Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pesto Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese

Perfect Pairing:  Store bought pesto

Last year I talked about my garden woes.  This year was not exactly better, different maybe.  I continued to be my overly optimistic self and planted window boxes and herbs.  I bought most of the goods at Gethsemane Nursery again.  That place is incredible. 


I tried some new things in the window box this year.  The shade loving ferns and the mini hosta worked well.  Er, maybe not WELL.  They ended up being a little confused with one side growing twice as fast as the other side, and doing the complete opposite thing from the other window box.  Whatever, there was green stuff growing so I had to be ok with that.  

I tried impatiens AGAIN and they all died AGAIN.  I actually replanted them twice.  One batch died within two days.  That was a new record.  Then I found out that there is a rampant impatiens disease in Chicago.  I am not even kidding, google it. 

I came up with a new method for my herbs.  Instead of having them on my front patio (where there was very little sun) I moved them to the other side of my garage after getting the OK from my nice neighbor to use his plot of land.  Everything was going along swimmingly until I came home one day and found one of the pots missing and part of my basil dug up from the other pot.  I fumed on Facebook for a moment, and then went about my day.  Long story short, another neighbor thought they were being thrown out and rescued them.  Um, that probably does not say much about the state of my herbs, huh?  I got them back and continued giving them TLC.  They still died.  I am going to get a complex over this.

I think I made about two dishes from my herbs before they all went kaput.  These turkey burgers did not make the cut.  There was no chance I was getting an entire batch of pesto out of my sad basil plant…. Not from the first or the second planting (no one can say I didn’t give it a valiant effort).  Store bought pesto was perfect in this recipe.  I mixed some in with the ground turkey and added a dollop on top instead of the traditional condiments.  Add a healthy dose of goat cheese and you have a pretty fantastic burger. 


One year ago on Perfecting the Pairing - Strawberry Pie

Two years ago on Perfecting the Pairing - Chicken Yakitori

Click "Read more" for the recipe....

Monday, September 23, 2013

Un-Recipe Files - Grilled Barbecue Salmon with Mango Salsa


Grilled Barbecue Salmon with Mango Salsa is an easy and delicious weeknight dinner.  In fact, it is so easy, there is no recipe.  
Simply grill a salmon fillet and baste with your favorite barbecue sauce.  If you feel like making it extra special you can make your own sauce.  I wrote about my favorite homemade BBQ sauce in this post.  That stuff is delicious, but store bought is great in a pinch.


Top the salmon with fresh mango salsa.  A lot of grocery stores have mango salsa available in the pre-made section or on the salad bar.  If you do not have that available you can whip it up with just a few ingredients.  I made mine with fresh mango, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice.  Unfortunately, the mango I had was not overly sweet so I added a little honey to the salsa which worked well.  This is a great go-to, healthy recipe with some easy shortcuts!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Chorizo and Potato Frittata

Perfect Pairing:  Sriracha

This recipe came to be because of a cooking accident.  Fortunately it turned into a very good thing!

I have a really good deal going when I visit my parents.  Before I head home I will send my mom some menu ideas along with a grocery list.  Usually by the time I get there everything is purchased and put away.  How fabulous is that??  My mom thinks it is a pretty good deal too because I do most of the cooking.  Everyone wins.

Recently I asked my mom to buy chorizo for an appetizer I wanted to try.  I guess I didn’t think to tell her to get Spanish chorizo instead of Mexican.  Once we realized this we were about 20 miles from the closest grocery store.  How different could they really be?  Well, it turns out they are very different.  My goal was to slice the chorizo and grill it, but you cannot do that with Mexican chorizo.  It is more of the crumbly bulk sausage variety. 

So now I had some cooked chorizo that needed to be used.   We didn’t have much else in the house, but did have eggs and potatoes.  A frittata!  There is a chance that this is actually more like a Spanish Tortilla, but honestly I don’t understand the difference, so I am calling it a frittata.  I am including this picture against my better judgment.  I know it is so far from being pretty, but it is nice to get an idea of what the entire recipe looks like.  Right?

We all loved this.  It was super hearty and great as a main course for dinner.  I used Manchego cheese but you could use whatever favorite cheese you have on hand.  The chorizo has a kick, but this dish is great topped with a little (or a lot of) sriracha sauce.  I love that stuff.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

7-Up Biscuits

Perfect Pairing:  Coconut Jam
Baking recipes kind of fascinate me.  There is so much science involved that I rarely feel like I can play around with baked goods, so I am always impressed when people come up with creative baking recipes.  Who thought of using 7-Up in homemade biscuits?  One time I sautéed green beans with a little Crystal Light Lemonade.  It was not awesome.  I had a lot to learn.  Fortunately, 7-Up as an ingredient in biscuits is amazing! 

These biscuits were light, fluffy, and buttery.  We had them as part of a family dinner but I think they would be great for breakfast as well.  I used a pastry cutter/blender to cut the sour cream into the Bisquick, which worked really well.  I wrote about pastry cutters on this Scottish Oatcake recipe.  If you don’t have a pastry cutter you could use two knives to work everything together.

We topped our biscuits with coconut jam.  It is as good as it sounds.  I spotted this jam at a deli/grocery store in Healdsburg, California called Oakville Grocery.  Healdsburg is a ridiculously adorable town in Sonoma County filled with charming restaurants and shops.  Oakville Grovery is one of my favorite spots when touring wine country.  It is the perfect place to pick up lunch to enjoy at a winery.  Our favorite winery is De Lorimier in Geyserville.  It is exactly what you want from a wine tasting experience.  It is relatively small and has a really friendly staff, and most importantly, great wines. 

On a recent trip we planned on stopping at our old favorite, De Lorimier, for a quick tasting and lunch and then we would move on to another winery.  Well, we ended up spending the day there.  It was perfection.  It was my dad’s birthday and he said it was the best one yet.
gpa and lilla-001

mom and kelly-001

I’m ready for another trip to wine country.  It just never gets old sipping good wine among loved ones with beautiful scenery to enjoy.
Back to the coconut jam…. It is so good on toast, ice cream, or 7-Up biscuits.  You can order it here.  In fact, ordering through the website turns out to be a fraction of the price compared to buying it at Oakville Grocery.  Oh well!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Traditional Potato Salad

Perfect Pairing:  Small paring knife

September?  Really?  Already?  I know it is so cliché , and everyone says it, but wow, summer just went way too fast.  I had such a wonderful summer with friends and family.  I definitely made the most of it, which was my goal.  At least we still have some warm weather to enjoy.  Before I start posting pumpkin recipes I have at least one more summer-y dish for you.

Traditional potato salad and apple pie have something in common for me.  My family has been making both of these things for years using handed down family recipes.  They are both so amazing that I have very little desire to try either of these things from restaurants.  They never compare.

A long time ago I wrote about another recipe that I called, “Not Your Standard Potato Salad”.  I even wrote in that post about my mom’s recipe. 


Anyway, that one contained bacon, cheese, and all kinds of seasoning, so it can’t really be compared to the good old fashioned traditional potato salad that mom makes.  Don’t get me wrong… it is really good, just different.  Everyone in my family loves mom’s traditional recipe, which is good because it makes a big batch.  Nothing like a big bowl of tater salad!  The dressing is made from scratch and is pretty simple. 

After cooking the red potatoes they need to be peeled, which can be kind of annoying.  We have found the best way to do this is with a small paring knife.  That is what we like to call a moron job.

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