Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lamb and Pork Burgers On The Grill

After almost a week of parental entertaining, I was dying to run up and down the subway stairs. The things you take for granted in this town! Zora was off in Amsterdam for the month, but we still had Peter, which always says "lamb" and "grill" to me. Below is the invite:

Hello again, Hungry Kiddies!

Zora is off to Amsterdam for the month, I am still in the final throes of Parental Entertaining, and Karl is almost back to work. I thought we would squeeze a backyard adventure in this Sunday-- it sounds relaxing in comparison to how I have been spending the last couple of days! Menu Below-- I look forward to seeing you!

Gentlemen's Relish on toast
My Mom's Cucumber Salad
Lettuce salad from my "lettuce farm" (I am applying for Farm Aid very soon!!)
Gurhan's Rice Pilaf with Cherries and Fennel
Zucchini sauteed with tarragon and lemon
Pork Burgers with Smoked Paprika Aioli
Lamb Burgers with Garlic yogurt sauce
some sort of summery/fruity dessert-- maybe cherry ice cream?

In Love and Garlic,

Tamara (Mrs!!)

I made Gentlemen's Relish last summer with great success; the recipe came from Suzanne Goin's "Sunday Suppers at Luques" cookbook- one of my favorites. I did not realize GR was such a draw. Some people responded just for this dish!!

It combines all of the things I love to eat-- on toast. Anchovies, shallots, parsley, butter, olive oil, cayenne, capers, lemon juice and zest...... Suzanne calls for it all to be diced but this time I dumped it all in the Cuisinart, and pushed "pulse" almost to the point of paste.

I no longer use the recipe for amounts-- only guidance, so I guess I tend to have a heavier hand with the anchovies than she does. But, can you really ever have too many anchovies? Not for my palate... Smeared on hot toast... et, voila. The butter melts in and it is a very bright, salty, slightly spicy, buttery treat. Supposedly, it was an Irish condiment sold in the 1800's for men only; Too strong for the ladies. Makes me think of the Virginia Slims commercials from my youth.... "You've come a long way, baby!"

My mom just left town -- I should have had HER make her cucumber salad!! I love how that just now occurs to me. It is an old standby for me-- tastes like 7th grade, middle of summer.

Cucumbers, sliced red onions, tomatoes ("chocolate tomatoes"-- from Canada!! thereby avoiding the ridiculous salmonella scare we are currently enduring) white vinegar, sugar, sour cream and dill. The longer it sits, the better it is, but I only got it together a few hours ahead. the sugar is used sparingly-- just to temper the vinegar. It is cool and refreshing, and... well, to me, 7th grade in the blazingly hot Phoenix summer.

I had lettuce both from my garden (I am a lettuce farmer!!) and the CSA delivery, a couple of days earlier.

I added some radishes and shaved baby fennel from the Union Square Market, made a quick vinaigrette from sherry and cider vinegars, olive oil, raw garlic and honey. Just a slight drizzle--lettuce in the summer is so delicious it barely needs anything. Too much and it covers the sweetness.

The rice is a recipe from Zora that will be in our cookbook. You saute fennel seeds in butter, add onion slices, (I used a LOT of butter), jasmine rice, saute further, and then add water and drained sour cherries.

I was going to use fresh cherries, but then I remembered I didn't have a pitter (note to self!!) so jarred one it was. Frankly, for this, they are better. Cover up the whole thing, bring to a boil, and then drop to a simmer until it is done. This is literally the first rice I have ever made that I didn't fuck up. (Thanks Zora!!!)

The Zucchini is unbelievably simple and I pulled it right from last month's Gourmet. Slice Zucchini, (in this case I used summer squash too), saute it in just a little bit of olive oil, (Zucchini gives off so much water there is no need for much oil in the pan), at the end toss in minced tarragon and a couple of healthy squeezes of lemon. Salt and pepper to taste. The anise of the tarragon really brings something beautiful to the zucchini-- the lemon just heightens it. Delicious!

And the crowning glory-- the Pork and lamb burgers both together and separate? Yeah, I said it... TOGETHER. (That was Peter's idea)

I mixed ground pork with diced chorizo and slab bacon, shallots, thyme, salt and pepper. I mixed it by hand and let it sit for a bit. The lamb was mixed with lots of oregano and diced garlic, salt and pepper and left to sit as well. When it came time to make the burgers, the lamb was formed into patties and stuffed with a little piece of butter (this combats the leanness of the lamb), and the pork/bacon/chorizo was just made into patties. (more than enough fat going on there). Then Peter came in, surveyed the acre of meat I had sitting there, and decided that we needed combo burgers as well. I think what this ultimately meant was everyone had their first choice and then a combo burger. MMMMM.

For the burgers I made a super garlic-ed greek yoghurt, (the greeks really have the yogurt thing mastered... I don;t know why you would buy any other kind....) and a Romesco sauce. Something about the smoke of the dried chiles and roasted red peppers and the magic of sherry vinegar paired with ground pork is irresistable.

Plus, it has great depth of flavor without being too spicy/hot (but, you can make it spicy, if that is what you want -- just add more chili flake!)

Dessert was the happy crossroads where peaches meet a still-hot grill.

Cut them in half, and grill them until the char and the sugar kiss. Then, give them a ladle of creme anglais.

Old friends, new friends, and a hot grill. What more could a girl want?