Tuesday, June 22, 2010

THE Burger

There are two things about today's post. One is, it might just take your taste buds to a whole new culinary arena. The other is, learn how to be a sneaky bastard and get your kids to eat healthier without them knowing it. Welcome!

First off, I usually make burgers using soy patties, but after a week of doing a cleanse by Blessed Herbs I was feeling the need for meat. So be it. But I don't use solid meat patties, partially for health reasons, partially for climate reasons, partially economic reasons (meat is expensive here!) and mostly because I have an alternative that tastes better!

Patties: For 500 grams (1 lb) of ground beef, I add:
1/2 coarsely grated zucchini (squeeze the excess juice out)
1 medium/large carrot finely grated
Small handful of sprouted green lentils.

Mix all these things together with your hands. Perhaps an egg is necessary to help keep things together, but normally I just form smaller patties, do the light chopping with a knife on both sides, make a slight indentation in the middle, and on to the griddle it goes! The resulting patty is healthier, juicier, tastier, and I kid you not, just this week I made burger THREE times with just one package of meat. WIthout all these additions, one package would normally not do the trick!

The Fixin's: This is the exciting part. Throw out your notions of ketchup, pickles and tomatoes this once. You'll need:
1 large onion, sliced finely, and caramelised (Sauté in butter, add sugar, is the basic idea, a smidge of balsamico glaze ain't bad either)
1 package of bacon, fried until crisp, and crumbled. (Alternatively turkey bacon, or soy bacon)
Gruyère or Stilton cheese (or both), melted on top of the patty
Baby spinach
Fresh raspberries
Hellman's mayonnaise
Chipotle sauce

I suggest spinach and bacon on the bottom, then the patty, with the melted cheese, then the caramelised onions, and the ripe, red raspberries as the finishing touch. Don't balk at the raspberries! I know where you're coming from, I usually hate fruit in dinner (pineapple on pizza is a sin) but the raspberry addition is much like the traditional tomato. Fruity, tart and tangy, it goes very well with everything else. The mayo and chipotle is optional, but Hellman's is great on anything, and the chipotle adds a little smokiness to the mix.

This is one great burger. Try it for yourself. Even a vegetarian version can't go wrong with the additions of these slightly different fixin's!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Berries are Coming!

*Pardon the missing picture, Blogger ate it!*

This is about as summery a dessert as you can get. It is pink, fluffy, fruity - if Barbie had a flavor, this would be it. (Mattel, please keep your patent off my dessert)

4 egg whites
200 grams sugar
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. rose water (optional)
few drops of red food coloring (optional)

Assorted berries, red currants, raspberries, blueberries, blakberries, mulberries, boysenberries, cloudberries etc.
Lemon curd (optional)
Whipped cream
Passion fruit

Whisk the whites until peaky. Add the sugar one spooon at a time until stiff. Fold in the other ingredients. Drop tennis ball size meringue on baking sheet, making a little dip in the middle for the topping. Bake for 20 minutes at 160 Celsius.

When completely cool, spread on lemon curd and whipped cream. Top with berries of choice. I added a spoonful of passion fruit for an exotic twist. It's a tad unsightly, so you might want to put it under the fruit instead. The rose water is optional, but it gives the meringue the yummy delicate taste of Turkish Delight.

For some reason, I haven't made these for a couple of summers, this post being one from the archives. Why, I do not know. The weather just went a bit dreary here, but at the first ray of light, I'm hauling berries home, and enjoying these in the yard!