Grilling Menu: Stuffed Jalapeno-Cheddar Burgers and Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

Made these tonight, always a great way to grill a burger.

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

I make these all the time because they really are easy and a great way to have a cheeseburger without losing half the cheese to the grill. And the sweet potato cajun fries are the perfect sweet, spicy combo.  Grill some peaches, pears or plums and dinner is done. Enjoy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers
  2. Kaiser Rolls
  3. Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Grilled Sweet Corn  (pull husks back, clean off silk, wash, pull husks up & grill-yum!)
  5. Plums

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Convection Roasted Chicken

Dinner is Served

After asking for and receiving some excellent advice on how to use my new convection oven, I decided to jump in and test it out. Roasting a chicken seemed like the most logical choice. If I ruined it, I could turn it into chicken salad. Sonoma Chicken Salad to be exact, found here.

This time of year, recipes seem superfluous – farm fresh corn, zucchini from my garden and sliced tomatoes need little embellishment. But I do have Tomato-Pasta Salad, here, that changes up the usual flavors.

For dessert, those plums needed to be used, so I went with a Plum Crumble (or as my cousin christened it, Plumble), recipe here. I used the convection feature,  which helped the crisp brown evenly. Bonus Bixby inspecting the plums here.

I don’t have any recipes from JeffreyW this week, but that could because this guy is keeping him busy:

DSC_5514(1600x1200)

That’s the most adorable, Gabe, getting himself into a bit of trouble. I am looking forward to seeing how JeffreyW’s figs turn out, hopefully abundant enough for homemade fig newtons. But if not, just fresh off the tree. I love figs! Photos of his fig progression are here.

What’s on your menu this weekend as summer winds down? My grapes are starting to ripen, and of course I’m overrun with plums, so does anyone have some good plum or concord grape recipes they want to share? What else is cookin’ tonight?

Chicken's Done

Tonight’s featured recipe is pretty simple, since what I wanted was to test out how the convection oven treated my ingredients. I started with a local chicken, zucchini from my garden, potatoes from my dad’s garden and local corn.

I mixed together 2 tbsps of butter with dried, crushed rosemary and basil, along with crushed garlic and rubbed it under and over the skin of the chicken. I then rubbed more of the herbs and garlic inside  the cavity.

I put the chicken and the sliced potatoes into the roasting pan. I roasted them at 425 degrees, until the breast meat registered at 165 degrees and the thighs at 170 degrees. The high temperature, combined with the convection created a crisp skin that quickly sealed in the juices. Total cooking time was one hour for a five pound bird.

Convection Oven Roasting

I added the sliced zucchini about 15 minutes before the chicken was about to come out of the oven, so everything finished up nicely. The corn was microwaved for two minutes an ear (for a total of six minutes) with the husks on. If I had been more confident with my oven skills, I would have popped the ears into the oven just a bit before the zucchini and roasted them in the husks.

I am over the moon with what the convection feature can do – the potatoes were perfectly roasted, the chicken crisp and moist, the zucchini tender. The flavors were great and the herbs really permeated the meat.

That’s it for this week. I’m sitting here watching the welcome rainstorm drench my very thirsty yard, while contemplating my long list of things to do this weekend. Have a great weekend! – TaMara



 

Plum Crumble

Plums

What to do with all those plums? We’ve been eating as many as possible and I’m thinking of freezing some more. If frozen, this recipe is the perfect way to use them.

Plum crumble

Plum Crumble

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 oz chopped pecans or almonds
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 cups plums, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ tsp ginger

8×8 baking dish, greased

bowl

In bowl, cut together ½ cup sugar, brown sugar, 1 cup flour, oatmeal, cinnamon & butter until crumbly. In greased baking dish, spread crushed nuts on the bottom and drizzle with melted butter. Mix together orange juice, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp flour and ginger. Toss gently with fruit and spread over nuts. Top with crumbled mixture and bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. Top should be golden and filling bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving to let fruit set.



 

Plumtastic!

Plum harvest day 3

So my two little ornamental plums have provided quite the harvest this year. Clearly no one told them they are not supposed to produce fruit. This is day three, still quite a few even after I invited my neighbors over to pick as many as they liked.

Bixby Inspects Harvest

Bixby must inspect everything, though so far he doesn’t seem to have a taste for plums. There are at least twice as many up higher in the trees (though they really are small trees) and I don’t have it in me to get the ladder out and pick more. Next year there will be plum jam. This year, the plum fairy may be leaving gifts on the unsuspecting’s doorsteps.

Speaking of no energy – I don’t have it in me to do the recipes tonight – maybe tomorrow…



 

Dinner Menu: Stuffed Burgers and Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

Thought it was time for some end-of-summer burgers. I make these all the time because they really are easy and a great way to have a cheese burger without losing half the cheese to the grill. And the sweet potato cajun fries are the perfect sweet, spicy combo.  Grill some plums or peaches and dinner is done. Enjoy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers
  2. Kaiser Rolls
  3. Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Raw Vegetable Tray
  5. Plums

Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers

Stuffed Burger Final

Ingredients for each burger:

  • 4 oz ground beef
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed garlic (opt)
  • 1 oz sharp cheddar, sliced thin
  • 2 or more slices of pickled jalapenos

Mix salt, pepper and garlic into the ground beef. Form two, 2-oz patties. Place jalapenos on one burger, cheese on the other.

Prep2

Place the two sides together and seal the edges completely. Gently flatten the burger, but be careful because you don’t want the cheese busting out of the center.

Prep1a

The key to grilling or frying these is low and slow. Medium heat seals them and allows the cheese to melt without drying the burger out. I flipped at the 5 minute mark, but depending on the heat, 3-4 minutes may be enough to flip. They’re thin, so the beef cooks quickly, but you want to make sure the cheese melts. I would say minimum 4 minutes per side.

If cheese starts to leak out, flip and flip again as needed. DON’T press down on these burgers while you grill, you’ll have a cheesy mess.

Now the warning. Did I say WARNING? Yes I did. You’ll need to rest these burgers to let the cheese cool a bit. Otherwise you could be biting into a scalding cheese center. You’ve been WARNED.

That’s the basics, now let your imagination run wild. Maybe I should have titled this, How To Stuff A Wild Burger.

Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

large bowl or baking dish and baking sheet

Cut potatoes into quarters lengthwise, then cut each quarter into 2 or 3 lengthwise slices. In bowl, toss with remaining ingredients and place in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, turn and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown outside and tender inside.

Plums

If you grilled the burgers you can also grill the plums. Slice in half, remove the pits and grill over low heat

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar or jalapeno jack
  • sliced jalapenos (I use pickled)
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 4 large Kaiser rolls
  • Favorite raw vegetables
  • Vegetable dip
  • 4 to 8 plums

Also: cumin, Cajun spice, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, crushed garlic

==========================

Nectarine Plum Crumble

This is a great late summer, early fall dessert.  Fill in between peach time and apple time.

Photo from Food and Wine

Nectarine-Plum Crumble

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 oz chopped pecans or almonds
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 Santa Rosa plums, peeled, sliced
  • 4 nectarines, sliced
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ tsp ginger

9×9 baking dish, greased

bowl

In bowl, cut together ½ cup sugar, brown sugar, 1 cup flour, oatmeal, cinnamon & butter until crumbly. In greased baking dish, spread crushed nuts on the bottom and drizzle with melted butter. Mix together orange juice, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp flour and ginger. Toss gently with fruit and spread over nuts. Top with crumbled mixture and bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. Top should be golden and filling bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving to let fruit set.

 

Thursday Night Menu: End of Summer Grilling Edition

StripedDress

Once again I’m playing hooky on a Thursday. It’s been a stressful few weeks and I’m lucky enough to have good friends who want to go out and play hooky, too. Today I remembered to put together the menu before I took off.

Since it’s been such a crazy week I wanted something simple for the menu tonight. But, just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not tasty. And we gotta get those last few weekends of grilling in before summer ends. If you’re up for adventure, you can try grilling the sweet potatoes on the grill, wrapped in foil or placed in a grilling basket. Also, for those who have requested it, I am working on a Tapas menu, just needs some testing before it goes up. Maybe in the next two weeks or so I’ll post it. Something to look forward to. If anyone else has other requests for menus, let me know, it’s always more fun if I have to go on a scavenger hunt to prep a menu.  And a final update:  my tomatoes are still not ripe.  They sit there, abundant and green, mocking me.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cheesy Burgers
  2. Kaiser Rolls
  3. Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Raw Vegetable Tray
  5. Plums

Cheesy Burgers

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar or jalapeno jack
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 green onions, chopped (opt)
  • ¼ cup diced tomatoes (opt)

large bowl

In bowl, mix together all ingredients until well blended. Make 4 patties, create a hole in the middle of each patty, like a doughnut and then flatten. This will help the burgers cook faster and keep the cheese from burning. Lightly oil your grill, broiler or skillet (to keep cheese from sticking) and cook over medium heat, until cooked through (time will depend on thickness of burgers and temperature).

Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

large bowl or baking dish and baking sheet

Cut potatoes into quarters lengthwise, then cut each quarter into 2 or 3 lengthwise slices. In bowl, toss with remaining ingredients and place in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, turn and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown outside and tender inside.

Plums

If you grilled the burgers you can also grill the plums. Slice in half, remove the pits and grill over low heat

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar or jalapeno jack
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 4 large Kaiser rolls
  • Favorite raw vegetables
  • Vegetable dip
  • 4 to 8 plums

Also: cumin, Cajun spice, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, crushed garlic

Two Sangrias

Photo from Food Network

One of my favorite movies is Tortilla Soup.  I mean it has Hector Elizondo and beautiful food.  And Raquel Welch, camping it up.  What’s not to love?  You know the food is an important cast member when the food and menu designers are listed first in the credits.   I was watching it the other weekend and there it was, on the table, a big pitcher of  Sangria and my first thought was, I need to find a recipe for Sangria to share.  So off I went, looking for a simple, tasty recipe.  I haven’t made Sangria in a long time, but it might be time to whip up a pitcher.  I’m going to a family reunion next month, might be the perfect time.

This Sangria recipe is pretty traditional.  The next one is a blend of very different flavors.  Both are easy to double for a big party.

Sangria

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges
  • 1 orange cut into wedges
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Splash of orange juice or lemonade
  • 2 shots of gin or triple sec (optional)
  • 1 cup of raspberries or strawberries (may use thawed or frozen)
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 4 Cups ginger ale

Pour wine into a large pitcher and squeeze the juice  from the lemon, orange and lime into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and pineapple then add sugar, orange juice and gin. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale, berries and ice just before serving. If you need to serve right away, use chilled red wine and serve over lots of ice. Best Sangrias are chilled around 24 hours in the frig. – allowing the flavors to really macerate.

And from Rachel Ray – a bit of twist, peaches, plums and a touch of cinnamon:

Sunset Sangria

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (3 splashes) spiced dark rum
  • 3 tablespoons orange liqueur
  • 1 navel orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
  • 3 ripe plums, cut into wedges
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 bottle Rioja
  • Sparkling soda water, for topping off glasses of sangria at table

Combine sugar, rum, orange liqueur, fruits, and cinnamon sticks in a large pitcher. Cover with 1 bottle of wine and chill sangria several hours.   To serve, spoon fruits into glasses or goblets and pour over spiced wine. Top glasses of sangria off with a splash of soda water