Lamb Burger Sliders with Beetroot Relish and Tzadziki

The burger – be it White Castle or Farmer’s Market Veggie-Grain – could be the most telling testimonial, the most apt memoir of the 20th and early 21st century American palate.  Little sis “Slider” drills into this hypothesis.

The Slider, especially, is suited to our national temperament and accommodates our multitasking lifestyle. It’s easily held in one hand while the other hand performs a variety of tasks. Be it holding a brew, tapping a screen, or guiding your steering wheel through traffic, The Slider understands the American temperment.

Rachel Ray, our own Slider Queen Miss USA, and her battalion of food marketing gurus must agree. About this time every year, and then again in Superbowl season, Sliders pelt us like BB’s. Why not? When properly executed, they’re delish.

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My new obsession are Lamb Sliders – been fine-tuning the following recipe through the summer. For mass appeal, I cut the gaminess of lamb by mixing with a bit of beef. The sweetness of the beetroot relish is the perfect foil for the garlicky, dill creaminess of the yogurt sauce. At first try I was messing up a pan by sautéing the onions and beets. No need. Grated raw beets soaked into the vinegar are a lovely texture.

A word about the bread. Back in the day I turned my nose up to Hawaiian rolls, those pillow-puff sweet buns. I’d choose a crusty artisan bun or roll everytime. But the Hawaiian rolls are quite wonderful as a slider encasement. Save the artisan for everything else. My soon-to be  daughter in law, Lucy Carnaghi, recently opened a diner  – Rose’s Find Foods – with her cousin Molly in Detroit. All of their breads are scratch made, including the  soft, subtly sweet, mashed potato dough bread. I’d like to see them, or some scratch-made similar, available in my local groceries.

Other great  slider recipes, and burgers  that can be adapted to sliders: Sliders with Pimento Cheese, My Favorite Turkey Burger, Bacon-Jam Burger, Black Bean Burgers, Caprese Pesto Burgers, Blue Cheese Burgers.

Note: The Beetroot Relish and Tzadziki may be made several days in advance.

Recipe: Lamb Burger Sliders

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 pound of ground beef (chuck makes the juiciest burger)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 16, 2-inch slider rolls
  • 1 recipe for beetroot relish (see below)
  • 1 recipe for tzadziki (see below)

Instructions

  1. Gently knead the lamb, beef, garlic, mint, cardamom (if using), salt and pepper together. (Cook a small bit of the batch, taste, and adjust seasonings to palate.) Divide and formn Oil grill grates, and heat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Grill the burgers for 3 minutes. Cook for 3-5 minutes longer for medium-rare burgers, or until desired level of doneness. Grill the buns until lightly toasted, if desired.
  2. Spread one side of bun with relish and the other side with relish. (Recipes follow.) Place burgers in buns and serve.

Cooking time: 35 minutes, if tzadziki and relish are made

Number of servings (yield): 16 sliders

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

Recipe: Beetroot Relish

Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium-sized red beets
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Wearing plastic gloves, trim greens* and both ends, peel and grate. (You should have about 2-plus packed cups of grated beets). Remove outer skin of onion. With a box grater, grate beets and onion.
  2. Whisk together oil, vinegar and sugar. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir grated beets and onion into vinaigrette. (May be made several days in advance.)

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

Recipe: Tzadziki

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise, seeded, then cut into small (1/4-inch) dice (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (dill or mint, or combination of both)
  • 1 scant teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup plain, strained, Greek-styled yogurt (I use Fage 2 percent)

Instructions

  1. Place diced cucumbers on paper towels or in a fine mesh sieve; lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Let drain 15-30 minutes, pressing into towels or sieve with spoon to release excess moisture.
  2. To make the tzadziki, combine cucumbers with herbs, garlic and yogurt; season to taste with kosher salt, if needed, and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

 

 

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Black-eyed Pea and Bacon Crostini (plus fresh cherry recipe ideas)

I’ve fallen off the blogging grid. Not from lack of cooking – grilling/entertaining season is at its peak – but from taking the time for studious recipe notation and accompanying photographs. For instance, the Feta-stuffed Lamb Burgers with Tzadziki and Beet Relish I made last week were masterful. But the photograph I dashed off  looked more like a UFO landing than a burger.

Edamame Cups with Wasabi Caviar

Edamame Cups with Wasabi Caviar

I did, however, manage to take a decent  photograph of crostini with a black-eyed pea spread.

Always on the prowl for (reasonably) “healthyish” munchies, I’ve long been a fan of economical bean dips. Edamame dip spreads, stuffed into a cucumber cup or spread over rice crackers, Dal Makhani (Black Lentil Bean Dip) served with chapatis or flatbread, Fava Bean Spreads on bruschetta… (Since writing that blog, I’ve noticed frozen lava beans at Trader Joe’s; not as flavorful as fresh, but  they save a good bit of time.) And of course there’s hummus. What’s not to love about hummus? Especially when it’s scratch-made, using fresh squeezed lemons, tahini, chick peas and garlic.

Coarsely smashing black-eyed peas to a spreadable consistency.

Coarsely smashing black-eyed peas to a spreadable consistency.

It’s hard to describe the flavor of a black-eyed pea. Maybe akin to a pinto bean? The meaty peas certainly have an affinity to bacon. They haven’t ventured far from the American South until recently; now I see them often, dotting a relish, in savory fried cakes, or as a simple side. The following recipe was inspired by a recipe I make for Hop ‘n John. Several months ago a friend made a black-eyed pea dip, as prelude to dinner, which she served warm. It was so good with the melted Jack cheese; I’ll beg that recipe soon.

I served the following recipe spread over basic crostini, which can be made well in advance. I followed the recipe, seasoning the crostini with thyme. The dip’s best served slightly warm, or at room temperature.

Local Forecast: Michigan black cherries are as good as they’re gonna get, Traverse City farmers telling me they’ll keep picking them for another 3 weeks. Here are some great recipes using their bounty: Cherry Gazpacho, Smoked Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Sauce, Cherry-Quinoa Pilaf, Goat Cheese-Fresh Cherry Crostini.

Recipe: Crostini with Black-Eyed Peas and Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dry black-eyed peas*
  • Bay leaf
  • White sugar**
  • 3-4 raw pieces bacon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1-2 ripe tomatoes, chopped

*Soak, simmer and sit time can be radically reduced by using frozen or canned peas.

**A bit of sugar brings out their natural sweetness, but you don’t want the peas to taste  sugar sweet. Make sense?

Instructions

  1. Rinse dry peas, picking out and discarding cracked or yellowed. Soak 6-24 hours in cold water.
  2. In a large pot, combine soaked peas, fresh salted water to cover peas by 2 inches, bay leaf, and a teaspoon of sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, with lid slightly ajar, until peas are almost tender, 40-75 minutes, depending on heat and age of peas used. Turn off heat, cover pot, and (if time allows) let peas sit in cooking liquid 1-2 hours until tender and creamy, but not overly soft and mushy. Drain and place in a bowl. With a fork or potato masher, smash peas until they are a spreadable consistency, but still somewhat coarse.
  3. In a large cast iron skillet or sauté pan, fry bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels and reserve.
  4. Whisk together oil and vinegar. Discard bay leaf from peas and toss peas with cider vinaigrette, scallions (reserving some for garnish) and reserved bacon. Season to taste with kosher salt, cayenne and thyme. If desired, add a pinch of additional sugar, to balance the acidity.
  5. Spread mixture over crostini and garnish with scallions and chopped tomatoes.

Number of servings (yield): 3 cups (2 dozen crostini)

Active Time (if crostini are made): 40 minutes

Soak Time (if using dried beans): 6-24 hours

Simmer Time: 45-70 minutes

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

 

 

 

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Explosively Delicious Recipes to Enhance Summer Celebrations! (A promise.)

The Fourth of July Grill

The Fourth of July Grill

It’s that time of the year and I don’t mean fireworks; I’m talking the explosive media grilling blitz. An hour doesn’t pass without some TV personality, electronic feed, or magazine headline firing off their ultimate recipe for “whatever” on the grill.

Recipe overload, no doubt. Why not? Grilling on the Fourth of July is as traditional to the American landscape as enjoying a hot dog at a Tiger’s game. So allow me to stoke the flames by tossing my favorite recipes into the pit. I’ve made everyone of them with great success in season’s past.

Beginning with Grilled Firecracker Shrimp. I like this peel-as-you-eat recipe because the eaters do the shelling; I just make the Asian dipping sauce. Not that I’m totally lazy; large shrimp taste better, and are more moist with a better texture, when grilled in the shell.

Smoked Texas Brisket with Grilled Poblanos and Onions

Smoked Texas Brisket with Grilled Poblanos and Onions

No time – no grill? Try this recipe for No-Fuss Barbecue Ribs with fall-off-the-bone flavor. Here’s a recipe for a more traditional smoked rib, so so good. All the time in the world? Smoked Barbecued Brisket with Grilled Poblanos and Onions brings folks to their knees. And for time in between, cross the border with Firecracker Flank Steak with Margarita Flavors and Mango Salsa, or Grilled Tuscan Flank Steak, including a sauce that reminds of an herbaceous Chimichuri. A full menu of Burgers awaits your grill; every type of burger under the sun.

Barbecued Ribs

Barbecued Ribs

Here’s an idea for tote cuisine, if you’re bringing the main course to a picnic, or other outdoor celebration. If fact, I did this last week. I purchased boneless, skin-on chicken breasts and thighs from Whole Foods (pre-oredered) using the marinade in this Balsamic Chicken recipe, marinated the chicken 8 hours, then carted the chicken, ready for the grill, in resealable Zip-lock bags. The chicken cooks quickly without the bone. Stay vigilant moving the chicken from possible dripping fat flare-ups; I believe it’s worth the effort as the skin keeps the chicken moist and flavorful on the grill.

Fourth of July Sheet Cake

Fourth of July Sheet Cake

I like these two salads as they perform well outdoors under the heat of the sun: Tomato-Basil Pasta Salad and Uptown Picnic Potato Salad. For dessert finish with this “healthified” Fourth of July Sheet Cake. Whew! That’s my recipe explosion.

This year I’m experimenting making Lamb Burgers with Tzadziki and Beet Relish. More than likely, my next post.

Wishing you safe travels and clear skies!

 

 

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