Posts Tagged garlic
Just about everybody knows how to make a hamburger, or at least has a general idea of what goes into it. This is a simple mixture that will make your burgers very garlicky – not for the faint of heart! Once you have the ingredients combined and have allowed them to rest in the fridge for an hour or so, form them into patties and cook them as you like.
- 1.5 full bulbs of garlic
- 1 tbsp ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp coarse salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
Peel and finely mince or puree the garlic. Blend the garlic, salt, pepper, and oil together, then combine thoroughly with the meat. Pack it tightly into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then place it in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld.
I like to use a kitchen scale to weigh each patty – typically I make my burger patties either 1/4 lb. or 1/3 lb. Form the patties with your hands, pressing firmly to keep them from breaking apart on the grill. Make the patty slightly larger around than the bun it will go on – there will be some shrinkage during cooking.
Cook until the center of the patty reaches 160°, as read on a probe thermometer.
You won’t have any vampires at your picnic if you serve these burgers, I can safely say.
I’ve only recently started to explore making my own dips for chips and crackers – normally I’ll just pick up a jar of salsa or the like, and the only prep is dumping it in a bowl. Lately I’ve realized that there are lots of tasty things you can make yourself that will go on a chip or a cracker just as well as the stuff in the jar, and they’re kind of fun to make.
So far I’ve shown you guys how to make a cucumber cream cheese dip that’s awesome with tortilla chips or hunks of really good bread; this recipe is for a thicker dip (I would almost call it more of a spread) that lends itself really well to a table water cracker. It’s sort of in the same vein as a hummus. Hummus is made from chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), olive oil, and tahini (sesame seed paste). It also usually contains lemon juice and garlic, and you’ll see a ton of other fun stuff added to it. This dip is kind of a cousin to that dish.
It started out in my head as a white bean dip. There’s a fantastic restaurant in DC called Lincoln that does these awesome seasonal jars, and one of the ones I liked best there was a cream-colored white bean spread. Alas, I no longer work on the same block as Lincoln, and I had a bit of a hankering.
The addition of paprika transformed the final product into something that almost looked like canned pumpkin. I love paprika in just about any possible application – it gives a little heat without being overwhelming, and it’s sweeter than cayenne or chili powder. It does have a very pronounced red color, though. (You can see what just a little in a barbecue rub does to a slab of pork ribs here.)
Here’s what went into the food processor:
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 2 15.5 oz cans of cannellini beans, well rinsed and drained
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- Salt to taste (2 tsp for mine)
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
Puree the garlic first, pulsing until it’s fairly fine. Next, add the beans. You will almost certainly need to scrape the sides a few times while pureeing the beans. Now, add in the spices and half the olive oil.
Puree until smooth, then slowly drizzle in the other half of the oil while pulsing. You may decide you want more or less oil based on the texture. Be aware that olive oil brings its own flavor to the party, and depending on the quality/type of olive oil you use it may have a pronounced olive flavor. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s something to be aware of – I used extra virgin, which is the most potent, and you could definitely taste the oil in the final product.
Scrape down the sides to make sure it’s all blended and then transfer into a bowl for dipping or spreading. We had it with chips the first night and table water crackers the second (yet again, this is a recipe that was awesome the next day), and I imagine it would be really tasty with cut veggies – wedges of raw zucchini and summer squash, carrots, cucumber, etc.
Just what it says – lamb hamburgers.
My fellas aren’t super picky eaters, but they are particular about certain things. Lamb is a meat that they wouldn’t outright complain about, but it was obvious to me it wasn’t a favorite either. I understood completely; it took me years to get a taste for the flavor of lamb, and even I will turn my nose up when faced with a particularly gamy lamb dish. Lamb has what I would describe as a slightly acrid, even metallic flavor, and depending on the cut and the preparation it can be pretty sharp tasting. Lamb is a favorite in many cultures, though, and I knew I could make it work for my boys.
These lamburgers (I know, I’m so clever) are generously flavored with garlic and herbs, served on delicious kimmelweck rolls, and dressed with my favorite goat cheese spread. You’re not masking the flavor of the lamb, but complementing it.
(The fries were Wegmans brand, bought frozen and heated up in the oven. Nothing fancy.)
Here’s your shopping list:
- Approx. 1/3 lb ground lamb per person
- 1/2 medium bulb of garlic (for 3 burgers, scale up as necessary)
- Fresh herbs: rosemary, parsley, oregano, and mint.
- Cracked black pepper (about 1 tsp went into mine)
- Coarse salt
- Approx. 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 oz chèvre (soft goat cheese)
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns (I used kimmelweck rolls, which have coarse salt and caraway seeds on them)
I gathered most of the herbs from my garden (I had to buy the mint – my mint plants are still dormant) and I didn’t measure the amounts, so here’s a pre-cut picture to show you the relative quantities:
Remove any stems from the mint and strip the rosemary off the twig. Mince everything. If you would like everything to blend completely into the meat, I recommend pulsing them in the food processor until you get a paste. I wanted big noticeable pieces of garlic and herbs, so I cut mine by hand and wasn’t too particular about size.
Mix the garlic, herbs, and black pepper into the meat thoroughly. I used my hands – I’ve tried numerous tools for this, and gloved hands simply work best.
Divide the meat into however many 1/3-lb sections you need. I used my kitchen scale for precision, but if you want to eyeball roughly equal chunks, I won’t tell. Form a patty slightly larger than the circumference of your bun (the burgers shrink a bit during cooking).
Here’s what the patties looked like:
See how big the garlic and herbs are?
Sprinkle both sides of each patty with a pinch of coarse salt.
Pour the olive oil into a cold pan and place the patties in. I recommend flipping them over before you even start cooking, to make sure both sides get oil. Lamb is extremely lean, and the olive oil will help keep it from drying out (and sticking to the pan). It also helps encourage surface browning (which = flavor!). Plus I just think the flavor of olive oil works well with the other flavors you have here.
Set your burner to medium-high heat and let it go until it’s pretty darn hot (so scientific, I know…) and the first side of the burger has browned nicely. Then, flip your burgers. If possible, flip the burgers onto a different part of the pan from where they were before – the metal where the patty was sitting is cooler than the metal around it. Physics!
Let the burgers go at this temperature for 1 min and then turn the heat down to med-low.
I’ve seen lots of methods for burgers cooked in a pan, but this one has always worked best for me. It results in a nice sear on both sides of the burger, and the patties get cooked completely through without drying out.
While your burgers are cooking, you’ve got time to make your goat cheese spread. It’s really easy to make, and really well worth it. I used a middle grade of balsamic vinegar – don’t spend a lot of money on the really fancy stuff, which is honestly best just drizzled over stuff, or, well, sipped straight from the bottle, because it’s amazing…but I also wouldn’t recommend the really cheap stuff either. It’s just too acidic, and the chèvre has enough sharpness already. If you can’t get a sweeter balsamic, I might suggest adding a little dollop of honey or a little bit of sugar to balance the spread out.
To make the cheese spread, I simply crumble the goat cheese in a bowl and drizzle the vinegar over it, and then stir it vigorously until it’s all mixed up. It starts out a little stiff, but eventually it will end up with a smooth consistency that’s easy to stir (and spread on stuff!).
It’s also not particularly photogenic.
I don’t know why it looks so pink and weird here, it’s definitely a very soft beige in real life.
Spread a thin layer on the inside of your buns, top and bottom. Lift your patties up with a slotted spatula and let the excess oil drip off for a moment, then place them on your bun. That’s all that went on these burgers – I would almost say you shouldn’t add lettuce or tomato or anything, I feel like it would just interfere.
I served these with the seasoned curly fries pictured above and a mixed greens salad.
Oh, and my non-lamb-loving fellas? Loved it.
Tonight I brought home a cornish hen for each of us.
Cornish hens are just small chickens, typically under 2 lbs. They’re just right for an individual, but they do require some effort to eat.
For this dish, I used:
- 1 lemon per hen
- 2 cloves garlic per hen
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat your oven to 425.
I started by quartering and juicing the lemons. This is not a hardcore juice-wringing operation – you want the quarters to retain some of their juice.
I wound up with about 1/4 cup of juice, so I added a roughly equal amount of olive oil. You’ll use it a little later.
Unwrap your hens, drain off the excess liquid, and pat each one dry inside and out. If there are any parts in bags, pull them out.
Shove the garlic cloves and lemon quarters inside the body cavity. It can be a little bit of a challenge to fit four lemon slices and two garlic cloves into such a small bird, so if you have to leave a piece of lemon out, that’s fine.
You can see the lemon poking out.
Stir or whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together. Rub the mixture into the skin of your birds and dump any excess inside the cavities. This helps the skin crisp up and brown. If you like very crisp skin, use more olive oil and less lemon juice.
Toss the birds in the oven and turn the temperature down to 375.
While the birds were cooking, I prepped a side dish of potatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms. I didn’t cut up the potatoes, since they were small, but I should have – I wound up having to microwave them for a couple of minutes after everything came out because they were still somewhat firm. I did dice up the mushrooms and zucchini. These got tossed with a little olive oil and finely cut fresh rosemary, and sprinkled with sea salt.
My chickens were done at the 45 minute mark, and while the potatoes needed a quick stint in the microwave to soften them up, everything was still ready to eat at the same time.
My husband took a picture of a finished plate for me:
If you watch cooking shows, they always have big, beautiful bunches of fresh herbs to work with. You and I both know that’s not always how it is in our own kitchens – even if you have an herb garden, maybe you got home after dark and don’t want to go out with a flashlight, or it’s been too dry or too cold for it to produce. If you don’t grow your own herbs, you have to buy them, and this can get expensive. Plus, fresh cut herbs don’t keep all that well, so ideally you should buy them the day you’ll use them, and it’s just not convenient to hit the store every day. Dried herbs work fine, but you do lose out on flavor.
One nifty little product can help you cheat and get fresh herb flavor in your cooking: herb butter. Herb butter is available commercially (Kerrygold makes a delicious one), or you can make it at home.
I do grow my own herbs, and I find that sometimes they produce far more than I can use. At other times, especially if it hasn’t rained in a while, there aren’t enough leaves (or they’re dry and crunchy) to make a meal. I balance this out by gathering large quantities when they’re available and preserving them in a variety of ways so that I can use them when the pickings are slim.
Last Sunday, I gathered a big pile of basil, rosemary, sage, lemon thyme, and oregano and turned it into herb butter.
It doesn’t look like much, and believe me, this was the best picture we could get. It’s kind of a queasy green color.
I didn’t measure any of my quantities, and I feel like this is something you should make to your own taste. I had a double handful of basil leaves, three 6″ sprigs of rosemary, twenty sage leaves, a handful of thyme, and a handful of oregano. That’s as exact as it gets, I’m afraid.
Before I went out to pick the herbs, I took out two sticks of unsalted butter and a whole bulb of fresh garlic. The butter needs to get close to room temperature. If you’re in a hurry, you can melt the butter in the microwave, drop the herbs into it, and put it back in the fridge to harden back up, but I find this makes it kind of weird. Not a bad option if you’re planning on using it that day, though.
I sliced the ends off the garlic and smashed it flat with my knife to remove the paper. The entire bulb went into my food processor, which I pulsed until the garlic was little more than paste. After removing all the stems from my other herbs, I added them one at a time, pulsing after each addition. I like my herb butter very smooth, so I run the food processor until the herbs are basically a slurry.
Finally, I added in the butter, which had reached room temperature and was soft. Blending the butter and herbs requires multiple rounds of pulsing and scraping the sides with a spatula. It’s okay to have a few little lumps of unblended butter – I won’t tell.
I divided the result into two small tubs, labeled them, and stuck one in the fridge and one in the freezer. The one in the freezer will keep pretty much indefinitely. I have no idea how long the other one will last – I always use it up before it becomes an issue. But I imagine it will keep for a good long time in a sealed container.
Herb butter is extremely versatile stuff. Just scoop out what you need and get going! I’ve used it as a base for sauces and to saute vegetables. A dollop on the top of a really good steak is fabulous. Smear a little on the outside of a chicken and in the cavity before roasting to get a crisp brown skin, great flavor, and an aroma that will bring everyone in the house running. I imagine it would be good melted on popcorn.
One of the nice things about this mixture is that it contains no salt. I really dislike buying herb blends that contain salt – I prefer to salt things myself.
You can make this with any blend of herbs you like, even if they’re storebought. I don’t recommend buying pre-pureed herbs (the kind in tubes) because they contain a bunch of other crap – sweeteners, preservatives, etc. I’m not one of those people that thinks preservatives are killing our children or anything, but I think you should always err on the side of fewer ingredients you can’t pronounce.