Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Holy Guinea Pig Kitchen Success!

Tonight’s meal was full of experiments and everything game out yummy! Three experimental recipes, three successes! Mr. Lawyer made a cumber dill pasta salad last night and we let it sit and marinate alllll night and allll day. I wasn’t sure it was going to be enough to fill us up so I began thinking this salad sounds like summer time….what else reminds me of summer? Why burgers of course! And I just happened to have some ground turkey in the freezer. But what about the buns? Well I could whip up some of those too! So I started my morning trying out this sweet dinner roll recipe.
Sweet Dinner Rolls 
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoon melted butter for brushing
1. Heat up the water, add one tablespoon of the sugar and the yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
2. In the meantime, warm up the milk, mix in your egg and butter.
3. At this point I put my yeast mix and milk mix in my sweeeeet food processor and slowly mixed in the remaining sugar, salt and flour.
4. Cover and let rise one hour.
5. Roll out the dough in to whatever shape you wish. The original recipe made crescent rolls, I made round slider rolls and some clover leaf rolls. For the round rolls put 7 to 9 balls in a pie pan, barely touching. For the clover leaf cut the dough into little pieces and place three pieces into each muffin cup. Cover and let rise a second time.
6. Bake at 400 for 10 to 15 minutes.
7. Brush on melted butter.

Mine came out a little dense which was perfect for slider rolls but just okay if you were doing a dinner roll. The original recipe uses a bread machine to mix the dough and take care of the rising so that might be it. They were a big hit with the boy. The recipe says that you can freeze them and reheat them at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes.

Next up: Turkey Burgers! The original recipe called for goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes but since we are a poor young couple living in the city we did not have those ingredients in our kitchen. However since I stocked up on essentials at Wegmans (♥!) before coming back to Philly, I did have Cabot Hunter Sharp Cheddar Cheese and dried cranberries on hand. Yes, Cabot Cheese is an essential that must always be in my kitchen. Also, I had to switch out the Panko bread crumbs for normal Italian ones which is a shame because I love Panko crumbs. I was skeptical about this recipe (like cooking them in wine) but they were amazing! I did add the red pepper flakes and used cracked black pepper but they weren’t spicy at all (except one bite that I got). Mr. Lawyer nearly devoured the whole plate (“How many more are there?”) and described them as “Sweet and Savory”. The sweetness of the cranberries worked really well with the sweetness of the rolls. I’m not sure what the wine did but as the boy said “It’s delicious, just do everything the same again!” I will definitely be keeping this recipe especially since I didn’t have to add ketchup which I always do with burgers!

Turkey Burger Sliders 
(adapted from allrecipes.com) 

1 pound ground turkey
1/3 cup sharp cheddar (Shredded)
1/4 cup cranberries
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil (I used much less)
1/2 cup white wine
1. Mix together everything (Turkey through Red Pepper Flakes) except the Olive Oil and Wine. I like the “Claw” method of mixing and using my hand like a creepy raptor claw because all of my many food magazines inform me that over mixing the burger meat will make it tough and this method will avoid it. Really it’s just fun to pretend to be a raptor in the kitchen.
2. Make burgers 3 inches in diameters for sliders. The many food magazines also tell me to make a thumb print indentation in the middle of the patty to ensure even cooking time. Not as fun as the claw.
3. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat (I used much less than the suggested ¼ cup, just gave the pan a good coating). Once it’s hot throw in your burgers. Cook them 2-3 minutes on each side.
4. Pour the wine over the patties, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes.
5. Remove the sliders and place on a paper towel and then eat them!

Kevin’s Cucumber and Dill Pasta Salad 
(adapted from allrecipes.com)

2 cups macaroni
2 cups cucumber - peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed (We used dried)
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Chopped onion, to taste
1. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, and rinse in cold water. Transfer noodles to a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together sour cream, milk, dill, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.
3. Mix cucumbers and tomatoes into the pasta. Pour in dressing, and mix thoroughly. Cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour and preferably overnight. Stir just before serving.

I know Kevin added onion (which the original recipe did not call for) and he increased the amount of dill and pepper. We were using dried dill so we started with 1 teaspoon (in accordance to the 1:3 fresh/dried herb ratio, oh how I love my food magazines!) but ended up around 2 teaspoons.

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