Saturday, July 25, 2015

Jalapeno Cheese Burgers

Several years ago, my husband and I discovered this local restaurant in the downtown area of Winston Salem. Just like the first time I go anywhere to eat, the menu was a little overwhelming, not because there was a huge selection, but because I always wonder what is really good. After going to the restaurant several times, I finally worked up the courage to try something that I had never eaten before in my life --- ostrich! To say I was a little hesitant would be an understatement, however, I was ready to take it on and it was highly rated by the service crew. Additionally, the ostrich was from a local farm using spent grain from the brewery. Since I am very fond of supporting local and eating what is grown around you, that made it even more appealing.
When I got this burger, I was immediately in love. It was amazing! However, like most things on menus that I come to love, after a year or so, it was discontinued because the supply could not keep up with the demand. So what was I going to do???? I decided to take the flavors of the ostrich burger and add them to a standard beef patty. The results were great. I even made slider versions of this recipe last year for a tailgate, topped them with pepper jack cheese, and served them on Hawaiian style rolls and the crew went crazy!!! The recipe is very versatile. Feel free to play with the protein used, i.e. ground turkey or chicken, and even the heat level, seeds in or out of the jalapeno.
1 Pound 80/20 Ground Chuck
1 Jalapeno, Seeded and Minced
1 Tablespoon Onion, Minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Cheese
Hamburger Buns
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, making sure to work until incorporated but not overworking the meat.
2. Portion the meat into 4 equal size patties, slightly bigger than the buns you plan to serve on. As the patties are formed, create a well in the middle by pushing your thumb down. By doing this, the burgers will retain their shape better and are less likely to bulge in the middle.
3. Grill over medium heat until desired doneness, flipping only once. A good rule of thumb is to watch for the juices to puddle in the well created in the middle and the meat to be cooked at least half the way up the side of the burger.
4. Top with your choice of cheese.
5. Serve on a toasted bun with desired toppings.

****Note: I would normally not seed the jalapeno, however, while pregnant, sometimes the spice can cause discomfort. The unseeded jalapeno provides a nice punch of spice. However, even the seeded jalapeno gives the burger wonderful flavor!****

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Banana Zucchini Bread with Raisins and Cinnamon Sugar Swirl

It is that time of year again when I am working to develop new and interesting ways to use up all of the vegetables coming from the garden. Last year, I posted "The Best Zucchini Bread" recipe; this is still a great recipe but this one is even better! Since entering my last trimester of pregnancy, I am craving cinnamon raisin bread. This recipe was created to help merge the two flavors while also adding in some nutrients from bananas, as I always seems to have 2 or 3 that get left over and become a little too ripe. This bread is so fragrant, moist, and delicious! If I had some walnuts in the freezer, I might even finely chop some and incorporate them into the swirl for even more texture. This bread is perfect for breakfast, afternoon snack, or even dessert. I hope you will give this recipe a try.
2 very ripe Bananas, mashed
1 cup Zucchini, grated
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 Egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup Raisins
FOR CINNAMON SUGAR SWIRL
2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Preheat Oven Temperature: 350 degrees
1. In a large bowl, combine bananas and zucchini.
2. Add the oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
3. Add the sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon to the banana mixture. Stir to combine.
4. Add 1 1/2 cups flour to the mixture and stir until just combined.
5. Toss the raisins in the remaining flour. Once coated, add to the batter and stir to incorporate.
6. In a separate bowl, combine the light brown sugar and cinnamon for the swirl.
7. Pour half of the batter into a loaf pan that has been greased and floured.
8. Top with half of the swirl mixture. Starting from one end of the pan and working down the length, use a butter knife to create folds in the batter, creating the swirl of cinnamon sugar. Do not overwork! You want the swirl and batter to still be separate from each other. Trying to swirl too much will incorporate the two.
9. Top with the remaining batter and swirl mixture. Repeat the swirling technique.
10. Place in a 350 degree preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove bread from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack.