Friday, 19 August 2016

Japanese Potato Salad

One of my most favourite side dishes at a barbecue is potato salad.  And it can be made a zillion different ways.

My preference is for a mostly creamy, slightly chunky version.  But I think is mostly stems from my penchant for mashed potatoes - I could eat mashed potatoes and gravy

When I made the California Roll Burgers, I wanted to do something a little outside the normal.  And when I came across this potato salad, I figured it would be perfect match.

Check the glorious ingredients.    

That's the veggie and egg part, but let's talk about the other important part.  The seasoning.  I definitely recommend getting your hands on Japanese (Kewpie) mayonnaise.  It's actually fairly easy to find (I pick mine up in Superstore).

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, rice vinegar, salt, and sugar.  This is going to get stirred into the potatoes once they're cooked and mashed to your desired consistency.

You're going to laugh now.  Things happened and I kind of was busy and forgot and then magically there was cooked, mashed potatoes and diced carrots and corn being stirred into them.

The cucumber is sliced thinly and salted and the excess water gets squeezed out of them.  Then they too get stirred into the potatoes.

Although the salad is slightly tedious - it's actually REALLY delicious.  Creamy, sweet, tangy, the veggies give it a lightness and a freshness that's really perfect in the midst of a heatwave.

If you happen to have Japanese Mayo on hand because you've made, say, California Roll Burgers - or you've been ambitious enough to make your own sushi from scratch, I would say that this potato salad should definitely be on your list of must-makes.

PS-  I LOVED that this recipe included the weights of each item.  It did my obsessive brain a favor.

Japanese Potato Salad
2 medium russet potatoes (400g)
1/2 medium carrot (80g)
1/2 fresh corn kernels (60g)
4 inches Japanese cucumber, thinly sliced (80g)
1 large egg
100g Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra sale for cucumber and potato

  1. Peel and cube carrot.
  2. Remove the husk and silk from corn.  Cut the corn kernels from the cob.
  3. Steam the carrot and corn until cooked through (about 8 to 10 minutes).  
  4. Place cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with salt to coat evenly.  Let sit for about 5 minutes, then squeeze as much excess water from the cucumber as possible.
  5. Hard boil egg and cut into pieces.  I like to place eggs in cold water and bring the water to a rapid boil.  Continue to boil for 10 minutes, then place the pot under running cold water to cool the eggs.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, and honey (and salt and pepper as desired). Whisk until smooth.
  7. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Put the potatoes into a medium sized pot and fill with water, about an inch above the potatoes.  Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.  Drain the water and mash until the potatoes have reached your desired consistency.  Keep in mind that they may break down further when mixing in the veggies and mayonnaise mixture.
  8. Stir in the mayonnaise mixture.
  9. Add in the carrots, cucumber, and the egg.  Stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper and additional mayonnaise as desired.
  10. Transfer the potato mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.
Source: Food 4 Tots

Friday, 12 August 2016

Oscar Style Burgers

There are burgers.  Then there are BURGERS. 

This is one of those occasions.  I don't really want to spoil it for you - so read on

First - of course, the bun and burger patty.  Followed by a few spears of grilled asparagus.

Followed by a whole lotta lobster.  This is about half a lobster.

And then the whole works is topped with a homemade béarnaise sauce.

Don't be shy.  Put it on there.

Oh gosh.  Oh glorious butter sauce.

And get ready to crush it.

Be prepared.  This UBER-fancy burger is monstrously high on the messy scale. You're going to want to make sure you have a ton of paper towels - you read that right, paper towels, napkins are simply not going to cut it.  And if you happen to have a couple of those little moist towelette packets laying around, I encourage you to have those on hand too.

So incredible and rich I could barely stand it.  The sauce so creamy and dreamy it was completely heavenly.

Of COURSE I ate two.  How could I not? 

If you happen to have some lobster kicking around and need something to do with it (although how often does THAT happen) that knocks your socks off, I definitely recommend doing this.

I love lobster.

Friday, 15 July 2016

The Southern Burger

Sometimes I make things and they are a major catastrophe.

It happens.  And I try not to read too much into it.  Occasionally, it's a bad or poorly written recipe (they exist!).  Sometimes it's just my lack of knowledge and skill.

Especially when it comes to ingredients or methods I've never seen or used before.

Like fried green tomatoes.  I mean - I've had them as an appetizer at a restaurant, but I've never been able to buy green tomatoes, let alone know what to do with them.

Luckily, I have an awesome co-worker who has a farm and gladly brings me all the fresh produce I can handle.  Like green tomatoes!

I'm sad to say - the first time around, the method/recipe I used was awful.  The tomatoes turned out soggy and tasted weird.  

But I KNEW this could be an AMAZING burger - so I forged ahead and tried again a few weeks later.

And then THIS gloriousness happened.

That cheesy saucy stuff.  That's pimento cheese.  Super easy to make and really delicious.

Topped with crispy fried green tomatoes.

If you're like me and you like to put onion rings on top of your burgers - this would totally be up your alley.

Isn't it beautiful?

My goodness.  If you're a regular visitor, you know I hold no pretenses about the quality of the pictures.  I do my best - but you don't get the gorgeous, glossy, well-styled pictures often found on other food blogs. 

But this day.  I don't know really what happened this day.  The stars just aligned I guess.

Back to the point.  The burger, topped with a flavorful, creamy, homemade pimento cheese, then topped AGAIN with crispy on the outside, tender on the inside fried green tomatoes.  With extra pimento cheese on the bun just because.  It really needed no other adornments or accoutrements.

The pimento cheese is fantastic and would be awesome hot or cold - maybe on a roast beef sandwich.  I pretty much wanted to slather it on everything.  

The method I used is this one from Allrecipes. Though I cut them into 1/4-inch thick slices instead of their recommended 1/2-inch thick slices.  I heated the oil temperature to 350 degrees and cooked for about 6 minutes in total, flipping halfway through and just watching to make sure they don't get over-brown.

I hope you enjoy this Southern inspired burger as much as I did!

xoxo - Heather

The Southern Burger
1 recipe hamburger patties
1 recipe hamburger buns
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces white horseradish cheddar
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 roasted red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/4 - 1/3 light mayo
4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (or buttermilk)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Make the pimento cheese:  Shred the cheddar and horseradish cheddar.  Mix together in the bowl of a food processor and remove a handful of cheese (set aside).  (you could also use the grater blade of the food processor)
  2. Put the processor's chopping blade in place and add the Worcestershire, garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper, the red bell pepper, and the mayo.  Process together for 8 - 10 seconds or until it starts to come together.
  3. Add the remaining cheese and pulse together once or twice until mixed in, but not pulverized.  Transfer into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Make the fried green tomatoes:  Start heating the vegetable oil in a deep heavy pot to 350 degrees F.
  5. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. 
  6. In a medium bowl or pie plate, add the eggs and milk.  Whisk together.
  7. On a plate with high sides or pie plate, stir to combine the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
  8. Ready and cook the tomatoes in batches of 4 - 5 slices.  You don't want to crowd the tomatoes in the oil or they won't cook properly.
  9. First, dredge both sides of the tomato in the flour.  Then coat both sides with the egg/milk mixture.  Then dredge both sides of the tomato into the cornmeal mixture.  Set aside until the other 4 slices are coated.
  10. Gently place the coated tomatoes in the hot oil.  Cook for 2.5 - 3 minutes, flip over and continue cooking another 2.5 - 3 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Keep slices warm in a 220 degree F oven until ready to serve.
  12. Burger assembly:  Bottom bun, burger patty, melty pimento cheese (I slathered a bunch on while the patties were still on the bbq), two or three tomatoes, more cheese on the top bun!  Devour.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Beach House Burgers

I'm going to be honest with you.

I've never really been a Surf 'n Turf girl.  Give me one or the other.  I think I probably felt this way because I didn't think beef and seafood ever really married well.

But, as of late, my mind has been changed.  Maybe it was the California Roll Burger.  Maybe it was the Burgers Oscar (which still have to make an appearance!  Stay tuned for that!).  Maybe it was these delightful Beach House Burgers.

Either way.  I'm now a converted Surf 'n Turf girl.  Sweet lobster or crab paired with a juicy, beefy steak.  I'm in for that.

This burger though.  Shrimp salad on top of a seasoned beef patty with cheese, lettuce, and mayo.


For the patties.  I followed my standard burger recipe and then seasoned both sides with Old Bay Seasoning (LOVE that stuff).

Top with a slice of cheddar cheese, mayo, and lettuce.

Then top with this AMAZING shrimp salad.  Very, very simple to throw together.  Cooked shrimp, green onions, celery, fresh tarragon (feel free to leave this out if you choose), Old Bay Seasoning, mayo, salt and pepper, juice from half a lemon.

Mine seemed to be fairly runny, but I was totally fine with that.  (it might have been excess water from the onions or celery, or maybe just a tad too much lemon juice)

See why I've been converted?

This was literally the PERFECT surf 'n turf burger. And the shrimp salad was so scrumptious, we ate the leftovers out of the bowl.  Good grief I need better lighting.  These were so much more beautiful in person!

The shrimp would also make a DIVINE seafood melt....  If you were so inclined.  (I'm thinking a mix of cheddar and monterey jack shredded)

If we weren't so busy trying out all kinds of different burgers, this one would be making a fairly regular appearance on Sunday.

xoxo - Heather