loved most was that I had control over ingredients like onions which I normally would have picked out of my dinner tirelessly. But when I was in control of the meal, I started to scatter those ingredients in slowly and surely until I found out that if you caramelize onions, they take on a deliciously sweet flavor. Or if you roast brussel sprouts, they take on a crispy, nutty persona. With me in the drivers seat of the next meal, I began to thrive on the idea of doing the same thing for other people: transforming the frog into the prince.
Sea beans are a vegetable that most people have never heard of before. A final challenge on Top Chef was my first introduction to these branchy, coat-rack like plants but I never realized that they grew right in my backyard. Sherlock Holmes-esque foragers scour Pacific Northwest beaches for croppings of these veggies. When I saw them at my local farmers market, I tried to get the vendor to leak the location where he snips his sea beans but his lips were sealed.
Nonetheless, I snatched them up to give them a try myself. They add a nice, crunch and salty bite to this roasted potato salad. Green beans make a perfect stand-in if you can’t find them yourself. I realize this potato salad is a little time consuming, and dirties up it’s fair share of pots and pans…but it’s worth it! Plus it tastes even better the next day, always a bonus. : ) Give it a try at your next bbq and you won’t be disappointed. This recipe is more or less a rough guideline so don’t bother measuring everything exactly.
I can’t figure out why I’m having such a writer’s block when it comes to this post. Afterall, these prosciutto-wrapped halibut skewers are one of my top ten favorite things to make. Maybe that’s why. I’m struggling with finding the right words to capture how truly delicious these are. I should probably invest in a thesaurus. : ) These skewers are too awesome for words! They are the reason I counted down the days until halibut season opened last month. If you like to cook seasonally like me, now’s the time to buy halibut.
There’s a few philosophies I have about food and cooking that will become evident in a short amount of time. I’ll share one of the most important ones with you tonight since it’s relevant to the recipe.
#1. When in doubt, wrap it in bacon, prosciutto or pancetta.
Simple as that. You know how Bubba from “Forrest Gump” was the king of shrimp? “Shrimp salad, shrimp soup, bbq shrimp”….and he went on and on. Well that’s like me and bacon. I know this isn’t some revolutionary concept. Obviously everyone knows that salty pig fat is to-die-for, but I don’t think most of you embrace this food truth to the extent that I do. It provides that savory richness known as umami and is one of the elements that fuels my love of cooking.
Whenever I’m uninspired for dinner or feel the need to impress my guests, I wrap something in prosciutto and call it good. Some things I make are hit-or-miss, but I know without a doubt that anything wrapped in pig-fat will end up devoured by my meat-loving friends. So don’t be surprised when you start to see this common denominator start to crop up throughout my posts. Pancetta-wrapped pork loin, bacon-wrapped tequila shrimp, prosciutto-wrapped roasted pears with arugula….the list goes on.
Disclaimer: I’m all about eating healthy too. The trick to taking care of your body while eating bacon wrapped foods is simple. Don’t gorge yourself! Eat in moderation. Make sure the other 2/3 of your meal is comprised of fresh vegetables and whole grains. Also, because of the potent flavor that these pork products offer, you end up eating much less of it overall than you would something with a more muted flavor like ground beef.
I hope you’ll use the fresh rosemary skewer idea and run wild with it. Don’t be surprised when they take average veggie kabobs to the next level.