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Best Turkey Burgers Ever!


Delicious! Child Friendly

Versatile & Yummy!

Turkey burgers are so versatile. The flavour, depending on the herbs/spices used, can be akin to a christmas turkey (sage, gravy topping), or a tropical treat (coriander, pineapple/pepper salsa) and everything in between. Burgers can be cooked and frozen for future quick meals, packed for lunches, made as a “meatloaf”, after work-out snack (provides a blast of protein), and of course, made into a delicious burger with your choice of trimmings!

The Basics:

2 lbs (1 kilo) of Ground Turkey (I prefer turkey breast. Either white or dark turkey meat can be used)
4 Fresh Carrots – grated – not too fine.
1 Large Red Pepper – diced (small)
3 – 4 Sticks of Celery – diced (small)
1 Large Onion (yellow, white, red … your preference) – diced (small)
4 – 8 Cloves of Garlic – minced. (Amount depends on size of cloves & how much garlic flavour you enjoy).
3 Large Eggs – beaten
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Mayo (Make your own or add your favourite)
*1 Cup Quinoa Flakes
*1/4 Cup Coconut Flour – if necessary, add a little more when mixing.
1 1/2 Tbsp. Dried Thyme
1 Tbsp. Dried Basil
1 Tbsp. Paprika
Optional:
1 Cup Cooked, Diced Bacon – Not Crispy or it won’t dice properly

Those are the basic ingredients.

*If you cannot find Quinoa Flakes or Coconut Flour, use TOASTED gluten-free bread. Not toasted, the bread becomes soggy and melts into the mixture, not providing any firmness. Coconut Flour absorbs a lot of the moisture before and during cooking. Be careful how much extra you add.

In the past I have experimented with Corn Meal, Mashed Potato, Quinoa (cooked), Rice (cooked, different varieties), Gluten-free Bread (toasted) and various gluten-free flour mixes. None provided the texture and firmness I was looking for, although mashed potatoes and the bread came close! Experiment and let us know what you come up with!

Once, while in a rush, I placed all the veggies in a food processor – the result – soggy burgers that fell apart … never doing that again!

Suggestions for 3 different Flavours: BBQ, Roast Turkey, Tropical

BBQ:

Add:
1/2 to 1 Tsp. of Cumin
1 Tsp. to 2 Tsp. Chili Flakes or dried Chilies (Poblano, Ancho, Chipotle) – depending on the heat of the chilies used and how hot you like it.
Although I love the heat of chilies, too much can reduce the flavour components of the whole meal, i.e. … your mouth is on fire and you can’t really taste anything!
1 Tbsp. Honey or Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp. Gluten Free Tamari/Soya Sauce/Bragg’s Liquid
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp. of your favourite Gluten Free Mustard

If you do not have the honey, tamari, tomato paste or mustard, add 2 – 3 Tbsp. of your favourite BBQ sauce.

Sage Burgers:

Add:
2 Tbsp. Dried Sage
2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley – minced
2 Tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Cumin

For added colour and flavour, toss in a handful of dried cranberries!

Tropical Patties:

Add:
2 Tsp. Coriander
1/4 Tsp. Curry
1/2 Tsp. Dried Hot Pepper
1 Tbsp. Dried Coconut
2 Tbsp. (or more … up to you) Grated Sweet Potato
1/4 Cup Finely Diced Pineapple

Method:

Place Turkey in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle herbs/spices on top. Add beaten eggs. Add the binder (quinoa/coconut flour, etc.). Lastly, add the diced/minced veggies. Mix well. Form into patties. Place on greased (coconut oil) cookie sheet. They can be placed quite close together as they do shrink a little. Cook in a 350℉ oven on the middle rack. Depending on the thickness of the patties, cook for about 30 minutes. The Turkey burgers do not gain much colour when cooked – a little golden and that’s all.

Yield: 10 Large Patties

Two of us finished these in 24 hours! They are delicious and so easy to snack on – directly from the refrigerator – just one more bite … and soon another patty was devoured. Doubling the recipe provides extras for freezing or lunches. The patties keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 days (If they last that long!) For freezing, layer each patty with wax paper and freeze in a sealed bag. Only freeze as many together that you will need for a meal.
Pressed for time? Make this into a meatloaf – grease a meatloaf pan and firmly pat the mixture in.

Gravy, Mango/Pineapple Salsa, Cranberry Sauce, Fig Compote … any of these may be served with these burgers.
Sweet Potatoes/Yams are a favourite side dish. Wash well, slice into 1/2 inch/1.5 cm, lay on a cookie sheet, pour extra virgin olive oil, orange/pineapple juice, GF tamari over top – just enough of each to “wet” the slices. Sprinkle paprika over each slice. A dash of cinnamon on each slice works well for the children. If you love garlic, as I do, add some peeled cloves in the pan – yum!

ENJOY!

México!


It took a while … planning, discussions, paperwork, introspection, tears, laughter and tons of hard work … Here I am, living in México … Thank You to my daughters for their Love and understanding, wherever we are in the world we are together.  Please, follow your dreams … make it happen for you.  Choose to be happy wherever you are and whatever you are doing!  Thank You to my dear friends for helping hands, ears that listen, kind and thoughtful words and homes to visit.  Bless you all for helping make this part of my dream come true!

And now … back to FOOD!!!

Wherever you are in the world you will find fish, chicken and pork … and many different veggies and fruits … most we know, like onions, garlic, cabbage, parsley/cilantro, carrots, potatoes, lemons/limes, bananas, etc.  Herbs, spices, veggies and fruits vary (some new, some not to be found, and finding the ones you know!).  Here in Mexico there is an abundance of some foods and a scarcity of others.  Some foods we Canadians/Americans have become accustomed to are difficult to find but with the help of others can be found and other foods … well … just not available yet.  Vine leaves, phyllo pastry, real greek feta cheese, dill weed, Miracle Whip … and a few others are either not available here or available at one store or another only some of the time.  We await the arrival of friends from home with eagerness, not only for their company but for the goodies they bring!  In the meantime we explore small and large food outlets – there is a Costco, a Wal-Mart (they are everywhere!), a Sam’s Club and a division of Wal-Mart, named Superama.  There are also many smaller, specialty grocery stores opening now, in response to the demand of the thousands of ex-pats living and eating here!  There are also a large number of Mercados (markets), with an abundance of fresh foods.  And the food is fresh!  Most foods offered at the market are grown in Mexico, picked when ripe and transported to the nearest market.  Food at the market is seasonal and very fresh!

So much to discover!

Paradise?


What do we call “Paradise”? Is there such a place to live here on earth … ?

Is it living by a beach? In the mountains? A log cabin by a lake? A beautiful apartment in a big city? A mansion? A farm? A horse ranch? A small town where everyone knows each other? An Ashram? Travelling the world? Life on a boat? An island? It is up to each of us to decide … There are many options. Every choice has benefits and trials. Which has more benefits and less trials (or, should I say, ones you are willing to put up with for the benefits)? We search for our own paradise, learning along the way and as we grow and learn, our perceptions change. What we consider gifts and challenges changes, depending on where we are in our lives and the choices and sacrifices we are willing to make.

Living in Mexico this winter and last has been quite the learning experience for me! Some delightful experiences, some challenging, some an eyeopener! All combined the experience has been a wonder filled one. So many lovely people – Mexican and ex-pats (many from Canada and the U.S.). All helping each other to navigate the ins and outs of visiting/living in a foreign country. Sourcing out food, learning a new language (more than una cerveza por favour … lol!) discovering new ways of cooking along the way. New sights, new sounds, new smells, new tastes! Scenery is lovely and … I drive around freely and easily! Weather – well, what can I say … no snow … lots of sun, flip flops most days … although when the nortes blow in, it’s cold, windy and wet!

The challenges … well … sometimes needed items are very hard to find, require a lot of driving around or simply cannot be found. That goes for everything from food to hardware to kitchen gadgets (looking for a decent can opener right now! … Found one!), to linens and everything in between. One learns quickly here … if you see something you like/want/need or may need in the near future … BUY IT NOW! Things go quickly and restocking takes a while or not at all. Miracle Whip disappears as fast as the stars at dawn … twinkle twinkle and it’s gone!

The challenges also include getting used to living in a country that is not as rich, nor as advanced as ours. Although in the province of Yucatan it is generally safe, awareness is key. Locking doors, protecting phones, computers, etc., just as most places in the world … play safe and stay safe. The laws are sometimes enforced, sometimes not and they are a little different. Although now there is zero tolerance for drinking and driving, no smoking in an indoor area, no talking on the mobile phone whilst driving, etc. Car accidents are handled a bit differently (all parties involved can be jailed until they agree on who is at fault – Lawyers come in very handy!), thankfully I have not learned this first hand. Associating with a person of interest to the police can land you in jail. Visa requirements … best to always look up the laws and requirements of where you are going BEFORE you get there.

Internet is EXTREMELY slow, even in Merida it is not as fast as large metropolitan areas in Canada or the U.S. People take precedence over animals, resulting in many street dogs and a few cats that are sick, dying or dead. Although there are ex-pats and Mexican vets now that are neutering and spaying animals for free. If anyone can catch a street dog/puppy, they will de-worm, de-flea, cure the mange and spay/neuter the animal for free. We all do what we can to support these efforts. Many of the people here have adopted 1, 2, 3 or even 4 dogs! Sewer system at the beach and many places in Merida is a septic tank which comes with its’ own challenges. Electricity goes on and off at random, as does the mobile and internet service … Then there are the bugs … CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN … no leaving the dishes in the sink or dropping food on the floor! Do NOT walk in the bush – snakes, bugs, animals all live in any empty, grassy space and they all come out at night.

Although some days can be very trying, the beauty, the people and all the knowledge I’ve accumulated have been more than worth the trials! I’ve learned about Mamay fruit, Achiote paste, coconuts, fish/seafood (so many different kinds!), jicama, cilantro, nuts, oils, I have cooked Mexican foods – Yucatectan foods (yes, I will share the recipes with you).  The ruins, the cenotes, the markets … museums, art, music … beautiful, intriguing, enlightening … Watching Pelicans float by is so relaxing … meditative!

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Picking coconuts for fresh coconut water

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Pescado Frito – Muy Bueno!

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Lobster Taquitos at La Recova

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Yummy dips … mild to hot!

 

 

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Duck Salad at La Recova

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Fruits and veggies at the Bodega

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More fruits and veggies at the Bodega

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Green coconut jelly … this coconut yields delicious coconut water … split the coconut after removing the water and scoop out the jelly!

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chicken on the grill … charcoal made from trees … great flavour!

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Chicken with tamarind and coconut jelly

                                                                                                                 

 


Easy Chicken Dinner – one pan.
Place rinsed chicken breast or thighs in pan. Drizzle EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) all over. Add Wine (red or white) OR orange juice OR lemon into the pan. About 1/2 cup of wine or 1/4 cup juice. Chop (chunky pieces) up potatoes or cauliflower, carrots, onions (just a bit), garlic (lots!) and add to pan. Mix with the juice/wine and oil. Cover the chicken in Dijon mustard – be liberal. Sprinkle entire contents of pan with paprika (lots), cumin (just enough to have a sprinkle – more on the chicken), black pepper, thyme, if you have fresh rosemary, add a 2 or 3 sprigs for extra flavour. Add capers on top of the chicken, it’s okay if a few roll off. Add lots! They are delicious with Dijon mustard. Bake/Roast covered at 350℉ (180℃ or Gas Mark 4), for approximately half an hour (half the time). Uncover and cook until done – browned. Bone in chicken will take about one hour. Boneless will take less time. Cover for only half the time!
Enjoy with a salad or a side of green vegetables!
And here’s a green vegetable idea I made up the other day …
Green Beans, fresh or frozen, whichever you can find! As many as you need – approx. 1/2 cup per person.
Crush some cashews or used slivered/sliced almonds. About 1/3 cup per cup of green beans.
Sesame oil to generously coat pan.
Balsamic vinegar or Lemon juice or Orange juice. Tsp. of Balsamic or 1 tbsp. of Lemon or Orange juice per cup of Beans.
Coriander – crushed.
Black Pepper – a sprinkle will do.
Garlic, chopped. Doesn’t have to be diced up small. Chunky will do. As much or as little as you like.
Fresh Cilantro, Parsley or Basil, chopped up and added after other ingredients have begun to cook.
Add all ingredients into a pan, medium-low heat. Cover for 5 – 10 minutes (depending on how much you have in the pan). Remove cover, add fresh herbs, increase heat to medium-high and stir-fry until done. About another 5 minutes.
Optional: Red Pepper – diced. One Hot Pepper, fresh or dried, cut in half. Only 1 hot pepper, first time I made this, I added 3. Love heat but not THAT much!
Sun-Dried Tomato – about 1 tbsp. per cup of beans … tomatoes will dilute the flavour of the beans if you add too many.
A few fresh green/spring onions … scallions, chopped fine and sprinkled on the beans before serving.
This green vegetable dish would be great on a date night – I’ll tell you why in the book!
Which wine to serve? A crisp Sauvignon Blanc, an unoaked Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir … 🙂
Enjoy!

Happy 2015! It’s a new year, a new beginning and a new book!

So … You Want to Get Laid Tonight?
A how-to guide for a romantic dinner that won’t have you watching TV afterwards!

What happens after dinner … in the bedroom, the living room or, heck!, on the kitchen floor … is up to you … provided you are with a consenting adult!

What the book will do is offer a selection of Romantic, Erotic foods, how to cook and eat them, the setting, the food, the fun, the ideas … date friendly (sex enhancing) dinners and more!

Tantalizing aromas, sauces glistening on your lips, nibbling a tasty morsel offered, finger licking and lip wetting deliciousness …

Whew! Need a moment …

Okay, back to the food …

Garlic, usually a no-no for romantic dinners, will be on the menu … too many excellent qualities in garlic to exclude it. How you cook the garlic is the key.

Cucumbers, parsley, lemons are great breath fresheners (after the garlic)! Let me show you how and why.

Spicy, Sweet, Sour, Savoury, Salty … a cornucopia of tastes … Kiss as each new flavour is sampled … sharing flavours with a kiss is so erotic!

There will be plenty left for a midnight foray to the kitchen too … All you do is follow the DIY guide and have fun! 😉

All Gluten and Dairy Free … of course!

Stay tuned! More to come …


My favourite cookies … I began making these cookies with my Yaya (Greek grandmother) and Mom when I was a little girl.  Although they are traditionally dairy-free, they are not gluten-free.  This year I am taking a leap of faith and making them with a gluten-free, cake & pastry flour … will post results – good or bad!  These cookies can be made up to two weeks in advance, stored in the refrigerator, in a tin, with wax/parchment paper between the layers.  This recipe makes lots of cookies – up to 6 dozen – and they disappear quickly, which is why I make two batches.  One batch two weeks before the 24th and one the week before!  If possible make these with a friend/family member … They do take a while to prepare and company always helps the time go by … 🙂

Melamacarona:
6 Cups Cake & Pastry Flour
1 Cup Crushed Walnuts (crushed to a flour consistency)
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Grated Orange Rind
4 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon (or more)
3/4 Tsp. Ground Clove (NO more)
Pinch of Salt … 1/8 Tsp. (or less)

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

1 1/2 to 2 Cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Warm (Room Temperature) Orange Juice
1/3 Cup Brandy
3/4 Cup Sugar (Berry Sugar)

Mix “liquid” ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly begin adding dry ingredients until a soft but not sticky dough is formed. Form cookies by rolling a small amount in your hand and shaping into a short, plump, sausage looking lump. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. When all the cookies are rolled, delicately pinch the ends and squeeze gently toward the middle of the cookie. Now you will have a somewhat diamond shaped cookie. With the fork tines gently flatten the tops of all the cookies – only the top, not the whole cookie. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350° oven.

Set out wax paper (or parchment paper) sheets on the table. Crush 1 to 2 cups of walnuts and sprinkle over the sheets of paper.

Consistency of crushed walnuts.

Consistency of crushed walnuts.

Syrup:

1 Cup of Fragrant Honey
1/2 Cup of Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (my Canadian addition)
2 Tablespoons Brandy
1 1/2 Cups of Water
1 Whole Navel Orange, small one – sliced
1 Whole Lemon – sliced
4 Sticks of Cinnamon
10 Whole Cloves
4 Whole Nutmeg

Bring the liquids (including syrups), to a boil and immediately remove from heat.  Add in the orange/lemon slices and whole spices.  Cover and simmer on low heat for at least 1/2 an hour and no more than 1 hour.  Must be quite warm for cookie dipping!  When cookies are ready to be dipped, with a slotted spoon remove the fruits & whole spices.

Walnuts:

Crush 1 1/2 cups of Fresh Walnuts in a food processor.  Sprinkle liberally over several sheets of wax paper.  I spread the wax paper, overlapping each piece, over a 4 x 4 foot (1.1 x 1.1 metre), square section of my kitchen table.

Once cookies are removed from the oven and have cooled for 2 – 3 minutes, dip them in the syrup ,

Simmering syrup - remove oranges, lemons & whole spices before dipping cookies!

Simmering syrup – remove oranges, lemons & whole spices before dipping cookies!

roll them over, remove and place on walnut covered sheets of wax paper. Sprinkle more crushed walnuts over all. When cooled arrange on a serving dish with more crushed walnuts under and atop the cookies (use the walnuts left on the wax paper).  Save remaining walnuts and syrup (in separate containers) to use on other desserts – Apple Crisp, Honey Cake, Walnut Cake or as a topping for Sweet Potato Pie!

Melamacarona!

Melamacarona!

That’s it … Enjoy!

ps. after all this work, when clean up is done … have a brandy with tea and a cookie. You deserve it! 🙂


Ever wonder what we would be dining on at our Christmas dinner if the Pilgrims had “found” a deer … moose … duck … fish … instead of a turkey … Yep, you get where I’m going with this …

Festive holiday dinners are for family, friends … sharing time, food and stories together.  A time of cheer, fun, love and laughter.  Stressing out over the cost, presentation and “perfection” of a holiday meal drains the spirit!  Whether you serve up a roast beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, lasagna, mousaka, ribs, fish, tofu, … a meal made with joy is one remembered by all.

After many years of large turkey dinners, that took at least 3 days to prepare (leaving me exhausted and a little cranky) … I changed tradition … egads!  The first Christmas we enjoyed a roasted chicken (roasted in the grocery store and spiced up and re-cooked by me), sweet potatoes, peas & carrots, green salad, a tomato salad and a store bought pie – it was relaxing, tasty and FUN!  Instead of waking up at 6 a.m. and stuffing a huge bird, we slept in – as much as possible when young children are a part of your life – opened gifts together, visited friends in the afternoon, revelled in the company of friends at dinner – and … clean up was soooo easy!  The following years were a mix of going to the mountains with friends/family,  dinner shared at a friends home or dinner at our table with guests bringing a dish to share – the dinner options are endless.  Make it simple, relaxing and fun!

This years’ menu for 10 will be a roast leg of lamb with potatoes – sweet and russet, broccoli & cauliflower salad, peas (must have!), pickled beets, tomato & avocado salad … maybe carrots, maybe a green salad – depends on what the day brings, another dish or two supplied by guests … add music, a few candles and voilà a celebration.  I am looking forward to enjoying the time with family and friends!  Beats stressing out over dinner and table settings … 🙂

Enjoy!  The perfection of a meal is in the love added by those who make it and the enjoyment of the loved ones sharing it.

Photos will be posted on Christmas Day!

Leg of Lamb

Lamb
Fresh squeezed lemon juice
Red wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh garlic
Mustard
Oregano or Thyme
Black pepper
Cumin

Poke lamb and stuff with garlic cloves – as many as you like!
Pour lemon juice, wine and oil over – in this order – making sure that all areas are covered
Spread mustard – Dijon or regular – all over – except bottom
Sprinkle on herbs & spices
Start roasting, time depends on size and your oven!

Potatoes

Potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice
Garlic
Paprika

Cut up potatoes into bite size pieces.  Mix in the remaining ingredients (be liberal!)
Add to lamb roast.
Depending on size of pieces, cooking time is usually one hour.

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad

Broccoli & Cauliflower – fresh
Lemon juice
Black pepper
(Is there a theme here?)

Place cleaned cauliflower head (take off leaves and cut out center – from the bottom) in a pot with approx. 4 cm. (2 inches) of water.
Arrange Broccoli “trees” around cauliflower
Steam, covered, medium to low heat, for 5 – 10 minutes.
Drain and cut up in pot by running a sharp knife through the veggies in a checked pattern.
Drizzle oil, juice over all and sprinkle pepper.

 

Keep posted … More holiday recipes coming … with photos!

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