Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Sliders

Summertime is burger time. Grills everywhere are fired up and cranking out delicious burger creations with endless possibilities. Turkey burgers, seafood burgers, beef burgers, you name it and someone has probably tried to make a burger out of it. My burger muse of the day was white bean sliders. (For those of you who don't know, sliders are just tiny burgers) I started by sauteing carrots, onions and garlic in olive oil. Once they were softened, I deglazed the pan with a splash of Yuengling Black and Tan, a favorite hometown brew. Honestly, this smelled so good that I could have quit there and ate onions for dinner but, alas, I pressed on. I pulsed the onion mixture in the food processor with cannellini beans, fresh rosemary, and red pepper flakes until thoroughly combined. Breadcrumbs and an egg were added to achieve the correct consistency. Hot off the grill, these burgers were rich in flavor with a wonderful herb aroma. I topped mine with pepper jack cheese, arugula and stone ground mustard. Burgers, beer, and a warm summer evening... life is good.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sweet Summer Salad

Summer is in full swing and my garden is pumping out arugula like a factory. As a result, I am constantly trying to work it into recipes. Today's concoction is a mixture of strawberries, arugula, and jicama. The sweetness of the berries snuggles right up to the spicy arugula and the jicama adds a much needed crunch. The salad is finished with a simple squeeze of lemon which ties everything together in one delicious package. Boldly flavorful yet surprisingly light, this salad is a little slice of summer that stands up well on it's own or acts as a perfect counterpart to a heavier main dish. It's only four ingredients, people, give it a shot! Your taste buds will thank you.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Kiss My Grits

Granted, I currently live in the Midwest but my soul definitely resides in the Carolinas. I love sweet tea, grits, biscuits, and all other southern delicacies. The recipes are steeped in tradition and once you get a taste of that deep rooted soul food, you never forget it. My recent vacation back to the Carolinas left me with a hankering for grits that just wouldn't leave me alone. Yes, they are delicious as a side note to eggs and bacon but I wanted to do something different with them.... a little south of the border meets south of the Mason Dixon line, if you will. I started with beautiful Anaheim peppers. Slit up the middle and cleaned of their seeds, they served as the perfect vessel to hold grits on the grill. I prepared the grits with salt and pepper and a healthy dose of queso fresco, a traditional Mexican cheese. Each pepper was stuffed with grits and tied closed with a bit of kitchen twine. I slow roasted the peppers over charcoal which softened the flesh and allowed the natural juices to infuse into the grits. Smokey, peppery, cheesy grits bulged from the slit in each pepper. Once there was a nice char on the bottom, I removed them from the fire and cut off the kitchen twine. I rounded out the deep, rich flavor of the Anaheims by serving them with a fresh peach salsa on the side. Now where did I put my glass of sweet tea?....