The Gruyere-Onion Burgers

Burgers with Gruyere Cheese and Onions

Burgers are something I eat fairly often. Truth be told, it’s rare I let a week go by with out some kind of burger making it’s way onto my plate. From Burger King, McDonald’s, Five Guys, or Wendy’s to fancy half-pound monsters at a steak joint, I’ve had plenty. And that doesn’t even cover the many, many burgers I create myself. That said, I haven’t put a great burger up here on the blog. 

There is a reason for that. The truth is that most burgers are just, well, burgers. There are a million things you can do to dress them up. But in the end, they’re just toppings and there isn’t much else to do with them. Well, for once I’ve found a burger that’s worthy to put up here.

This burger starts with french onions and Gruyere cheese built right into the burger mix, which includes the best Angus beef I could find. And then, we have fresh, local, juicy — to die for — tomatoes. There really isn’t much more I could ask for. So give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.

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Chicken with Onion Gravy

Chicken with Onion Gravy

While the last  days of summer are soon to be leaving us, we’ve still got a few days yet, and that’s where this recipe for chicken with onion gravy can be a real winner. 

We’ve said it many times, but summer is, above all, about making meal prep easy as possible for much of the time, and whether you’ve got some left over chicken (or want to make some just for this recipe) the onion gravy is quick and easy. Add a little pasta and you’ve got a quick and easy meal. And folks, the best news is that this gravy is one of the best I’ve ever made.

No kidding. It takes maybe 10 minutes to prep and only 20 minutes to cook. The flavor is absolutely amazing.

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White Brownies With Chocolate!

white brownies

I don’t normally bake a lot of things. I can and will do a little baking under the right circumstances, but generally, I like enjoying the baking from someone else rather than doing it myself. Then, of course, I was looking through some cookbooks and saw this recipe for white brownies with amazing white and black chocolate. For some reason, I just had to have them. And after a few bad starts and a nasty cut on my finger (no, don’t ask — I was doing something stupid) they finally made it to my table.

I’d never made a white brownie, so that was a good start. But what I really liked about this idea (which has been modified a bit) was the inclusion of both white chocolate and the good old dark black chocolate. There is something about having both versions rather than just one in the mix that makes both of them seem a bit more. In any case, give these a try. Especially with some ice cream…

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Steamed Chinese Dumplings

Chinese dumplings

Steamed Chinese dumplings are my downfall. There are few things I eat that give me as much pleasure as these wonderful creations that disappear as quickly as I can make them. Doesn’t matter whether I’m hungry or not, doesn’t matter when the dumplings appear, nothing really matters. If I’m there and the dumplings are there, they disappear and I’m happier for it.

I don’t much remember the first time I had dumplings, but I can tell you two of my most memorable dumpling fests. The first was an occasion in China, when a friend invited my wife and I over to their house to make dumplings. Now going to an apartment in China was a big step for us. That stuff didn’t happen very often, and to go for dumplings, that was a special deal — at least for me. What I didn’t know, is that I’d have to help make them, and that, was, at the very least, funny. I eventually learned how to make a passable pleating to hold the dumplings together and the rest — including the recipe for the filling — was very wonderful.

The second, was also in China, and a friend and I had gone to the Great Wall, and an old friend who was our guide, was bringing us back from there and pulled into a restaurant, ordered something in Chinese, and in a short while, out came the most gigantic plate of dumplings I’d ever seen. I thanked the chef, as I recall, and with three of us working on them, they didn’t last very long. As we were leaving, the chef brought another box of dumplings for us to have later. Amazing.

The steamed dumplings are about as close to the original as I could make them. I have to confess I did use frozen dumpling skins, but the truth is, their as good as any I’ve ever had and they are so much more convenient. If you want to make your own, there are plenty of online articles for that.

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Chicken Legs Sous Vide

sous vide chicken legs

By now, you know that I’ve become a big fan of sous vide chicken finished up in a deep fryer. And that’s of course where these chicken legs come from. They’re done sous vide, at 150 degrees for about an hour or so, then — after they’ve cooled — they’re breaded and deep fried, with a little finishing salt on the side.

The main issue with these chicken legs is a breading mix, which uses flour, garam masala, a little parsley, and plenty of paprika. In this case, I use the breading mix first to coat the chicken, then add some mixed egg and then roll it back through the flour as a finish. The result is rather  light and really perfect for a light dinner entry.

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Pan-Seared Halibut

halibut with pear gastrique

Although there apparently isn’t a distinct halibut season, the first half of summer is when these wonderful fish seem to be most abundant. So around this time, I can grab some fresh halibut, and you can bet it’s headed for my plate, pronto.

Halibut is a firm white fish with a mild flavor, which makes it perfect for pan searing and it works well with a light fruity gastrique and the earthy flavor of chopped fresh Brussels sprouts sauteed with bacon and shallots. For this recipe, I made the gastrique using pear nectar and topped it with slices of pear that were sauteed in a little butter. 

The dish is simple and easy to prepare. The fresh ingredients are what makes it sing.

The recipe serves four, but it’s easily adjusted up or down.

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Ghormeh Sabzi – Persian Green Stew

Ghormeh Sabzi

So. Is this really ghormeh sabzi? The truth is, I don’t know, but I doubt that it’s the real thing — at least as far as my few Persian friends might think. That said, this is a Persian green stew, and it comes out with all the lamb and herbal essence you might look for in a good stew. So have at it folks. This is a winner, even if it’s not all that authentic.

Apart from the typical lamb, onions, herbs, they key ingredients, as is often the case with Persian dishes, is the dried limes. You need these and their easy enough to get on Amazon and probably some other places. You can’t have a Persian dish like this one, without the limes, and no, fresh limes aren’t the same thing. Not by any stretch. They add a nice little slightly sour taste to the stew that I’ve never encountered anywhere else.

This recipe works really well over ordinary white rice and uses lamb shoulder, which generally is pretty inexpensive, at least as lamb goes.

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