Baby Kale with Peaches and Jalapeño Dressing

This was the final weekend of my summer classes so I can start studying for the CPA exams. I didn’t need to take anything in particular, so QuickBooks and Nutrition it is. I’ll let you guess which was more entertaining. We had three books to read in Nutrition—Fast Food Nation [Eric Schlosser], Food Fight [Daniel Imhoff], and In Defense of Food [Michael Pollan]—all of which I’ve been meaning to read. I mostly liked them all in some form or another. I also managed to squeeze in Eat Pretty [Jolene Hart] and VB6 [Mark Bittman] for fun. Call it over achieving; call it a new genre of books I like. Either way, I like it. Have you read any of them? I find them fascinating, if a bit preachy at times, but they often present new information to chew on [PUN!]. I think about food a lot, but I don’t always thinking about it in political or it’s nutritional sense, so it’s a nice change of pace.

The summer of the salads lives on despite it being September 1stAs long as summer keeps bringing me fresh produce, I’ll keep eating it. It’s meant to have mache, which apparently is known by other names such as Lamb’s lettuce and corn salad. I had my eye on the mache at the fridge one day, went back a few days later, and it was gone. Instead of making something else entirely, I went with baby kale. Not exactly what the recipe had in mind, I’m sure, but it worked. You basically want something tender, yet hardy, to stand up to this potentially spicy-as-hell dressing. I hit the jalapeño jackpot with this dressing. I feel like I can go weeks with less than spicy stuff and then *BAM* melt your face. This was bordering on melt your face. I should really learn to taste test before I toss them in, but I don’t. Ever. Playing Russian roulette with peppers. I live on the edge.

Thankfully the creaminess of the mayo [or creme fraiche] and the avocado help tame the spice. The peach is the right amount of sweet. The feta comes in with a salty and pungent change of pace, and it’s just generally dang delicious. The lentils are really just there for added protein and fiber, and mostly because I seem to be doing that a lot lately. Summer of salads and lentils, I suppose.

If you’re going to take the extra step and boil down the fresh orange juice, please please please pay attention to it. It goes from super liquid to a sticky orange toffee consistency really quickly and generally when you stop paying attention. Story of my life.

Inspiration: Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients

  • juice from 1 medium orange [or half cup of orange juice]
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 shallot, quartered
  • pinch of sea salt
  • handful of cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mayo or creme fraiche
  • 5-6 cups mache or baby kale
  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • 2 peaches, sliced
  • 1/2 cup lentils, cooked and cooled
  • 2oz crumbled feta cheese

Preparation

Simmer the orange juice in a small pan until it reduces a bit. Char the jalapeño until it’s blackened all over [I used my gas stove top]. Peel the charred bits off and chop. In a blender or food processor, add the ingredients from the orange juice to the mayo/creme fraiche. Blend until smooth. Taste for additional salt or mayo to soothe the potential heat.

In a large bowl, toss the greens with the dressing. This will likely be more dressing than you need, so start small. Layer with the avocado, peaches, and lentils. Toss gently before serving into a plate. Top with feta before serving.

Drunken Noodles with Chicken

Like I mentioned before, I’m kind of on a Thai food kick thanks to Sen Yai Noodles. It’s even got us talking about going back to Asia next year. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it’s really fun to think about.

When I go to places like Sen Yai, Chiang Mai, or Tarad, I’m ordering something out of the ordinary from a typical Thai restaurant menu. I’ll eat kuaytiaw khua kai [wide rice noodles stir-fried in rendered pork fat with chicken, cuttlefish, egg, and gren onions served on chopped lettuce] or pad naem woon sen [naem sour pork sausage and marinated ground pork stir-fried with woon sen noodles, egg, tomato, garlic, Thai chili,onion and green onion topped with cilantro]. Other places? Pad kee mao or drunken noodles. 97% of the time that’s what I’m going to order. Medium spice. Unless it’s from Baan Thai downtown. Then it’s mild plus at best. They use the freshest, hottest chilies I’ve ever had in a Thai dish which can be a death sentence if you’re not careful. Luckily they vet you pretty hard if you order anything above a medium.

I never make drunken noodles because I can hardly find the wide rice noodles without going to a specialty market. It’s always pad thai or vermicelli. I gave into the call to make it even with the wrong noodles though. Blame the bag of frozen shrimp. It made me do it. It still tastes like drunken noodles despite the smaller noodles. I think I’m mostly okay with it, but I still prefer the wider ones. If I ever get my hands on some again, I’m stocking up. I couldn’t find the thicker soy sauce the original recipe recommended, so I picked up hoison for the first time. I couldn’t even describe to you what it tastes like before I bought it even though I’m pretty sure I’ve had it a few times. Even still, it’s hard to describe. It’s like soy but more complex. That’s about as descriptive as I can get.

PS – I’m in the market for a new wok. Any suggestions? I’m looking at something like this or this.

Inspiration: Lollipopsicle

Ingredients

  • 12oz rice noodles soaked in warm water for 10-12 minutes until tender then drained
  • 2 tablespoons hoison or thick soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 eggs, whisked in a bowl
  • 1 large chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed

Preparation

Preheat a large skillet on medium high heat. While it heats up, whisk together the hoison, soy, oyster, fish and Sriracha in a small bowl. Add the canola oil to the hot skillet. Add the garlic and shallot, stirring to coat in oil and cooking until lightly browned. Add the chicken and cook until mostly cooked through. Add eggs and stir to scramble. Stir in the shrimp. Cook for about two minutes before adding the remaining ingredients, including the noodles. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the noodles are reheated and starting to get crispy in spots.

Pork Fajita Loaded Baked Potato

If I ate a baked potato every time I wanted one, I would eat them a lot.

Impatience is usually the culprit behind the lack of baked potatoes because who has time to roast one properly? I don’t. I’m also the worst meal planner of all time. Maybe someday that will change. Until then, I much prefer choosing what to eat on a whim, fully catering to what I’m feeling right at the moment. Sometimes that’s good [hello Sen Yai Noodles, I’m looking at you] and sometimes it’s a pain. That’s when I end up mindlessly throwing together whatever I can find in the pantry [like the time I boiled some pasta and tried to make a pseudo-carbonara which really turned into some weird gummy noodles and scrambled egg and red chile flakes which was…gross].

You can microwave a potato to get the same baked-potatoesque qualities [guilty as charged], but it’s really not the same. The skin usually ends up leathery and the innards a little dry.

Taking the time to bathe the skin in olive oil and sea salt, wrap them in foil, and slow roast them in an oven or on the grill makes such a difference that they really shouldn’t be allowed be called the same thing. The flesh is so steamed and fluffy, the skin so tender and salty. It’s pretty much an experience and a half.

I wanted the potato to be the star of the show when I finally decided I would take the time to make one, so loading it up seemed like the only real option to do the potato justice. So load it up, I did. Pork and fajita vegetables aren’t exactly a common occurrence, but it seemed to make sense. Realistically I just wanted the potato and guacamole, the rest was just an excuse. We happened to have a little queso fresco on hand to go with the Mexican-inspired potato, so I highly suggest getting some if you can. That salty, creamy cheese melts like butter into that potato flesh.

I’m going to try and not wait so long before having my next baked potato, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Ingredients

  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 1/2lb ground pork
  • 1 red [or any color] bell pepper, seeds and white flesh removed, cut into strips
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced into strips about the same as the pepper
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • guacamole
  • queso fresco, shredded

Preparation

Preheat your oven or the grill to about 400°. Scrub the potatoes under fresh cool water. Stab the potato all over with a knife. Cover the potatoes in a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Wrap them in aluminum foil. Place in the oven or on the grill. Bake for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of the potato. The flesh should be easily pierced by a fork or butter knife.

When the potatoes are nearly done, brown the ground pork. Use a skillet on about medium heat and sprinkle the pork with the red pepper flakes. Once the pork is cooked through, remove from the pan. Leave the grease in there and add the onions and peppers. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, really letting the onions darken and get soft. The vegetables will soak up the pork grease like a champ. Return the pork to the pan. Stir to combine.

When the potatoes are done, remove them from the heat source and allow them to cool a bit so you can actually touch the aluminum foil to take it off. Slice the potato with a butter knife to open. Scoop the fajita filling into the opening. Top with shredded queso fresco and guacamole. Serve.

Chicken Chorizo Frittata

Let’s talk breakfast. I definitely don’t make it that much. Well, on the weekends. I eat it every day of the work week, but it’s nothing usually blog-worthy these days. I’ve been slathering this new [to mepumpkin seed butter on toast with hemp hearts and sliced banana sprinkled with cinnamon. I had no idea this nut butter existed. It’s made locally, just north of here, but it hides in the refrigerated section of the store near the cookie dough. I don’t even know how I found it, but I’m glad I did.

Weekends are usually a time for breakfast burritos or bagels at Grindhouse down the street. I don’t even think about making anything. Half of the time I don’t have anything in the house to make. I’ve already had the same thing for the last five mornings, I really don’t need it for another day or two. The other half of the time I’m already hungry and don’t want to go to the store like that. It’s dangerous!

I did have some foresight one evening when I was shopping for dinner ingredients on a Thursday or Friday night to pick up what I needed for a frittata. I rekindled my love for them while in Spain. Between frittatas and tortilla española, my egg consumption increased 10x in that three week period. Totally okay with that. Since I never seem to make it to the farmers market [or if I do on Wednesdays during work, it’s to eat a salad or a wood fired slice of pizza from Tastebud], I’m thankful New Seasons stocks some Portland eggs. They just taste better. I tried to deny it for a long time, but seriously, worth the extra couple of dollars.

Frittatas are almost too easy. I’m always scared I’m going to burn it or overcook it, but I don’t. Either I’m awesome, or it’s just fool-proof. Probably both. They’re forgiving. They accept just about anything into their eggy interiors. The combinations are virtually endless. I’ve been on a chorizo kick lately [again, thanks Spain] so that’s what I gravitated towards — a subtly spicy chorizo that’s more flavor than heat, a whole sautéed onion, and wilted spinach for color. Green onions were tossed on last minute and there may have been some parmesan grated over the top. It was really delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb chicken chorizo
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • Green onions, optional
  • Shredded cheese and/or hot sauce for serving

Preparation

Heat an oven proof skillet on medium heat. Brown the chicken chorizo, breaking it up into little pieces. While it cooks, whisk together the eggs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.  When the chorizo finishes cooking, remove from the pan and set aside. Leave the grease in the pan and add the onion and garlic. Stir often so the garlic doesn’t burn. After the onion softens, it’ll be about five minutes or so, add the spinach and chorizo to the pan. Stir to incorporate everything before pouring the egg mixture. Tip and tilt the pan as necessary to get egg to cover the whole pan. Don’t touch anything and let the bottom cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn the broiler on. Place the whole pan into the oven and broil for 3-5 minutes. The top should be completely set and starting to brown a bit. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with green onions and cheese before serving.

Garlic Shrimp and White Beans

Welcome to the second installment of “That time I bought two pounds of frozen shrimp to only use eight of them with those chorizo burgers.”

Apparently I only like to eat shrimp with garlic since that seems to be the recurring theme. I found this recipe in the Bon Appétit [surprise, surprise] and knew it would be the perfect excuse to use some more of those shrimp. Right after I made them, I found this recipe of shrimp and grits and I wish I’d made it instead. I mean, c’mon, it has an egg! That would have been heavenly oozing all over those grits. Next time.

The beans were really good. Pretty sure they’re way healthier than a bunch of cream and corn anyway, so there’s that. I wanted the beans to be spicier, and I couldn’t find chiles de arbol to save my life. I went with something else entirely which escapes me at the moment. The smoked paprika really brings everything together into something that doesn’t taste inherently Italian, which tends to happen to me when I’m playing with a tomato based sauce like this. You can get a can of diced tomatoes to save yourself some time, but since it is tomato season after all, I went with some fresh ones. Slow cooking them until they breakdown is so, so heavenly.

Broiling does wonders at cooking the shrimp in a way that doesn’t turn them into rubber. That’s my absolute fear when cooking shrimp, so don’t get distracted. It only takes about 3-4 minutes to get them done. Grill some bread when you’re done since you already have the broiler on.

Inspiration: Bon Appétit

Ingredients

  • 1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined [let them thaw if you use frozen]
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cans of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 chiles de arbol
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt, pepper
  • grilled bread for serving

Preparation

In a small bowl, add the shrimp, two tablespoons of olive oil, 2 cloves worth of minced garlic, and the paprika. Use your hands [or a spoon] to mix together, coating all of the shrimp. Let sit while you prepare the bean mixture.

Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil on medium heat in a skillet that’s safe to throw into the oven. Add the remaining garlic, chiles, and bay leaf. Stir often for about two minutes so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the chopped tomatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, smashing the tomatoes with the back of your spoon as they cook. Keep cooking until they breakdown. It should take about five minutes.

Add the tomato paste. Stir until incorporated. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes so it can darken in color. Add the beans and simmer until the mixture thickens. Turn the broiler on high. Spread the shrimp mixture on top of the beans in an even layer. Place in the oven for about three minutes until the shrimp are cooked through. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parsley before serving.

 

Salmon Snap Pea Risotto

Burger Week is going strong. I haven’t binged been as dedicated as some. One burger a day is enough for me. There’s only been the one photo because it’s usually too dark. So far I’ve been to North Light, Double Barrel, Club 21, and Tilt. Tilt ran out of the $5 burger before we got there, and I didn’t want to hold out on my hunger any longer, so we ate there. Even though it wasn’t one of the burgers it’s still a burger. North Light’s burger stuffed with cheese curds and Double Barrel’s pimento cheese and fresh jalapeños were so, so good. Club 21 had a solid, traditional burger [gouda and onion ring!] and their grill master had medium rare on lock. Tilt was awesome as usual. So many burgers left and so little time!

This risotto was something I drummed up while on a salmon kick. I really really really really want to love salmon in a can, but I really have to dress it up to make it not taste like canned salmon. It just isn’t the same as the fresh stuff. I don’t know if that’s because I grew up on the fresh stuff or what, but I love canned tuna and fresh tuna equally. They’re different, but I like them. Canned salmon is just okay for me. I think part of it is always having to pick out the bones. It drives me crazy and makes me paranoid. I know they’re cooked down and you can eat them, but I freak out a little bit if I get an unexpected little crunch while eating.

I dumped the cans of salmon into a bowl and went fishing for bones for a few minutes before going any further. It helped. A lot. The bright, crisp snap peas also helped give the dish a crunch so in the event I might have missed one, it would blend right in. Baking it is the lazy man’s risotto, and I’m all about it [never mind it’s been nearly three years since I’ve last made some]. You can add just about whatever you want into it. If you want to use some other meat, I’d probably cook it first. Top it all off with parsley and a bunch of shredded cheese, and it’s dinner without a whole lot of work.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1lb snap peas, ends trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cans of salmon
  • parsley, chopped
  • parmesan cheese, shredded

 Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.  If you have a large oven proof pan with high walls that you can sauté in, use that. Otherwise start with a skillet of some kind, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add onion and garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir often to keep the garlic from burning. Add the Arborio rice, salmon, and snap peas and sauté until the grains appeared to be slightly translucent.

Transfer the rice mixture to an oven proof dish if it isn’t already in one. Stir in stock. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the rice is tender, and the stock is evaporated. Set aside, covered, for five minutes. To serve, top with parmesan, chopped parsley. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

Philly Cheesesteak Stromboli

Apparently when I decide I want to make pizza, everyone else decides they want to make pizza. While I can definitely make my own, it’s just easier to go across the street. I’ve come to the realization that I have to go check the pizza dough stock first before I start grabbing all of the toppings. I’d say 50% of the time they’re out, and I have to either resort to ordering a pizza or switching gears entirely to pasta or something since it’s the easiest way to utilize the same pizza toppings. Realistically I could start the dough before I even go to the store, and it would be ready by the time I got back, but that never seems to cross my mind until I’m back [or sitting here writing a blog post]. Funny.

I’m all for a little food sacrilege sometimes. I’m sure the pho-rench dip [a french dip served vietnamese style with pho broth for dipping] I ate at Lardo the other night counts. I’m sure eating half of my burrito before using the rest of the tortilla as a bowl and forking out the contents counts, too. I really don’t care so long as it tastes good. It keeps things interesting.

Case in point — this stromboli. Bring on the Philly cheesesteak contents. It’s beefy. It’s cheesy. It has all you could love about a cheesesteak with marginally less bread than you’d get from a sandwich. It’s less messy, too. It’s practically a fool-proof process [especially after last time’s meltdown]. I made sure to roll it out a little thicker, and do it on the Silpat/pan so I didn’t have to worry about trying to move it too far. It’s still not pretty, but it does taste good.

Inspiration: Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 1 ball of pizza dough
  • 1/2 pound of deli sliced roast beef, cut into bite sized pieces.
  • 1/4 pound provolone cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 pound American cheese, shredded
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 8oz sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

If your dough has been refrigerated, bring it out to rest while you cook up the vegetables.

In a large skillet, heat the butter on medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms. Add a healthy pinch of salt and stir to combine. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the mushrooms darken and start to release their moisture. Add the bell pepper. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out the pizza dough into a large rectangle on top of a Silpat or a piece of parchment. Spread the cheese evenly over the dough. Top with the roast beef. Add the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Taking the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough up like a cinnamon roll. Pinch the seam to gather and close the ends. Slice the top with a knife so steam can escape.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and a tablespoon of water. Brush on top of the stromboli. Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it set for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pesto Chicken and Grape Tomato Skewers

I have to say I’ve never made pesto. I’ve always wanted to. I bookmark recipes for it all the time, especially when they’re non-traditional with things like arugula and pistachios. Yet, I never make it. They sit on the list, then I eventually delete them because I know deep down that I’m probably not going to make it. The fridge New Seasons makes fresh stuff for me, so why would I bother?

It’s almost just as surprising that I made my own skewers when New Seasons has those, too. I buy them more often than not when we’re on a “grill something served with salad” dinner spree. I make skewers so often that I forgot I already bought a package of bamboo skewers. They were buried in the back of the pantry. I guess one can never have too many skewers.

Have you ever had a grilled tomato? Specifically a grilled grape tomato. They get soft and sweet and are ready to burst [assuming they didn’t already] on the grill. Then, when sandwiched between chunks of juicy chicken covered in pesto, they are elevated to some god-like level. It’s unexplainable, so don’t try. Just eat.

For the side, I sautéed some zucchini ribbons in a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Finished it with drizzle of truffle oil. YUM. 

PS – I soak my bamboo skewers while I’m making up the other ingredients. Supposedly this helps them from catching on fire. I thought about buying metal ones, but that seems like a recipe for me burning the hell out of myself.

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken breasts
  • 1 jar of pesto
  • 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 8-10 bamboo skewers

Preparation

Soak your bamboo skewers in water. Cut up your chicken breasts into uniform, bite-sized pieces. This will help them cook better. Place the cut pieces into a bowl and pour the pesto all over them. Use your hands to make sure every piece is coated. Let them sit for approx. 10-15 minutes [or more if you have the time]. I sliced my zucchini ribbons in the meantime.

Set up a station that to put all of this together. Thread a piece of chicken onto the skewer followed by a grape tomato. Repeat until the skewer is full. I was getting four pieces of chicken and three tomatoes. Highly dependent on the size of your chicken pieces. Repeat until you use up everything. Try not to lick your fingers. Y’know, raw chicken.

Preheat your grill to a medium high heat. Lay them on. Don’t touch for about four minutes before rotating. Cook for an additional four minutes. Remove from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. Serve.

Lentil Salad with Arugula and Currants

If last year was the summer of burgers [or pizza, let’s be honest], this seems to be the summer of salads with homemade dressings. I’m up to five or six so far this year. I’m sure it’s not over yet. I think it has to do with how hot it’s been lately. Hot meals pale in comparison to a fresh, bright salad and some grilled meats.

This was originally marketed as The Best Lentil Salad, Ever by Sarah at My New Roots. She’s probably not wrong. Lentils are pretty much awesome — super filling and taste like whatever you want them to be. The dressing is spicy, tangy, and sweet all in one. I’m usually sold whenever dijon mustard is involved. It’s my favorite condiment. I was seen squeezing an upright bottle of yellow mustard at Killer Burger a few weeks ago just so I could smell the mustardy air as it came out. It’s like that.

It’s really one of those flexible salads that you can swap out just about anything. I’d like nuts and a little goat cheese next time, just for something different. It would completely change the flavor, but still be equally awesome.

Inspiration: My New Roots

Ingredients

  • 1lb of lentils [brown, green, or Du Puy]
  • 1 medium red onion, small dice
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1/3 cup capers, rinsed
  • 5-6 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Preparation

Rinse the lentils before bringing them to a boil in a pot of water, covering them by 3-4 inches. Reduce the water to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until they’re tender but hold their shape well. Rinse them under cold water when they’re done.

In a jar, mix together the olive oil through the nutmeg. Top with a lid and shake well. You can whisk it in a bowl instead of you don’t have a jar with a lid.

Put the lentils in a large bowl when they’re done. Pour in the dressing and mix well. Add the onion, currants, caper, and arugula. Toss to combine until everything is evenly distributed.

Chorizo and Garlic Shrimp Burgers

We spent the weekend in San Francisco — partly for Andrew’s birthday and partly because Inter Milan was playing Real Madrid in Berkley. It was perfect timing really. I hadn’t been to SF in at least four years, I’m guessing. It’s been a long time. We rented a sweet little apartment in The Mission near where our friends live. It was close to BART and a million things to eat, and it had a great view of the city from the rooftop deck.

The weather was practically perfect, if not a little hot. After spending nearly all of Saturday outside, I was sporting a lovely sunburn on my forehead and my nose. It’s already peeling, so yay. It was a super short trip thanks to a cancelled flight on Friday. We arrived at nearly 11pm on Friday and were flying out 7pm on Sunday. Short. Friday night we had super quesadilla suizas from El Farolito Taqueria. On Saturday I had the Franciscan scramble at Kitchen Story,  a pastrami sandwich and the best pickleback of all time from Giordano Bros., and the most thoughtful Campari and soda at Double Dutch. The bartender took the time to rub the lemon peel over the rim of the glass. It makes such a difference! The original plan was to have dinner at Beretta, but a two hour wait was not something anyone wanted to deal with. Inter Milan won by the way for anyone who is interested. It made the day that much sweeter. Sunday was spent getting an Americano and ginger scone from Ritual Coffee , a watermelon salad with rocolla, white balsamic vinaigrette, pumpkin seeds & ricotta salata cheese and a homemade biscuit from The Vestry, and brown sugar and fennel ice cream from Humphrey Slocombe. It was like Salt and Straw without the wait. I had forgotten what that was like. We finished up the trip with a sandwich to go from Ike’s Place eaten on the roof deck. I love that city. Next time needs to be at least another night. There is so much to see, do, and eat in that city.

Remember how last year seemed to be the summer of burgers? It also seemed to coincide with Portland’s inaugural Burger Week, which starts soon by the way. SO EXCITED.  Anyway, I made this burger recently, and it was the first burger of the summer. It’s surprising it took this long, but when the mood strikes, you can’t ignore it. I can’t even remember the last time I bought shrimp. Buying a two-pound bag for eight shrimp makes sense, right? You’re going to see a little bit more shrimp around here. Anyway, these burgers? AWESOME. Mexican chorizo is so good. The recipe gave you instructions to make your own, but we have a little market by the house that sells it by the pound size link. It’s hard to say no to that. If you actually make the real deal, let me know! I’d love to hear about how it tastes.

Paprika mayo and manchego cheese make this whole thing. I’ve been on a manchego  kick since we got back from Spain. It’s such a versatile and creamy cheese. Have you had Sir Kensington’s Mayo? It’s my latest find at New Seasons. I don’t eat enough mayo to justify buying a huge jar, so this little jar is perfect. Make the burgers if you have even the slightest bit of love of chorizo. You don’t even have to make the shrimp if you don’t want to, but it makes them that much better. I promise.

Inspiration: Lady and Pups

Ingredients

  • 1lb of chorizo, remove from casings so you can make patties
  • 8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • juice of one lime
  • 4 buns
  • 1/2 cup of shredded manchego
  • 1-2 thin slices of tomato per burger
  • flour for dusting the burgers
  • olive oil and butter for the pan

Preparation

Divide the chorizo into four equal portions to make patties. I brought out my trusty scale to make sure they were approximately the same size. I can’t eyeball things that good. Place them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.

In a small bowl, mix the shrimp with the olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Place in the fridge until ready to use as well.

Whisk together the mayo, tomato paste, paprika, mustard, and lime. Set aside. Try not to eat it by the spoonful.

Preheat a skillet on medium high heat. Dust the patties with a bit of flour so they can get a nice crust. Add about a tablespoon of oil to the pan. Once it’s shimmering, it’s hot enough. Add a little bit of butter before placing the burger in the pan. If yours is large enough, you could do two at the time, but I didn’t want to risk it. One at a time for me. Don’t touch them for a good 3-5 minutes until you notice a crust forming on the bottom of the patty. Flip and add 1/4th of the shredded cheese to the top before covering for a minute or two. Once the cheese melts, remove the patty from the pan and set aside. Continue this with the rest of the patties.

In the pan with all the drippings, add the shrimp for about 1 minute on each side until they’re cooked through. Remove and slice in half when they’re cool enough to touch.

Toast the buns if you’re into that sort of thing. Add some mayo to the bun, top with a burger, four slices of shrimp, and a slice or two of tomato. Enjoy.