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Fresh Turkey Burger

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Making these burgers today was a comedy of errors.  In the morning, we walked to the co-op near our apartment to get some things, and as soon as we got back the “doh” moments of things I had forgotten for the burgers began.  I forgot fresh ginger, pepperjack cheese, new limes, and new cilantro.  And that’s like… most of the recipe.

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So, I had to make due.  I mean, logically, I could have gone out again.  But I was already in my pajamas and didn’t remember I had forgotten half of the things until I had already starting the patties, so I opted to make due.  Instead of fresh grated ginger, I used dried ground ginger.  This worked in a pinch, but really, I don’t recommend it.  The grated ginger in these burgers really pops, and it’s an intense flavor.

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The other ingredient I completely forgot was the pepperjack cheese.  I like pepperjack on this burger because the spice of the cheese plays off the other flavors.  But since I didn’t have any, I had to go with what I had, which was gruyere.  So, I toasted the buns, brushed them with oil, and sprinkled them with grated gruyere and ground ginger.  And it was perfect.  The toasting was a good idea anyway because it balanced with the juiciness of the burger nicely.  The gruyere was more subtle, and didn’t compete with the flavors, just intensified.  It was perfection.

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Not that he’s biased, but Dan thinks that this is my best original dish.  It’s a great burger because it’s turkey so it’s better for you, but it’s not dry because the jalapeno and the cilantro keep the meat moist.  It’s spicy and sweet at the same time, and there is so much flavor packed into each bite.  I served it with a mixed green and pears salad and a mojito.  Mmmmmm.

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Fresh Turkey Burgers

1/2 pound lean ground turkey (makes 2 burgers)

1 jalapeno, diced

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 tbsp fresh chopped ginger

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cup gruyere cheese, plus some for sprinkling

1 garlic clove, chopped

Mixed greens

Buns

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 lime

Chop your jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, and ginger and add to ground turkey.  Use your hands to knead it all together.  Form into patties, about 4 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in your pan.  Place the patties in the pan, over medium heat.  Turkey takes a little longer to cook without drying it out, about twenty minutes over medium heat.  Flip them every five minutes or so, and make sure they don’t get burned.

Brush your buns with olive oil and sprinkle ground ginger and gruyere.  Bake at 300* for about five minutes.

Once your toast has gotten nice and crispy, top with mixed greens and sprinkle a little more grated gruyere on the greens.  When your burger is fully cooked, place it on top of the mixed greens and drizzle with lime juice.

Serves 2.

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Banana Nut Bread

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When I was a kid, my mother’s freezer always had black, frozen bananas in it.  Now, in turn, my freezer always has black, frozen bananas in it.  It’s a combination of the fact that I always have bananas laying around that don’t get eaten and the fact that I’m always intending to make banana bread.

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Banana bread is an easy, healthy snack that keeps for a few days and is appropriate any time of the day.  And, the recipe is very adaptable.  I used pecans, but you can use any nut.  Or, if you don’t like nuts, you can leave them out entirely and this is still a delicious bread.

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While I always use frozen bananas in this recipe, as a way to use and eat all the bananas we buy, you can absolutely use fresh bananas.  If you do decide to use frozen bananas, you can go ahead and chop them and mix them in while they’re frozen.  By the time you’re done adding in all the other ingredients, they’ll be thawed.

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Finally, I am going to take a last opportunity to plug silicon bakeware.  For cupcakes, bunt cakes, and loaves, this is really the best bakeware.  While I was making this, I was watching Ultimate Recipe Showdown on Food Network (a weekend favorite in the Rosemond-Hoerr household), and one woman was making bunt cakes.  She pulled the cake-removal off perfectly, but the stress that she (and the judges) had about that moment was palpable.  And totally avoidable, if you ask me.

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Banana Nut Bread

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

3 ripe bananas (frozen or fresh), diced

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped pecans (or other nut)

1 tsp salt

2 cups flour

Peel and dice your bananas, and chop your nuts.

One by one, whisk together the ingredients, in the order that they’re listed.

Bake at 400* for 60 minutes.  Let cool and serve.

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Damn Fine Gumbo

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This Christmas I also got a cookbook from my parents titled The Best of the Best from North Carolina.  As you can probably guess, it is a collection of recipes from North Carolina recipe books.  Browsing it on Christmas morning we had a few chuckles at recipe titles (Otis’s Dipsy-Doodle Cake, for instance), my father scoffed at the two brunswick stew recipes, and I got very excited about the possibilities.  My sister Lauren, had she had the opportunity, would have probably scoffed at the gumbo recipes.

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You see Lauren, North Carolinian that she is, has recently moved to New Orleans.  During school she lead a ton of service trips to the gulf for Katrina relief, and she loved it so much that after she graduated, she moved down there.  She is now a full fledged bourbon drinker, and I’m sure that her gumbo skills would blow mine out of the water.  Never-the-less, she is over a thousand miles away, so this weekend I made Beaufort Grocery’s Darn Fine Gumbo from my new recipe book.

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As you may well have realized, the 44th president, Barack Obama, is being inaugurated this weekend, just down the street from our Takoma Park apartment.  And while I initially had aspirations to see this historic election in person, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton’s warnings, the D.C. metro’s statistics, and the constant NPR and Washington Post reports about how gridlocked and insane the District is going to be this weekend made me rethink.  Not to mention that they are predicting that it will be very cold.  So, Dan and I decided that our best bet was to hunker down and get a front row view on MSNBC.

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And all hunkering down includes a plethora of food, so on top of other snacks, I decided a pot of something hot and slow cooked would be a good option for all day no schedule eating.  I skimmed my new cookbook, and was attracted by the ingredients (most of which I had on hand), and the proprietor.  I’m partial because Beaufort Grocery is catering my wedding.

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The only hitch was the title of their recipe.  You see, a childhood strip test revealed that I’m allergic to saying the word “darn” unless I’m mocking someone.  And even then I have a high risk of breaking out in hives.  Thankfully, I would categorize this gumbo as damn fine, and I think even Lauren would agree.

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Damn Fine Gumbo
Source: The Best of the Best from North Carolina, North Carolina’s Historic Restaurants and Their Recipes

4 pieces of bacon, chopped and fried

1/2 cup clarified butter

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

2 tbsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 tbsp gumbo file

1 cup flour

2 quarts chicken stock or water

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

1 cup chopped cooked sausage

8 ounces chopped okra

2 cups scallops

Dash of salt

2 tbsp tabasco

Cooked rice

Parsley to garnish

Fry bacon in the bottom of your pot, set the bacon aside.  Mix in the butter with the bacon grease.  Add green pepper, celery, and onion.  Saute until tender.  Add garlic and spices, and stir.  Mix in flour and stir continuously for five minutes.  Slowly add stock, and let simmer for twenty minutes.  Add chicken, sausage, bacon, and okra, then let simmer an additional fifteen minutes.  Add scallops and cook until they’re almost completely opaque.  Add salt and tabasco.

Serve over cooked rice, garnished with parsley sprigs.

Serves 8-12.

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