Mediterranean Burgers

Here I go again, adding hummus to everything. #can’tstopwon’tstop

MediterraneanBugersFirst, it was my infamous Garden Vegetable Hummus Pizza. By infamous, I mean it wasn’t even a blip on the food blogosphere’s radar, but that’s neither here nor there. It rocked my world and that’s really all that matters.

Hummus is a staple in my house and when I got bored of burgers – yes, even the Best Ever Turkey Burgers can get tired – I decided to let two worlds collide. Move over ketchup and mustard, here comes hummus!

The result? A breakthrough in burger-making.

Okay, okay. This wasn’t really a result of a kitchen stroke of genius. If I’m going to be honest here with myself and my readers, I must tell you what really happened was that I had some hummus on hand that was in a use or lose situation.

As serendipity would have it, Mediterranean Burgers were born.

Meat

On the left in the picture above, you’ll see my standard burger mixture. We’ve got a pound or so of lean ground beef, a couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoon of hamburger seasoning. I buy the McCormick brand, but if you don’t see it in your local supermarket or you don’t feel like stocking your spice cabinet, don’t sweat it! Just throw in some salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder and your burgers will be just fine.

Mix all that business up and you’ll be well on your way. If you have any picky eaters joining you, this is the point where you’ll wanna pull enough meat to make a patty or two.

Why? Well, we’re about to get freaky deaky with some Greek(y) ingredients.

Crumbled feta cheese and dried oregano get added on in for Mediterranean flavor that runs right through your burger. It doesn’t get much better than this, folks.

Burgers

If Mother Nature wasn’t so mean, I’d be sending Eric outside to grill these suckers up, but right now the griddle’s the way to go. Now that I’m thinking about it – good weather or otherwise – I’m a griddle girl.

Call me crazy, but there’s something about the combo of cast iron and the flat cooking surface that creates burger bliss.

Sear some up and see for yourself!

AnatomyofaMediterraneanBurgerBy now, your burgers are grilled up and I bet you’re hungry. I get it. Take a sec though to top these things off right before shoving your burger between a bun and stuffing your face.

How? How about thick slices of tomato, tangy pepperoncini and – of course – a good schmear of hummus.

You got that?

Top, then stuff. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Only not with the lathering and rinsing…with the topping and stuffing.

Duh.

Mediterranean Burgers

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes

Ingredients:
1-1 1/4 pound ground beef (I use a 93/7% blend)
a couple splashes Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hamburger seasoning
4 ounces feta (domestic or imported), crumbled
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup hummus (prepared or homemade – in my humble opinion, my Heavenly Hummus can’t be beat)
pepperoncini, mild or hot
4 whole wheat burger buns

Directions:
Butter and toast up your buns, if that’s how you roll (get it?!). Set aside until you’re ready to assemble your burgers.

Mix first five ingredients in a medium bowl only until combined and then form four equal-sized patties. I always make an indentation in each patty’s center because I read somewhere that it helps them not bulk up in the middle when cooking. I believe this is a theory of the great grill master himself, Bobby Flay.

Griddle (or grill) on medium/medium high for four minutes per side. If you like your burger a bit more on the pink side, cook a little less. Like ’em well done? Leave ’em on a little longer.

Grab those buns (get your minds out of the gutter) and top ’em with your burgers, a couple thick slices of tomato, some pepperoncini and a couple tablespoons of hummus.

Eat, enjoy and then immediately thank me for this recipe.

BurgahBiteMake a better burger…and when you do, be sure to take a ladylike bite…like so. Super classy.

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Quick Pickled Onions

Would you believe me if I told you these onions aren’t even the slightest bit oniony?

QuickPickledOnions

Just like oniony isn’t a word in the English language and it isn’t spring even though it’s March. I don’t know where all you invisible internet friends are, but up by me in Boston? The air actually offends me.

I’m so cold I don’t care that each time I take Iggy for a walk, my attire gets increasingly crazier.

The fact that he’ll still be seen with me shows just how much that pup loves me. That, or it shows just how much he likes going outside despite how the woman on the other end of the leash looks. Whatevs.

Jar

I’m gonna give you a glimpse. I’m talkin’ Gap hoodie. The same sweatshirt I’ve been rocking since 10th grade. Plus, a long, but not particularly warm puffy coat up with faux fur lined hood up on top of that.

Oh – it’s important to note – I have both hoods – up.

And just when you think another layer would be overkill, I throw my husband’s tan canvas Carhartt jacket over everything. There’s a hood on this thing as well, so of course – it’s up.

For those of you counting – that’s three hoods. All up.

Scarf, gloves, dog treats, and ugly boots with my pajama pants partially tucked in completes this awful ensemble.

All I need is Iggy all leashed up and I’m good to go embarrass us both as I parade around our neighborhood scaring children and stuff.

SugarSalt

If I could compare myself to any one food to give you a mental image of just how awesome I look, a russet potato comes to mind as the perfect culinary doppelganger.

All those layers add up quick when you’re 5’2″. Short people problems.

Quick Pickled Onions

process slightly adapted from Bon Appétit

Servings: 7
Prep Time: 5 minutes (active), 1 hour (inactive)
Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Directions:
Put first three ingredients in a jar or container with lid. Twist lid on tightly and shake so that sugar and salt start to dissolve.
Add your onion to the jar and once again lid it up. Shake vigorously so that the vinegar mixture coats each piece of onion.
Let jar sit at room temp for an hour, giving it a shake here and there. Then, chill until you’re ready to use. If using all at once, drain first – or, if using as needed, pull onions out with fork and leave the rest in the brine.
Will keep in refrigerator for a couple weeks.

BeforeAfterHour

At least I cook better than I look.

These onions make a meal. No, not in and of themselves, but in the sense that they add oomph to any and everything.

Tacos? Want ’em! Sandwiches? Need ’em! Salads? Gotta have ’em!

Basically, they’re bright and zippy from the vinegar, salt and sugar brine they sit in. Plus, they’re the prettiest purple in color which obviously equals bonus points. Oh – and they’re suuuuuper crunchy.

It’s like instant texture in onion form. Only it’s important I remind you – not oniony in flavor.

Make these onions so what I’m saying will make sense 😉

Handmade Pesto Pasta

I’m calling this pasta handmade instead of homemade for a couple of reasons, which I’ll spell out for ya.PestoPasta1. The last recipe I posted for corn bagels had “homemade” right in the title. I feel like it’d be a bit boring to use the same word here even though it would technically apply.

2. Since this from-scratch pasta doesn’t any fancy-schmancy kitchen tools or tough-to-do techniques, all we truly need are our two hands. Sure, a rolling pin and pizza cutter could come in handy, but if the craving for pasta is so strong and you find yourself without these two items, go ahead and MacGyver it.

Did anyone else have the hots for Richard Dean Anderson or was it just me and my oldest sister?

Just us? Okay. Good thing I no longer own those shoes I scribbled I ❤ Richard Dean Anderson on.

IngredientsLet’s put the past behind us and look ahead – to pasta! I’m going to level with you guys right now and let you know I’m not really a pasta person.

I’ve actually been known to say that I’d happily go without pasta for the rest of my life.

If I listen closely enough, I can actually hear you gasping. At the risk of sounding like those stupid posters you see everywhere online – and no where in real life – keep calm and continue reading.

I’ve officially changed my stance on pasta now that I’ve had handmade.

DoughNot to knock store bought pasta, but this stuff’s got it beat. Big time.

In fact, I’m not even sure it falls in the same category. The texture is unlike anything I’ve ever boiled up from a box. Fresh and fluffy is how it was described on the website where I found this recipe – and it was indeed both fresh and fluffy.

Dana – the major babe behind Minimalist Baker – delivered.

CutPasta

Coolest thing about this recipe? It’s completely customizable. No pesto in your pantry? You could use pureed pumpkin, or for plain pasta – add in an extra egg and another yolk instead.

Easy peasy pasta.

Um, I just typed “panty” instead of “pantry” up there. Here’s to proofreading and picking up what even spell check won’t catch before I published this post.

BoilCrisis averted and sticking to the theme of customize-ability, toppings and sauce are entirely up to you, too. Marinara, more pesto or even alfredo – the options are endless.

Wanna know what’s not endless? This recipe’s ridiculously quick cooking time.

All it takes is a minute or two and you’ve got yourself a meal.

SteamyPastaI’m not talking about the “minute or two” I tell Eric I need to get ready that in reality translates to fifteen or twenty.

The time frame we’re working within here is a minute minimum to two minute maximum. #miracle

SpinachWith all the possible combos one could come up with, I bet you’re wondering how I rounded out my plate full of pasta. At least, I hope you are because I’m about to tell you about it.

As soon as it went into the strainer, I tossed some spinach in the hot pot where the pasta once was.

Brie tested, Popeye approved.

Lemons

Then, I got a little crazy with some sweet lemon butter sauce. Crazy in the same sense that going to Bed, Bath and Beyond constitutes a big day, but come on. It’s me we’re talking about here.

I may be boring, but I’ll give you bonus points if you name the movie I so subtly referenced right there.

Handmade Pesto Pasta

slightly adapted from Minimalist Baker
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes (active), 30 minutes (inactive)
Cook Time: 1-2 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg + 2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons prepared pesto
1/4 cup water

Directions:
Add flour and salt to a food processor and pulse. Then add in two egg yolks and 1 whole egg, and the pumpkin puree. Pulse until well combined. Then drizzle in water until a dough forms.
Transfer to a very lightly floured surface, sprinkle top with a little flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 30 minutes to rest.

While it’s resting, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously.

Roll dough out into a loose rectangle, sprinkling on only as much flour as it takes to keep it from sticking. More flour = a less flavorful, tender pasta. Also, the pasta will want to stick to the rolling pin – simply use one hand to hold it down while you use the other to roll.

Once the dough is nearly paper thin, cut it into any shape you want. You can even leave it in a solid sheet if you’d like. I used a pizza cutter to cut mine into fettuccini-sized strips.

Cover with plastic wrap until ready to cook. Add pasta to boiling water and stir just to make sure they don’t stick together. It should only take 1-2 minutes to cook.

Drain and transfer either back to your pot or directly to serving plate. Top with more pesto and parmesan cheese, toss with your favorite tomato sauce, or try this sweet lemon butter sauce.

Mangia

So, yeah. I’ve ended my embargo against pasta.

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