Monthly Archives: August 2011

Burger, Round 3 – The Breakfast Burger

Ok, even I’ll admit this burger is over the top.  But it certainly was delicious!  I had been wanting to do a burger with an over easy egg on it, and so I decided to craft it around a kind of “breakfast” theme – burger, bacon, over easy egg, and a maple coffee BBQ sauce.  My original plan was to put it on an English muffin, but somehow I forgot about that small detail at breakfast that morning and ate it then.  Oh well – buns worked out fine.

I think I can actually hear this burger calling my name!

Breakfast Burger with Bacon, Over Easy Egg, and Maple Coffee BBQ Sauce

Serves 2

  • About 10-12 ounces hamburger meat (I prefer 80/20 ratio) split into two patties
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 buns or English Muffins
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Generously season patties on both sides with salt and pepper.  Grill over a hot grill about 5 minutes per side for medium to medium rare.

Lay bacon on sheet pan and cook in 350 degree oven for about 12 – 14 minutes, or until just crisp.  Place bacon on paper towel to drain off extra grease.

To make BBQ sauce, sweat onion in a medium sized sauce pan for about 10 minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes, coffee, mustard, maple syrup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and chicken broth.  Season also with a little salt and pepper. Thoroughly whisk together and let cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes.  Once sauce has cooked down and thickened up some, remove from heat and use either  a blender or an immersion blender to puree it up.

While burgers are finishing up on the grill, brush them with a bit of BBQ sauce during last minute or two of grilling.  Toast buns on grill.

Cook egg in non stick skillet over medium high heat.  Season with salt and pepper, and cook just until whites are set.  To help cook whites and yolks evenly, add a teaspoon or two of water to pan and cover with a lid during last 30 seconds of cooking.

Place burger on bun and add bacon and egg to burger. Slather top bun with more BBQ sauce, top burger with it, and serve.


Gazpacho, Version #2

Fresh vegetables, summertime, yada, yada, yada, it’s all I talk about, I know. And I know I just did gazpacho, but seriously how can I possibly get sick of it this time of year? But I think that everyone is on the same page as me with this!

Gazpacho with Cilantro and Avocado Cream

Gazpacho with Avocado Cream

  • 8 tomatillos, halved
  • 5 medium sized tomatoes, rough chopped, set in a colander to drain for about 20 minutes
  • 2 green peppers, rough chopped
  • 3 jalapenos (remove seeds and ribs if you prefer less spice), chopped
  • 1 small red onion, rough chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeds scraped out, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, stems picked out
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Avocado Cream, recipe below

In a large bowl, combine tomatillos, tomatoes, green peppers, jalapenos, onion, garlic, and cucumber. Mix all up so evenly distributed.  Add half of veggie mixture to food processor.  Process until somewhat smooth and frothy. Add 1/2 of the cilantro, 1/2 of lime juice, 1/2 of vinegar, and half of olive oil.  Season.  Transfer to serving bowl, and put all remaining ingredients (except Avocado Cream) into processor and process until smooth-ish and frothy. Combine with other gazpacho.  Chill at least 20 minutes.  Serve in bowls with a big dollop of avocado cream and a few sprigs of cilantro.

Avocado Cream

  • 1 avocado, removed from skin, pit removed
  • 2 heaping tablespoons sour cream
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix avocado, sour cream, lime juice, and cilantro in food processor.  Slowly pour in olive oil. Season with just a bit of salt and pepper.

Tomato Risotto with Roasted Vegetables

We have so much beautiful produce right now! I know this is almost all I have been talking about lately, but just bear with me. Unfortunately, before we know it, we will be back to barren winter and the only thing I’ll be posting about is braised short ribs or braised lamb shanks or braised something or other with hardly a fresh vegetable in sight.  But, between the farmer’s markets and our garden, we right now have gorgeous tomatoes, eggplants, squash, zucchini, onions, okra, peppers of all kinds, beets, carrots, and it just goes on and on.  We had quite an assortment on hand the other day, and several things that were needing used ASAP.  I decided I was a little veggie pasta-ed out (as its pretty much my go-to easy meal), so I decided to do risotto, which I had not made in months.  I also had on hand some tomato sauce that I had made earlier in the week for a pizza.  It’s just a basic tomato sauce that I  usually make a kinda big batch of and then keep on hand to use in multiple things (pizza sauce, pasta sauce, etc) over the next week or so as it is very versatile and keeps fine for over a week.  I thought giving the risotto some tomato flavor  from this sauce and adding in some oven roasted veggies would be a good combo.

Tomato Risotto with Roasted Veggies

  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise, and then in half and again, and then into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 yellow squash,  halved lengthwise, and then in half and again, and then into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 yellow onion, half sliced into thick slices; the other half small dice
  • about 1 cup cubed eggplant (I used this small, white, thin eggplant, but use whatever looks best for you)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (whatever variety/size of tomatoes you prefer)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • olive oil – for roasting veggies and for starting risotto
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • about 4 cups broth, warmed on the stove
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss zucchini, squash, sliced onions, eggplant, and tomatoes with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread onto sheet pan in single layer and roast in over for about 12-15 minutes, stirring once. Remove from oven and set aside.

In the meantime, heat a large pan on medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add onion and sweat about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and sweat another 2-3 minutes.  Add rice and continue to cook another couple of minutes, or until rice starts to look a little bit “toasted”.  Add white wine and let reduce until almost gone.

Keeping heat right about medium, start adding broth to rice, about a 1/2 cup at a time.  Add first 1/2 cup to rice and slowly stir in.  Continue stirring rice until all the broth has been absorbed.  As soon as the rice starts looking just a bit dry, add another 1/2 cup or so of broth.  Keep temp so that broth/rice bubbles just a tiny bit, but in no way is a rigorous boil.

Though you do not have to literally stir constantly as some risotto recipes call for, you do need to be pretty vigilant with your stirring.  Continually stirring helps to release the starches in the rice and create the creamy texture that you want in a risotto.

After several broth additions, start to taste your ristto.  You want to season the risotto as you go along – not just right at the beginning or right at the end.  So, keep tasting to know where you are with seasoning and also to taste the doneness of the rice.  Once the rice has just almost reached the proper consistency, add the tomato sauce.  Let cook down for about 3 more minutes or until rice is a nice consistency your are happy with. Stir in the butter.  Once the butter has melted in, add the cheese.  Taste again for any last seasoning.  Add about half the vegetable mixture.  Plate and divvy out any remaining roasted veggie mixture on top. Finish with just a bit of shaved Parm on top.

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes (can be found in any decent Italian store)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 big pinches salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste for any additional salt/pepper seasoning the may be needed.

Caprese Pasta

I eat Caprese salads pretty regularly in the summer – probably about once per week, especially when we are getting tons of tomatoes from our garden.  We had all the fixings for it the other day, but I was craving pasta (I seriously  think I may have a pasta addiction), so I decided to combine the two, and it it worked out great!

Caprese salad plus pasta? Genius!

Caprese Pasta

  • 1 pound pasta (I used orecchiette)
  • about 3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a mix of different types and sizes – big tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, whatever we had)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • several splashes balsamic vinegar
  • several big pinches salt and freshly cracked pepper

Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente.  In meantime, combine tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, and some of the salt and pepper.  Once pasta is cooked, drain and let sit for just a few minutes so not quite so hot.  After its cooled just a bit, add pasta to bowl with tomatoes.  Add in the balsamic vinegar, basil, and any more salt or pepper needed for seasoning.  Give it all a big stir and serve.

Seared Tuna with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I just love summer produce.  It’s so nice to have most meals’ focus be fresh veggies from the farmer’s market or our garden, like this tuna dish. The potatoes, tomatillos, jalapeno, corn, and onion all came from either our backyard or from another local farmer.  And, with using produce that is perfectly ripe and in season, the beauty is that you don’t have to do much with it to make it fabulous.  It pretty much speaks for itself.

Seared Tuna, Spicy Potatoes, Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Seared Tuna with Spiced Potatoes and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Serves 2

  • 2 portions of fresh tuna
  • about 3/4 pound of small potatoes – red, fingerling, etc; cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper (or some other spice with some heat that you like to use)
  • About 12 tomatillos, husks removed, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 ears corn, shucked, and kernels cut from cob
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • juice of 1 lime

On a roasting pan, combine tomatillos, onion, jalapenos, and corn. Drizzle with  some olive oil – maybe 1 to 2 tablespoons – and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 6 minutes.  Stir and let roast for another 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 1o minutes.

At this point, put roasted veggies in a bowl and add cumin and lime.  Stir and taste to see if needs any more salt or pepper.  (I think some chopped fresh cilantro at this point would be a perfect addition, but I did not have any at home. Boo.)

Meanwhile, in another roasting pan, mix sliced potatoes with 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper, and the ground red pepper.  Roast about 10 minutes and the give potatoes a stir.  Let roast another 5 – 8 minutes or until tender.

Once salsa and potatoes are ready, cook fish. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Once pan is hot, add about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once olive oil is hot, add tuna.  Let tuna sear on one about 2-3 minutes.  If you are ready to turn tuna and its sticking, give it just a second more.  When it has properly “seared”, it will release itself from the pan. Flip and sear on other side for another 2 minutes.  At this point – about 5 ish minutes – your tuna will be at medium rare.  Remove from heat and let rest a couple minutes.

Place potatoes on place and top with tuna. I like to cut my tuna on the diagonal to show off its pretty colors of seared brown outside and pink rare inside, but of course cutting it is not requred.  Top with a couple spoonfuls of salsa, and you are good to go.

Gazpacho with Ricotta Crostina

Ever since having gazpacho the other weekend at the Hubbard Inn and posting about it, I have been craving it.  We finally have ripe tomatoes in our garden, so I decided it was time to make a batch.  I essentially just decided to copy the whole idea and presentation from Hubbard Inn since I loved it so much.

Gazpacho just like Hubbard Inn's!


About 4 servings

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeds removed
  • 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Herbed Ricotta Crostini (recipe below)

Core tomatoes and cut in half long-wise and then into quarters.  Pull/squeeze out seeds and juicy pulp. Roughly chop, throw in a colander, and season with some salt.  Set colander with tomatoes in sink and let excess water drain from tomatoes for about 15 minutes (the salt will help to draw out the excess water).  Shake tomatoes around in colander as needed to help get out the excess water.  (Leaving all those seeds and extra watery pulp in the tomatoes just makes the gazpacho more thin and watery than what it should be).

Roughly chop cucumber, jalapeno, bell pepper, and onion, and toss into bowl of food processor.  Toss in tomatoes, too.  Process in food processor until fairly smooth, but not 100% liquified.  Mix in vinegar and olive oil.  Transfer to a bowl and whisk in salt and pepper.  The gazpacho will take a decent bit of salt as tomatoes can absorb lots of salt. (If there are too many veggies to do all at once in the food processor, mix all veggies up in a bowl so they are evenly distributed, and then puree them in processor in two batches, using half the vinegar and olive oil for each batch).

Pop the soup in the fridge for about 20 minutes to chill it.

Serve in bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and the crostini

Herbed Ricotta Crostini

  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 baguette, sliced on the diagonal

Mix ricotta, herbs, and olive oil, and season generously with salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Toast bread slices in 350 degree oven for about 5 -6 minutes.  Smear with ricotta mixture when they come out and serve with gazpacho.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Corn Vinaigrette

I know it has not been too terribly long since I’ve last posted on fried green tomatoes, but we eat them pretty often (yes, we are that healthy!), and usually mix up the toppings/sauces we use for them.  For the most recent one, we had corn that was super fresh and sweet, and decided to make a vinaigrette/sauce of sorts with it.  Now, I like to always try to use buttermilk to marinate my tomatoes in, but if you don’t have any available, feel free to substitute an egg wash (about 2 whole eggs and 3/4 cup milk).  Plus, the tomatoes, jalapenos, and thyme were all from our garden!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Corn Vinaigrette

Fried Green Tomatoes with Corn Vinaigrette

About 4 appetizer portions

  • 3 decent sized green tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • vegetable oil
  • Corn Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Slice tomatoes into about 1/4-1/3 inch slices.  Put into shallow dish and cover with buttermilk.  (You may not need all the buttermilk, or you may need a little more depending on size of your pan – you just want to make sure the tomatoes are pretty much covered with buttermilk.) Let soak at least 10 minutes.

Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in shallow dish.  Set up breading station: Tomato/butttermilk dish, next to it seasoned flour, next to that parchment (or wax) paper lined sheet pan or plate.

Add vegetable oil to a heavy skillet (I use a cast iron pan). I add enough oil so that it is about 1/2 – 1/3 inch deep.  Heat on medium until oil reaches 350-360 degrees.

Bread tomatoes.  Remove tomato slice from buttermilk and shake off excess liquid.  Dredge in seasoned flour and shake off any excess.  Set on pan.  Continue until all tomatoes have been  breaded.

Start frying tomatoes.  Depending on size of your pan, add 4-6 tomatoes to pan, but don’t over crowd.  Let brown on one side for about 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn with tongs (be careful to not let grease splatter!) and let brown on the other side another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pan with tongs, holding each tomato on end over the pot for a few seconds to allow extra grease to drip off.  Set on paper towel lined plate or pan.  Lightly season with salt.  Continue this way until all tomatoes have been fried.

Plate tomatoes and top with corn vinaigrette.

Corn Vinaigrette

  • 3 ears corn, shucked
  • about 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, removed from stem and just very lightly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Standing each of the ears of corn on their larger end, carefully slice off corn kernels.

In a bowl, combine corn, jalapeno, shallot, and both vinegars in a bow.  Stir.  Slowly stir in olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and add thyme.  Serve at room temp.