Perfect Turkey Burgers–Every Time

burgers001Turkey burgers should be moist, and well seasoned.  There is nothing worse than a flavorless, dried out burger,  I don’t care how much mayo you put on it, it’s still nasty. Turkey burgers are one of my favorites, and I just can’t stand it when they are not cooked property.

A lot of people use Worcestershire sauce for regular hamburgers because it makes them flavorful and moist. Well, it’s a little over powering for turkey, but, the Lee and Perrins does make a wonderful alternative, White Wine Worcestershire Sauce.  Quite often I have found this wonderful sauce hard to find at my local super market.  It seems not that many people know about it, and it is my mission here to help them find out!  This sauce is essential to making really good, moist turkey burgers with good flavor.

The other essential thing, I think, is dehydrated onions.  Burgers and dip about the only things that I use dried onions for – usually I chop them by hand.  However, dried, minced onions go wonderfully in burgers, why?  Because they are small so they won’t break up delicate ground meats, and whilst absorbing liquid in the meat, they impart subtle flavor.

A long time ago, the Spice Islands brand used to make something called Herb Pepper – it was great, but like all things too good, they are soon off the shelf.  It took me a while, but I finally figured out the substitute was Herbs de Provence and freshly ground pepper.  Herbs de Provence is a famous French herb blend of savory, rosemary, basil, marjoram, wild thyme, lavender.  It is a great herb with chicken, fish and is essential for my brined Turkey in a Nesco with Injection and Rub.

If you are going to make this, let me suggest mushrooms sautéed with shallots and sherry in butter? A good bun for this is a potato bun as it has a delicate flavor. 

: Turkey Burgers, Perfect Every Time

Summary: Turkey burders don’t have to be dry hocky pucks, they can be moist and flavorful

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Ground turkey
  • 2 pinch Herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon Dried chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon Sherry
  • 1 teaspoon Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Olive oil
  • 4 slices White Cheddar sliced
  • 2 teaspoon White Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions

  1. Combine turkey, herbs, onion and sherry. Mix lightly then form into patties. Set aside, covered for about 20 minutes, Heat a skillet and add the butter and olive oil. Add the patties and cook until browned on one side, then turn and brown on the other. Just before done, top with cheddar and cover pan. Continue to cook until the cheese has melted. Remove the burgers from the pan and add the Worcestershire sauce, and whisk thoroughly. Use as sauce for the burgers. Good with potato bread buns.

Variations

You could put this on the Weber, but you would need to put it in a pan, an iron skillet would be just the ticket!

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © The Good Plate.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Enjoy and happy cooking!

Holy Thursday – Our Catholic Seder Meal

13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and there shall no plague be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial, and ye shall keep it a feast to Jehovah: throughout your generations ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

Exodus 12:13-14

It is an amazing thing to have a seven year old son, who is going to have his First Holy Communion on May 15, 2011.  Part of his education is the understanding of what the sacrament means, both spiritually and historically.

Holy Thursday also known as Maundy Thursday,  Covenant Thursday, Great & Holy Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries is the Thursday before Easter celebrated by Christians to commemorate Jesus’ Last Supper, in which he was celebrating Passover.  This was the very first Holy Communion, and the beginning of Holy Orders, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.

Spane wanted to know why the Pastor was washing the feet of the men sitting on the steps leading to the sacristy.  I think a lot of people take this kind of for granted, just as the ancients took the slaves that washed people’s feet for granted.  By Jesus taking on the job of a slave, he showed us by his example, to go out and serve others.

The Passover commemorated freedom from slavery, Holy Communion commemorates our freedom from sin.

Last year, 2010, we celebrated a “mini” Seder meal, and this year we celebrated as well.  I decided to try to make it a meal that might have been served in Jesus’ time, something that would have been common in the Mediterranean.  Our menu had a lot of lemon, including the dessert, Lemon Bars.  We did not want to have dessert before going to Mass, so we had it after we got home.  It was the perfect end of a perfect day!

Our Seder Menu

The Seder Plate

Charoset

Charoset is a part of the traditional Seder plate.  It represents the mortar used for the bricks used by the Jewish slaves in making the Egyptian buildings, temples and tombs.  It is also a little sweet, to remind us of the sweetness of life.

When I make it, although I only use one apple, there is enough left over for Good Friday’s fast of one meal.

I use my food processor to make this in a snap!

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped nuts, walnuts are a good choice
1  apple diced
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon sugar
Red wine as desired

Instructions

Combine ingredients in a food processor and process until it resembles the mortar that was used to build the pyramids.  Okay, it doesn’t have to look exactly like that, but similar.

If you do not have red wine, as I did not this time, you can use Balsamic vinegar instead.

Romaine

The lettuce symbolizes the bitter enslavement of the Jewish people in Egypt. The leaves of romaine lettuce are not bitter, but the stem, when left to grow in the ground, turns hard and bitter.

Bitter Herb

Bitter herbs bring to mind the bitterness of the slavery of the Jewish peoples in Egypt.

Salt Water

The salt water is used for dipping the lettuce and other things on the traditional Jewish Seder plate.  For us, it also symbolizes the tears shed by the slaves in Egypt.


The Meal

Tabouleh

684_Tabouleh (Burghul and Parsley Salad) The first time I had Tabouleh, it was at a pot luck someone’s mother had made it – I called it Christmas salad for the longest time because it was green with red and white. Since then I have had it many times, mostly purchasing at Armenian deli or once, I even bought the one that comes in a box.  I was determined to make it myself, even if I had to stand and watch an old Armenian grandma do it.

Don’t buy the Tabouleh that comes in the box, it does not have a bright, fresh taste.  Although Tabouleh may seem difficult to make, with the proper tools, it’s really a snap.  All you really need is a good sharp Mezzaluna.  What is a Mezzaluna you ask?  Well, it’s a half moon shaped knife that you rock back and forth over your herbs.  The double handled one is the best – I only have a single, but it did the trick.

A Mezzaluna can quickly become your best friend when wanting to chopping nuts and herbs.  It is my preferred tool when I am making Chicken with Gorgonzola and Pistachios for chopping up the nuts.  I originally bought mine at Cost Plus World Market when they still carried them, and mine came with a nice wooden chopping block with an indentation in the center for the Mezzaluna.

I was a little frightened of bulgur since I had never used it, but doing a little reading up on it on the Internet calmed my fears.  I was happily surprised with the Zergut’s packaging that said the fine grain bulgur was the right one for Tabouleh..

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup Fine bulgur
2 cups Cold water
2 cups Chopped parsley
1/2 cup spring onions Finely chopped
1/4 cup mint Finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper freshly ground
2 tomatoes Firm ripe
Crisp lettuce leaves

Instructions

Place bulgur in a bowl and cover with the cold water. Leave to soak for 30 minutes. Drain through a fine sieve, pressing with back of a spoon to extract moisture. Spread onto a cloth and leave to dry further. Meanwhile, prepare parsley. Wash well, shake off excess moisture and remove thick stalks. Wrap in a tea towel and place in refrigerator to crisp and dry. Put bulgur into a mixing bowl and add spring onions. Squeeze mixture with hand so that bulgur absorbs onion flavor. Chop parsley fairly coarsely, measure and add to bulgur with mint. Beat olive oil with lemon juice and stir in salt and pepper. Add to salad and toss well. Peel and seed tomatoes and cut into dice. Gently stir into salad. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve in salad bowl lined with crisp lettuce leaves.

Mediterranean Grilled Lamb

682_Mediterranean Grilled LambI am very lucky living in Glendale, California, which has a large Armenian population.  Armenians make wonderful lamb dishes, especially kabobs grilled over their special hardwood barbeques.

For this reason, I can get lovely lamb chops at the butcher for a fair price. The butcher at my local store cut the ribs for me right out of the cold storage.  They had just come in that morning!

Another thing about living in Glendale and shopping at the Armenian markets; usually only lemon basil is available.  I like lemon basil, so I am fortunate in that respect.  Lemon basil, if you have not had it, is truly very lemony so it goes great with meats and fish.

These chops would have been wonderful on the barbeque, but I just put them in an iron skillet and broiled them in the broiler.

Ingredients

3 1/2 tablespoons Red onion minced
1 tablespoon Olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar plus 2
2 Garlic minced
2 teaspoons Fresh basil minced
salt and pepper to taste
4 5-oz Lamb chops

Instructions

Combine all ingredients except lamb chops, then add the lamb chops and marinate in the refrigerator at least 3-5 hours. Grill or broil the lamb chops until done as desired.

Lemon Bars

675_Lemon Bars

My friend Amber Lewis made these at her home a while back.  The only problem was they were so good in the pan that they never made it on to the serving platter!

When I was working the Scholastic Book Fair at Spane’s school, I was looking through 9×13 – The Perfect Fit Dish, and there was a recipe for Lemon Bars in it.  I bought the book just for that reason, and this is the recipe that was in the book.

As it turned out, we did not have enough time after our meal for dessert, so we had these when we came back from Holy Thursday Mass.

Ingredients

Crust

2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Powdered sugar
2 tablespoon Cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Butter

Filling

4 Egg
1 1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Lemon peel
3/4 cup Lemon juice
1/4 cup Half-and-half cream
3 tablespoon Flour
1 cup Powdered sugar

Instructions

First, preheat the oven to 350.  Get a 9×12 pan and line it, bottom and sides with waxed paper or greased parchment paper.  This is important!

Make the crust by combining the crust ingredients in a food processor and processing until your have what looks a little like sand.  Take this and press it firmly into the prepared pan.

Combine the remaining ingredients into a bowl and mix them together.  I do not suggest using a stand mixer because it is just too powerful.  Use a regular bowl and whisk.

Bake the crust for about 20 minutes or until the sides start to brown.  Remove the crust from the oven and immediately pour the filling onto the hot crust.  Put this back in the oven and bake uncovered until the mixture has set, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit in the pan until cooled. Carefully lift the bars by using the sides of the paper on to a cutting board.  Cut into bars, sprinkle each with powdered sugar and serve on a nice serving dish.

We’re Getting Things Ready to Cook Rabbit!

Spane with the Easter Bunny on March 30, 2009

Spane with the Easter Bunny on March 30, 2009

Yesterday,  Palm Sunday, Spane and  I saw an Easter Bunny hopping  around the Americana at Brand. The girl who was accompanying the “Easter Bunny”  asked where we were going. I said “We’re going to Sur La Table to get things to cook Rabbit!” The Bunny was suitably horrified, and the girl, Spane and I had a nice laugh.

I love Easter Season, and I love Lent.  Purple is my favorite colour, and I get to wear my purple clothes, purple accessories, etc., from the beginning of Lent (Ash Wednesday) to the start of Holy Week, Palm Sunday.

I also love Easter Season for all the fun pastel decorations.  We have flowers and butterfly gels for our windows that Spane put up this year,  we have a rattan bunny in a little cage that I bought at Ralph’s last year, and our decorations that we made for our Catholic Seder last year, which we might do again this year.

Our Moses with real lamb's wool

Our Moses with real lamb's wool

Some of our decorated eggs drying

Some of our decorated eggs drying

Update: We made our Catholic Seder meal and really enjoyed it. Our meal included Grilled Mediterranean Lamb Chops, Tabouleh and Lemon Bars.

 

This year, I am going to take pictures of the eggs that I am going to decorate with natural dyes, onions, coffee, tumeric and beets.  I have also been finding interesting recipes for deviled eggs, after all I have to have something to do with all those decorated eggs! I’ll be posting those as we go along towards Easter.

Lasagna alla casa di Boswell

Recipes in this PostLasagna alla casa di Boswell - ricotta spinach sausage

A few days ago, I found a box of no-cook lasagna noodles in the sale section of the store. I had never tried no-cook lasagna noodles, so I bought them with the intent of making my own version of Lasagna.

I have been making this lasagna for many years, and it seems to get better every time.  Yes, it is time consuming, but the rewards for the taste buds are worth the time and effort.

I do not make a standard red sauce, although there are tomatoes in the sauce.  There is a lot of meat – a little over three pounds all together.  Mushrooms sautéed with shallots in butter and sherry. Italian sausage cooked and sliced on the bias.

I don’t like ricotta cheese, I never have.  A lot of people who don’t like it use cottage cheese instead, but although I don’t like the texture of ricotta, I do like the flavor, so to compensate for the texture, I add spinach, nutmeg and Parmesan to the ricotta.  It gives nice flavor with more nutrients as well.

This is a great lasagna. Don’t let the complexity of this dish put you off. Once the sauce is done, you are home free.

Recipe: Lasagna alla casa di Boswell

Ingredients

Sauce
  • 1 pound Ground beef
  • 1 pound Ground pork
  • 2 Garlic chopped
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 2 Carrot chopped
  • 1 Green pepper chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 cup Red wine
  • 1 can Whole tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
– Ricotta Layer –
  • 2 cups Ricotta cheese
  • 1 package Frozen spinach
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
– Mushroom Layer –
  • 10 Mushroom sliced
  • 1 Shallot chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dry sherry
– Other Layers –
  • 1 pound Italian sausage sliced
  • 2 cups Mozzarella sliced
  • 1 package Lasagna Noodles cooked (or uncooked in this case)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

Make the sauce
  • Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl it around so the whole pan is covered.
  • Sauté the vegetables until they are translucent.
  • Add the meat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, then add some of the milk.
  • Turn the heat down.
  • Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until you cannot see the milk. Then add more milk. Do this until all the milk has been incorporated.
  • When all the milk has combined, add the wine and the tomatoes, then cook down on low heat until the sauce is thick. Set aside.
  • Make the Ricotta layer

    1. Defrost and remove all the water from the spinach. You can do this by putting the spinach in the microwave for 3 minutes. Then add the ricotta, Parmesan and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
    Make the Mushroom layer
    1. In a sauté pan, melt the butter. Add the shallots and let them cook until they are translucent, then add the mushrooms. Add the sherry. Sauté the mushrooms until they brown with the shallots in butter and sherry. Set aside.
    Make the sausage layer
    1. Pan fry the sausages on medium heat. Turn to brown on all sides. Remove from the pan, cool slightly, then slice them on the diagonal.
    Make the pasta layer:
    1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a large pot. Cook the pasta just until it’s done, then drain and leave in cold water while assembling the lasagna.
    Assembly:
    1. Spread some of the sauce on the bottom of the lasagna pan.
    2. Put a layer of pasta.
    3. Put the some of the sauce on the pasta, then put the mushrooms.
    4. Put a layer of pasta.
    5. Put a layer of sauce and mozzarella.
    6. Put a layer of pasta.
    7. Put the ricotta layer.
    8. Put a layer of pasta.
    9. Put some of the sauce and then the sausages.
    10. Put a layer of pasta.
    11. Put the rest of the sauce.
    12. Put the last layer of mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan.
    13. Bake in a slow oven for about 30 minutes or until the cheeses are brown and bubbling.
    14. Remove from the oven and let sit at least 10 minutes so the lasagna can settle.

    Quick notes

    If you have sauce left over, freeze it for another dish.

    Variations

    If you don’t like spinach, you can omit it. If you don’t want to use pork sausage, you could use turkey sausage instead.

    Preparation time: 3 hour(s)

    Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

    Number of servings (yield): 8

    Culinary tradition: Italian

    My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 22 review(s)

    Copyright © The Good Plate.
    Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
    Microformatting by hRecipe.

    Lemons, lemons, lemons – Lemon Meringue Pie

    Lemon Meringue Pie What’s the old saying? “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” I say, make Lemon Meringue Pie and Rose Lemonade with the left over lemon juice.

    When I was a child, my mother used to make this pie frequently, because it was simple, and always very, very good.  I remember the first time I went to a coffee shop and got excited because they had Lemon Meringue pie, but, it was translucent and nasty.  My mother’s was not made from cornstarch, my mother opened up a can and made magic!

    A word about that magic can – my mother used Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk and I used it for years, and I still use it when I want absolute perfection. I found out about the Hispanic product La Lechera, that not only tastes very good, but it considerably less expensive!  Do yourself a favor and keep a few cans on hand, you can also use it for Magic Cookie Bars (recipe to follow), and Thai Iced Tea. Although La Lechera is very good, Eagle Brand is still my favorite, and is the only one I will use when I make Cappuccino Fudge.

    Please don’t buy one of those pre-made crusts.  This recipe is so simple that you will not have any need to “save time”.  If you have a food processor, like my Waring Food Processor, then this whole process takes 10 minutes (including baking the pie!).  If you don’t have a food processor, that’s fine, too.  Either way you go, a graham cracker crust made from scratch is better than a store bought one any day.

    So, here are the two things I am making today, including the Rose Lemonade.

    Graham Cracker Crust – Simple

    Ingredients

    • 6 tablespoons butter melted
    • 24 graham crackers
    • 1/4 cup sugar

    Instructions

    1. In a small saucepan or the microwave, melt 6 tablespoons of butter.
    2. There are two methods of doing of making the crumbs:
      1. The best way to do this, however, is in a large food processor, just be sure to use the pulse button and pulse the crackers, then add the butter and sugar, and pulse two or three more times before removing and putting into your pie pan.
      2. Place about 24 graham crackers in a plastic bag. Roll with a rolling pin until finely crushed. This may be done in small batches.
    3. Measure 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs into a medium bowl. Add 1/4 cup of sugar to the graham crackers. Add the melted butter. Stir or blend together with your hands.
    4. Finally, press into the pie plate or other pan.
    5. To pre-bake the pie crust, bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree . oven.

    Variations

    You can make this crust with other kinds of cookies. Lemon cookies and ginger snaps both make excellent crusts.

    Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

    Cooking time: 8 minute(s)

    Diet type: Vegetarian

    Number of servings (yield): 1

    My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

    Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

    Copyright © The Good Plate.
    Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
    Microformatting by hRecipe.

    This always makes a perfect pie, and is creamer than the cornstarch version. Using key limes instead of lemons will make a Key Lime Pie.

    Lemon Meringue Pie – No Cornstarch!

    Ingredients

    • 1 Graham cracker crust
    • 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
    • Juice of 1 Lemon
    • Lemon Rind (optional)
    • 1 drop Yellow food coloring (optional)
    • 3 Eggs separated
    • 2 tablespoons Sugar
    • Instructions

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Combine milk with egg yolks and lemon juice and rind. Mix thoroughly.
    3. Pour into prepared graham cracker crust.
    4. Beat eggs until stiff. Gradually add sugar, and beat a bit more.
    5. Spoon eggs over top of pie, making sure all edges are secure, then make peaks with the back of the spoon.
    6. Bake at 350 about 10 minutes or until the peaks are lightly browned.
    7. Let stand and cool, then place in refrigerator and chill thoroughly before serving, at least four hours.

    Variations

    This always makes a perfect pie, and is creamer than the cornstarch version. Using key limes instead of lemons will make a Key Lime Pie.

    Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

    Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

    Diet type: Vegetarian

    Number of servings (yield): 6

    Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

    My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

    Copyright © The Good Plate.
    Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
    Microformatting by hRecipe.