Tag Archives: meat

thai turkey burgers

13 Feb

Healthy cooking has never been my forte. I am capable of eating a pat of butter with no bread. I’ll lick the mayonnaise spoon. If I fry bacon, I’m saving that precious fat to cook asparagus later.

To me, ground turkey meat is a bizarre health food invention — a tasteless pink goop that cooks up to the texture of styrofoam. The only way I know how to make this paltry poultry bearable is by masking its shortcomings with tons of fresh herbs and fish sauce (umami!).

I can’t figure out where we found this recipe originally, but I believe it was called “Thai Turkey Burgers” due to the combination of basil, cilantro and fish sauce. We ended up adding mint along the way to punch things up further. It’s like a patty version of laab/larb, a Thai dish where ground meat is served in lettuce cups.

I like eating these Thai Turkey Burgers over a bed of quinoa salad, but they’d be equally great on a traditional hamburger bun with all the fixings. Don’t forget the mayo!

thai turkey burgers
the healthiest thing i know how to cook

* 1 lb ground turkey (don’t use super lean or burgers will be too dry)
* 1/2 medium onion, diced very small
* 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
* 1/3 cup basil, chopped
* 1/3 cup mint, torn
* 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
* 3 tablespoons fish sauce (I like the 3 crabs brand)
* 1 egg, beaten
* Vegetable oil

Place turkey in large mixing bowl; add onions, cilantro, basil, mint, garlic, fish sauce and egg. Mix with your hands until just combined — do not over mix.

Scoop 1/3 cup of turkey mixture and form a ball by passing back and forth lightly in your hands. Set aside and repeat with remainder of mixture. Should make around 10 miniature patties, around 3″ in diameter once flattened.

Heat a skillet over medium heat; add enough vegetable oil to coat bottom of pan. Add meat balls to pan and flatten into patties by pressing lightly with your fingers. Cook for around 4-5 minutes on each side taking care to flip and adjust heat when first side is browned. Cook in batches, if not all fit in your pan at once. Serves 3-4.

alice waters’ beef stew

24 Jan

You’d never know, but just a couple weeks ago, it was freezing in SF. I’m talking 40’s by day and sub-30’s by night! Of course today, it’s mid-60’s and sunshine full-blast. I took to the pavement in a t-shirt and new running shoes trying to work off some holiday el bees.

Case and point, I had recently been feeding my hibernation bear belly with Alice Waters’ Beef Stew. It’s the real deal from The Art of Simple Food cookbook — a great primer for anyone who’s interested in learning the basics.

Waters’ recipe for beef stew is really a classic beef bourguignon with a nod to the garden. It’s thick, rich and hearty with satisfying hunks of fork-tender beef and just a hint of vegetables. I loved the flavors of mulling spice imparted by cloves that cleverly are embedded into the onions quarters, plus the zip of orange zest. I used a nice cut of marbled flatiron steak aka top blade chuck, which softened up in closer to two hours than three. For wine, I used a Trader Joes fave, a dry Italian red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Montepulciano, called Tentatre Rosso for ~$7. Is your bear belly grumbling yet?

beef stew
adapted from Alice Waters

* 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1.5-inch cubes, seasoned with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper (a day ahead if possible)
* 3 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 tablespoons oil
* 2 carrots, chopped into 2-inch chunks
* 2 stalks of celery, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
* 2 medium onions, quartered
* 2 whole cloves, stuck into a quarter of onion
* 2 sprigs each of thyme, parsley, and savory
* 1 bay leaf
* a few peppercorns
* 3 tablespoons brandy (optional)
* 1 3/4 cups red wine
* 3 tomatoes, diced (fresh or canned)
* a small head of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
* 1 thin strip of orange zest
* 2 cups beef stock
* 2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5-inch cubes

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and cook bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned, but not crisp. Remove bacon.

In batches, brown the beef on all sides in the bacon fat. Put meat into a heavy pot or braising dish. Lower heat and pour off most of the fat from the skillet. Cook the carrots, celery, and onions with the herbs, bay leaf, and peppercorns until lightly browned. Add to the beef in pot/dish.

Raise heat of empty skillet and add the brandy, then the red wine. Scrape up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot and reduce wine by two-thirds. Pour over the beef and vegetables in the pot.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, orange zest, and broth to the pot. The liquid should come up at least 3/4 of the way up to the top of the beef/vegetables; add more broth if needed. It does not need to cover the ingredients entirely.

Cover and cook at a bare simmer on the stovetop, or in a 325-degree oven for 2-3 hours until meat falls apart when tested with a fork. Add potatoes 30 minutes before done. Check the stew occasionally to make sure it’s not boiling and there is enough liquid.

Let stew rest for a few minutes before serving and skim off layer of fat on top. Season to taste with salt and serve over rice, egg noodles, or with crusty bread. Serves 6.