Tag Archives: Summer

{ Jalapeno Cheddar Mini-burgers and Chipotle Aioli }

Jalapeno Cheddar Mini-Burgers

Words of wisdom from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle:

Burger Shack Employee- “Just thinking about those tender little White Castle burgers, with those little itty bitty grilled onions that just explode in your mouth like flavor crystals every time you bite into one…”

Harold- “I want that. I want that feeling. We gotta go to White Castle. I am so hungry. I’m gonna eat, like, 20 of those little burgers, man.”

Kumar- “Dude, I will see your 20 burgers and raise you 5 orders of fries.”

Fact: Everyone loves and craves a thick juicy hamburger from time to time. Vegetarians, don’t even kid yourselves, I know you do too. You just have more self-control than the rest of us and I’m still in the process of trying to decide whether I find that admirable or insane. Anyways, with the economy down the past couple of years, Americans are beginning to downsize the many aspects of their lives. Toll Brothers is building smaller homes, people are starting drive smaller cars (they finally realized that gas prices will never be below $2 again…goodbye H2), and the biggest names in burgers are producing mini-burgers faster than you can say recession.

White Castle first introduced the mini-burger concept back in 1921, dubbing their creation the “Slyder.” Today, many people refer to all small burgers as “sliders,” but this is just incorrect. Society is so focused on being politically correct, but lets get our culinary terms straight too while we are at it! You see, in order for a miniature burger to be a true slider, it must be a very thin slip of beef cooked atop onions and garnished with pickles. The steam from the onions does as much cooking as the griddle, and the burger buns absorb their pungent aroma. This is the method of preparation still used at White Castle today—that’s if you can manage to find a White Castle, of course. I think Harold and Kumar prove that it can be a rather long and difficult journey!

On the other hand, mini-burgers (a reduction of the same old thing we know and love), are popping up everywhere and they are absolutely irresistible. Maybe it’s the satisfaction of getting to eat multiple burgers (with less guilt might I add), or the ability to try out several different topping combinations, or maybe things really are better fun-sized (except women of course—coming from one that’s 5’ 9”). Whatever the reason, mini-burgers have created a loyal, almost cult-like, following all across America and I consider myself to be a “patty purveyor,” always looking for the latest and greatest in burgers. (So far my favorite mini-burgers are; (1) STK’s made with Japanese Wagyu Beef, secret sauce, truffle mushrooms, and sesame bun, and (2) Sugarcane’s made with Kobe beef, tonkatsu sauce, and fried quail egg).

I knew that I wanted mini-burgers for my birthday, so I decided try my hand at making my own! I made Jalapeno Cheddar Burgers and Mushroom Swiss burgers. Just fold the desired amount of your toppings into some ground sirloin beef, season with salt and pepper, and mold into 3 ounce patties with your hands. Then simply grill to desired cooking temperature! I purchased whole wheat slider buns from Wegmans, and made this Spicy Chipotle Aioli as a condiment. The aioli turned out awesome and I have since been eating it with chicken and using it as spread for sandwiches. It will hold for quite some time in your refrigerator, so don’t hesitate to make a lot.

{ Ingredients for Chipotle Aioli }

 

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

{ To Make Chipotle AioliCombine all ingredients in a food processor and puree. Adjust levels of adobo sauce, salt, and pepper to taste preference.

Spicy Chipotle Aioli

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{ Spinach Salad with Citrus Dressing and Parmesan Frico }

Spinach Salad with Citrus Dressing, Almonds, Orange Segments, and Parmesan Frico

This week has been mildly depressing for me. Not only did I graduate from the best four years of my life (aka college—my four year paid vacation), but I also turned 22 years old. Twenty-two is a miserable birthday because it is the first birthday that doesn’t come with any special privileges. On your 16th birthday you look forward to driving, on your 18th you look forward to moving out of the house and going off to college, and on your 21st birthday you look forward to drinking…legally (for a female in Miami, this means you can now get into a club without dressing like a prostitute!). But here I am, turning 22 and I find myself regressing in life; I am leaving college, moving back home, and wearing all the alcohol that I legally consumed over the past year on my hips and thighs. The only thing that I have to look forward to this year is beginning the use of anti-aging products. For some reason this just doesn’t feel like something that I want to celebrate…weird.

So instead of going out and making a big fuss at a restaurant, I decided to celebrate with a homemade BBQ here at home with my family. And oddly, it turned out to be my favorite birthday yet. There was no hype, no pressure, and no disappointment. Just good times with the people that I love the most, doing exactly what I love the most—EATNG!

Of course, I had to have my hand in the cooking and tried out a few new recipes that are certainly blog worthy. The first recipe being one of Giadas’ for Spinach Salad with Citrus Dressing and Parmesan Frico. The dressing is very light and the citrus from the orange and lemon is refreshing. It makes for a perfect summer side or appetizer salad (I would add a protein like chicken if you were to serve it as an entrée salad).

The Parmesan frico is something that I have never made before, but it was super easy and added a great salty crunch to the salad. I prefer I over croutons any day, and it looked pretty impressive aesthetically on top of the salad. Giada suggests using almond slivers in the salad, but I like the more pungent flavor of walnuts and would substitute them next time I make this recipe.

Parmesan Frico Before Baking

To make the Parmesan Frico, grate about 1 ½ cups of good Parmesan cheese on a fine grater. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place teaspoon sized mounds of the cheese onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 3 inches apart from one another. Use the back of the spoon to then gently flatten the mounds into disks that are about 2-3 inches in diameter. Grate freshly ground black pepper over the tops of the cheese disks. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven, let cool completely, and then peel the crisps off the parchment paper and place on top of salad.

{ Ingredients for the Citrus Vinaigrette }

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

{ DirectionsWhisk together all ingredients in a small bowl or shake to combine in an airtight container.

Citrus Dressing

{ Ingredients for the Spinach Salad }

  • 1 package of baby spinach leaves
  • 2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds (or walnut pieces if you prefer)
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced

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