Monday, January 11, 2010

Resolution 2: Don't gain 20 Pounds

Well December came and went. It was fun, it was hectic, it was a tiny bit high in calories. I blame the fondue. Or the peppermint cheesecake. Or the wine and cocktails. Okay, there were a lot of calories that found their way into my diet in the month of December. But now it's January and I'm walking past all of the super obnoxious "New Year, New You" posters, because apparently no one is tired of that slogan yet. I don't need a new me. What was wrong with the old me? She wasn't perfect, but people seemed to like her. This poster is trying to make me feel insecure and change my behavior. You know who else does that? Cults. The next thing I know, I'll be dressed up in a white shirt and black tie hanging out in subway stations measuring people's thetan level. Nice try, poster. Everywhere advertising feels the need to remind that if I don't lose the holiday weight, I'm am a worthless failure. Also fun is at parties where every time I reach for a chip, someone feels the need to elbow the person next to them and go "Ah, wedding must be over, huh?" Bite me. At least I don't have the pressure of being a member of Geez.

With the annoying reality check that is January, I've been trying to trim back the fat on some of my cooking. The problem with this is that I am essentially a fat purist. I don't really believe in recipes that claim to "let you enjoy your favorites" simply by substituting the ingredients with the "fat free" or "light" versions, generally affecting the taste. Then I just sit there eating the adjusted food, wishing it was the real thing and feeling sorry for myself. When I cut back, I cut back by portion size. I'll eat half of the giant burrito, and save the other half for the next day's lunch. Instantly I'll have cut the calories in half! I get the small latte, instead of the grande "non fat with skim" version. And I try to find recipes that honestly have less fat, not because they were adjusted to have less, they just naturally have less, so taste is not sacrificed. If you are looking for options from my past posts, I would suggest, Portabella Burgers (the very first recipe I posted!), Roasted Tomatoes, and Fish Tacos. This week though, I pulled out the big guns, and old classic of mine that I have been meaning to share with you for quite some time. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce the best Turkey Burger of all time.

Turkey Burgers can be a bit tricky, easy to dry out and prone to blandness. This recipe fixes those problems by mixing in bits of green pepper and adding a fantastic balsamic rosemary marinade, so flavor abounds. As for the meat, while it is leaner, I wouldn't recommend going with all light meat. It dries out way too fast. I would recommend a blend of light and dark meat, or if you're okay with a bit more fat (and then only eating one burger) all dark meat has worked well for me many times. What makes these even better is brushing that fantastic marinade onto some sliced onion, and then grilling those as well. It's a delicious combination. The recipe was designed for a real grill, but I live in an apartment in Queens and it's 28 degrees outside. I use a Calphalon grill pan, and for my "cover" I use the lid to a crappy pasta pot that I threw out over a year ago. It's all improvisation baby. Don't think. I also use a George Foreman for the onion rings and the buns. The George Foreman doesn't come out much, I find it dries out meat really quickly, but it's genius for veggies. That thing can make some killer asparagus too. So make due with what you have, and enjoy. This is a super easy recipe, great for the middle of the week, and with any luck, it will help those jeans not feel so snug either.

Phenomenal Turkey Burgers
Adapted from Southern Living

Marinade Ingredients:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Burger Ingredients:
1 pound ground turkey1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 hamburger buns
Half a large onion cut into 1/2 inch slices for the Onion Rings

Wisk together marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine all burger ingredients in a large bowl. Divide into 4 patties. Baste with Marinade.

Grill, covered, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until no longer pink in center, basting each side occasionally with Fresh Herb Marinade.

While burgers are cooking, brush onions with remaining marinade. Grill about 4 minutes on each side (or 5 minutes total on a George Foreman) until onions are tender and grill marks appear.

Grill buns, cut side down about 2 minutes or until toasted.
And that's it! You just assemble your burgers, using whatever burger condiments you favor. Will's a pickles and ketchup guy, I prefer a mayo ketchup blend. It's not exactly a salad, but it isn't a big roast with buttered vegetables, which lets face it, is what first comes to mind when it's this cold out. Feel free to leave your favorite low cal recipes in the comments, I've still got a few pounds to go before I stop growling every time I see a cupcake. And Christ, there's only one month until the sweets bonanza that is Valentine's Day. Oh well. At least the wedding is over...


Claudia said...

Turkey burgers have never delivered flavor - now yours looks scrumptious so I'll give it a whirl. I do love turkey sausage - but the really delicious turkey-burger has eluded me.

Squeaky Gourmet said...

Turkey burgers are some of my favs!
You just need to be more creative with cooking if you want flavor and nutrition delivered in a 1,2 punch!

bonnie said...

I love turkey burger, screw those posters!! Haha

Epicurette said...

Hey now, let's keep this civil! As I said in the post, turkey burgers are indeed tricky. That's why when one has a killer recipe, they are obligated to share it with the world!

Claire ( said...

i laughed out loud when I saw your wrote about I heard about, so funny. Great food suggestions!

Chef Tom said...

This recipe sounds good. I have been getting sick of having beef burgers every week and these turkey burgers should be healthier too!

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