This is it. The solstice was just this week. Summer is finally here. Driving home through the green roads with the windows open, we smell flowers and fresh cut grass and memories come flooding back. Everything is leafy green and beautiful. This is the time you look forward to, when your toes are always frozen in the deep of winter. This is the time you remember as idyllic and slow-moving, years into the too-fast future.
Last night, after a dinner hour when the girls painted the dining room in a fine mist of glitter and spaghetti sauce and drove me to the precipice of insanity, the girls were finally sleeping soundly. Mina snuffled on her belly in her crib under a quilt, and Violet in her bottom bunk buried under books, blankets and stuffed animals. Malcolm and I sat on the porch in our Adirondak chairs and discussed the impending summer. It was chilly, but we didn’t mind. There were peepers peeping in the pond across the road and stars streaked across the inky sky above our farmhouse near the ocean. We wrapped ourselves up in sweaters and made plans, anticipating the warm seasons.
Every year, our friend Kita from GirlCarnivore organizes an electronic celebration of burgers; an entire month of inspired creations from some of the best food bloggers in the business, all more than capable food photographers and recipe developers. And this year, we are honored to be a part of the festivities.
Each year, there’s a giveaway associated with this coordinated food blogger effort, and each year, the giveaway package gets bigger and bigger. For #BurgerMonth2016, there are giveaways each week for the entire month of May, all to honor the venerable cheeseburger.
This week, the prize package includes giveaways from Certified Angus Beef, Char-broil, KitchenIQ, Cabot Cheese, Grill Master Club, American Lamb Board, Cowboy Charcoal and CuttingBoard.com. Thank you guys all so, so much for providing such amazing prizes! Scroll down to the bottom of this post, to enter.
Now, look. When you’re friends with someone who calls herself “GirlCarnivore,” and she challenges you to come up with an over-the-top burger creation, you had better bring the ruckus. You bring some weak-ass mini barbecue “slider” business, and she’s likely to laugh you right out of the room, emasculating you in the way only someone who is very, very serious about posting pictures of steaks on the internet can. I knew I had to do something big. So I thought, for my burger, why not eat all of the animals in the animal kingdom in a single serving? Or at least, all of the animals you might find on a farm?
“The Barnyard” features a hamburger patty made with a combination of ground beef and ground lamb, topped with wasabi goat cheese, thick-cut slab bacon*, and a fried egg, with a mere scattering of lettuce and tomato to make you feel healthy, instead of like some sort of omnivorous monster. We dressed it simply with a little mayo, although in retrospect, a little spicy ketchup would have been nice, too.
*The bacon for this behemoth was provided by my friend Max Miller, chef at a restaurant called “The Landings” here in Rockland, Maine. Almost every time I see him, he is smoking great slabs of pork belly, the smoke permeating his crazy red beard and making his eyes go wild with porcine pleasure. He serves it in big, thick slices at The Landings in a few different ways, including in a BLT that is not to be missed. Thanks, Max, for always going the extra mile to make food awesome. And for giving me this bacon.
Can you eat an entire barnyard’s worth of animals in one sitting? Yes, you can. Here’s the recipe:
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground lamb
- 4 leaves romaine lettuce
- 4 slices tomato
- 2 tablespoons goat cheese
- 8 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked
- 4 fried eggs
- 4 teaspoons mayonnaise
- 4 hamburger buns or rolls
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine ground beef and ground lamb, mixing well to combine. Divide into four 1/4 pound patties, and flatten to a little larger than bun size. In a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, cook burgers to desired temperature, flipping once. Add goat cheese, and cover pan until cheese melts.
- To assemble burgers: Dress each bun bottom with mayonnaise, then top with lettuce leaf, burger, a slice of tomato, two strips of bacon, and finally, the fried egg. Serve immediately.
There are about a billion chances to win this week’s giveaway! Enter as many times as you’d like, using the methods below:
We’re pretty thorough, in the way we try to categorize recipes for this food blog. The problem is, we haven’t yet set up a category for “Help it’s a weeknight and I forgot that I had to cook dinner even though I’ve been doing it every night for decades and the kids are committing heinous, felony-level assaults on one another and my wife (or husband) will be home soon from an exhausting day in the cubicle farm and if I eat one more improvised penne pasta and chicken dish I am going to drive all four of us off a bridge.”
It’s a good name for a category. Maybe a little wordy.
But that’s exactly the itch that this recipe scratches. Sometimes, I just want something kind of quasi-ethnic, not really Thai, or Chinese, per se, but something that’s just a little spicy, and a little sweet, with some new flavors that haven’t been done over and over again. I want to combine “shrimp” and “toasted coconut” into a vacation for my mouth, even as my body remains housebound, held captive by the dueling toddler and baby. And if I can get some hot fruit in there, all the better.
This recipe comes together mostly with pantry staples, especially if you’re the kind of person who keeps a bag of shrimp in the freezer. And for the sake of our friendship, I hope that you are. It’s cheap, fast, and satisfying, and provides enough of a break from the suppertime status quo to give you the strength to keep you going for another week. Enjoy.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Juice from one lime
- 1 pound shrimp (31-42 count), peeled and de-veined
- 2 cups fresh mango, cubed (or thawed frozen mango)
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
- In a large frying pan over medium heat, combine onion and oil and cook until onions begin to turn translucent, about five minutes. Add garlic, Sriracha, basil, soy sauce, lime juice, and shrimp. Cooking, stirring often, until shrimp is cooked through, about 4 minutes more.
- Add mango and allow to heat through. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
- Unripe or firm mango works best, though you can use frozen mango in a pinch.
Any month that starts with your family Saran-wrapping your toilet and your cubicle mates filling your desk drawers with ping pong balls, deserves an equally silly giveaway. Which is why we’re giving away one of these sweet vintage teapots, hand painted by Etsy user LennyMud into an iconic piece of tableware suitable for any child of the 80s, or anyone who thinks that tea time should be a little less stuffy. From the website:[blockquote author=”” pull=”normal”]”I pity the fool that doesn’t love this 80’s icon! This is an upcycled vintage stoneware teapot that I have reglazed and restored to like new condition before altering it by adding my image of Mr Tea and kiln firing it a final time. It measures 8.5 x 7.5 and holds 4 cups of tea.”[/blockquote]
Entering this giveaway couldn’t be simpler, and there are multiple ways to do it. Do one, do them all, but get your hands on this sweet teapot! Giveaway ends April 30th, at 12:00AM Eastern.
I, like everyone else everywhere, started out the year with high hopes that included organizing my craft room with custom made labels that I found on Pinterest, purging my closet of anything I hadn’t worn in over a year and losing 50 pounds in two weeks.
Let me break these down for you, one at a time.
The craft room is a dump, and not just for craft supplies, but for everything. I mean everything. I will be able to comfortably survive in my “craft room” when the zombie apocalypse hits. I have winter coats and boots, enough tax records to burn for a year and an embarrassing amount of candy. Just the other day, I stumbled upon an unopened Christmas gift in there. Pecan Turtles. The apocalypse is going to be delicious. It’s not that I haven’t done anything with the craft supplies. They are now all crammed haphazardly into one hutch. As long as no one walks into that room too quickly, we’re fine.
I nailed the second one. I not only tore through my own closet on a mission, but Layla’s as well. I rolled up to Goodwill like I owned the place, my mom-SUV packed to the brim with trash bags (classy) filled with garments both too big and too small for me, unmatched socks (sorry Goodwill), and all the toys that I found stuffed in the back of Layla’s closet that she hadn’t touched in a year. Task? Crushed.
I think we all know how the final “goal” went. Besides the fact that it is physically impossible to lose 50 pounds in two weeks, I have this condition. A condition that compels me to eat bread and cheese washed down with red wine until I literally can’t move. Again, I haven’t totally balked on this goal. I have lost 5, maybe 6 pounds, but I have come to the realization that any weight loss I experience is going to be slow and drawn out because I would rather have to shop in the “Women’s” section of Target for a little bit longer than end up gorging myself on bread and wine while I sit weeping under the kitchen table, ashamed of my unhealthy relationship with carbs.
Even the darkest feelings can be extinguished with a good baguette, a bottle of red and a chunk of fresh mozzarella. As you can plainly see from this recipe, I am not ready to give up that crutch. So, yes, carrot sticks and fat-free, organic Greek yogurt are now a part of my diet, but so still is this dip. And that is what I consider to be balance.
- 1 baguette
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large sweet red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ¾ cup sweet white wine
- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon capers
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 3 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- Set your oven to a low broil.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Slice the baguette into thin slices, arrange in a single layer on the cookie sheet, brush each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.
- Place under the broiler until a light golden brown and cheese just begins to bubble, 2-5 minutes depending on your oven. Leave the broiler on.
- In a large skillet that can be transferred to the oven, saute the red pepper, onion and garlic in olive oil until the peppers are translucent.
- Very carefully add the wine to the pan and simmer until the wine is reduced by nearly half.
- Add chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, capers, sugar and Parmesan to to sauce and simmer on low for 5-10 minutes until the Parmesan is fully melted.
- Cover the top of the sauce with mozzarella slices and place skillet under the broiler until the mozzarella is melted and beginning to bubble, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle chopped basil on top and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of oil oil over dip. Serve with crostinis.