Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Even though she lives in Canada, my sister and I talk every day, thanks to Skype. And much of what we talk about is food. Younger though she may be, she never hesitates to give me her take on anything I do, including my cooking. Today, when I mentioned that I made burgers, she promptly exclaimed, "All I want to taste in a burger is the meat!" This is one of the preferences we have in common: our appreciation for the simplicity that is a good burger. I believe that a beef burger should consist of meat and one or two other flavor enhancers (besides salt and pepper of course.) Other flavors should come from the toppings. The following recipe is made with ninety percent lean beef, a couple jalapenos, and finely grated garlic. For the toppings, I recommend cheddar and grilled onions rings. My sister should approve.
2 lb lean ground beef
2-3 jalapenos minced
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
3 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1. Combine all of the ingredients thoroughly. Divide the mixture into 8 portions and form into 1 inch thick patties.
2.Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Grill the patties for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until the juices run clear and cooked to desired doneness. Serve on hamburger buns, top with slices of cheddar cheese and grilled onions rings.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Truth be told, I have been making sangria long before the weather became hot enough for this refreshing beverage. Twice already for the week, actually. Ever since meeting a group of friends one late summer evening two years ago at El Meson for a paella dinner, I have been hooked. Our meal was ordered with a pitcher of delicious red wine sangria. It was easily eighty degrees that night but the delightful mix of good company, incredible paella and strong sangria made it one of my most memorable meals, and elevated El Meson to one of my favorite restaurants in the uptown area. The following recipe is one for a white wine sangria with slices of oranges and lemons that is perfect for any evening.
Serves 6 to 8
2 bottles pinot grigio
1/2 cup orange liqueur
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup club soda
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Combine the first five ingredients, mixing well to dissolve the sugar. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Right before serving, add the club soda and fresh citrus slices. Stir and serve over ice.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
These past evenings have been almost perfect! Warm enough temperatures and sunny clear skies. I have been passing the time just sitting on the deck feeling the perfect wind on my face with a glass of wine in my hand. It must be the knowledge that this weather is not here to stay that makes this simple routine all the more enjoyable. If it weren't for the grill, which is just three feet away from where I usually sit, it is quite possible that I would be inclined to do little cooking.
Here is an easy recipe for grilled chicken with a tamarind marinade. Though found only in a few grocery stores in Minnesota (try Cub Foods), tamarind is such a delightful thing that it is worth an extra trip to the store.
Grilled Tamarind Chicken with Pineapple Salsa
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cup tamarind chutney
2 large garlic cloves, grated
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Pineapple Salsa (see recipe below)
1. In a shallow bowl, combine the tamarind chutney, grated garlic, and cilantro. Reserve half cup for basting.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add the tamarind marinade. Set in the refrigerator until ready to grill.
3. Set the grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grill grate. Grill the chicken for 6 to 8 minutes on both sides or until done. Baste occasionally during cooking with the reserved tamarind marinade. Serve with fresh pineapple salsa.
12 cups diced fresh pineapple
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 small jalepenos, seeded and finely diced
To prepare the salsa, combine the pineapple with the rest of the ingredients. Serve over the chicken.