Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cheeseburgers - Two Ways

This Weeks Menu:
A couple of months ago the amazing Jen at Use Real Butter did a give away. She asked her readers what inspired them to cook. She randomly selected two people to receive a one year subscription to Fine Cooking magazine. I was actually one of the winners!!! I have since gotten two issues and I love it! This is a recipe from the February-March issue. It is really wonderful because you can add any veggies you like and it can be meaty or not. Also, using brown rice makes it even more nutritious. This is definitely not the greasy, salty fried rice you usually get in Chinese restaurants. You do need to plan a little in advance because the rice needs to be cold, and the prep is a little time consuming (dicing a lot of veggies) but after that it comes together very quickly.

1. Veggie-full Fried Rice
Modified from Fine Cooking
makes 4 (generous) servings

2 T vegetable oil
1 cup finely diced broccoli stems (peel the rough outer layer)
3/4 cup finely diced carrots
3/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup peas, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup corn, fresh or frozen
4 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
2 T finely grated fresh ginger (in my opinion this makes the whole dish)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
4 cups very cold cooked brown rice
3/4 cup finely diced ham or Canadian bacon (4 oz)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

Heat all but 1 t of the oil in a large nonstick skillet or stir-fry pan over medium-high heat (large and nonstick are both key words here). Add the broccoli stems, carrots and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add the peas and corn and cook about 1 minute (until thawed if using frozen). Add the scallion, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until the raw garlic aroma subsides, about 1 minute. Add the rice and ham and cook, sirring, until heated through, 3-5 minutes.
Make a well in the center of the rice mixture. Add the remaining 1 t oil, then the eggs and cook, stirring, until the eggs are almost fully scrambled. Stir the eggs into the rice mixture. Stir in the soy sauce and serve.

One of my co-workers gets a Cheeseburger Chowder at a deli near our office and she raves about it. I tasted it one day and I thought I could probably make it. I did a little research online and then I came up with this version. It turned out very well (my co-worked actually said she liked mine better than the deli version because it was a little lighter and had a lot more veggies in it).

2. Cheeseburger Chowder
makes 4-6 servings

1 lb very lean ground beef
2 cups cubed red skin potatoes (leave the skin on)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 beef bullion cube
1 1/2 cups water
1 t kosher salt
2 1/2 cups milk
3 T all-purpose flour
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

In a soup pot brown the ground beef, drain off any fat. Stir in the potatoes, celery, onion, bell pepper, corn, bullion cube, water and salt. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Whisk together the flour and milk. Slowly add to the meat mixture and cook until thickened and bubbly. Add the cheese and heat, stirring, until it melts.

I found this recipe from Food Gawker. I think it has now made its way through several blogs. I believe it originally came from Martha Stewart. I made the patties half size and brought them to a friends house as an appetizer. If you make them full size they could be served on a bun, burger style.

3. Black Bean Sweet Potato Patties with Chili Lime Sour Cream
makes 2-4 servings

For the patties:
1 1/2 t olive oil
2 scallions
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (ribs and seeds removed)
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup sweet potato, coarsely grated (about 1/2 a sweet potato)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

For the Chili Lime Sour Cream:
1/4 cup sour cream (reduced-fat if desired)
1 t lime juice (or more, to taste)
1 jalapeno, minced (ribs and seeds removed)
kosher salt

To make the patties:
Heat the broiler. In a skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Cook the scallions until softened, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, jalapeno and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl. Add the beans and mash with a fork or potato masher, leaving about 1/4 of the beans whole. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the sweet potato, egg and bread crumbs. Divide into 4 balls of equal size (I made 8 for a appetizer size serving) and flatten into patties. Brush a baking dish with olive oil (or use a sheet of parchment paper or silicone liner if you have one) and place the patties on the sheet. Broil 4 inches from the heat until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Carefully turn the cakes and broil until crisp, 2-3 minutes more. Serve with the chili lime sour cream.

To make the sour cream:
In a small bowl combine the sour cream, lime juice and jalapeno. Season with salt.

This meal was added to the menu this week by my husband. I don't usually make hamburgers at home (more often in the summer on the grill). They were pretty good but I think I still have a lot to learn when it comes to making a really good burger. There is no recipe for them but I do have one for the oven fries.

4. Oven Fries
from Real Simple
makes 2 servings

1 large unpeeled russet potato, scrubbed and cut lengthwise into 1/4" wedges (I used a mandolin slicer which makes this a breeze)
1 T olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, toss together all of the ingredients and spread on a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Place on bottom rack of oven and roast until the potatoes start to brown, about 20 minutes. Turn the potatoes with a spatula and roast until golden, another 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

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