Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Little Sweet, A Little Heat

You know what I found at the Metro Market? Fingerling sweet potatoes! Who knew such a thing even existed? I'll tell you who: no one. I came to that conclusion when I searched for a recipe and came up empty. Plain old fingerling potatoes? No problem. Fingerling potatoes of the sweet potato variety? Not so much.

But you know what happens when the Google turns up no results ... I have to turn to my good old fashioned ingenuity. (Ok, a heap of ingenuity with a dash of Food Network inspiration.) And that resulted in a pretty delicious sweet potato hash!

Now I know a lot of people aren't sweet potato fans because when it comes to the line between sweet and savory, these veggies are definitely toeing it. But even combined with the sweet red bell pepper and the sweated red onion, you're going to find that this dish has a savory punch from the cumin and red pepper flakes that bring the heat. We served this hash alongside Bill's famous Fourth of July ribs, but I imagine it would be incredible with a fried or poached egg, a dash of Cholula, and a couple slices of toast for breakfast!

Sweet Potato Hash
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3/4 lb. fingerling sweet potatoes (or 1 large regular sweet potato), peeled and diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 green onion, thinly sliced

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and red peppers. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add potatoes, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in half of green onion. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with remaining green onion, and enjoy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fancy Fourth of July

Here's one good reason my posts on LoVBites have been relatively sparse over the last few months: We eat turkey burgers about once a week. And really, I thought, who needs a weekly post about turkey burgers? Well, the more I contemplate it, the more I believe you do. Because in the dozen or more times I've cooked them, we haven't had two alike.

You might wonder how it's possible to conjure up so many variations of the blah, boring, bland turkey burger. It becomes easier when you neglect to write your recipes down (or, you know, when you're neglecting to blog regularly ... sorry about that). Many of the burgers I've made have been pretty similar, and lots of them have been accidental hybrids of a couple recent recipes. But tonight's version was mostly intentional and totally delicious.

I figured it was time to take these burgers up a notch and way past time to put some of the ingredients hanging out in the fridge to good use. See, I have really high hopes at the beginning of each week that my menu will include something more than the norm. I buy ingredients meaning to make a dish I stumbled upon that intrigued me, but suddenly it's 7:30 and we've just finished working out and the prospect of spending an hour in the kitchen no longer excites me. So today when I stared at the browning baby portobello mushrooms and the quickly ripening gruyere cheese (originally intended for kale and mushroom lasagna and zucchini gratin), I felt a stroke of genius coming on ... even if that genius was to be mixed into some ground turkey.

And so I give you the recipe for a very fancy Fourth of July ... a nice, lean burger, packed with portobellos, laced with gruyere, and smothered with caramelized onions. Mushroom haters take heed ... if you've never tried chopped mushrooms in your burgers, you don't know what you're missing. Yes, they're practically calorie free and they add a good amount of volume to your burger, but they also add loads of flavor and keep what could be a devestatingly dry burger much more moist. Leave them out if you must, but I promise you won't be disappointed!

Fancy Turkey Burgers with Portobellos, Gruyere, and Caramelized Onions
1 lb. ground turkey
3/4 cup baby bella mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 oz. gruyere, shredded
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon porcini salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper
"Just in Thyme" caramelized onions (recipe follows)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. When ingredients are thoroughly combined (but not overly mixed), shape into 2 patties. (Did I neglect to mention these are giant, feed-me-protein-I-just-finished-P90X turkey burgers? You can make 3 or 4 burgers if you're more modest than us.) Place on plate, cover with plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Preheat grill pan over meium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Grill burgers, about 7 minutes per side, or until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees. Top with caramelized onions and serve on toasted buns.

"Just in Thyme" Caramelized Onions
1/2 large yellow onion
1 tablespoon butter
3 sprigs fresh thyme

In a small skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and season liberally with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add thyme and continue to cook until onion is very soft and deep brown, about 10 minutes more. Reduce heat as necessary to avoid charring or burning the onions.