Thursday, March 3, 2011

weekday dinner post: Middle East Turkey Burgers Stuffed with Feta, Tzatziki, Greek Green Beans

Seriously, I am truly amazed at the complete and total change in my outlook and productivity when the sun shines brightly on my corner of the world.  I knocked it out yesterday.  Started with a little bill paying, a bit of basement work, a lovely hot yoga slow flow class and then a very good effort on the court at team practice all before noon.  My first aside for today:  yoga before tennis really works for me.  So nice to be warmed up and stretched out.  The sunshine outside translated to a fun practice inside all because of my attitude adjustment.  Now, my partners for the drills might disagree but internally it was clicking yesterday. Now if only I could do a warm-down yoga session after practice because apparently all that effort and enthusiasm left a few tight areas today.  No worries, my favorite vinyasa class starts in an hour or so.

Had lunch with a tennis friend and got all caught up.  Took a little birthday return shopping break in the early afternoon.  Then hit the kitchen at full speed about a half hour late, but the sheer quantity of food produced made up for the delay.  A little chilly for grilling, but so pretty and sunny Greg did not mind helping out on the deck.  Looked up a recipe I use as a base for Middle Eastern turkey burgers from Fine Cooking.  Had bonus cucumbers from Costco and always have Greek yogurt, so tzatziki was next.  Green beans needed to be prepared, so a quick version of Greek green beans made Sara super happy.  After dinner prep the pretty stalks of rhubarb I bought over the weekend were begging to be baked in a crisp.  I love rhubarb pie, but even I have a limit even in hyper mode.  And it was bread baking night.  Phew.

So, without further ado here are some simple weekday dinner recipes for you.

Middle East Turkey Burgers Stuffed with Feta

one medium white or yellow onion, chopped
one red, yellow or orange pepper, chopped
olive oil
kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 C crumbled feta cheese


Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly coat baking sheet with olive oil.  Spread chopped onion and peppers on pan and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Toss with hands a bit.  Roast in hot oven for 10 minutes or so until softened and slightly charred.  


Heat grill.  In a medium bowl, add ground turkey, a tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, spices and the roasted onions and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper and combine well with your hands.  Form into patties and make a little well in the centers.  Add a tablespoon or so of feta cheese and shape the patty up and over the cheese.  This is messy, but take off your jewelry and wash up well after you are done.  In a perfect world you might refrigerate the patties for 15-20 minutes before grilling but it's okay if you don't have the time.  Grill over medium heat about 5-10 minutes per side.  Grilling times are highly variable depending on patty thickness, grill heat and etc., you don't want to overcook your burgers so check them with a thermometer (meat should be at least 150 degrees) if you are unsure.  Just be sure to only turn your food once.  Helps keep in the moisture and make pretty grill marks.

Tzatziki

one large English (seedless) cucumber, coarsely grated
1 1/2 C plain Greek (strained) yogurt
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tsp kosher salt
juice of one half lemon
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

This is my quick and easy version with all ingredients "measured" to taste.  Place grated cucumber in a paper towel lined sieve over a bowl to drain excess liquid.  Use a couple of layers of paper towel and let drain for at least 30 minutes.  Squeeze excess liquid out of cucumber and add to a medium bowl.  Stir in the Greek yogurt, garlic cloves, kosher salt, lemon juice, vinegar and pepper.  Adjust seasoning to taste (more lemon? salt? pepper?).

Greek Green Beans (oops, apparently I have yet to post this and I make them all the time)

one pound fresh green beans, trimmed (frozen beans are fine too)
one medium sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T olive oil
one 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (love Muir Glen, but any diced tomatoes will be fine)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 T red wine vinegar

If you have a ton of time, you do not need to pre-cook your beans in boiling water (5-10 minutes) you can simply saute the onion in the olive until soft (about 5 minutes), add the garlic stirring until fragrant (30 seconds) and then saute the green beans in the mixture for 5 minutes or so.  Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper and vinegar and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook until beans are soft about 20-30 minutes.  If you pre-cook your beans you only need to cook the dish 10 minutes or so.  The longer you cook, the better and these are great re-heated.  If you like them extra saucy add a 15-ounce can of tomato sauce with the diced tomatoes.  This is a good one to adjust for company size and taste preference.  We like lots of pepper and chunky tomatoes, but maybe you only want to use sauce and just 1/2 tsp of pepper.

leftovers of tzatziki and a turkey burger, so busy cooking something so casual
 I did not get my camera going until we had devoured it all :)

Got to run, time for vinyasa class!

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