Friday, August 28, 2009
Out Of The Rut
I am such a creature of habit. I love routines and structure. When I was a child we got to pick a restaurant to go to on our birthdays. I always picked the one seafood restaurant in town and always ordered the same thing - a 1/2 a crab with drawn butter and a cup of clam chowder. When my sisters or parents would try to talk me into trying something new, I'd stubbornly dig in my heels and stick with my favorite. Why order something different and risk being disappointed when I can order something I know I'll love?
As I've gotten older, I've realized that approach to life can limit my experiences. If I never try anything new, I might be missing out on something fabulous. So, every once in a while, I force myself to climb out of my rut and try something new.
I love hamburgers. A standard hamburger on a bun, with cheese, pickles, onions, tomato slices, ketchup, and mustard is a treat I could eat once a week forever. So why change? I saw a recipe in a foodie magazine for a Thai-style burger and thought that it was worth a try. And I tried a new bun recipe, too. I had my old favorite, but this one sounded good, too.
The verdict? Going out on a limb payed off big time! These burgers were spicy, delicious, and different enough to wake up the palate and shake up the routine. The buns are easy to make, soft, moist, with just a hint of tang from the yogurt. This combo is a keeper and will definitely be part of my new routine.
1-1/2 lbs ground chuck
1/2 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
2 Tbsp sour cream
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro leaves
2 Tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
6 hamburger buns, grilled or toasted
Lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and sliced onions
Barbecue sauce of your choice
1- Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill.
2- Combine the beef, peanut butter, sour cream, soy sauce, lime juice, cilantro, ginger, brown sugar, red pepper, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl, blending well with your hands. Shape into six patties 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
3- Place the burgers directly over the coals, cover and grill to your desired degree of doneness, 5 to 7 minutes for medium rare.
4- Place the burgers on the buns ad top with lettuce, tomato, onion, and barbecue sauce.
Makes 6 servings.
Soft Yogurt Rolls
adapted from Baking Bites
5-1/2 to 6-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp active dry yeast
3 tbsp honey
1 cup water, warm (100-110F)
1 cup yogurt (nonfat/lowfat is fine; I used Greek-style)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1-In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour, the active dry yeast, the honey and the warm water. Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes, until slightly foamy.
2- Stir in yogurt, vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of the remaining flour. Gradually stir in more flour until you have a soft dough that sticks together pulls away from the sides of the bowl (This can all be done in a stand mixer with the dough-hook attached, as well).
3- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding additional flour if necessary to prevent sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, or about 5 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
4- Preheat oven to 375 deg. F with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
5- Turn risen dough out of bowl and onto a lightly floured surface. Gently deflate, pressing into a rectangle. Divide dough into 12 even pieces with a board scraper or a pizza cutter. Shape each piece into a round roll. To do this, take all the corners of one of the squarish pieces you just cut and pull them together, pinching them to create a seal. This will pull the rest of the dough “tight” across the top of your roll, giving you a smooth top. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
6- Once all rolls have been formed, press down firmly on each one to flatten. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 25 minutes.
7- Bake for about 20 minutes, until rolls are deep golden on the top and the bottom.
Cool on a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes 12 rolls.