How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Turkey Burger Flavor Symphony

Simple Suppers
I am not quite sure how this book leapt from the shelf into my hands recently. As readers of this space know, we already have plenty of cookbooks, and the whole point of this blog is to tackle some of the thousands of untapped treasures already on our shelves. Besides, we are not afraid of complicated recipes.

We are, however, only two diners most of the time, with our child now a grown-up a thousand miles from home. And some evenings, we are not prepared to go full-crêpe just for dinner. So pick it up I did, and we were very pleased with the first result, entitled Turkey Burger Sliders with Spicy Lime Mayonnaise.

I use the word "entitled" to signify the author's intent to create sliders, even though I simply made regular-sized burgers. Either way, this is a delicious variation on turkey burgers, with three parts: the burger, the toppings, and the mayo.

The burger itself includes grated ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. I used a lot of ginger, which added a very nice note to the symphony of flavors here. The mayo included fresh lime juice and sriracha sauce. I used the proportions called for, and ended up with mayo that was both too thin and way too abundant. I could have made a soup with it. Next time I will just add a dash of lime and bit of sriracha to a much smaller dollop of mayo than the 1/2 cup in the recipe.

Finally -- the toppings are brilliant. I used a potato peeler to make very thin slices of cucumber, which went on top of the burger, along with a small pile of cilantro leaves. I think this is the first time I have ever used cilantro without chopping it -- just cut a big handful of it away from the stalks. The recipe calls for chopped red onion as well, but sliced up some scallions we had on hand.

This went very well with a fresh fruit salad Pam made, using an infused blackberry ginger vinegar from our friends at Lebherz and a chilled Sauvignon Blanc.

Note: Laura Arnold includes plenty of vegetarian and seafood meals in this thin volume -- stay tuned to see which of these we try.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Skillet Pasta with Summer Squash, Ricotta, and Basil

A wonderful summer dish this one showed up on my Facebook feed a few weeks ago. I followed this one pretty closely. I think the only thing I did different was cooking the pasta in a separate pan while I sauteed the onions, garlic, and squash. We served this as a side dish with a T-bone steak we cooked on the Big Green Egg. A lovely meal.

Blackberry Fool

I found this recipe (from Allrecipes.com) after I realized that there were blackberries growing on the side of my house, and that I could harvest them by reaching through my bathroom window! I was inspired to search for recipes with blackberry and mint as the ubiquitous herb was growing next to the berry vine. This dessert was super easy to make. I made one modification and chopped the mint to blend with the berries and confectioner's sugar, rather than simply using the mint as a garnish. The hardest part was waiting the 15 minutes for the confectioner's sugar, berries, and  mint to meld!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

New Potato Salad


I see so many good recipes on my Facebook feed that I sometimes lose sight of the original intent of the "Nueva Receta" project - to make good use of my cookbooks. So I went old school with the bag of red-skinned potatoes I bought last week at the Fairhaven Farmer's Market and found a recipe on my cookbook shelf from Jane Brody's Good Food Gourmet. I followed the recipe almost as presented. I didn't have any carrots so I skipped that, and I left the sugar out of the dressing. It just seemed unnecessary. As the recipe indicates this was quick to make. The yogurt made it especially creamy and it had a lot more flavor than what one expects in a potato salad. The caraway seeds really seemed to be the key.

Scallion Chicken

The Fairhaven farmers' market features excellent produces, baked goods, and soap. It also features know-your-farmer local meats. Many of the grill items featured in this blog have come from J.H. Beaulieu Livestock, scarcely a mile from our home and from the market.

Instead of beef, this week we purchased a whole chicken, which is something we often roast in our upright pan. I was preparing to do just that when I came upon this video demonstrating splayed chicken at NYT Cooking.
Chef Melissa Clark is sold on the indispensible cast-iron skillet, arguing that it would be worthwhile to purchase on just for this dish. I agree, but careful readers of this blog will know that we already have several, and use them quite often. Fortunately, we have one exactly like the one shown in the video.

I essentially followed this recipe just as shown. The exceptions are that I quartered two small oranges and stuffed them in the cavity with some whole sage leaves, and that I used scallions instead of ramps. I think the difference is trivial, and we had purchased some nice scallions at the same farmers' market. Win-win. I did not use the garlic or capers.

One caveat: our chicken was apparently a bit bigger than the 3-4 pound range Clark mentions. So it took about 20 minutes longer than she allowed, and I had to turn the oven down to 400 as it started to smoke just a bit. Still, the result was DELICIOUS and the cooking time quite fast for a whole chicken this size.

BRINING

I hope you have not started cooking this yet, because you need to know about brining if you want to do this as I did. All of the Beaulieu products arrive frozen, so I used brining both to prepare the meat for juicier, more flavorful cooking, and simply to thaw it. Using a large pasta pot, I followed these directions for simple brining from AllRecipes, except that I used Worcester instead of soy sauce and I did not exactly measure any of the ingredients. I believe this contributed to the fantastic flavor f the meal.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Comportable Compote

Yes, I made up that first word for its alliterative value. Rhubarb is in season, which means rhubarb compote is in season. I purchased two big bundles at the Fairhaven farmers' market last weekend, and envisioned hours of stewing them. Looking at food blogger Aimée's Salute Spring! post on Simple Bites, however, I realized that I have been overdoing it.

She provides 10 ways to use rhubarb, all beginning with a compote, and our first use will be the most obvious one: over ice cream. I made enough to freeze some for use later in the year, perhaps revisiting the delicious dessert that Pam created in April of this year.

Aimée provides two basic recipes: I made the first in a Dutch oven. I rinsed then chopped all of the rhubarb we had purchased. I used a measuring cup to estimate (this is neither baking nor rocket science) that we had about 8 cups of the fruit, so I adjusted the orange juice and brown sugar accordingly.

No photos here: rhubarb stew is more tasty than photogenic. Small samples with the tasting spoons have us looking forward to dessert with a friend later today. Now to prepare brandy sauce for our salmon...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Key Lime Pops


I really love key lime pie. I also like to have homemade popsicles in the summer. Imagine my delight when I discovered this recipe in The Beach House Cookbook (which of course I prepared in my beach house). These were sweet and creamy. We skipped adding the food coloring as it wouldn't have made any difference to the taste, and also omitted the last step of dipping them in graham cracker crumbs before eating. I imagine that might have made them seem more like pie, but I don't think popsicles really need to have that texture.