ruammit burger with cucumber drizzled with sesame-soy sauce

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Make this without a recipe.

I call it “ruammit burger” because ruammit in Thai means “mixed up together.”  my husband corrects me, “together with friends.” I suppose the ingredients are friendly, because they certainly complement one another! Just combine lean ground pork with lean ground chicken. The pork adds a little fat to the chicken and makes it tender rather than dry. Because I wanted to clean out my fridge, I added chopped cooked vegetables that were a bit soggy. Then, because they were soggy, I added a half cup of cooked red-and-brown rice to soak up the extra liquid. Then I added seasonings: a bit of ginger and garlic, some chopped Chinese celery (คื่นฉ่าย), chopped cilantro, a squirt of Sriracha, a dash of black pepper, salt, sesame oil, and fish sauce. Mix it all together and make into patties as wide as the palm of your hand. I grilled the patties in a skillet with a little rice bran oil, about 4 minutes per side on medium heat. For the vegetable side, I chopped up some fresh Holland cucumbers and drizzled a sesame-soy dressing on top. That’s it! No recipe necessary.

salmon burger with three kings

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The three kings! My fanciful name for three delicious dressings for this salmon burger: Sriracha mayo, Thai basil-cilantro sauce, and guacamole.They are a kingly taste indeed; spicy, sour, sweet, salty, and savory.

Salmon Burger (adapted from Skinnytaste)

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes

1 pound salmon steak, cut off the skin and bones
1/2 small red onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
2 teaspoons oil

Mince the salmon after it has been deskinned and deboned. Add the onion, garlic, bread crumbs and milk. In a small bowl, add the egg and beat lightly with a fork. Add the soy sauce and the fresh lime juice. Pour on the salmon mixture and combine. Pat gently into four patties.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Fry each patty for 4 minutes on one side, flip them over, and fry again for another 4 minutes. Serve on a bed of fresh arugula lettuce. The peppery leaves make a nice contrast with the salmon, which needs no spices, except for the following accompaniments:

Cilantro Mayo
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (I prefer full fat for the taste; low fat is very sweet)
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (more or less, to taste)
1 scallion, minced

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Thai Basil-Cilantro Sauce (adapted from The High Heel Gourmet)
1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed, chopped fine
1 cup cilantro, loosely packed, chopped fine
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 red chili with or without the seeds, or more to taste
1 scallion, chopped fine
1/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 -4 tablespoons sugar (1/4 cup in original recipe)
Water 1/4 cup
Juice of 1 lime

Boil vinegar, sugar and salt together until dissolved. Let it rest until cool.

Add the cooled syrup to the vegetables, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, water, and lime juice. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning. Add a little more sugar if too sour, or a little more salt or vinegar if too sweet. The taste should be tart. Refrigerate leftovers.

Guacamole
2 ripe avocados, mashed
1/3 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 red chile pepper, seeded and chopped, optional
Juice of 1-2 limes or to taste
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate leftovers.

 

arugula burger

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I put greens underneath this burger, inside it and beside it! When my children were little, I used to make a version of this with spinach called Popeye burgers. This is my low-calorie “healthy” burger made from lean ground pork and arugula or rocket salad as it’s known here, on top of grilled iceberg lettuce served with fresh guacamole on top of mixed salad. . In fact, any kind of greens can go inside the burger patty–spinach (called English spinach in Bangkok supermarkets), and pak khom or Thai spinach. I haven’t tried it but I bet chopped broccoli would be good too.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes or 5 minutes per side

1 lb lean ground meat (pork, chicken, or beef)
1 lb rocket salad or arugula, lightly sauteed and chopped coarsely
1 large egg well beaten
2 large cloves garlic, minced
fresh herbs such as thyme and basil
salt and pepper

iceberg lettuce
guacamole

In a medium bowl put the meat, rocket salad, egg, garlic, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and shape into 6 patties. Grill 2-5 minutes on each side.

I served it on top of a slice of grilled iceberg lettuce, and, on the side, some home made guacamole made with crushed avocado, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, scallion; seasoned with lime juice, salt and pepper. It was a simple and easy meal to make.

 

brown and wild rice turkey burgers with Tennessee-style cole slaw

Last weekend was beautiful. The sky was blue and the sun was shining. It was warm. We went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to walk down the Cherry Esplanade with hundreds of other people. I am glad we went last weekend because I’m sure there are no more blossoms left on the trees after today’s rain!

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It finally feels like spring! After we had such a long cold winter here in New York followed by an unusually cool spring, the weather got warm and beautiful enough to enjoy the cherry blossoms at the BBG. However, cherry blossoms have absolutely nothing to do with this next recipe! I found a recipe for wild rice turkey burgers in the South Beach Diet cookbook but I tweaked it a bit. It had a delicious nutty flavor from the wild rice and a tartness from the extra sharp Cheddar, which melted wonderfully as the meat cooked. So here we go:

brown and wild rice turkey burgers

Brown and Wild Rice Turkey Burgers

Prep time: 35 minutes (includes cooking time for rice in a rice cooker)
Cooking time: 16 minutes in the George Foreman grill

1 pound lean ground turkey (93% lean is recommended)
1 cup cooked brown and wild rice mixture, cooled slightly
1/4 cup tonkatsu sauce (I happened to have this on hand; use barbecue sauce if you prefer)
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon each)
4×1 inch cubes extra-sharp Cheddar Cheese

Do ahead: cook the rice ahead of time and let cool. I used a rice cooker.

For the next step, I used my George Foreman grill but you can do these patties in the oven or in the broiler.

In a large bowl, combine the meat, rice, sauce, egg, salt and pepper. Pack a half-cup measure with the meat mixture and unmold it onto a plate or a baking tray. Gently flatten the patty until it’s about 2 inches thick. Now this is where it’s fun: make a dent in the middle of the patty, but not so deep that you poke a hole all the way through. Insert a cheese cube in the dent and cover it over with meat. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture.

I grilled each patty in the George Foreman for 4 minutes. I tested the patty to see that it registered 165˚F on an instant read thermometer. Be sure not to insert the thermometer in the center or you will hit the cheese. Instead, go as close to the center as you can and be careful not to poke the thermometer all the way through. In any case, the patties were fully cooked in an average of four minutes per patty.

If you prefer, you can bake the patties at 350˚F for 10 minutes but it will not have a grilled appearance. You can achieve this by popping them in the broiler instead. Of course, you can also fry them on the stove. To cut calories, fry them on medium high heat after spraying the skillet with cooking spray.

To cut calories further, I dispensed with the bun and served each patty on a thick slice of grilled iceberg lettuce. No fries but roasted root vegetables, my favorite accompaniment to any grilled meat, and a delicious Tennesee-style cole slaw from saveur.com!

Tennessee-Style Mustard Coleslaw
SERVES 6
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
1⁄4 cup prepared yellow mustard
1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. celery seeds
1 medium head cabbage, shredded

I never know how much mustard to use when using dried powdered mustard. So I just put in enough powder in a one cup measure that I judged was to my taste–about 2 tablespoons–then added enough water to come up to the 1/4 cup level. Then I whisked the mustard with the mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and celery seeds in a bowl. Shred cabbage and toss with dressing in a large bowl. Chill until ready to serve. This cole slaw has a delicious “bite” from the mustard!

turkey burgers with sweet potato fries

Since I started working, we eat dinner later. We didn’t eat until 9 p.m. actually. I looked over my menu and saw the devil in the details, as they say! Though the recipes are simple, quick and easy, there are a lot of them.  And I am stubborn. I refuse to compromise my standards for fresh healthy food for the  convenience of  frozen meals and take-out. That said,  I found this recipe on Eating Well called Turkey Burgers with Mango Chutney. That was a coincidence because I had just found a recipe for chutney in Vegan on the Cheap. Tonight’s menu also included baked sweet potato fries. Now you see my problem… Easy yes, but quick, far from it!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste (I used Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning)

Preparation
Preheat oven 450˚F. Toss the potato rounds in oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 25 minutes or until done. While the fries are baking, make the mango chutney. This part is really easy!

Mango Chutney (adapted from Vegan on the Cheap)

Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced thinly or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water
1 medium ripe mango, peeled, sliced and cubed
1/2 cup dried fruit, such as apricots, chopped (I used raisins; no need to chop)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Preparation
In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeño, ginger, brown sugar, salt and water. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the mango and dried fruit or raisins, if using. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the vinegar. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes about 1 cup of chutney.

Turkey Burgers with Mango Chutney

Ingredients
1 16- to 20-inch-long baguette, preferably whole-grain (recommended: multi-grain baguette)
1 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, divided
1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
4 tablespoons mango chutney, divided
1 teaspoon salt or Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce

Preparation

  1. Preheat the grill to medium high. Cook’s Note: I used my George Foreman grill, grilling each patty 4 minutes.
  2. Finely chop 1/3 of the onion. In a medium bowl, put the turkey meat, chopped onions, 1 tablespoon mango chutney, and salt. Mix well and divide into four balls. Roll each ball into an elongated patty.
  3. Grill. Grill the onion rounds, if desired.
  4. Cut the baguette into four pieces. Slice each piece in half horizontally. Scoop out a trough in one side of the bread. Fill the trough with mango chutney. Put the patty on top with onions, lettuce, and more Everyday Seasoning, if desired. Since the bread is dry, I thought a spicy yogurt rémoulade (from the grilled fish tacos) should go on the other side of the bread. Here is the recipe, halved.

Spicy Yogurt Rémoulade

  • 1 cup fat-free Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Creole mustard, or grain mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha Hot Sauce
  • juice from 1/4 fresh lime
  • Salt, to taste

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve chilled.