Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lamb Burgers with Walnut Sauce

Lamb Burger

I read a lot of blogs. And I buy a lot of cookbooks. Sometimes the two collide, and I read cook-through blogs like Alinea at Home or Momofuku for 2, or, more pertinent to this post, Melissa Cooks Gourmet. These brave souls are channeling Julie Powell and cooking all the way through a cookbook. Melissa started out with the original yellow-bound Gourmet cookbook, but since Gourmet Today came out last winter she has also featured a few recipes from the new edition. 

Which brings us to these lamb burgers. I actually own Gourmet Today, but I tend to be a little guilty of ignoring my cookbooks, so when Melissa mentioned this recipe that is right there on page 486 I got up out of my chair and grabbed the book off my shelf. I actually got up, that is how moved I was by the idea of a lamb burger. 

And allspice! Seriously, why didn't anybody ever tell me about allspice before? There's actually only a quarter teaspoon in these burgers, but it goes so well with lamb that's really all you need. It's such a strong flavor though; don't be tempted to throw in any extra or you risk it overpowering the savory-ness and making your burgers taste like Christmas cookies.

A few notes about construction: I skipped the food processor. I just chopped my onion and herbs into really small pieces, and I swear I had the best of intentions - I wanted to practice my brunoise cut (1/8th inch cubes) on onions, which I still have trouble with. In hindsight, there may be a reason for you to pulse the mixture in a food processor. It would be more cohesive and less likely to fall apart when you try to flip it. I tried to flip one but it didn't work, so I just left them on the original side until they cooked through, which took more like fifteen minutes than "five to seven," but my oven is... persnickety. 

Oh, and if you're feeling ambitious, this white whole wheat pita recipe from King Arthur is very good. Oh again, and the salad is just white beans, cherry tomatoes, black olives and green peppers with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar and a little blue cheese from Sugarbush Farm

Lamb Burgers with Walnut Sauce
adapted from Gourmet

makes 4 burgers

Per my notes above, you could easily make the burgers in a food processor as the original recipe suggests, I'd just chop the onion into big chunks instead of chopping it very fine and zap the onion and bulgur together a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients.

For the walnut sauce:
1 small clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons lemon juice (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup water

Mash the garlic clove into a paste with the salt using the flat edge of a knife, then mix it with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, mine needed more salt and more lemon juice.

For the burgers:
1 cup boiling hot water
1/3 cup bulgur wheat
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, diced as fine as you can get it
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 lb ground lamb
4 small (4 inch) pita breads for serving, plus lettuce if you're going the sandwich route

Put the bulgur and salt in a bowl, and pour the boiling hot water on top of it. Let it sit for fifteen minutes or so until the bulgur plumps up. Drain it thoroughly in a strainer.

Mix the drained bulgur with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, being careful not to over-mix. Form the mixture into four patties. At this point you can refrigerate the burgers, loosely covered in plastic wrap, for a couple of hours if you need to, or for ten minutes while you pre-heat the broiler.

Cook the burgers under the broiler until they are cooked through, turning once if you can. The recipe suggests 5-7 minutes, but mine took more like twelve minutes.

Serve the burgers topped with the walnut sauce, in or on warm pita bread. We stuck a little lettuce in ours for crunch, too. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

And Now We're Married

It's true what they say about your wedding day flying by. It was a wonderful day, sunny and warm for New England October, but it seemed like we woke up, put on our party clothes and BOOM, it's over. Who's taking home the centerpiece? Is there any cake left? (No, there was not. I only had about four bites of cake and I WANT MORE.)

These wedding photos were taken by our photographer David Barnes. If you want to see more wedding photos, you can see some on Facebook on the David Barnes Photography page. I also want to point out that David is awesome: he is calm and collected even though we didn't have a ton of time for photographs (read: didn't stress us out one bit) and he still managed to get a ton of awesome shots. I can't wait to see the whole set!

Two other local Somerville businesses were totally awesome, so if you're in the market for flowers check out Nellie's Wildflowers in Davis Square. My bouquet was freaking gorgeous and it had baby pine cones in it! The centerpieces were exactly what we wanted, even though I was vague and unhelpful with my ideas. Our amazing cake was from Lyndell's bakery in Ball Square: holy chocolate frosting. I might have to go down there on our one month-iversary (please, did you think I was going to wait a year?) and get myself a tiny cake just so I can eat more of it. Four bites is not enough. 

Queechee Gorge

The day after the wedding we headed home from the Museum, packed up, and drove up to Woodstock, Vermont, to the Village Inn (warning: their website plays music) for a three day mini honeymoon (mini-moon?). It was perfectly delightful even if we were the youngest tourists in town. The thing is, retirees make dinner reservations, and we are young! and crazy! and newlyweds! Which means we only had reservations for one night (at Simon Pearce, where we had a gift certificate from the best man - thanks Tyler!) Luckily, there are tons of awesome restaurants in and around Woodstock and we managed to find great food every night. We had a really wonderful crab cake that I can't wait to recreate at Richardson's Tavern, and the house special whole fish at Mangowood was crispy and flavorful. 

I'm winning!

In addition to awesome food (breakfast at the Village Inn was unbelievably good), we got in two solid mornings of hiking and plenty of cribbage. We also tasted cheese and maple syrup and brought home plenty of deliciousness to savor for the next little while.

286/365: Woodstock

We've been back in Boston for about a week, and it's been a little weird adjusting back to real life. Not much is different, except that Adam wears a ring now. He still goes to work, I still go to school (oh, and I got a part time job doing prep work, so I go there, too, and make hundreds of spinach triangles), but we're not planning a wedding any more. Frankly, it's pretty nice. 

289/365: Raw Kale Salad

I'll be back again soon enough with something more substantial, but to ease back into things, here's a blurry picture of a salad for fall that we had a few days after we got back. It's made with a bunch of raw lacinato kale, center ribs removed and sliced into 1/4 inch strips, one sliced honeycrisp apple, and a nub of diced smoked gouda, with a handful of chopped walnuts for crunch. The dressing is red wine vinegar, salt, and olive oil, and you can just mix it all up and let it sit for an hour while you make the rest of dinner if you want. Raw kale can stand up to the vinegar without wilting much; it's even good the next day! 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stone Soup Farm CSA: Week Seventeen

Stone Soup Farm CSA Week Seventeen

Week Seventeen. You know what that means, right? It's almost over. CSA season is winding down. Luckily we signed up for a winter share, so we'll get a couple of large shares each month in November and December, but I'm trying to reconcile myself to buying grocery store vegetables again, eventually.

Speaking of which: have you seen this video from the Boston Public Market Association? Take two minutes and watch it, and if you have time or inclination, take another two minutes and email the governor to show your support. As someone who wants to be buying local produce year round, I would consider it a personal favor.

Oh, right! This week's share from Stone Soup: two delicata squash, two pounds of sweet potatoes, a few hot peppers, a pound of carrots, a bunch of chard, a few shallots, a bunch of parsley, a watermelon (the last one, according to the sign), and two small eggplants (one is hiding behind the squashes). We made an  awesome recipe from Dana Treat last night and ate sweet potato wedges with yogurt dipping sauce alongside sauteed garlicky chard. I only changed one thing, subbing parsley which we had for cilantro which we didn't, so I won't write out the recipe, but if you've got an abundance of sweet potatoes I highly recommend it. And don't skip the sauce! Have a great weekend, my friends.