We all need a little poetry in our lives, but I happen to be a person who needs a regular, and more sizable dose than the average human. It is best to neither question nor manhandle one’s given metabolism; rather, feed it.
In a book of poetry on the topic of food, I found a whole section of Summer Barbeque poems, among which I found one couplet by Erin Belieu in “Love is Not an Emergency” with an image I believe perfectly captures the Last Day of Summer:
flies ass-up in the Jell-O;
the soft bulge of thunderheads.
Depending on where you are when you read this, take with a grain of salt my suggestion that it is not too late to have one more good grill-out dinner, even if the thunderheads loom. Also, if you are not a vegetarian, it is also not too late to resolve what begrudging you have toward veggie burgers. Let me be clear that I am the LAST person on Earth to make and eat a veggie burger. The fact that I post this faux burger recipe at all is not only a huge step for me, but a magnificent endorsement. Tomorrow I’m going to tell you how the eggplant and two pattypan dreidl-squashes I ate for dinner last night blew my mind.
Adapted from HyVee Seasons
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. shredded Colby Jack cheese
1/4 c. whole wheat Italian seasoning bread crumbs
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion plus 4 thin slices
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 large egg white
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. ketchup
1 tbsp mustard
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
4 iceberg lettuce leaves
Carrot sticks, optional
In a medium bowl, mash pinto beans with a fork. Add cheese, bread crumbs, chopped red onion, cumin, garlic salt, pepper and parsley. Add egg white and stir until well combined. Shape bean mixture into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until patties are browned and thoroughly heated.
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. Place patties on bun topped with lettuce leaves, mayonnaise sauce and red onion slices. Serve with a red goddess salad.
Avocado and Shrimp Salad with Red Goddess Dressing
Adapted from Food and Wine
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 head of lettuce, torn into large pieces
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 Hass avocados, cut into wedges
1 pound cooked shrimp
In a blender, combine the roasted pepper, shallot, garlic, jalapeño, yogurt, vinegar and lemon juice and puree until smooth. Scrape the puree into a medium bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season with salt.
In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the cilantro leaves, lime juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt. Arrange the dressed lettuce, avocado wedges and shrimp on plates and drizzle with some of the dressing. Serve the remaining Red Goddess dressing on the side.
Okay, how about a Real Burger now.
Bacon Burgers with Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce
Adapted from Food and Wine
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 jalapeños, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 pound bacon, minced (1 cup)
6 scallions, white and light green parts only, minced
1/2 cup chopped mint
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Canola oil, for brushing
8 toasted hamburger buns
Sliced tomatoes and onions, lettuce, ketchup, mustard and Sriracha, for serving
In a food processor, puree the yogurt, jalapeños, cilantro, ginger, onion, sugar and 1 teaspoon of the salt until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
In another bowl, mix the ground beef with the bacon, scallions, mint, cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, black pepper, cayenne and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Form into eight 1-inch-thick patties.
Heat a cast-iron griddle and brush with oil. Cook the burgers over moderate heat, turning once, until charred outside and medium within, 6 to 8 minutes.
Spread some of the yogurt sauce on the bottom buns, top with the burgers and layer with toppings. Close the burgers and serve.
As much as I hate to see barbeque season come to an end, I do love the hearty soups that follow.