Thursday, August 29, 2013

Turkey Burgers with Tomato-Onion Jam

Turkey Burger with Tomato Onion Jam

I've been doing quite a bit of home cooking since I got home from my trip a few days ago, and these Turkey Burgers with Tomato-Onion Jam are the latest.  But can I tell you how I ate like a king last week?  I had such a great time at the Asian American Journalists Association's annual convention in New York City.  I caught up with so many old friends, made some great new connections, and got some ideas to think about.  I've never stayed at a hotel in my hometown before, and I figured if I'm going to eat out, I'm going to eat out.

NY eats
Top row: Bouchon sweets and Havana Central shrimp mofongo. Bottom row: Pie Face hand pies and Ippudo ramen.
And boy, did I!  I had the lamb burger at The Breslin with my friend Bao, dinner with my mom and sis at Havana Central (not my favorite), and sweet treats at Bouchon.  I went to a dinner for 50 "fascinating" people at Zengo (good food, but terrible and rude service), and amused myself by wondering how I'd scored an invite.  I braved the summer heat for a bowl of the Akamaru modern ramen at Ippudo Westside, and made repeat visits to Pie Face.  The beef with tomato chutney, the pear with ricotta, and the chocolate hand pies make me swoon.

Tomato & Onion Jam

When I got home, I was faced once again with my surplus of garden tomatoes.  I had bookmarked the turkey burgers to try, and thought the tomato-onion jam would be a great use for my little orange tomatoes.  The recipe calls for plum tomatoes, but these tiny tomatoes worked just as well.  It will look like they've released way too much water, but that will evaporate by the last few minutes of cooking.  It's like ketchup meets caramelized onions, but chunkier, fresher, and naturally sweeter.  I'll be making more jars of this stuff as my garden gives us tomatoes faster than we can eat them.

Raw turkey burgers

And you can see while the burgers were still raw just how much stuff was packed into them.  They don't quite hit the spot for me like a red meat burger can, yet they're super moist and loaded with flavor.  Look at the herbs, chunks of feta, and chipotle pepper.  And if your spice tolerance tends to be mild, I would halve the amount of chipotle.  They're also a bit fussier to make than your ordinary burger, since they're seared and then baked, and you have to cook some onion and garlic first.  But they're well worth it.  Turkey can be plain and dry, but all the steps and ingredients ensure a juicy and flavorful burger.  And don't skip making that tomato-onion jam.  You'll miss out, big time.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Melting Moments

Chocolate Hazelnut Melting Moments

As promised from last time, here are the Chocolate Hazelnut Melting Moments.  Chocolate-hazelnut cookies sandwich a creamy chocolate-hazelnut filling.  I'm not sure how these are hazelnut variations of Melting Moments, which I made previously.  The recipes aren't similar, and this hazelnut recipe lacks the cornstarch or Bird's custard powder that you often see in Melting Moments recipes.  The taste and consistency are different, though wonderful in their own way.  They're chocolate and hazelnut, so how could they not be?  They just deserve their own name.

Hazelnut Melting Moments

The dough can be a little fussy to work with.  Once the dough starts to get melty and tear, and the rounds don't hold their shape when handled, toss the remaining dough into the freezer, parchment sheets and all, to firm up before cutting again.  It's a little labor intensive, but they are well worth it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Melting Moments tea cookies

Melting Moments

Melting Moments: The name is corny, but the sandwiched cookie is divine.  When my friend Bryanna was clearing her apartment for her big move to New York, she offered me a book of afternoon tea recipes.  Everything looked good, but the Melting Moments caught my attention immediately.  They're crisp yet light-textured cookies filled with buttercream.  I had made them months ago with another recipe, which used Bird's custard powder and added jam on top of the buttercream.  I like this recipe better, which uses cornstarch and vanilla instead so there wasn't the subtle chalky taste or texture I got from the Bird's.  I made some other minor tweaks and added the jam to this version also. Trust me, jam plus buttercream induces satisfied groans.  Thanks, Bry!  Maybe I'll make these next time you're in town.

Also, if you're a fan of chocolate and hazelnut together, check back here in a few days for the Hazelnut Melting Moments I also made from this book!

Family Collage

I'm catching up on following all your posts.  It's been a busy summer, especially with the visit of family.  I had fun grilling and chilling with my dad, even if we disagree on how long it takes to cook meat on the grill and how harmful char is.  It's all good -- by a certain age and with living in different states, you overlook the little stuff and enjoy your time together.  And Sis and I had been waiting all summer for a beach outing together.  She brought her little one, who would run around yelling, "Auntie, where arrre yoou?  A-yi, where arrre yoou?"  In these pictures Audrey is hanging with Grandpa, her best friend.  In the one on the left, she's using one of her favorite expressions, "Wooo-ooow!" while she watches the waves.

Veg Collage

And my garden has been rewarding me with tomatoes!  There's loads of these little Sun Sugar tomatoes, some big heirloom Brandywine tomatoes, cherry peppers, and the occasional strawberry.  On the right is a sauce I made from the yellow tomatoes, and a salsa behind it from the Brandywines and cherry peppers.  I've been hitting up the farmers market for blueberries, summer squash, and fragrant peaches with the fuzz still on them.  I'm trying, as usual, to milk every moment out of summer before it gets too cold for my favorite produce, beaches, and barbeques.

Boston Globe Reviews: The Farmer's Daughter and Molly Moo's

Nicoise salad from The Farmer's Daughter
The Nicoise salad. Pardon the cellphone photo.
I might bundle reviews like this from here on out.  See, all my reviews have gone behind a subscriber paywall except for a short summary, and since most of you don't live in Greater Boston I'm sure you don't subscribe.  What can I say?  Subscriptions help keep me employed.  But if you live outside the area and have a hankering to read about a certain place, shoot me an e-mail and I'll send the text over to you.

Anyway, the review in today's paper is for The Farmer's Daughter, a farm-to-table breakfast and lunch place in Easton.  It's been eagerly anticipated in the town, as my friend Isabelle told me when we went for brunch.  It's fresher and more imaginative than the standard regional diner with eggs and greasy breakfast meats.  And all the produce comes from a farm just up the street.  Read the review at

Ice Cream Sandwich

And in July I wrote about Molly Moo's, an ice cream parlor in Quincy where the owner likes to play with his food.  There you'll find ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cannoli, and ice cream cake pops.

Read the review at