Greek Lamb Burger

Greek Lamb Burger


It has been a while since I have made burgers. I have not been making them all that often because I saw them as boring. Lately I have been seeing some interesting varieties of burgers on food blogs. I realized that a burger is just a way of cooking ground meat and that you can flavour the burger any way you want. I was thinking taco spiced burgers, or a teriyaki salmon burgers, or etc....

I thought that I would start with a Greek flavoured lamb burger. I picked up some ground lamb at the market and I mixed it up with some Greek flavours including some oregano, lemon and fresh dill and mint. I then topped the burgers with some creamy homemade tzatziki , some crumbled feta along with the more common lettuce, tomato and red onions. The Greek lamb burgers turned out pretty good! The burger patty itself was nice and moist and juicy and tasty! The lamb meat had a fairly strong flavour and aroma and the fresh dill and mint went really well in it. I imagine that you could easily eat these 'burgers' in pitas to change this up a bit. I am now looking forward to experimenting with more interesting burgers.

Cod Salad with Sesame Dressing

Cod Salad with Sesame Dressing

I tend to run around doing errands on Saturday mornings so I like to keep lunches simple. Fairly often it ends up being a salad. Recently I have been trying to eat more sea food and when I came across a recipe for for a white fish salad with sesame dressing by Harumi Kurihara in Harumi's Japanese Cooking I had found my next Saturday lunch. This salad ended up being really tasty and full of sesame flavour. The warm and slightly crisp fish added a nice contrast in to the salad.

Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Fritters with Salsa and Sour Cream

I normally do my meal planning for the week on Fridays. I find that it is always a good idea to leave the last day, Friday, unplanned because very often things don't go as planned. It is a good chance to clean out the fridge so that it can be filled again Saturday morning. This morning I had some zucchinis in the fridge that I did not get to during the week. Given the success of the corn fritter last week I though I would try zucchini fritters. They turned out pretty good. The outsides were crispy and golden brown and the insides were moist and green. Once again I decided to top the fritters with salsa and this time I also had some sour cream in the fridge. Salsa is quickly becoming one of my favorite condiments.

Pork Chop with Apple, Sage and Pancetta

Pork Chop with Apple, Sage and Pancetta

There were a lot of apples at the farmers market on the weekend and I got a bunch of them. I have been enjoying snacking on them but I also wanted to cook with them. I came across a recipe for pork chops with apple, sage and pancetta in Taste Italia magazine that sounded pretty tasty. Pork and apples go well together and you just can't go wrong by adding some salty pancetta. The use o sage also cought my eye as I have been enjoying sage lately. All said and done the dish was easy to make and pretty tasty.

Greek Couscous Salad

Greek Couscous Salad

I have been meaning to try couscous for a while now. On the weekend I picked up instant whole wheat couscous though I was not sure exactly what I was going to do with it. Of course when I looked in my fridge I had all of the ingredients required for a Greek salad so I decided to do a Greek couscous salad. It was pretty much just a Greek salad with couscous, though this time I pitted the olives and chopped them up. The couscous was pretty simple to make; just add some boiling water and let it sit for 5 minutes. The couscous had a nice texture and soaked up all of the excess dressing. I think I will enjoy experimenting with couscous in the future.

Saltimbocca alla Romana

Saltimbocca alla Romana

Recently I have been seeing "Saltimbocca alla Romana" come up in a few places and I wanted to try it. It looked pretty simple, in fact, looking at the recipe I was a little worried that it would be a little plain. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of flavour. The sage flavour infused the veal and the sauce from deglazing the pan was full of flavour. I can see why this dish is called "hop in the mouth". This dish shows off the sage really nicely.

Grilled Zucchini Wraps with Tomatoes and Goats Cheese

Grilled Zucchini Wraps with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Goats Cheese

I came across this recipe a while ago but roma tomatoes were not in season so I bookmarked it so that I could try it later. Now that roma tomatoes are in season I got to try it. I replaced the chervil in the original recipe with basil leaves and left them whole rather than mixing them up with the cheese. It takes a bit of time to oven roast the tomatoes but otherwise this recipe is really simple. The zucchini wraps were really good and with oven roasted tomatoes and goats cheese how could they not?

Chanterelle and Corn Risotto with Scallops

Chanterelle and Corn Risotto with Scallops

When I was at the farmers market last weekend I saw some fresh local chanterelle mushrooms. I had never seen them before and I wanted to try them. I search for a recipe with chanterelle mushrooms in it and found this one for "Chanterelle and Corn Risotto" with "Sauted Chanterelle, Corn and Sage" and "Sauteed Scallops". It sounded pretty good. I would also get to try cooking scallops for the first time. This weekend I picked up some of the chanterelle mushrooms, scallops and fresh local corn. Both the chanterelle mushrooms and the scallops were kind of pricey making this an expensive meal.

This meal took a while to cook. The risotto requires about a half an hour to cook and then you need to sauteed two more dishes. It was well worth the effort. This was the best risotto that I have ever made. The corn added a really nice sweetness and crispness to the risotto. The chanterelle mushrooms were pretty good especially the ones that were fried in butter until they were just a little bit crispy. The scallops were not bad. I think that I will have to cook with them a bit more before making a decision about them.

Dengjang Chigae (Korean Miso Soup)

Dengjang Chigae (Korean Miso Soup)

This week instead of making a Japanese style miso soup for breakfasts I made a Korean style miso soup. Korean miso soup or Dengjang Chigae uses the Korean form of miso dengjang. Dengjang is similar to Japanese miso but it also contains some uncrushed beans giving it more texture. This soup also contains gochujang which is similar to miso and has chilis in it. Like miso soup you can put whatever you like in it. This week I chose to use onions, tofu, zucchini and jalapeno peppers. With the gochujang, ground dried chili peppers and jalapeno peppers this was a spicy way to start the day. The soup was pretty tasty. I think that I will be having the Korean style miso soup for breakfast every once in a while.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 teaspoon ground dried chili pepper (optional)
1 cup dashi
1 small onion (chopped)
1 serving tofu (cubed)
1/2 small zucchini (sliced)
1 jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1 tablespoon dengjang
1 teaspoon gochujang (optional)
1 green onion (chopped)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a small sauce pan.
2. Add the garlic and ground dried chili pepper and saute until the garlic is fragrant.
3. Add the dashi, onion, tofu, zucchini, jalepeno pepper and simmer until the onions and zucchini are tender.
4. Remove from heat.
5. Mix the dengjang and gochujang with some of the liquid in a small bowl.
6. Stir the dengjang and gochujang into the soup.
7. Pour the soup into a bowl and top with the green onion.

Looking for more soup recipes?

Figs Stuffed with Gorgonzola

Figs Stuffed with Gorgonzola and Drizzled in Balsamic Reduction with Prosciutto

And another fig post. I have been keeping an eye out for fig recipes and when this one for "Parmesan Stuffed Figs with Balsamic Reduction" was posted, I tried it right away. I still had some gorgonzola cheese so I replaced the parmesan with the gorgonzola. This one was pretty good. I was a bit worried that the figs would get too cooked before the cheese melted but the cheese melted and the figs were not too warm. The balsamic reduction added a nice sour and sweet touch.

Fig Crostini with Prosciutto and Mascarpone

Fig Crostini with Prosciutto and Mascarpone

Since I discovered figs the other week I have been having a lot of them. It seems that I am a bit behind in posting about them. I had bookmarked this recipe for "Mascarpone, Fig and Proscuitto Bruschetta" a while ago. I thought that I would try it with fresh figs as that is what I had. Although the fresh figs did not stay on the top very well they tasted pretty good. Figs and prosciutto go well together. I placed the mascarpone cheese on the baguette slices as soon as they came out of the oven and at them while they were still warm The mascarpone cheese was nice and warm and semi-melted which added a nice texture.

Corn Fritters

Corn Fritters with Salsa

I have really been enjoying the fresh local corn. I have mostly been eating it off the cob with salt and butter, which is great, but now I was looking for something different. I recalled seeing Michael Smith on Chef at Home on the Food Network making these corn fritters that looked pretty good. Since corn was not in season at the time I had bookmarked the recipe to try later. His recipe had cheese and there was maple butter, but I was thinking more Mexican. I dropped the cheese and maple butter and added some cumin, cilantro and lime and then topped them with some salsa. They were really easy to make and pretty tasty. I liked the slightly crunchy texture that the cornmeal gave them. I was thinking that it would have been nice if I had some sour cream at the time.

Chicken Stuffed with Figs, Prosciutto and Gorgonzola

Chicken Stuffed with Figs, Prosciutto and Gorgonzola

I was recently introduced to figs and I really enjoyed them. I was looking for some fig recipes and I kept coming across the combinations of figs, cheese and prosciutto. I also saw a recipe for chicken stuffed with figs. I thought Chicken Cordon Blue! Except with figs and gorgonzola cheese wrapped in prosciutto and chicken. It sounded pretty good.

Sometimes things just don't work out as you would like them to. I though I had some eggs in my fridge but it turned out that I did not. I had wanted to dip the rolled up chicken in egg and panko and fry it in oil until it was golden brown. But without the egg I ended up just baking the rolled up chicken with some panko crumbs sprinkled on top. It still turned out pretty good. Figs, prosciutto and warm gooey melted gorgonzola cheese is a great combination of flavours. I am sure that a crisp golden brown panko exterior would have made it even better. I will have to see if I can work this dish into my meal plan again while I can still get fresh figs.

Note: I have written the recipe as I intended to try it. I ended up just baking the rolled up chicken in the oven for 30-35 minutes rather than frying it and then baking it.

Asparagus Crepes with Mushroom Dill Sauce

Asparagus Crepes with Mushroom Dill Sauce

I have been meaning to try this recipe for asparagus crepes with mushroom and dill sauce for a while now but the though of making crepes had been putting me off. I thought that crepes would be difficult to make but they turned out to be pretty easy. This recipe includes a lot of my favorites like asparagus, mushrooms, dill and lemon. I made sure to brown the mushrooms to give them more flavour. It turned out pretty good. It made a terrific light snack.

Crepes

I had been putting off making crepes because I thought they were difficult to make. I decided to try making them and they turned out to be pretty easy. A small no-stick pan and a thin spatula that could get under the edge of the crepe to turn it over came in pretty handy. They are pretty good all by themselves when still warm from the pan though they are normally stuffed with goodies. I look forward to trying more recipes with crepes in the future.

Crepes

Crepes

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes Servings: 4

Light, paper thin crepes just waiting to be filled with something tasty.

ingredients
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
directions
  1. Mix everything in a large bowl.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into a lightly buttered pan heated at medium.
  3. Tilt the pan and turn so that the mixture evenly coats the entire bottom of the pan.
  4. Cook the crepe until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
  5. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown.

Caponata

Caponata on Penne

Not too long ago I came across this recipe for Caponata which was really interesting. The use of cocoa powder in a savory dish that also contained my favorite eggplant propelled this recipe to the top of my to try list. I had never had caopnata before. From what I understand it is usually eaten as an appetizer. I used the caponata in several main course types of meals.

I decided to broil the eggplant and cut back on the amount of oil. I didn't think that there was enough marinara sauce so I increased the amount of it in the recipe. The cocoa powder did not really play a prominent role in the caponata. Combined with the cinnamon, sugar and raisins the cocoa powder created a nice sweetness that did not overwhelm the other aspects of the dish. Of course the cinnamon gave the dish a great aroma. The balsamic vinegar added a nice tartness and the tomato sauce added great savoriness. The heat provided by the red pepper flakes were a really nice addition. Mint once again proves its versatility by complimenting the dish with a nice freshness. I enjoyed the caponata leftovers in a variety of ways.

Fresh Peach Tart with Mascarpone

Fresh Peach Tart with Mascarpone

There was one more recipe with peaches that I wanted to try. Luckily the farmers market was still full of peaches. I wanted to make the "Fresh Peach Tart with Mascarpone" from Taste Italia magazine. I just discovered mascarpone cream recently. It is a bit expensive but it has a really nice texture. I had some troubles. I guess I did not roll the crust out thin enough as it ended up being too thick. I also realized too late that I was out of apricot jam for the glaze. Other than that, the tart turned out pretty good. The orange flavour of the cream complemented the peaches nicely. I imagine that the apricot jam would have been nice as well.

Corn and Milk Miso Soup

Corn and Milk Miso Soup

I have really been enjoying the fresh local corn over the last few weeks. I wanted to try using the corn in miso soup. A reader pointed me towards this recipe which sounded interesting. As I was making the soup for breakfast and I wanted to focus on the corn I dropped some of the ingredients from the original recipe. This ended up being one of the more interesting miso soups that I have made. It was pretty good though most of the corn ended up sitting at the bottom. (A thought just came to me: I could puree the corn the next time I make this.) Corn and butter are, of course a great combination and the milk made the soup creamier.

Penne with Oven Roasted Eggplant, Goats Cheese and Mint

Penne with Oven Roasted Eggplant, Goats Cheese and Mint

A while ago I came across this recipe which sounded really interesting. It is a pasta dish with eggplant, balsamic vinegar, goats cheese and mint. What a combination! I would never have thought to put those flavours together. I was a bit surprised to see the mint in a savory dish. I decided to only melt in half of the cheese and just crumble the remaining cheese over the pasta. It turned out pretty good. Oven roasted eggplant is always good. The balsamic vinegar and goats cheese went well together and the mint added a nice freshness to the dish. Mint seems to be more versatile than I thought.

Soupe a la Courgette (Zucchini Soup)

Soupe a la Courgette (Zucchini Soup)

With the weather cooling down a bit I was feeling like having a soup. I was not looking for a heavy soup and luckily zucchinis are still around. I had been meaning to try this zucchini soup recipe for a while now. One of the reason that I wanted to try this recipe was that I wanted the try the La Vache Qui Rit cheese. The soup was a really nice green colour until I added the cheese and pureed it. After the cheese was pureed into the soup it became a much paler green. The colour was a bit disappointing but the soup still tasted great. The cheese added a really nice creaminess. The La Vache Qui Rit cheese is a very creamy cheese that is so soft that it jiggles and wobbles.

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

The last few days have been cool enough for a jacket. That reminded me that there were a few things that I still wanted to do with the peaches and other summer fruits and vegetables before they are gone. This recipe for peach and blueberry cobbler has been in my to try list for a while now. I needed to make it soon or loose my chance. I had used a rolled oat topping for the Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble so I wanted to go with something different this time. I ended up going with a buttermilk biscuit crust though instead of making the biscuits I just crumbled the dough on top. It was really good, especially with some vanilla ice cream. Peaches and blueberries are a great combination.

Chili Verde

Chili Verde

Not too long ago I found some fresh tomatillos which I had never seen before. I used them to make Salsa Verde or green salsa. Kalyn's comments tipped me off to Chili Verde which also sounded really good. I searched for a recipe for chili verde but I only found a few and many of them called for peppers that I have never seen before like poblano peppers and anaheim peppers. I was able to find green chilies and jalapeno peppers so those were what I used. I started out using only six jalapeno peppers but it was a little mild so I tossed two more in. It is probably a good idea to add the peppers a little at a time so that you can bring it up the heat level that you desire. Of course cilantro played an important role in the dish as well.

I really liked the Chili Verde and I made a lot of it so I had left overs for a few meals. The pork was tender and juicy and the green sauce was tasty and had just the right amount of heat. I topped it with some sour cream or some Monterey Jack cheese. I ate it as a stew, on/in tortillas, on rice, etc.

Basil Pesto on Penne

Basil Pesto on Penne

I normally get my herbs at the grocery store but this weekend they were out of cilantro. Luckily I was going to the farmers market next and I thought I would look there. While I was there I saw some amazing looking basil. Normally the basil that I get at the grocery store comes in a little package where there are only about 15 leaves. This basil came in really big bunches, it looked amazing and was really fragrant. I immediately picked some up with thoughts of basil pesto running through my head. This basil was much better than the basil that I am used to getting. The basil pesto was the best that I have made so far. I think that I will be getting my herbs from the farmers market more often.

Chicken Paillard with Fresh Fig Salad

Chicken Paillard with Fresh Fig Salad

This months cooking club recipe at the Food for Thought blog at foodtv.ca is "Chicken Paillard with Fresh Fig Salad". I am glad that this recipe was chosen as I had never had figs before. I had a bit of trouble finding the figs though. None of the major grocery stores that I tried had any figs. I was able to find them at the St. Lawrence market. The figs that I got did not seem to be the ripest. They were a pale pink rather than the dark pink that I have seen in some photos. They were still pretty good though.

Oven Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Oven Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

It seems that I have been eating a lot of salads lately. Another one of my favorite salad dressings is a sun died tomato vinaigrette. Since I had just oven dried some tomatoes I thought that I would make my own oven died tomato vinaigrette. I have been eating a lot of Greek style salads lately so I though I would try the oven died tomato vinaigrette on a Greek Salad. It made for a pretty nice light lunch.

Tomato and Shiitake Miso Soup

Tomato and Shiitake Miso Soup

On the weekend they still had local vine ripened roma tomatoes at the farmers market. I wanted to work the tomatoes into a miso soup for my workday breakfasts . After searching the web I ended up with a simple and yet tasty soup. The tomato miso soup was a bit sour (as cooked tomatoes can be) but it really showed off the fresh tomato flavour.

Now I just need to figure out how to work corn into my miso soup for next week...

Blackberry Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette

Blackberry Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette

Raspberry vinaigrette is one of my favorite salad dressings. When I came across this post with a home made blackberry vinaigrette I bookmarked it to try later. I remembered this salad when I saw the blackberries at the farmers market on the weekend. I just used the salad greens that I had on hand and some prosciutto and goats cheese that were in the fridge. This made for a tasty and summery salad. I really enjoyed the blackberry vinaigrette.

In general I have liked making my own salad dressing this summer. They are fresh and I know exactly what is in them. I can make them exactly as I like modifying them each time until they are just right. One of the biggest benefits is that I can make the dressing in individual servings. This way I can make a different dressing the next day and not have to finish an entire bottle before moving on to a new dressing.

Tamales with Shredded Chicken and Corn Filling

Tamales with Shredded Chicken and Corn Filling

I first learned about tamales a few months ago. Tamales are steamed corn dough that is often filled with meat or other things. The tamales are usually wrapped in corn husks when they are steamed. When I came across the tamales corn was not in season so I bookmarked the page to come back to later. Now that corn is in season I got a chance to try them.

I decided to go with a shredded chicken filling and I though that I would add the corn from the cobs. So I used the corns husks in addition to their the kernels and I used a corn flour for the dough. The corn kernels added a nice sweetness to the heat of the shredded chicken. Of course one of my favorite herbs, cilantro was also in the shredded chicken mix. The tamales turned out pretty good. I topped them with some salsa. You could also have them with sour cream, cheese, etc.

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart

Last week the Daring Bakers posted about this months baking challenge, the "Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart". The tarts look really good and they sounded like they were fun, if challenging to make. I have only recently really got into cooking and I have not done much baking. What baking I have been doing has only had a success ratio of about 50%. Since my baking experience and skills are not the best I have been reluctant to join in the Daring Bakers challenge. But this months challenge looked so good that I wanted to try making it.

Maccheroni Calabrese alla Oven Dried Tomato Pesto

Maccheroni Calabrese alla Oven Dried Tomato Pesto

Sun dried tomato pesto is one of my favorite pesto's. Having just oven dried my own tomatoes I had to try making the pesto with them. I used the same recipe that I always do replacing the sun dried tomatoes with the oven dried tomatoes. The pesto turned out pretty good. The oven dried tomatoes gave the pesto a really nice concentrated tomato flavour.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes (Homemade Sundried Tomatoes)

Oven Dried Tomatoes

A while ago I was watching Chef at Home the food network and Micheal showed us how to oven roast tomatoes . Given that I really like sun dried I really wanted to try drying my own tomatoes. I searched the web and found a great article on how to slow roast tomatoes here . There was one problem though... tomatoes were not in season. I bookmarked the article and waited impatiently. Tomatoes are now in season I tried my hand at oven drying tomatoes.

It takes about 8 hours to oven roast the tomatoes. Your place is bound to get really hot with the oven being on for 8 hours in the middle of summer so having an air conditioner is really nice. It may take a while to roast the tomatoes but it does not require much effort. You pretty much do not need to do anything for the first 6 hours. At the 6 hour mark you will want to take a look at them. Some of the smaller ones may be done and can be taken out. You will want to take a look at them every once in a while from this point on.

The oven roasted tomatoes turned out pretty good. For some reason they look really dark in all of the photos that I took. They are really tasty. All of the tomato flavour is concentrated into the dried tomato. I ate quite a few of them as they were but I saved enough to use in a few recipes. Oven dried tomatoes can used in a fashion similar to sun dried tomatoes.

Strawberries with Mascarpone and Honey

Strawberries with Mascarpone and Honey

I normally spend all of Saturday morning running around doing errands. I go the the farmers market, then to the grocery store, then to whatever else needs to be done. I tend to walk when doing all of these errands. It is good exercise but by the time I am done I usually just feel like sitting down and relaxing for a while. Which is the perfect time to enjoy some of the bounty that I got from the market. I picked up some strawberries at the market this morning. They are late season strawberries and they are not nearly as sweet as the in season ones so they need a bit of help. I had some mascarpone cheese in the fridge which is an excellent replacement for whipped cream. Just mix some sweetener like honey or maple syrup or sugar into the mascarpone and place it on top of some fruit and you had a tasty treat. And it take a lot less effort to mix up the mascarpone than it does to hand whip whipped cream with a fork.