Saturday, July 21, 2007

No recipe, but a dinner failure!

Today was an absolutely exceptional summer day. I remember these from when I was a kid—warm but not hot, low humidity, sunny. It seems as though during the past 10 -15 years or so the weather has been so much warmer, so much more humid, not very enjoyable at all. We took full advantage of this and tried to catch up on the yardwork that has been slipping due to the excessive heat. After 6 hours of trimming, weeding, pulling grapevines out of trees, etc. we called it a day. I was hesitant to go inside though, and decided to make a wood fire in our fire pit to grill burgers for dinner.

Of course, the pile o’ zucchini on the kitchen counter needed to be considered. Last night we had grilled zucchini as a side dish. I also made 4 loaves of Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread (that’s a recipe in progress). In the days before, I had made zucchini pancakes, zucchini parmesan, and fried zucchini. What the heck, maybe I could get away with adding shredded zucchini to the turkey burgers.

Let me say right now that, although the photos would be hilarious, there are none. Sometimes it’s not a good idea good to document experiments.

I was certain that these would be great. In addition to the grated zucchini, I also added minced garlic, chopped chipotle pepper, Mexican oregano, salt & pepper. To bind, I stirred in a beaten egg. The mixture seemed a little soft, so I added some dry bread crumbs. Still soft, but workable. I started the fire then formed the burgers.

When the wood burned down to red-hot glowing pieces, I placed the grid over the fire and sprayed the burgers with some cooking spray. I slid the spatula under the first turkey burger, flipped it over onto the grid. No problem. The meat sagged between the grids a little, but I figured that I could deal with it and added the next two burgers. Then I went in the house to put together a salsa for the topping.

A few minutes later I went to check the burgers and found that they were so soft that they had almost totally sagged into the spaces between the grids. No way could I flip these, and the fire was scorching the meat. I ran in the house and grabbed my heaviest oven mitt and a large platter. I picked up the grid and flipped it over, hoping that the burgers would land nicely on the platter. No dice. They stuck. I set the platter on the patio stone, took my spatula, and scraped. Lovely. Burnt to a crisp on one side, raw on the other. Medium-rare turkey burgers, anyone?! Not knowing what else to do, I put whatever remained of these burgers back on the grid and placed it over the fire. Immediately, the meat again sagged through the grids. I went into the kitchen.

Jack chose that minute to appear behind me and ask when dinner would be served. I muttered that we’d have to order a pizza because dinner was inedible. He asked what happened, so I did what anyone would do—I snapped for him to go and see for himself. And he did.

Okay, for the guys reading this, if a similar situation ever happens in your domestic situation, DO NOT LAUGH.

Ah, the Queen was not in a good mood.

Jack, seeing my face, said that he was sure that they could be salvaged so he took a plate out and scraped the burgers onto it. “They’re not done”, he said unnecessarily, “but maybe they can be finished in the microwave?” Right. I removed some of the carbon deposits, covered the plate with waxed paper, and microwaved. I removed the burgers and Jack smelled them. A little burnt, he decided, but they probably would be good.

I have to admit, this man will try anything…

To counter the carcinogens with antioxidants, I poured us each a Saranac Pomegranate Wheat beer.

Darn if these stupid zucchini turkey burgers weren’t really good! Or was it that we had been working outside all day and it had been 7 hours since lunch? Who knows. I don’t think that this recipe will be tossed, though. I just have to do a little better with the zucchini. I was in a hurry, so instead of removing the excess moisture in the washer spin-cycle, I thought it would be enough to press it against a strainer. Not a good idea. So I will try it again, and I have confidence (mostly) that it will be better. Actually, it couldn’t get too much worse!

But for now, how can I add zucchini to tomorrow’s breakfast? I just picked 5 more!

If anyone is familiar with the painting Christina's World, you may see the similarity with this photo which I took yesterday. I call it Spooky's World. :)

I have to add that this was before Jack mowed...


Jeffrey said...

I always had problems when cooking turkey/chicken burguers. I finally gave up on cooking them on the grill. This is specially because I grind my own turkey/chicken and this meat is very very sticky. But this is how i cook them on a pan: Make a ball of grounded chicken meat, drop it on the pan, now cut a piece of aluminium foil and put it on top of the ball of meat, press the foil with a spatula until you leave the ball with the shape of a patty. Leave the foil until the patty is almost done and then remove the foil and cook the other side. If you don't use the foil, the meat will stick to the spatula. You can add carrots, onion and green peppers to the meat to make it more tasty.

Kitchen Queen Victoria said...

Jeffrey, I admire the fact that you're continuing to grind your own turkey/ chicken. I bought a meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid but, as you mentioned, the meat was just so sticky that it drove me nuts. So I ended up selling the attachment. Some things I am very patient with, but others... ;)

I will definitely try your burger-cooking technique in the fall when I turn on my stove again. And thanks for the tip about using the foil!