Tuesday, July 30, 2013

kid friendly: turkey-spinach sliders

Hey there.  There are a few souls holding me accountable for posting and the one that calls me Carmel's Gwyneth Paltrow(ha!) is responsible for me finally writing before July is over.  Yes, Jeff,  friendly CRC tennis pro and blog supporter, this one is for you.  Thanks for the encouragement.

Summer team tennis after match cocktail talk can go in several directions.  Many topics are hilarious, but not fit to print.  There are some seriously funny girls on my teams.  One of my teams is almost all moms still in the heavy driving carpool years (clearly not my team that played in the 40 and over bracket) and "What the heck am I going to feed my whole family that they will eat?" is one question they'll throw in that's in the fit to print category.  I'm pretty sure I've discussed that I am not your role model for this.  Sure my kids since I have been writing my blog have been ready for just about anything, but they were 18 and 20 when I started this endeavor.  When they were little people, if all four of us were dining together, Greg and I would eat "grown up food" and the girls would have something similar, but bland or something completely different that I knew they would eat.  My reasoning behind this extra work for myself?  1.  I really couldn't handle "kid food" all the time, 2. I lacked the discipline often necessary to enforce trying new foods or not eating and 3. maybe if they saw us enjoying something different, one day they would eventually join in.  And eventually that's pretty much how it went.

This is a quick idea adapted from Bon Appetit for little turkey burger sliders.  The secret to success is four cups of chopped fresh spinach mixed in with a pound of ground turkey.  The spinach cooks down and the little sliders are the juiciest turkey burgers I've ever made.  No egg or oil blended in.  Love them.  I made the first batch on my cast iron grill pan and the second batch in my oven just to see if the winter-friendly version was as good.  Yep.  Both good. You can also fry them up in a skillet.  The original recipe calls for 3/4 teaspoon of cumin.  Both times I've made them I've used smoked paprika instead because it just sounded better with the meals I was putting together.  Experiment with flavoring.  You know how I love the spice blends from Costco:  Sweet Mesquite and Rustic Tuscan and both would be yummy here.  If your kids are big pizza fans, use a teaspoon or so of oregano instead and serve them with mozzarella melted on top and maybe some good pizza sauce on top or for dipping.  You get the idea.  Super easy and delicious.

Turkey-Spinach Sliders

1/2 box or bag of baby spinach, chopped to yield about 4 cups
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 tsp paprika or smoked paprika (or whatever spices your family likes)
1 pound ground turkey
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
olive oil for the grill pan or skillet
whole wheat slider buns
cheese or other toppings, as desired (read way back and you will find out that I dislike standard condiments, you'll never see me recommend them but please go ahead and eat like normal people)

In a large bowl using a fork or your hands (if you can stand it), mix together spinach, onion, garlic, seasonings (about 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste) and turkey.  Smoosh it all together to blend well.  Form turkey mixture into 8-12 1/2 inch thick patties.

Brush grill pan with a little olive oil and cook, turning once about 5-7 minutes per side.  Or add about 2 tablespoons of oil to a skillet and cook over medium high heat on the stove until brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.  Or bake in a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes until cooked through (check with an instant read thermometer and cook until 160 degrees).

Serve on those cute little slider buns.

Serves three or four

ready to mix in the squishy ground turkey
if your kids are going to freak out about spinach, chop it finer but
it's glorious greenness is pretty hard to hide

in the oven

oven sliders all done, who knew they would be so good?
that's why there are no grilling photos

ready for buns

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

and then there was Wimbledon: Spanish Chorizo Rolls and Pimm's

I made it across the pond!  Big check off of my bucket list.  Go to Europe.  Check.  Go to Wimbledon.  Check.  (!!!!!)  Visit Westminster Abbey.  Check.  But can I tell you that all of this was so amazing to me that tears welled in my eyes landing at Heathrow without you thinking I'm "daft"?  They sprang up again walking through the gates of the All England Lawn Tennis Club.  And again when we were wrapping up day 2 of our Wimbledon sojourn.  And the glory and majesty that is Westminster Abbey brought a few more.  And then the audio tour played "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth" at the foot of the homage to G.F. Handel.  Wow.  Just wow.  When you wait so many years to realize a dream the awe and wonder of living it is just overwhelming.  Thanks to my dear ex-pat friend, Susan,  for making the magic happen by booking the Wimbledon Experience.  Thanks to my awesome husband for insisting that I go and giving me the Delta miles and Marriott points to make it easier.  And thanks to the world's best kitten sitter and fabulous daughter, Sara who held down the fort (don't worry, she's off to London for her fall semester this year).  The other fabulous daughter once started a 10-week tour of Europe in London two years ago and she offered a few excellent tips.  I have a good team.

hats and all after our day at Court 1, Wimbledon 2013

So that partially explains where I've been.  The week before I left we hosted along with our great neighbors, an almost pig roast party.  The day I left was Sara's 21st birthday.  I've been a little busy.  Hopefully your summer is breezing along too and you've barely noticed that I've been a big slacker in the posting department.  

So today's post will logically revolve around my trip to London.  I've been pouring through my photos and Sunday got super inspired after watching the men's final from Wimbledon on television, to stir up a batch of Pimm's cocktails.  And to round out the day with more than a drink,  I decided to recreate a favorite food find from London's Borough Market, Spanish chorizo rolls.  Throw some Indiana sweet corn (or local corn wherever you may be) on the grill and chill some watermelon slices and you are good to go for a summer dinner for grown-ups (and we are all grown-ups here now).  

Under the glowing recommendations from both Ina Garten (who tweeted about it) and Kelly Rogers (who warned us to go hungry), Susan and I sampled our way through London's Borough Market.  Ina urged us to try Brindisa's tapa restaurant, but we joined the fast-growing que for their chorizo sandwiches grilled and assembled in the market.  Another booth served up Pimm's from pitchers.  Perfect.  
go hungry
who needs my photos, when you can see the real thing?

Spanish Chorizo Rolls
spanish chorizo links (I found some excellent ones in the meat case area at my Whole Foods)
red peppers 
rocket (aka arugula), washed and toweled or spun dry
crusty rolls

Heat up your grill.  Core your red peppers (two is good, but if you have more just grill them all and use them in another dish).  Cut the red peppers into three or four big sections.  Place skin side down on grill and char the skins (about 10-15 minutes).  Remove from grill and place in a paper lunch bag to steam (roll down the top and let them rest for about 10 minutes).  Meanwhile slice your chorizo links in half length wise and grill until cooked through and nicely grill marked (about 10-15 minutes), turning once. Chorizo has a good deal of fat, so watch for flare-ups.  While the chorizo is cooking, remove the charred skins from the red peppers with a paper towel (slough off pretty easily, but don't get all freaked out by some stubborn sections they'll be fine with a little skin).  Cut your rolls in half and brush with a little olive oil.  Grill the rolls to brown a bit (keep an eye on them, just 2-3 minutes is usually enough).  

Assemble sandwiches with chorizo, roasted red peppers and rockets stacked in a bun.  Eat while hot with a napkin in striking range.

Pimm's ingredients at the Borough Market (best part, this wasn't even noon)
yes, please

Pimm's Cup

1 part Pimm's  No. 1 
3 part chilled lemonade (carbonated/sparkling lemonade like the Brits or use lemonade and some club soda or Pellegrino)
diced/sliced strawberries, orange, lemon, cucumbers 
mint leaves

Mix all in a large pitcher and pour over ice into glasses with additional fruit and etc. as desired.

Pimm's is a liqueur and I found it easily at a liquor store here.  Some of the Pimm's I enjoyed had ginger ale instead of lemonade.  Try the Pimm's website for other variations: Anyone for Pimm's

spectacularly cooperative weather

did you know Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is one of the Modern Martyr's over the
door at Westminster Abbey?  He's the fourth figure in this picture