Friday, October 24, 2008

Digging into the archives

It's been an embarrassingly long time since I've written on here. And the reason for my silence is that I haven't been cooking much at all. It's sad, really, and I miss it, but between my three jobs I just haven't had the time. I guess this is the reason that the whole 30 minute meals shtick has been so successful! Anyway, here's hoping that I get into the kitchen sometime soon--maybe this weekend. In the meantime, here are some items I made (fairly) recently, but never got the chance to write about.

First up is one of the many pasta dishes Anne and I often make for dinner, this one featuring fresh tomatoes, broccoli rabe (one of my favorite greens) and spicy Italian sausage:

Slightly more adventurous in its flavors was this monster turkey burger that I made a while back, perched atop a toasted potato roll and topped with cheddar cheese, raw onion, tomato and sliced avocado:

An adventurous turkey burger? you might be wondering, as I'm willing to bet that you've eaten many a turkey burger that leaves something to be desired (such as, well, flavor or moisture). But, at least the way I make them, the answer is yes. I use several different "recipes" for turkey burgers, but they all have two things in common: one, aggressive seasoning; and two, a little dollop of plain full-fat yogurt in the raw meat mixture to ensure a juicy final product. This time around, I made a Mediterranean-style burger, flavored with onion, garlic, cumin and coriander, but you can really add in anything you want: a few options that come to mind are slow-cooked caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, feta cheese crumbles, and chopped fresh herbs. Just don't use them sparingly.

Rigatoni with Broccoli Rabe, Tomatoes and Italian Sausage
Serves 4

1. Place 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3-4 links of hot Italian sausage and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until meat is set and partially cooked through. Remove sausage from pan and allow to cool slightly. Slice sausage into rounds or half-moons and return to pan, sauteeing until sausage pieces are browned. Set aside. Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
2. Lower skillet heat to medium. Add half of a large white or yellow onion, chopped, to the pan. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion becomes translucent. Add 3-4 large tomatoes, chopped, to the onion, and season with more salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have wilted and released their moisture. Add reserved sausage to pan and cook over low heat until sauce has thickened.
3. When water comes to a boil, salt heavily and add half a head of chopped broccoli rabe. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to the pan of sauce.
4. Add about half of a 1-lb. box of rigatoni or other shaped pasta to the water and cook until just shy of al dente. Remove with a slotted spoon to the pan of sauce and stir well, cooking until pasta is done, about 3-4 minutes. Garnish with fresh olive oil and parmesan cheese and serve.

Mediterranean-Style Turkey Burgers
Serves 4

1. Place 1 - 1.5 lbs. of ground turkey meat in a large bowl. Add generous amounts of ground cumin, ground coriander, dried oregano, salt and black pepper, and a small amount of red pepper flakes. Add 1/4 of a finely-diced white or yellow onion, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, and 2-3 tbsp. of plain full-fat yogurt. Mix to combine, avoiding over-mixing. Shape meat into 4 thick burgers.
2. Over a hot grill or grill pan or under a hot broiler, cook the burgers to medium-well, about 5-6 minutes per side. If using cheese, place slices over burgers after they have been flipped and about 4 minutes before they will be done. Serve over toasted buns with desired toppings.


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