Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mushroom-Jalapeno Bison Burgers

Ah, summer, time for grilling and drinking Caesars out on the patio. Is there anything more delectable than the smell of grilling meat wafting through the languid summer air? I don't think so. I also adore the smell of cut grass as a summer favourite, but it does not make me want to eat it. Grilling, however, turns me into a rabid dog whenever I pass a house with that unmatchable scent emanating from the yard.

These burgers will turn you into the envy of the in those old commercials for Johnsonville brats, I'd make enough to feed a crowd ;).

And if that isn't enough good press for you, these burgers are low in calories, low in fat, and extremely high in yumminess! You also get the benefit of grass-fed, hormone-free meat, as bison are raised in fields not pens. That also means they had a decent life, as livestock go. Yay! You can taste the happiness. The addition of mushrooms means that the meat is stretched further, replaced by the mighty mushroom - fat free, protein rich, moisture-lending,earthy-tasting goodness. The resulting burger is lean yet juicy and packed with flavour. Add some kick from jalapenos, and maybe a slice of sharp cheese and man oh man I will be knocking down your door at dinner time.

Mushroom-Jalapeno Bison Burgers
900g (two 1-lb packages) ground bison
2 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1/2 egg
1/4C canned jalapenos, chopped
6 large or 12 small mushrooms, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp salt
A few grinds of pepper (about ¼ tsp)

Sauté onions and mushrooms in a non-stick pan with some cooking spray until soft and mushrooms have released about half of their moisture, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients with hands. Squish through fingers until all ingredients are well-combined, do not over-mix! Remember, every time you overmix a kitten dies.

Divide mixture into 8 equal portions and form into patties, pressing firmly. Refrigerate until ready to cook (this helps them firm up a bit). Grill or cook in non-stick fry-pan until cooked through and brown.

If you like cheese on your burgers, top with slices of cheese and allow these to melt before removing burgers from heat. Pop on a bun, whole wheat for me, and garnish how you like.

I don't have to tell you what to do next ,do I?

Nutritional info: Each burger patty is 152 calories, 5g fat, 25g protein, 3g carbs, 0g fibre, 220mg sodium.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thai Salad with Honey-Peanut-Lime dressing

This salad recipe is based on one from a lovely little cookbook I was given for Christmas last year. It's a Favourite Brand Name cookbook "3 books in one" with Chinese. Thai, and Japanese recipe sections. I love this book! And this recipe has no brand name items in it at all, same as many other recipes, so not sure why it's called Favourite Brand Names. Just as well! Apparently the recipe originally came from the National Honey Board, so it really gets around ;).

I've modified it, of course, I can never leave any recipe alone. One modification was including both Napa cabbage and romaine lettuce - the recipe had suggested either, which confused me as they are totally different things. I think including both makes it a cool coleslaw/salad morph. The dressing was way too sweet so I cut back on the honey (that it came from the Honey Board is now making sense!)and added extra lime juice for more tang. Also, I used basil instead of mint, but I think mint would be wonderful too. A few other changes and voila, a salad that has gotten rave reviews every time I make it!

You can add some chicken to it for a full meal deal, I've included the recipe for honey-lime glazed chicken as well. Enjoy!

Thai Salad with Honey-Peanut-Lime Dressing
1/2 head Napa or Savoy cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
1/2 head romaine lettuce, shredded (about 4 cups)
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into cute little crescent-moons
2 medium carrots, matchsticked
1/3 cup sliced red onion
2 small oranges, peeled and cut into segments (or suprêmes, if you are fancy)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

5 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or mint
1 Tbsp minced jalapeno
2 tsp soy sauce
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp lime zest

Whisk together dressing ingredients until well-combined. Pour over salad ingredients and toss to coat.

Nutritional values: Makes about 10 cups of salad. For each cup: 99 calories, 4g fat, 2.7g protein, 14.2g carbs, 2g fibre, 42mg sodium.

Variation: Add Honey-lime chicken: Combine 4 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp jalapeno, 1 clove minced garlic. Add 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, toss to coat and let sit in fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before cooking. Grill on medium heat for 15 minutes, turning once, or until no longer pink inside. Let rest. When cool enough to handle,pull into shreds.