Burgers with Feta and Tzatziki

I took the traditional Memorial Day burger in a new direction this year with a little Greek spin. These burgers are a simple recipe, but the finish with a topping of crumbled feta and a schmear of tzatziki sauce really take them up a notch, inmyhumbleopinion. Our grill was acting out this weekend (convenient, I know), so I actually made these in a pan on the stovetop, but they’re built for grilling, too, and can go either way. Use this basic recipe for a truly delicious regular burger, or top with other cheese and toppings/fixings for another twist. But this one’s a good one, so here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDfetaburger2
makes ~6 burgers
* 1 1/2lb ground beef (I recommend 80/20 or 85/15 as far as lean/fat – you want some fat in there, I promise)
* 1/4t salt
* 1/4t freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2t dried minced garlic
* 1/4t garlic powder
* 1t (heaping) onion powder
* 1T barbecue sauce
* 1 egg
* OPTIONAL: Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (only if needed; see below)
* crumbled feta cheese
* tzatziki sauce (the link goes to a recipe for a quick one you can make at home, but use any recipe you like, or a prepared tzatziki even, and you’ll be in good shape)
* your favorite burger buns

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, seasonings, BBQ sauce, and egg. I recommend mixing carefully by hand until everything’s well incorporated. If the texture feels too thin to you, you can add a teaspoon or two of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs to help hold it together.

IF GRILLING: Heat and oil your grill, then divide the meat mixture evenly six ways and form into patties. Grill 3-4 minutes per side, top with a sprinkle of feta just for the last minute or so.

IF PAN-COOKING: Heat a large skillet over medium heat with some nonstick spray, olive oil, or a bit of butter. Divide the meat mixture evenly and form into six patties. Cook about 4 minutes per side. With one minute to go, sprinkle each with a bit of the feta, reduce the heat to low, and cover to finish.

Place a burger on the bottom side of your burger bun, and spread a good scoop of the tzatziki sauce on the top for serving. Enjoy!

Hope you had a great weekend! Here’s to a summer of infinite burgers!


Chunky Salmon Patties

salmonpatty4We have been trying to incorporate more fish into our diet recently. I didn’t like fish at all (except tuna salad) until I was a full-grown, independent, out of college, out of grad school even, real actual adult, so I’m pretty fresh to this game. Conveniently, I went from totally not wanting anything to do with pretty much most seafood, to wanting every kind of sashimi and sushi in front of me at all times, and on top of that, our Tiny Sous Chef basically emerged a seafood fanatic — her father’s daughter — so *deciding* to add more fish to our routine wasn’t so hard. In reality, though, my limited experience with fish does make this a little tricky. I have to be willing to try preparing proteins I’ve literally never handled. It’s one thing to order a beautiful halibut dinner at a restaurant, it’s quite another entirely to know intuitively, or at least confidently/comfortably, how to work with it yourself. Or even to order it. Man oh man does the seafood counter intimidate me! Long story short, I figure out one preparation and I kind of stick with it for a while. Which, logically, gets boring.

My mother in-law usually eats with us on Wednesday evenings, which has become a really lovely tradition. And she loves salmon, but rarely prepares it for herself, so I frequently like to make it for her when she’s here. But it’s-another-salmon-fillet-dinner gets a little tiresome, too, so I wanted to mix things up a little. Quick side discussion – how do you like your salmon? Got any great recipes or tips you’d like to pass along? Please do!

I decided to make salmon burgers for dinner – that’s different, right?! And after scouring books and blogs for recipes, decided to try something really out of my element, a patty made with *fresh* salmon that could be whipped up on a busy weeknight. The result was, if I do say so myself, totally wonderful. Keeping the salmon a bit chunkier, rather than ground, gives such a rich and luscious texture to the burger patty. Fresh and bright, light, flaky, and herby–in spite of a little extra prep work, this patty is great, and is actually really simple to make, and you probably already most of the ingredients (maybe not the salmon and dill) at home. Plus! It got serious thumbs up from my MIL who also reminded me that if she didn’t like it she would not pretend, so, hey, you know it’s legit. Here you go.

* 1lb fresh salmon, boneless and skin removed, chopped into a small dice (you can definitely make this using a canned salmon, by the way – it will still be delicious!)
* 2T Panko breadcrumbs (plus possibly a little extra)
* juice of 1/2 a lemon
* 2T red onion, diced tiny
* 1T fresh dill, chopped
* 1T mayonnaise
* 1T grainy Dijon mustard
* 1t salt
* 1/4t black pepper
* 1T olive oil
* 1 lemon cut into wedges, for serving

Mix together your diced salmon and Panko until well combined. Add the lemon juice, red onion, dill, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper, and stir well to combine, using a large spoon. Press and crush the salmon down a bit as you mix – to help everything stick together. But allow for some larger chunks to hold up. If your consistency seems a bit loose, add a little bit more Panko, half a teaspoon at a time, until you like the texture and the mixture holds together well.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the oil glistens, form the mixture into patties (this recipe will yield 4-6 patties, depending on the size you want to make them) and place them into the pan.

Cook about 5 minutes, then flip and cook another 4. Serve warm with lemon wedges – on a bun or over a beautiful fresh salad.


Cranberry Turkey Burgers

I haven’t checked, but I’m willing to bet that every burger recipe I’ve posted starts out with some comment about how endless my love for burgers is. Why mess with the formula? I FREAKING LOVE BURGERS. All of them. I have yet to meet a burger I didn’t love. I wonder if I could be a competitive burger eater? I love burgers so much that it’s hard to remind myself how much you’re actually eating when you eat one – when a food is so perfect, why stop at just one?? Anyway. I also love cranberries. So, obviously, let’s put those babies together. ‘Tis the season, after all, right? Turkey and cranberries go together like… well, like a holiday dinner plate of course. The punch of the tangy cranberry pops against the mild gaminess of the meat, and you get the best of both no matter how you pair them together. It might not traditionally be considered burger season, but just because we’re not outside grilling as often (or maybe you still are?), doesn’t mean it can’t be. Burgers tick all the boxes for any season. They’re one of the most modifiable, transformative canvases ever; they are warm and filling and comforting; they’re everything you want on a cold cold night, for crying out loud! And now that I’ve satisfied my it’s-a-burger-post-I-must-first-talk-about-how-amazing-burgers-are-and-how-much-I-love-them requirement, here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED makes 4 burgerscrantburg1
* 1/3lb fresh cranberries
* 1lb lean ground turkey (don’t use extra lean – turkey is lean enough to begin with – you want at least a little fat in your burger!)
* 1/4t salt
* 1/4t pepper
* 1/2t minced garlic
* 1-1 1/2t onion powder
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* ~2T seasoned panko breadcrumbs
* sliced swiss or provolone cheese
* mayo (or garlicky mayo, if you have it or want to doctor some up!)
* spicy pickle slices
* cranberry sauce (you can whip up a quick batch of a basic version with the remainder of the bag if you bought a 1lb bag of fresh; you can prep some ahead or use leftovers; or you can use a store-bought prepared sauce – whatever’s easiest)

Place the cranberries in the food processor and pulse until broken down, but still kind of chunky.

In a large bowl, mix together the turkey, seasonings, egg, and breadcrumbs until combined. Add the cranberry bits and mix well until incorporated evenly throughout the mixture. Refrigerate about 10 minutes.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat (if you don’t use nonstick, just add a little bit of butter to the pan first). Form the mixture into four even patties, and press your thumb lightly into the center of each (this helps with even cooking so you don’t end up with dry edges and raw centers). Cook for about 10 minutes per side, until done. With about 2 minutes left on the second side, add your cheese, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover to let it finish cooking and melt the cheese over the top of your burger.

Spread a bit of mayo/garlic mayo onto the bottom side of your bun and place your burger on top. Add a few pickle slices on top and spread a nice scoop of cranberry sauce on the top side of your bun. Then put that beauty together, toast with your seasonal beer (of course!), and enjoy! Cheers to the season!crantburg3