Last Saturday we had a somewhat impromptu gathering at the home of Neilbert and Saundra (as my parents are known colloquially). I had planned to make dinner and watch Star Trek with my father, as is our weekly custom, before heading out to the Saturday Night Dance I host at the studio. We invited Sabrina and Ted in effort to tempt them into joining us for dancing (we failed).
I’m currently on a ground meat kick, culinar-ily, and so I decided to try a recipe for turkey burgers. Not that I have any serious objections to beef burgers (though, Sabrina and Ted do), but I have a certain affinity for turkey burgers. Beef burgers always present a conundrum for me, because I know they taste so much better rare, but that eating rare ground meat is like sending an engraved invitation to food poisoning. Turkey burgers, however, I can enjoy dilemma-free.
I looked around the internet for some highly-rated turkey burger recipes and came up with the following:
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
one bunch of green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped or torn
fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 lbs. ground turkey
plain breadcrumbs, as needed
Combine oil and sesame seeds in a non-stick skillet. Heat over low fire until sesame seeds start to turn golden. Remove from heat.
Combine soy sauce, garlic, onions, cilantro, pepper and ground turkey in a medium bowl. Add sesame seeds and oil once they have cooled a bit. While combining the ingredients, dust on some breadcrumbs to absorb excess moisture. Add enough breadcrumbs that the mixture reaches a good consistency for shaping the burgers. Shape burgers into desired size and grill until heated through.
All in all, I would say that the burgers were pretty good. The soy and sesame flavors were the most pronounced. I was a little disappointed that the cilantro flavor didn’t not have a greater presence. Next time I make them, I might use more cilantro for a stronger cilantro presence.
On to the side dish…
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 (8oz) package cream cheese
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup milk or half-n-half
fresh ground pepper
2 1bs. broccoli florets, steamed to taste
1 cup crumbled crackers
6 tablespoons melted butter
Melt butter in a saucepan. Mix in flour until you form a creamy paste. Add cheeses, milk and pepper. If cheese remains clumpy when melted, my trick is to use an immersion blender to smooth it out.
Combine the cheese sauce and broccoli. Meanwhile stir crackers together with melted butter until absorbed. Stir about a third of the crackers into the broccoli mixture, sprinkle the rest on top of the casserole. Bake covered at 350 for 15 minutes and then remove the cover for another 15 minutes.
It’s hard to go wrong with vegetables smothered in cheese. My only qualm with the way this recipe turned out is that the broccoli was a little too “al dente” for my taste (if such can be said of broccoli). I used two bags of frozen broccoli cuts, allowing them to defrost a bit but not steaming them beforehand. I prefer my broccoli a bit softer, so I added the direction of making sure to steam it thoroughly enough for whatever your taste is (if you like it crunchier, go ahead and skip the steam).