turkey zucchini burgers with roasted red pepper ketchup

turkey burgerTurkey burgers can be very dry, and many of the recipes I’ve seen for them use shredded apple to add moisture.  This recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook (my current favorite and most dog-eared cookbook) uses that abundant summer vegetable, zucchini.  It’s ridiculously flavorful thanks to the mint/cilantro/cumin seasoning combination and has a little bit of a bite to it. Continue reading

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Lately…

I may have a slight obsession with vanity plates.
Lawman I’m not usually a tea drinker, but this day it seemed right.Tea Can’t wait to install these on the grill.  Cooks who say they don’t like/need fancy gadgets are lying!grilllitWas going to save this for the beach, but already started it.  Has anyone read it?
book Chesapeake Bay BridgeBay BridgeThe first of probably a hundred tomato sandwiches that will be consumed this summer.
tomato sandwiche Figs, pistachios, lavender honey and goat cheese.  You know…just an appetizer.akinator I am addicted to the app, akinator!IMG_1610 Missed this guy for the past two weeksZigsA quiet celebration
birthdayAt 48, my brother became a first-time dad!  Brooke

Happy 4th and pass the pie!

flagI used to volunteer to work every 4th of July.  There’s a saying we frequently use when referring to the hospital, which is that it’s a “24/7 operation”.  While that may seem like an overly obvious statement to most, to those of us working in healthcare it means two things:  that one shouldn’t feel pressured to finish every little thing before calling it a day (because someone will be coming along after you to continue the work), and second, that everyone is expected to work some holidays.

I quit volunteering to work on the 4th of July, however, when my in-laws retired and made their eastern shore house their permanent home.  The celebration became more of an event after that.  These days, family flies across the country to be there and you can always count on plenty of steamed crabs, fireworks, and beer.

crab pots cracking crabs

tubing fireworks

The idea to make this pie to bring to the celebration came about because of an abundance of sweet, plump blueberries from the CSA.  I used a mixture of strawberries and blueberries because that’s what I had on hand, but any combination of berries or single berry will do.  I used Heidi’s pie filling recipe, adapting it only slightly, because I appreciated that it used only brown sugar and promised not to be too sweet.

You owe it to the fresh berries to make a homemade pie crust.  This one is quite buttery and flakey, but uses absolutely no lard.  If it’s a little dry (as mine is occasionally), follow the advice of a master, Jacques Pepín, and roll the crust out between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment.  This should work nicely.

more pieBerry Pie

for the crust:

16 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter (cut into pieces)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

1/2 tsp salt

3-10 Tbsp ice water

Place flour and salt in a food processor bowl fitted with a metal blade.  Pulse until  nickel-sized clumps begin to form.  Add 3 Tbsp ice water and pulse again.  Check your dough.  Is it dry?  Does it form a dough ball?  Chances are you will have to add more water.  Add ice water, one Tablespoon at a time, pulsing in between and checking the dough.  You will probably end up adding about 6 Tablespoons or so in total. Pull the dough out and form a ball.  Roll in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove dough from refrigerator and separate into two balls, one slightly larger than the other.  Place the smaller ball back in the fridge until ready to use.  Sprinkle some flour on the counter and place the dough ball on top.  Sprinkle some flour on the dough and roll with rolling pin, rolling 2-3 times, lifting moving the dough, then placing it back down to roll some more.  Frequently moving the dough around while rolling will help keep the dough from sticking to the counter.

Alternatively, a technique I recently began to use is to put a large piece of parchment paper on the counter, sprinkle with flour, put the dough on top of the paper, and place another equally large piece of parchment on top of the dough ball.  Roll your dough out through the parchment to about a 12-inch round.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfect.  Peel back the parchment and use the bottom parchment to lift, flip and center the dough circle over a 9-inch pie tin.  Peel back the bottom piece of parchment and gently push the crust into the form of the pan (save this piece of parchment).  Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect-you can pinch and patch as you go.  Flute the edges of the crust.

Remember that piece of parchment I told you to save?  Lay it across the crust in your pie tin.  Now you need to weigh it down.  You can use a bunch of copper pennies. I liked to use beans,  Make sure they are spread evenly across the bottom of the crust.  Bake the crust until it just starts to turn golden and crisp, about 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and make your filling while it cools.

Turn oven temperature up to 425 degrees.

for the filling:

2 pounds of berries (blueberries, blackberries, huckleberries or any combination.  You may also use a combination of up to one pound of strawberries with a darker berry to equal 2 pounds)

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour

2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves

1/ cup milk and turbinado sugar (or other large grain or granulated sugar) for sprinkling the crust

Place berries in a large bowl,  add sugar and cinnamon.  Using a fork or a masher, gently mash berries slightly with the sugar to combine.  Fold in the flour and thyme leaves.

Place filling into pre-baked pie crust.  Top with lemon juice and dot with butter pieces.

Roll your top pie dough into a disc as you did the bottom. Gently push the top dough into the crimped edges of the bottom crust.

Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of the crust with milk.  Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Cut 4 slits in the top of the crust (approximately 3 inches long) to allow steam to escape during baking.

Place pie on middle rack in oven.  NOTE:  You may want to put a cookie sheet lined with foil on the shelf under the rack with the pie to catch the filling if it drips (see my photos).

Check your pie after 25 minutes.  If the outer edge of the crust is browning too quickly, place crimped strips of aluminum foil around the edge and continue baking.

Bake until crust is a deep golden color and filling is bubbling slightly, approximately 45-50 minutes total.

Remove and place on wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Will store on countertop up to 3 days.

Lauren eats pie pie berries Amelie eats pie

Lately…

Stayed at our first pet-friendly hotel.  Ziggy was not impressed (he slept with on the bed with us, per usual)IMG_1572 First watermelon of the season!watermelon dessert at Portalli’s:  chocolate coconut martiniIMG_1538three engagements and one wedding on the same day at the vineyard
wedding crashers it was the kind of day you want to raise the roofmoon roofgrilled my first whole chicken.  It was so succulent!
grilled chicken Saw my first MLB game in a while-the Orioles swept the Yankees in a three game series!IMG_1582 Ziggy’s favorite riding spotIMG_1555 for my husband who doesn’t like selfies:  Leave me alone.  I’m only speaking to my dog today.don't speak to me saw this sign while we were driving through the Virginia countryside looking for somewhere to grab breakfast…wicked good…which led to this wicked good breakfast choice!
lobster rolls street lamps at the vineyardIMG_3492 cool looking cloudsclouds gerbera daisiesdaisies blue ridge mountainsblue ridge mountains beautiful sunset, but my husband needs to clean his windshield!IMG_1567 this guy was amazing!  In addition to the guitar, he played harmonica, flute, and some mouth organ thing-y.musician cute bomb!Ziggy

garlic scape pesto

scapesKnow what these are?

If you do, then you’re one up on me.  I had never seen, nor heard, of garlic scapes until this year.  The top part of the garlic bulb, scapes are suddenly  turning up in blog recipes all around the internet.  Chef’s that I follow on instagram are serving them crispy atop fish.  They are trendy and (dare I say it?) hip.

It seemed that pesto was a pretty popular way that folks use these curly guys, and it was a good choice.  By cutting the amount of basil found in more traditional pesto recipes, and using garlic scapes in place of both the basil and the garlic, this pesto has a milder (and I think more palatable) flavor.  Using almonds rather than pine nuts gave it a wonderful creamy consistency.

Use it to top pasta, grilled bread, vegetables, fish, or poultry.  Thin it with a bit of water to use it as a salad dressing.  It is truly versatile.

*Before I give you the recipe, I want to draw your attention to the stunning serving board used in these photos.  This board was custom handmade for me out of curly maple by Emily at Board and Bread.  Her work is beautiful and the craftsmanship is amazing.  Order any piece and you will not be disappointed!

garlic scape pesto

5 garlic scapes, sliced into 2-3 inch pieces

4-5 fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup almonds, toasted

1/4-1/2 cups olive oil

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Add scapes, basil leaves, and almonds to a food processor.  Pulse until combined. Add parmesan cheese and pulse to mix.  While the food processor is running, add 1/4 cup olive oil in a steady stream.  Check to see if it is a smooth consistency.  Add more olive oil if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Store in refrigerator.

pesto

IMG_3467 IMG_3466 IMG_3461 IMG_3458 IMG_3447

Lately…

Fish eye Trying out an iPhone 5 fish eye lens.  Makes my feet look huge!blueberry waffle Blueberry whole wheat waffles for our son’s last breakfast home before shipping off to the grandparentstomatoes The tomatoes are just starting to emerge (Please no pests, please no pests, please no…)Brewers Art Finally made it to this place!  I thought I liked the Resurrection Ale before, but now Ozzy is my favorite!strawberries Sadly, these are the only local strawberries I’ve had this year.  We weren’t able to get out to pick and the season has been cut short by rain.ancient cell phone Doing some cleaning and came across this old cell phone.  It looks so archaic now!pillow coverThis beautiful pillow cover from this Etsy shop.  Thinking about ordering another!

Peanut Butter and Pretzel Bars (PB&P’s)

PB & PI know…another dessert-y thing.

But I’ve been under the weather this past week and many of you have asked for this recipe.  I made these several weeks ago for a party after my son’s piano recital and they were a huge hit.  Who can resist the chocolate/peanut butter combination along with the saltiness of the pretzels?

I adapted the recipe just slightly, substituting my beloved dark chocolate instead of the milk chocolate called for in the recipe.

peanut butter and pretzel bars, from No Bake Makery by Cristina Krumsick

*I doubled this recipe using a 9″x 13″ inch pan

3 cups salted mini pretzels

1 cup salted creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup packed, light brown sugar

10 tbsp (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 Tbsp coconut oil (or additional butter)

Line an 8 x 8″ baking pan with foil, coat with non stick spray. Set aside.

Roughly crush 2 cups of the mini pretzels, either by pulsing in a food processor, or buy putting them into a sandwich bag and crushing them with a rolling pin.

Combine the peanut butter, butter and sugars in a small bowl, then stir in the crushed pretzels. Press this mixture evenly into the lined pan, and chill for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and the coconut oil (or 1 Tbsp butter, if using) on the stovetop in a double boiler, stirring almost constantly until just melted.  Remove from heat and pour over your pan with the peanut butter mixture.  Spread with a spatula.

Tap the pan against a hard surface to even out the chocolate a bit more.

Place 16 mini pretzels evenly in a grid pattern on top of the chocolate (they’ll be your guide for cutting the bars). Place back in refrigerator or freezer until set.

Lift the foil out of the pan with the bars, peel the foil off, then using a sharp knife, cut into squares.

Store in refrigerator or freezer.