One Last Bite of Summer

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September 10, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

The days of summer seem to be over. It’s back to sad, dreary, wet, and windy London. At least we got to end the summer with a bit of a BBQ-burger-bash bang. Just days before this dramatic influx of fall weather, the sun was shining and the grills were fired up at the National Burger Day festival. Burgers are categorically my husband’s favorite food so this was pretty much his dream event. And the day proved to be insanely good, both in terms of food and fun.

A few drinks came as part of the ticket price including a pint of local beer and two shots. Now as a personal policy, I don’t take shots. I cut them out of my life in my mid-20s and things have been much better ever since. I’ve made an exception 3 times: for my bachelorette party, to try the unlabeled house-made coffee liquor at Cera 23 in Barcelona poured by our waiter/best friend for the night (probably not my most responsible decision), and for the picklebacks at this burger festival. What the hell is that right? Well they are a shot of Jameson followed by a pickle juice chaser and they happen to be my cousin in Tennessee’s favorite drink ever. Hence the reason Chris and I were willing to give it a go. One of us liked these much more than the other. Perhaps it’s genetic. IMG_0144

Chris did not come out looking this happy… But onto the burgers. We ate a lot of them, starting with a couple sliders for “appetizers.”

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It’s a slider, I promise. The burger patty just happens to be piled high with braised short ribs, cheese, and pico de gallo. Next up we sunk our teeth into a burger with pineapple bacon jam! A definite winner.

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After an additional double cheeseburger, we finished off the overindulgent event with burger macaroons. While they looked pretty and I appreciate their commitment to the theme, they were just bazaar.

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Verdict in: burgers really are summer on a bun. But it’s about time to say goodbye to all things summer: fresh tomatoes, corn on the cob, and burgers straight off the BBQ. Okay, realistically, Chris will continue to want burgers at least once a week no matter what the season. But you know what I mean. There’s a difference between a summer cookout burger and burgers for all other occasions.

Last week, just as temperatures were dropping, I was at dinner with a friend and she mentioned that she was so excited for all the fall recipes filling up pinterest again. There’s just something so warming and homey about stews and roasts and pumpkin studded everything. We currently have friends in town for a visit and after a day of sightseeing through the cold rain, I’m in full comfort mode. It’s time to break out my cozy recipes: last night it was braised lamb shanks, tonight a make-ahead lasagna.

But one last summery burger recipe for you before we start living on mac and cheese and lentil soup. Plus I have a bonus side dish: oven-baked zucchini fries!

Greek Turkey Burgers & Zucchini Fries: A Broad Cooking

For the burger mix, sauté onions until soft and add fresh chopped spinach to wilt. You could also use frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained.

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Once the spinach has cooled enough to touch, mix with the ground turkey, crumbled feta, and your favorite Greek seasoning. If you do not have a favorite, I hands down recommend Papa Cristo’s.

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Get in there and get your hands dirty, then for the mixture into patties. Grill for about 6 minutes per side, as they need to be cooked through.

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Melt some cheese on your burgers. I think provolone works great here, but of course I could not find any in London so I went with a mild good melting Edam. Then to assemble these puppies, split open warm pitas and spread with tzatziki sauce, either store bought or homemade. Add a slice or two of fresh ripe tomatoes, pop your burger in the pita and bite into an amazing pop of Greek flavors.

Greek Turkey Burgers: A Broad Cooking

Greek Turkey Burgers

Serves 4

1 lb. ground turkey

½ onion, diced

4 oz. fresh chopped spinach*

½ cup crumbled feta

1 Tbs. Greek seasoning

4 slices provolone cheese

½ cucumber, grated and drained

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 garlic clove, minced

4 slices tomato

4 pitas, warmed

*You can substitute ½ cup of frozen spinach, thawed and drained.

In a non-stick skillet, sauté the onion for 3-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Mix the spinach with the ground turkey, feta, and Greek seasoning. Form into 4 equal sized patties.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Cook the burger patties for 5 to 6 minutes per side until cooked through. Top with the provolone slices during the last minute of cooking.

While the burgers cook, make a tzatziki sauce by combining the cucumber and garlic with Greek yogurt and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble, split the pita and spread with ¼ cup of the tzatziki sauce. Fill with a burger and tomato slice.

Oven Baked Zucchini Fries: A Broad Cooking

Oven-Baked Zucchini Fries

Serves 4

3 zucchinis

2 eggs

1 cup panko

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

1 Tbs. olive oil

Ranch dressing to serve.

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Place a wire rack onto a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.

Slice the ends off the zucchini, then cut in half horizontally. Slice each half into six wedges.

In one shallow dish, whisk the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water and in another dish mix the panko with salt and pepper.

Dip the wedges first into the egg then the panko to coat. Place on the wire rack. Repeat until all the zucchini wedges are coated. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 25 minutes, until browned and cooked through.

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