Rosemary Truffle Burgers

Inspiration: I think Brandon could eat truffles/truffle salt/truffle oil at every meal and never tire of it. He just loves it (…and I certainly won’t turn it away, either). We bought a nice little bottle about a year ago that has lasted us a good long time, and it’s always fun experimenting and trying to come up with new uses for it. We love to cook fries or sweet potato fries in goose/duck fat, and then sprinkle them with plenty of Kosher salt and drizzle them with truffle oil. That’s our absolute favorite use of the truffle oil for sure. But it sure is great in a lot of different applications – it adds such a super flavorful and fancy flair to so many dishes.

What We Loved: There were a lot of earthy flavors in this burger that all complemented each other very well. Both rosemary and truffles have a very rich, earthy, almost primal flavor, and the smoky, nutty gruyere cheese played off of those flavors so well. There’s nothing like a really great smoked cheese to top off a burger (and this particular cheese was just fantastic – so rich, smoky, nutty, and creamy). Brandon and I both love grilled onion slices on burgers, too – something about grilling the onion lends an awesome charred flavor that is just fantastic. We used Vidalia onions here, so there was also a nice hint of sweetness to contrast with all of the other richer, deeper flavors.

Tips: Rosemary has a pretty potent flavor, so use as much or as little as you’d like, depending on how strong you want that flavor to be. The same goes for truffle oil. Truffle oil is pricey, but you really never need too much when you’re using it. Just a few drizzles will impart loads of flavor.

Rosemary Truffle Burgers
Source: Original Recipe to Serve 2

1 lb ground beef
Handful rosemary, minced
Truffle oil
Seasoning salt
Garlic powder
Applewood smoked gruyere cheese, shredded
2 thick slices Vidalia onion

1. Place the ground beef in a bowl. Add the rosemary, and drizzle with truffle oil. Season to taste with seasoning salt and garlic powder. Mix well with your hands, and form into two burgers.

2. Place the onion slices on the grill, and grill until they are nice and browned. Meanwhile, grill the burgers until they’re cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. A few minutes before you take the burgers off of the grill, top with the gruyere cheese.

3. Serve the burgers topped with the onion slices and drizzled generously with more truffle oil.

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Salmon and Crab Cakes with Avocado

Inspiration: I have this thing with favorites. Brandon always teases me because any time that there’s an opportunity, I’m always asking him to pick his favorite. If we have a wine tasting and taste several wines, I have to know which one he likes best. If we try out a bunch of different appetizers at a restaurant, I’ll always ask which he liked above all of the others. I don’t even think about it until after I’ve asked, and then we both laugh at how ridiculous I always am. The funny thing is that I’m always mentally forcing myself to choose favorites, too, and a lot of times I just can’t decide and get stressed out about not being able to pick a favorite. Ha! Anyway, if I had to pick a favorite seafood dish, I think that really good crab cakes might be it.

What We Loved: We really liked these because they had a really fresh seafood flavor. While there are quite a few supplementary ingredients, none of them are too overpowering or take away from what is so good about a crab cake – that predominant seafood flavor. And with these, that flavor was perhaps a little more prominent than just an ordinary crab cake, because the added flavor of the salmon was so buttery fresh and delicious. Another great plus is that the salted avocado on top added a nice creamy, cooling contrast to the cakes. We enjoyed these alongside a couple of bowls of gazpacho for a lovely summer meal.

Tips: I meant to add a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt to the mixture, but I completely forgot. I might suggest throwing it in to make the salmon and crab cakes creamier (these were good as they were, but I think that the extra moisture would make them even better). Plus, the mayo or yogurt would act as a further binder to hold the cakes together.

Salmon and Crab Cakes with Avocado
Source: Original Recipe
Serves: 2

4 oz lump crab meat
10 oz fresh salmon, chopped into small pieces
Good glug of extra virgin olive oil
Handful fresh cilantro, minced
1 thin slice onion, minced
Juice from 1/2 lime
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Seafood seasoning, to taste
1/8 cup coconut flour
1 egg
Butter
1 small avocado, thinly sliced

1. Add the crab meat, salmon, cilantro, onion, and lime juice to a bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and seafood seasoning. Add the coconut flour and egg, and gently stir until everything is incorporated.

2. Form the mixture into four cakes. Chill for about 1/2 hour.

3.  Heat a good pat of butter in a saute pan. Add the salmon crab cakes, and saute until they are cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.

4. Serve topped with sliced avocado and an additional sprinkle of Kosher salt.

a girl, two guys…..

I haven’t made mention of it here on the blog yet, but for the past nine months Brandon and I have been cooking up something pretty awesome. Our little family grew by one when we welcomed our son Benjamin on August 23, 2012. We couldn’t be more in love.

Since we’re now a girl and two guys, we’re making a few changes to the layout around here, though it’s a still work in progress. We’re so looking forward to sharing our meal times with our little man in the coming years!

In the mean time, we planned ahead and have quite a good selection of posts that we saved up over the summer for this busy time in our lives, so we’ll still be bringing you recipes each week.

Here’s to family and food – two of life’s greatest things.

Simple Lemon Rosemary Chicken Breasts

Simple Lemon Rosemary Chicken Breasts

Inspiration: I’ve been meeting Brandon at his work for lunch every now and then this summer. His work has some nice picnic tables outside where we sit and enjoy a lunch hour together, which is a pretty nice mid-day treat. I’m always trying to think of new lunches to pack, and the thought occurred to me recently to saute up some chicken breasts to take as the main part of our lunches. The great thing about chicken breasts is that they’re great hot, warm, or cold, so they really work perfectly for a packed lunch.

What We Loved: These are so simple to make and have a nice, refreshing flavor. As the title suggests, the two main flavors are the tart lemon and the earthy rosemary, which are really a couple of great complementary ingredients. I just loved how the lemon really cut through and added such a refreshing taste. With some added garlic, some olive oil, and plenty of salt and pepper, there couldn’t be a simpler recipe for a nutritious and filling lunch.

Tips: For an even simpler chicken breast lunch, I’ve also been digging through my pantry and coating some chicken breasts in whatever seasoning mixes that I happen to have (jerk rub, Cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, etc.). You can’t get much simpler than throwing some seasoning on a piece of chicken, cooking it, and packing it up for lunch.

Simple Lemon Rosemary Chicken Breasts
Source: Original Recipe
Serves: 2

2 chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful fresh rosemary, minced
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Few tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

1. Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish. Add the garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together well with your hands, cover, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

2. Saute or grill the chicken until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Chicken, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad

Chicken, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad

Inspiration: I whipped this salad up for lunch one day using just about the only odds and ends that I had left in the refrigerator. It was a day when grocery shopping was desperately needed, and I wasn’t really expecting to much enjoy whatever I threw together. It turned out that I loved this salad so much, that I tossed it onto our dinner menu for the next week. We’re not big salad eaters, and I know that Brandon is usually less-than-excited when a salad appears on the menu for dinner, but I think this one deserved a spot.

What We Loved: I just love how the ingredients in this salad play so well off of each other. The flavors and textures of browned chicken, creamy avocado, tart blueberries, and nice chunks of Colby cheese really complement each other so well. I added a good glug of olive oil over top and plenty of Kosher salt, which really helped to bring everything together and make the flavors pop. As always, the avocado especially benefits from a nice sprinkling of salt. We also love how this is such a substantial and filling salad. Believe it or not, there is a good deal of Romaine lettuce hiding underneath all of the other goodies – you just can’t see it because the salad is so packed full of delicious.

Tips: I think that the chicken on this salad is best at room temperature or cold. If it were hot, it would wilt the lettuce, melt the cheese, warm up the nice cold blueberries, etc. So I would leave enough time to cook your chicken beforehand and let it cool for a while before assembling the salad.

Chicken, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad
Source: Original Recipe
Serves: 2

2 chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half
Kosher salt and black pepper
Butter
About 3 cups chopped Romaine hearts
2-3 oz Colby cheese, cubed
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup blueberries
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Heat a pat of butter in saute pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and saute until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Let cool to room temperature, and then chop into cubes.

2. Divide the lettuce between two salad bowls.  Top with the chicken, Colby cheese, avocado, and blueberries. Drizzle generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper.

Bacon Burgers with Bacon Onion Balsamic Jam

Bacon Burgers with Bacon Onion Balsamic Jam

Inspiration: I’ve always been a burger kind of girl – you know, the person who will opt for a burger over a steak nine times out of ten. That’s definitely me. And when it’s summer time and we can have homemade burgers grilled on the charcoal grill, well…there’s just no beating that. In my opinion, it’s almost not a proper summer week without a burger thrown on the menu. And so we’ve got another burger recipe to bring you this week (….and probably a few more to come before the summer weather is over).

What We Loved: This burger is really all about the bacon onion balsamic jam. The burger itself is quite tasty – smoky rich and topped with a gooey gruyere – but the jam is what makes the burger so special. I really let the onions caramelize and let all of the vinegar reduce down until the result was a syrupy sweet yet smoky bacon-y topping. A little bit of the rich burger, gooey cheese, and sweet bacon jam on my fork was just such a wonderful myriad of flavors and textures.

Tips: The recipe calls for the bacon that is mixed into the burgers to be finally minced, but I’d almost recommend throwing it into the food processor to get a nice ground texture, instead. I chopped the bacon pretty small, but there were still pieces throughout the burger that I thought were a little large and had a tough texture. I think if the bacon had more of a ground bacon texture instead, it might mix into the burger a little bit better.

Bacon Burgers with Bacon Onion Balsamic Jam
Source: Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Fine Cooking
Serves: 3

For the Topping
4 slices bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup water

For the Burgers
2 slices bacon, minced
1 lb ground beef (85% lean)
Good dash Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and black pepper
Freshly shredded gruyere cheese

1. To make the topping, heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon until lightly browned, and remove to paper towels to drain. Drain all but about a tablespoon of the bacon grease from the pan. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cover the pan for two minutes. Uncover the pan, add a splash of water, and scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Cover again and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and beginning to get nice and browned.

2.Stir in the vinegar, mustard, and water. Return the bacon to the pan, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer uncovered until thickened. Remove from the heat.

3. To make the burgers, add the bacon, ground beef, Worcestershire, and a good pinch of salt and pepper to a bowl. Mix well to combine, and form into patties (I was able to make three). Make a good indentation in the middle of the patties with your thumb to allow for even cooking.

4. Cook on a charcoal grill for about 5 minutes per side, until the burgers are cooked through. About two minutes before removing the burgers from the grill, top with the gruyere cheese.

5. Serve the burgers topped with the onion jam.

One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

Inspiration: This is one of those recipes that I’ve seen all over the internet for about a year now. I always just figured it was too good to be true, like I’ve found most recipes to be that are substitutes for the real thing. But when I ended up with a slew of extra bananas that I really didn’t feel like eating after we had taken them along for snacks on a road trip…..well, there really was no choice but to throw those babies into the freezer and wait for an ice cream sort of day.

What We Loved: We both really enjoyed this as a substitute for ice cream. Like most things that are substitutes, it’s not the same as the real thing, but it’s pretty darn good just the same. It’s hard to believe that one simple ingredient can be turned into such a creamy treat, but it really does work. The texture is delightfully creamy, and the taste is wonderfully banana and refreshing. What a nice and surprising treat.

Tips: You’ll need to scrape down the sides of the food processor often while making this. Don’t be discouraged if it looks like the recipe isn’t going to work – it’ll come together in time. I also think that this would be great with almond butter mixed in, or maybe with a little dark chocolate melted and poured over top.

One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream
Source: All over the internet

Ripe bananas (I used four to give us four servings about 1/2 cup each)

1. Peel the bananas and cut them into slices. Place the slices into the freezer for a least a few hours to freeze (I actually had mine in there for about a month).

2. Place the banana slices in the food processor. Process until the bananas form a smooth puree, scraping down the sides of the food processor often while you’re processing.

3. Eat the ice cream as is, or place it back into the freezer to harden further before serving.