Friday, July 28, 2017

| summer recipe roundup |

I can hardly believe summer is almost gone. Before it ends, I wanted to be sure and write down some of my favorite recipe discoveries of 2017 so I can dust them off next year!

Turkey Burger Recipe
My SIL got me hooked on turkey burgers last summer (okay, not ME because I'm a vegetarian, but the rest of my family loves them). I had been buying those super-convenient frozen, pre-made patties but one week they were out at I had already promised burgers. So I bought ground turkey and looked up recipes for seasoning. This one from the NYT was a major winner. After trying it once, I bought 3 pounds of ground turkey on sale (I like to get the 85% lean kind for some extra moisture) and make up a whole tray of patties. Froze them on wax paper and then put them in a big ziploc bag. Now I have my own frozen, pre-made patties for a lot less money and just a little more work.

For each pound of ground turkey, add the following.
1/2 onion, finely minced (dried works, too)
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste
I also like to add some bread crumbs for a little bulk.
Mix well with your hands and form into patties.

Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Why have I never made spring rolls at home before??? It's so easy. I just cut up bunches of stuff and put them in little bowls. Then everyone made their own at the dinner table. I took the leftover stuff and made a few for lunch the next day (wrap in a damp paper towel before storing in a container in the fridge).

You can, of course, put whatever you want into them. All you really HAVE to have are rice paper rolls. You soak each one in warm water for 5-10 seconds and then spread it on a plate. Fill it with goodness and roll tightly like a burrito. I had the following on our table for fillings: small cubes of tofu, peanuts, cilantro, cooked rice noodles, cabbage, shredded carrots, a salad mix that was shredded cabbage, carrots, kale, and broccoli. I bought a rotisserie chicken and they kids also experimented by putting the chicken and some fresh mango in theirs.

I made a simple peanut sauce to go with mine. Didn't really write down the proportions but I think it was something like this:
1/2 c peanut butter (chunky if you like!)
1-2 T soy sauce
1 T minced ginger (we always keep some in a tube in the fridge)
1 t sesame oil
1 t sweet chili sauce
1 T brown sugar
Water to thin

Greek Dressing
Speaking of sauce, that peanut sauce also goes great on warm rice dishes, noodles, etc. Another stellar summer sauce that can go on hot or cold foods is this Greek dressing I cobbled together. I like to eat it on salad with kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers or on a pasta salad (cheese tortellini, please) with tomatoes, cukes, olives, etc.

1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c vegetable oil (or more olive oil)
1/3 c rice wine vinegar
2 t sugar
1 T Dijon mustard
1-2 T lemon juice
1 t each of dried basil, thyme, oregano, garlic powder (unsalted!)
Black pepper to taste
Shake in a jar and enjoy. This makes a lot!


Pioneer Woman Ranch Dressing
But that's not even my favorite dressing. My favorite dressing comes from the land of Oklahoma where Pioneer Woman really knows what's up. She has a delightful explanation on her blog about how to make this and tailor it for your own tastebuds. A word of warning: this recipe will likely turn you into a total ranch dressing snob and you may never want to eat bottled ranch again. I suppose this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's certainly cut down on my overall ranch consumption.

What I usually do ends up looking something like this, depending on what I have on hand:
Stir together 1 c full fat mayonnaise with 1/2 sour cream. Add buttermilk to desired consistency (you know you can make buttermilk by adding 1 T lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk and letting sit a few minutes, right? Right.)
Add the following and shake:
1-2 cloves finely minced garlic (see note below)
1/4 c minced fresh parsley
2 T chives (see note)
1-2 T fresh dill (see note)
1-2 t dried oregano
1 T Worcestershire
Notes on the garlic and herbs: The garlic, if you use raw, is going to get REALLY potent once it rests overnight, so use caution. Or roast your garlic first (see below). Ree Drummond suggests using fresh everything for the herbs but, to be honest, if I don't have them growing in my yard, I don't feel like paying $12 for a bunch of herbs at the store. That's some mighty-expensive ranch. I usually go with fresh parsley and dried for the rest (reduce quantities a bit if you're using dried). In a pinch, I have even used dried parsley and as long as it rested overnight in the fridge, it was just fine.

Roasted Garlic
I don't turn my oven on much in the summer, but when I do, I always put a few heads of garlic in alongside whatever else is cooking. This stuff is so good. I like to eat it plain, on bread, on salad, or mixed into anything that calls for garlic. It's heaven.

Preheat oven to 350.
Tear off one square of aluminum foil for each head you plan to roast.
Cut the top off the garlic so you can see down into all the individual cloves.
Put the head of garlic in the middle of the foil and start to pull up the edges like you're making a little bowl around the garlic.
Pour 1-2 T olive oil right into the garlic cloves it'll drip down the sides, too)
Pull the rest of the foil up like a little packet and twist at the top.
Place directly on your oven rack or on a sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
Let cool.
Squeeze out of the skins and eat. If you have any left over, it can go in a little olive oil in your fridge. I don't know how long it will last because mine is always gone in 48 hours.

Easy Creamy Dressing
So sometimes I haven't made a big batch of ranch but then I'm craving it (see above problem with no longer liking bottled ranch). This simpler recipe doesn't have to be made ahead of time and is awesome. The original recipe from The Kitchn says this makes enough for two side salads but, um, this is a single serving for my lunch.

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, or other grainy mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise or full fat yogurt
Pinch salt
Pinch sugar
Fresh pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar (despite having at least 5 kinds of vinegar in my cupboard, this is not one of them....so I usually just use red wine or apple cider or rice vinegar)

Kale Salad
When I don't feel like making any kind of dressing at all, I make a massaged kale salad. This is particularly good in my lunches when I just need some veggies on the side. Basically, you make sure all the stems are trimmed off your kale and chop it up small. Then you massage the kale with olive oil and lemon juice. Once it starts to soften up, add your toppings. It's really pretty and yummy. I usually throw on whatever random leftovers I can find in the fridge or cupboard, which often includes many of these things:
Seeds: chia, flax, pepita, sunflower
Slivered almonds
Dried cranberries, raisins, or cherries
Jarred roasted red peppers, olives, small pickles, or artichoke hearts
Any number of fresh veggies, including leftover cooked ones like corn, peas, Brussels sprouts, asparagus
And I usually top with a hard boiled egg.

Deviled Eggs
Speaking of eggs, I'm obsessed with deviled eggs and frequently whip up a couple for lunch. If you don't yet have a foolproof method for hard-boiled eggs, I recommend this.

I love to put the following in my deviled eggs. And, if I do say so myself, they are really top-notch.
I use about half-mayo and half-plain Greek yogurt (full fat)
Mash that with the yolks and then add a little olive oil and whip really fast with a fork to get a creamy consistency.
Then I add a dash of vinegar, whole grain mustard (or Dijon), and a dash of curry powder. Stir to incorporate.

By the way, if you're making a big batch to take to a party or potluck, there's a really easy way to travel with them. Peel and halve your eggs and them put them in a platter. Cover TIGHTLY with Saran Wrap so they don't slide around. Put your yolks and other ingredients into a bit ziplock bag and mash. Bring a long a pair of scissors and when you're ready to eat just snip the corner of the ziploc bag and pipe in the filling like you're decorating a cake. Voila! This is my go-to summer potluck dish.




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