Basil Turkey Burger Recipe

Aaaaaaand I’m back.

Basil Turkey Burgers

For the past couple of weeks, Jorge and I have been adventuring around Europe, including stops in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.  A big thanks to all who provided recommendations!  I’m not going to dive into our trip just yet, because I haven’t processed all the photos; however, you can find some foodie highlights on Instagram.

Now that we’re back, I’m in full 4th of July mode.  This year, I will be grilling up a batch of Basil Turkey Burgers inspired by one of my favorites from Burger Lounge.  Flavored with tons of fresh basil, these burgers are laced with two secret ingredients: fish sauce and sugar.  Fish sauce provides some much-needed umami without imparting a fishy flavor.  The sugar balances out the fish sauce.  Stacked up with lettuce, tomato, mayo and ketchup, the finished burger packs a pleasant basil punch followed by an incredibly satisfying savory finish.  Continue reading for the turkey burger recipe plus 9 other recipes for 4th of July!

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St. Germain Ice Cream Float

I’m keeping things short and sweet today.

St. Germain Ice Cream Float

This ice cream float has been… floating around in the back of mind for almost two years now.  Back in August 2013, Jorge and I were exploring the Seattle food scene when we came upon Hot Cakes, a small restaurant that specializes in boozy milkshakes and molten chocolate cakes.  There were so many tasty things on the menu (including a St. Germain Float), and we wanted to order all of them!  Unfortunately, stomach space was minimal (we just had dinner), and the St. Germain Float option was trumped by an Extra-Dark Caramel Milkshake, a shake that I later recreated at home.

As we were leaving Hot Cakes that evening, I asked a waitress what was in the St. Germain Float, and she replied, “A scoop of vanilla ice cream with a shot of St. Germain poured over.”  Seems simple enough right?  Well I tried this at home, and it was delicious, but I don’t think I would really call it a float.  Where was the soda?  The bubbles?  With a few simple additions, I finally landed on this recipe.

Made with just 4 ingredients, my St. Germain Ice Cream Float starts with a mix of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lemon juice and sparkling water.  A makeshift elderflower soda if you will.  The lemon balances out the sweetness of the liqueur while the bubbly provides a refreshing snap.  To finish, drop in a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, and enjoy.  So simple.  SO delicious.  The pairing of elderflower and vanilla just works in all the right ways.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Avocado Toast 5 Ways

If you enjoy avocado as much as I do, then you’re going to love today’s article.  I’ve got 5 fresh avocado recipes for you below!

Avocado Toast 5 Ways In particular, Avocado Toast.  The concept is fairly simple.  Mash up half an avocado with salt, pepper and some sort of acid (lemon or lime juice) to taste.  The flavors should be bright without covering up the cool grassiness of the avocado.  Spread this mash over a lightly toasted piece of bread, and you have Avocado Toast.  It’s that easy!  I like to use whole wheat bread here, but sourdough or country bread would also work well.

Avocado Toast can be enjoyed for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.  Avocado is packed with healthy fat and nutrients, so I find that just 1 slice can keep me full and satisfied until my mid-morning meal.  I’ve also served these luscious green beauties as an appetizer (on thin slices of seedy baguette).

To take things up a notch, here are 4 variations on the basic Avocado Toast:

  • Egg + Bacon + Chive.  A dressed up version perfect for Saturday breakfast.
  • Frisée + Bacon + Lemon.   Similar to one of my favorite sandwiches (minus the tomato).
  • Tomato + Basil + Balsamic.  Italian flavors that pair well with avocado.  Serve as an afternoon snack or a simple appetizer before dinner.
  • Corn + Chile + Lime.  My Mexican spin on Avocado Toast.  Big, bold flavors.

The recipes below are more like loose guidelines.  I barely included exact measurements, because most of the toppings are to taste.  Don’t like red onion?  Leave it out.  Love bacon (like me), add more.  A scatter of this.  A sprinkle of that.  Just know that the flavors in each recipe work well together.  Quantities of toppings are up to you.  Also, each recipe uses just 1/2 an avocado.  If you don’t plan on using the other half immediately, sprinkle the cut side with acid (lemon or lime juice), press plastic wrap directly against the flesh of the avocado, and store in the refrigerator.  Continue reading for the recipes.

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Yogurt Panna Cotta with Easy Plum Compote

I’m not ready to give up summer just yet.

Yogurt Panna Cotta with Plum Compote Apples, pears, quince and pumpkins will all have their turn.  But for now, I’m holding on to summer with this Yogurt Panna Cotta with Plum Compote.  Panna cotta is a favorite dessert of mine, because the process is easy, and the results are spectacular.  Typically made with heavy cream, panna cotta is custard-like dessert that is thickened with gelatin instead of eggs.  The texture is smooth, rich and silky.  In this recipe, tangy whole-milk yogurt is flavored with sugar, citrus zest and an entire vanilla bean, then firmed up with powdered gelatin.  After an overnight chill, the panna cotta is topped with a sweet-tart Plum Compote (made with 3-ingredients!), and fresh, fragrant mint leaves.  So simple.  So delicious.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Green Goddess Guacmole

You guys, this guac is so darn tasty.

Green Goddess Guacamole A mashup of green goddess dressing and guacamole, this rich, herb-flecked dip is completely and utterly addicting.  Rumor has it that green goddess salad dressing originated in the 1920’s in San Francisco.  The dressing is typically made with mayo, sour cream, anchovy, lemon and a flurry of finely chopped fresh herbs.  Here, I’ve taken some of these flavors, and applied them to one of my favorite Mexican dips, guacamole.  This recipe starts with cool jade cubes of ripe avocado.  Finely chopped shallot, garlic, parsley, cilantro, chive and tarragon are then added with sour cream and anchovy paste.  Lime juice and kosher salt bring everything to life.  The entire mixture is mashed with a fork to keep the texture somewhat chunky.  Each bite of this adventurous guacamole is packed with incredible herbaceous flavor.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Watermelon Ginger Spritzer

I’m keeping things short and sweet today.

Watermelon Ginger Spritzer And when I say short, I’m referring to the serious lack of time it takes to blend up this delicious, non-alcoholic beverage.  The sweetness comes in two forms.  First, chunks of watermelon ripe with fragrant, sweet juices are blended and strained, forming the most vibrant-colored liquid.  The pure essence of watermelon really.  Second, sweet and spicy Ginger Syrup is added to the mix for depth of flavor.  The drink is finished with freshly squeezed lime juice for balance, and sparkling water to lighten the texture.  This Watermelon Ginger Spritzer is crisp, seasonal, and incredibly refreshing.  A perfect summer beverage.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Rainbow Fruit Purees

San Diego LGBT Pride is this weekend, and I’m celebrating with a kaleidoscope of organic fruit purees.  Each puree destined for a glass of champs of course 😉

Rainbow Fruit Making your own fruit purees at home is an easy task.  Simply blend ripe, organic fruit with sugar and citrus juice, strain, and serve!  That’s it.  For reals.  Sugar and citrus (lemon, lime or orange) help to amp up the flavors of any fresh fruit.  Once you’ve mastered one puree, try making a vibrant rainbow of purees with strawberries, papaya, mango, honeydew, watermelon, blueberries and blackberries.  All the organic produce featured in this article was purchased at the new Jimbo’s… Naturally! at Westfield Horton Plaza.  They have a seriously gorgeous selection of fresh herbs and fruit.

You can serve this edible spectrum with champagne, sparkling wine, Prosecco or sparkling water.  Place a few tablespoons of puree at the bottom of a glass, then top of with bubbly.  A perfect addition to any Pride Weekend brunch table!  Continue reading for the recipes.

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Blueberry Ice Cream with Oat Crumble Topping

Aside from flavor, my favorite part of this dessert is it’s color.  Will you just look at that:

Blueberry Ice Cream with Oat Crumble Topping Blueberry Ice Cream with Oat Crumble Topping is summer in dessert-form.  It’s like that piping-hot, all-American blueberry crumble, but… cold.  This recipe starts with a base of simmered fresh blueberries flavored with lemon juice and sugar.  The cooking process draws out some of the moisture while concentrating the blueberry flavor.  After a quick strain, the resulting liquid, stained a deep shade of blue-purple, captures the pure essence of blueberry.  This flavor bomb is mixed into a French custard base (see gif below), then churned into a cold, creamy confection.  A final sprinkling of crunchy oat crumbles provides a satisfying contrast in both flavor and texture.

I’m not going to lie, I love making ice cream (and sorbet) at home.  It’s one of my favorite things to do during the summer months.  Here are some of my past favorites:

What about you?  Do you love to make ice cream at home?  If so, please share some of your favorite creations below in the comments!  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Grilled Kale Caesar with Torn Croutons

Several months ago, I had a grilled kale salad at a special event, and I’ve been dying to recreate it ever since.

Grilled-Kale-Caesar-(smaller) Organic lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur or black kale, is the star ingredient of this healthy, summer salad.  When cooked over hot coals, this leafy superfood transforms into something truly delicious.  Crispy edges provide savory notes of smoke and char while the inner portion of the kale leaf stays tender and chewy.  These grilled greens are tossed in a creamy Caesar dressing spiked with lemon, garlic and Parmesan cheese.  Torn croutons add pops of satisfying crunch.  This salad is a delicious mix of flavors and textures.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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The Summer 2014 Backyard BBQ Guide

Summer officially starts this Saturday (June 21), and that means it’s time to host a backyard BBQ.

Jorge's Bacon Cheeseburger Hosting an outdoor event for friends and family may seem like a daunting task, but I assure you that there’s no need to worry.  I’ve got you covered.  This Summer 2014 Backyard BBQ Guide will provide you with all the recipes and techniques needed to throw a fabulous al fresco fête, including drinks, appetizers, sides, mains and desserts.  Without further hesitation, let’s get this party started.

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