Thursday, January 05, 2006

Welcome to Burgerville

I can't remember the last time I had a real hamburger. Wait, scratch that. I should say that I can't remember the last time I had a real hamburger before last night. I love a good burger and it's one of the things that my mother really was great at cooking. She had an aversion to using spices in most of the food she made but with hamburgers that really didn't matter.

It was years before she discovered the existence of ground turkey and the words "extra lean ground beef" to her were like holy water to a vampire.

Recently, though, attempts to eat healthier have led to me playing cruel tricks on my brain, taste buds and stomach. I had somehow convinced myself that turkey burgers and even – I can't believe I'm writing this – veggie burgers were suitable substitutes for a juicy, greasy, meaty-tasting real beef burger.

So when Chris informed me that not only could she have a burger on her current diet but she could also have goat cheese I almost passed out from joy. And so, last night, I made Goat Cheese Burgers (inspired by the Chuckwagon Goat Cheese Burgers with Onion Jam at Better Homes and Gardens' web site). I don't know if it was the unknown amount of time since we'd had a real burger, but they tasted and smelled pretty damned good. At one point Chris even suggested that she might "hit me over the head" and take my burger, which I consider the best review of all.

Goat Cheese Burgers
1 lb. ground beef (I used organic 85% lean)
3 oz. goat cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Combine the ground beef, salt and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. Mix with clean hands until well blended. Shape into four patties of roughly the same size. Mix using as little handling as possible.

Preheat grill or grill pan until hot and cook burgers over medium high heat for about 15 minutes (or to your desired level of doneness), flipping once. Top with more goat cheese and condiments. Enjoy! (Makes four burgers.)

I served the burgers with some Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges: cut three large sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut into 3/4" slices. Place wedges in a casserole, jelly pan, baking dish, whatever. Add three tablespoons olive oil, a teaspoon of dried rosemary (crushed), kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Place wedges in an oven preheated to 400 degrees and cook for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through. Wedges are done when they are soft and cooked through but not falling apart. The recipe I used (from called for 20 minutes, but my wedges weren't done yet so I had to nuke them for about eight minutes. It may be the oven in our new house (I should probably get an oven thermometer and test it) or the recipe might've been optimistic.

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