A series of cravings kept me in the kitchen for several hours last weekend. First, I wanted a burger. I have had quite a few burger cravings recently, and I satisfy them by sending Josh to Red Mill. Last time, however, there was too much cardamom in the secret sauce, so I decided to make my own burgers this time around. We still have meat from our 1/4-steer! I ordered it in October of 2009. I suppose that, in order to truly enjoy the beef in a timely fashion, I should have thought of it more like an Argentinian would. As in: Hm. I have this high-quality, grass-fed beef that is high in the right kinds of omegas and that does not have all that heart-stopping garbage that corn-fed beef has. I should eat it every day! I was taking more of a moderation sort of tack. As in: One serving of beef per week, thank you. There is some that I have no idea what to do with. Forgive me if I mentioned this before, but what the hell is a cube steak?
Anyway, my burger was fabulous. As per usual I was too shy on the salt, but once I added a bit divinity was definitely present. I mixed chimichurri into the burgers themselves. Oh, you don't make that? You must. It's good with everything! I'll put the recipe at the bottom. Mix some with burger meat, dump it on meatloaf, dress roasted veggies with it ... salmon, chicken, pizza sauce, savory crepe filling with mushrooms ... I could go on. The best way to have it with the burger is to make sure that you toast some buttered bread as your bun.
Naturally, fries were part of the craving. I make a mean oven fry. The trick to great texture is soaking the potatoes in hot water for 20 minutes. That pulls out just the right amount of starch. Red Mill has good fries, too. They are pretty thick and not greasy. My oven fries are much better, of course.
The final craving was for nutella. I know, I know. That is easy - just buy some! But I really want to cut back on how much my family contributes to King GMO Corn and the petro-chemical industry who, together with heir apparent GMO soy, have taken over the US agricultural landscape. And there is corn in everything! Homemade nutella is good, not as smooth and not as spreadable as the jarred stuff, but definitely the real deal. I'll give you the recipe to that, too.
When I lived in Spain I was told how kids have nutella as a snack on bread when they come home from school, or in the late afternoon, or whatever. I thought it indulgent and silly. Then I pondered the peanut butter that I had for lunch often. It dawned on me that Nutella merely combines a nut butter with chocolate. If you get the right kind of chocolate, it's good for you. I've come around, is what I'm saying. I no longer think those Nutella-loving Spaniards, Italians, and French so bizarre and gluttonous.
1 cup cilantro
1/4 cup parsley
1 T oregano (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 head roasted garlic (roast 30 minutes at 375)
2 T red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper and a little cayenne to taste
Whir it all in a food processor. You can drizzle in the oil, if you like.
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 oz. high-quality dark or bittersweet chocolate (I use Ghirardelli bittersweet chips)
3 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
If you have to toast your own hazelnuts, go for 350 and check them after 8 minutes. Total 10-15 minutes. They are really easy to burn and taste awful when they get that far. Take the hazelnuts and process them until you make nut butter - 5 minutes, maybe more! It's hard to get it truly smooth. Warm the cream until little bubbles form on the edges - don't boil. Then add the sugar, vanilla and salt to dissolve all that. Take it off the heat and pour in the chocolate bits to melt. Dump that concoction in with the nut butter and puree until you get nutella!