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More burger talk….

Chef JimEarlier this week I posted my recipe for a Green Chile Burger. And it got me thinking…I could do a whole month of burger recipes. Not that I’m going to, but hey, I can ask you guys to let me know what your favorite burger is.

So let me know…what are your favorite burgers–meat type or other fillings, toppings, bun, etc. I wanna know your favorite burger and why. So let me know in the space below, or on Facebook or Twitter after I post this. Have fun with it, and be honest! Heck, you might remember I posted a peanut butter banana burger recipe a while back too. Nothing is too crazy!

Grub for guys: green chile burger

Last month I posted my green chile burger on Bullz-Eye.com’s Grub for Guys. I have always wanted to experiment with different burger variations, and this Southwest variation on the burger is one that I really had fun with. Mostly though, it came out awesome. Here is the recipe…give it a shot and let me know what you think……

A few years ago, I attended a conference in Albuquerque, and it was the first time I’d ever been to New Mexico or Arizona. But I have always been a fan of Southwest-inspired food. Well, the one thing that was ubiquitous with the Southwest that I noticed was green chile—not the chili you eat in the winter, but the chile pepper. There are, of course, several different types, but typically the one that is symbolic and representative of “green chile” and its affiliated recipes is the poblano pepper. So in the spirit of grilling season, I decided to present a recipe that you guys could surely appreciate—a green chile burger.

Ingredients:
1 pound (or more) of ground beef, preferably 80/20 or ground chuck
Kosher salt
2 large poblano peppers
Olive oil or vegetable oil spray
1 cup shredded cheese blend (I used ½ fontina and ½ extra sharp cheddar)
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
4 large Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns

Directions:
Preheat grill to medium-high. Make the “secret sauce”—combine mayo, ketchup and cilantro, and set aside. Divide beef into four equal portions and shape into patties according to how thick you’d like your burger. Make an indentation in the center with your thumb to avoid the burgers puffing up. Sprinkle with salt. Spray poblano peppers with cooking spray. Cook peppers on grill until slightly charred but not too burnt. Cook the burgers for 3-4 minutes per side or until desired doneness. When burgers are almost done, sprinkle with cheese, and cook for another 30-45 seconds or until cheese melts. Keep burgers under a foil tent while you prepare the peppers. Carefully peel the skin off the peppers, and then slice peppers into large, flat slices, and discard stems and seeds. To assemble, spread sauce on each bun half, place burger on bottom half, and top with roasted peppers. Now eat that thing like you mean it! Serves 4 (or 2 hungry dudes, or 1 extremely hungry and gluttonous dude).

Product review: Brisk iced green tea with mango dragonfruit

Chef JimIn conjunction with the movie The Green Lantern, which hit theaters on June 17, Brisk Iced Tea has developed a new flavor of tea which they are calling a “new flavor-forward product,” and that flavor is Mango Dragonfruit Green Tea.

I don’t exactly drink a lot of iced tea, but new products like this always intrigue me. And this one is extremely refreshing, particularly as I drink some on the seventh straight day of 90+ degree heat in Wisconsin. Admittedly, the flavor is a bit different. Mango is different to begin with, and you throw in the green aspect and you’ve got something quite unique. And the more you drink, the more it grows on you. The bottle also features art from The Green Lantern.

Brisk is also running a promotion at www.anyonecanbechosen.com for the film in conjunction with parent company Frito-Lay in which consumers can enter a game code from specially marked Brisk and also bags of Doritos, Cheetos and Ruffles to win prizes. The promotion continues through July 31.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

A few years ago when we lived in Nashville, we were a bit disappointed with their farmer’s market. It was not as nice or easy to get to as the one I remembered from my days living in Ohio before that. But then my wife and I went to an Earth Day festival three or four years ago and there were booths for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) from local farms. We talked to a few farmers and were extremely intrigued. Of course, we’d heard of CSAs before but the thought of not having a say in what we picked up for each share turned us off–temporarily. That all changed when a farmer that day told us how it’s a matter of eating what is in season and fresh. We were sold. So we did our CSA for two seasons and absolutely loved it.

Then we moved to Madison, Wisconsin in April of 2010. Madison, of course, is home to the greatest farmer’s market known to man, the Dane County Farmer’s Market. I’m not exaggerating here, it’s awesome. It goes all the way around the Capitol on Saturday mornings and has farmers who grow produce as well as meats, and there are cheeses, baked goods and all kinds of other amazing local foods. So last year we just enjoyed what the market had to offer.

But this year, we had the CSA jones again. A friend told us about Driftless Organics, and after visiting their website once and reading about the farm and their CSA…well, let’s just say I wrote the check and mailed it that day.

There is a small bit of difference in the Driftless CSA than the Nashville one–they grow a very diverse and interesting set of crops at this farm, and encourage you to try things you haven’t tried before. We’ve had pea vines, green garlic, baby fennel and kohlrabi. We’ve also had some of the best green beans we’ve ever tasted, and some incredibly sweet beets. We are, of course, looking forward to summer favorites like peppers, tomatoes and sweet corn.

The photo above is of a meal we made a few weeks ago that included some fresh yellow squash from our CSA; and some roasted beets with sauteed beet greens. And once I find the time and creative energy to develop some more interesting recipes using our share, I will post them here. Meanwhile, if you haven’t yet tried a CSA–let me tell you, you’re missing out. There is no better feeling than the feeling of supporting a local farmer, eating what’s fresh (and I do mean fresh), and enjoying produce that is 100% organic.

Low carb breakfast special

I’m trying to lose a bit of weight, so for the moment I’m cutting back on carbs. But as I looked at a South Beach Diet cookbook this morning, I decided that I was just going to whip up my own recipe. So I made an egg sandwich using fried ham as the “bread,” and used mashed avocado and hot sauce as condiments. It was awesome. Here is how I did it and how you can, too….

Fry up two slices of ham until crisp, but not burnt. In another skillet, scramble two eggs and add salt and pepper. Cook until just set. Meanwhile, mash half an avocado with some salt. Lay ham on a plate next to each other, place a slice of swiss (or any cheese you have on hand) on one slice of ham, and spread avocado on the other. Then slide the scrambled eggs onto the slice with the cheese. Shake some hot sauce, on, assemble the sandwich and eat. As my wife said, it might be low-carb but it’s not low-fat. That’s okay though, I was only looking to cut carbs in my breakfast, and I succeeded.

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