Tag Archives: grilling

Food Matters Project #34: Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce

It’s another Monday post of the Food Matters Project.  This week we’re hosting the recipe, and have chosen Mark Bittman’s Brown Rice and Lamb Burgers with Spinach, from The Food Matters Cookbook.

To catch up all of our readers, we joined the Food Matters Project with these fellow bloggers last winter.  Each week we have a new host, who chooses a recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.  The recipes are your own interpretation, and it’s great to see the creativity from all of the blogging participants.  To read more about the project, check out the web site here, and this is our schedule.  We’d love to have you join in!

Sam and I had hosted one dish so far on Fifth Floor Kitchen.  Almost exactly a year ago we hosted the Vegetables au Vin with Coq.  If you’d like to see the rest of our recipe interpretations, check out this list.

To host our 2nd recipe we chose another delicious one, although as always, we did make some changes.  As you all know, we recently moved from a condo to a house.  One of the bigger changes (aside from having more space and a bigger kitchen), is that we can finally have a grill!  Our fantastic realtor, Peter Raia, got us a wonderful housewarming gift- a new grill! What perfect timing to enjoy a burger, especially since yesterday DC had amazing weather- sunny and in the 60’s!

Tzatziki Sauce

How did we change the recipe from Mark Bittman’s original?  First, we added a tzatziki sauce, rather than using feta cheese.  We also used less rice (he had 1 cup) and more onion (1 whole one).  The biggest change is he did not use burger buns as we did, instead he placed each burger on the bed of spinach (and more of it, 1 lb).  Check out what creative ideas other bloggers came up with here.

Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach

Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce
Inspired & Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook

Servings: 4 patties

Tzatziki Sauce
16 oz plain Greek yogurt
9 sprigs of mint leaves
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 cucumber, peeled

Spinach
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Burger Patties
1 1/4 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup cooked rice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 red onion, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground sumac
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

4 burger buns

To make the tzatziki sauce, blend together the Greek yogurt, mint, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor.  Also add in 3/4 of the cucumber and puree it.  Scoop out the tzatziki sauce into a bowl.  Chop the remaining 1/4 cucumber, and add it into the bowl, stir.  The sauce can be made ahead of time, and actually tastes great when it’s served cold.

To make the spinach, add the olive oil to a large skillet and allow to heat up.  Once the olive oil is hot, then add the spinach to the pan.  Stir occasionally until the spinach begins to soften and wilt, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan.

To make the burgers, mix the following ingredients in a mixing bowl: ground lamb, cooked rice, garlic, red onion, cumin, sumac, salt, and pepper.  Mix the ingredients together and form 4 patties.  These can be made ahead of time, or be added onto a grill right away.  Grill to 6-8 minutes on each side, depending on your preference of cooked meat.  If you do not have a grill, you can still make these on a skilled over medium-high heat, cooking the patties for about the same time until they are cooked through.

To make the burgers, place some spinach on the bun, then the burger patty.  Lastly, drizzle with tzatziki sauce.  Feel free to add tomato or onion slices.  Enjoy!

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Happy Birthday: Banana & Chocolate Chip Cake

I’m not a huge cake person, and I have extremely high standards for them.  Because of this, we didn’t even have a cake at our wedding.  Instead we had fruit tarts- yes, the mini versions of my annual Birthday Fruit Tart for my birthday.

Since I am a bit picky, it was hard to choose the cake for Ben’s (Sam’s brother) birthday.  We had a little get together last Saturday, a couple of days before his actual birthday, and I wanted to make a little treat.

Ben's Birthday Cake

While Sam made a wonderful dinner for Ben and some friends with our new grill, I attempted a cake.  Lucky for me, I was impressed- this turned out great.  The best part of it was that it continued to taste equally delicious (moist, fluffy) days after it came out of the oven.  This cake has the flavor and texture of a banana bread, although a bit more moist, with the addition of chocolate chips and a cream cheese frosting.

Ben's Birthday Cake 2

Banana & Chocolate Chip Cake
Adapted from: Bakers Royale

I’m not a huge fan of frosting, so I don’t use as much.  If you are a frosting-lover, I would double the recipe.

Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup buttermilk
12 oz mini chocolate chips (1 bag)

Frosting
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

In a stand mixer, beat together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until it’s fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time while mixing.  Then mix in the bananas, baking soda and salt, continue mixing.  Next, add in the flour and buttermilk, alternating the two ingredients as you’re pouring it in, continue mixing on low.  Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.

Grease a baking pan with a little bit of butter, then lightly flour it.  If you have two 8-inch round baking pans, divide the batter between them.  If not, pour half of the batter into the pan, bake the first one.  Allow the first to cool and take it out, then bake the second half of the batter.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.  Double check to make sure a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.  If it does, then remove the cake from the oven, and allow to cool.  Repeat with the second batter if necessary.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a stand mixer.  Finally, add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time (otherwise it’ll make a mess).

Once the cake has cooled, add some icing in between the two layers.  Then frost the outside and top of the cake.