caprese turkey sliders

 

caprese burger

Hello, friends.

It’s August, and it’s still hot, but I’ve decided that it’s OK to do things like turn on the stove and the grill.  So, I’m happy to bring you actual food.  Like real, not made of whipped cream food.

caprese burger top

See that?  Not even a dot of whipped cream on there.

There is, however, fresh mozzarella cheese, a ripe roma tomato, basil, and drizzle of basalmic.

All of these are good things.  VERY good things.

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I cooked these turkey sliders on the stovetop, because it’s hot outside, and then topped them with a thick slice of tomato and hunk of mozzarella cheese.  Then, I popped them under the broiler for just a minute or two to blister the cheese.  Don’t buy the mozzarella that comes soaking in brine for these, I find it doesn’t do as well in this sort of application.  My grocery store usually sells theirs in the specialty cheese section, I think it comes in an 8-ounce ball.

This really is the perfect summer dinner.  I made them slider-sized because that vicious summer heat seems to decrease my appetite for some reason.  Also, more importantly, I wanted the size of the sliders to match the size of the tomato and mozzarella slices.  It’s just prettier that way.

I mixed a couple teaspoons of tomato paste into the turkey meat, but I think that some sun-dried tomatoes would be great too.  Roasting the garlic before adding it to the basil mayo would be a wonderful touch as well.

Caprese Turkey Sliders

Printable Recipe

For the burgers:

  • 2 ripe roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil mayo (recipe follows)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste, or 2 Tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Dash of salt and pepper

For the mayo:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

For assembly:

  • 8 slider buns (I use these when I’m feeling lazy)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese (1 8-ounce ball), sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 bunch basil
  • Arugula (if desired)
  • Balsamic glaze, for drizzling

1.  Make the mayo:  In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and process until combined.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use, can be made up to three days in advance.

2.  Make the burgers:  Gently combine all ingredients in a bowl and form into small 3-inch patties, pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.  Refrigerate until ready to cook, can be made up to one day in advance.

3.  Cook the burgers:  Heat an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat; preheat oven broiler to high.  Salt and pepper the surface of the turkey patties and drizzle pan with oil.  Cook burgers about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, flipping once.  Flip the burgers once more and quickly top with tomato and mozzarella cheese.  Place pan under broiler and broil for 1 to 2 minutes until cheese is blistered.

4.  Assemble burgers:  Spread buns with basil mayo and top with basil, arugula, and turkey patties, drizzle with balsamic glaze or a dash of good balsamic vinegar.

caprese turkey pin

Celebrating the New Year and Top 12 of 2012

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It’s New Year’s Eve and while some of us will be popping bottles of expensive champagne to celebrate, the rest of us will be taking a much more affordable approach.  Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine and, in my opinion, is less dry and more delicious than your usual champagne anyway.  Mix it with a little pureed fruit or, for the lazier of us, peach nectar from a can, and you’ve got yourself what’s called a “bellini”.

Simple, delicious, bubbly.  Just like New Year’s Eve should be.

Making bellinis is super easy.  Just one part fruit juice or nectar to two parts prosecco.

Bellinis

  • 2 oz fruit juice or nectar
  • 4 oz Prosecco (the sommelier at our local grocer recommended La Marca brand)

Pour 2 oz fruit juice into champagne flute.

Add prosecco and let the bubbles mix it for you.

Drink, enjoy, pour another, drink more.

Happy New Year!

The Top 12 Posts of 2012

pds

moc

basil

ddcc

scc

peanut butter truffle brownies

gooey butter cake

chocolate peanut butter cake

smore cook

btc brownie

ccroll

cute caprese bites

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When the first thing out of Boyfriend’s mouth when he enters the kitchen is “OH MY GOD, ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME WITH CUTENESS!?” I consider that a win.

This army of cuteness couldn’t be easier to assemble, nor more delicious. Cherry tomatoes and basil are two things I pretty much always have on hand, I just happened to have a container of boccacini hanging out in the fridge that I just had to use up, so out came these little guys.

Sweet, salty, creamy…. perfect.

I wish I had more to say about them, but I just don’t. I think the pictures sum it up pretty good.

So the “recipe” if you’d like to call it that is as such

Cute Caprese Bites

  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 12 boccacini balls
  • 12 leafs of basil
  • Fleur de sel (optional)
  • Good quality balsamic vinegar (optional)

Cut cherry tomatoes in half, sprinkle boccacini with sea salt.

Place boccacini on bottom half of cherry tomato, top with basil leaf, and replace top of tomato. Skewer with a toothpick (or something fancier if you wish).

Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. I suspect a drizzle of pesto might not be a bad idea either… ooh, or maybe pesto and balsamic on the side so you can dip into whichever you prefer… mmm

Enjoy

If you can’t find boccacini, just cube some fresh mozzarella and call it a day. :)

You may also like:

garlic basil chicken with caprese salsa

garlic chicken main

When it’s hot out, sometimes you just want something light and refreshing. Something that will fill you up without weighing you down. I realize it’s cooling down for the rest of the world, but here in AZ we’re still breaking triple-digit records. In fact, we just had the hottest August on record (go us).  This  dish fits the bill perfectly – the mozzarella salsa is simple and refreshing and tastes great alongside its basil chicken companion. I should have taken pictures of the dish assembled, or at least better pictures of the individual items, but it was an especially hectic day when we had this for dinner. Honestly, I am surprised I was able to snap any pictures at all.

Mom saw this recipe in Sunset magazine, and doggy-eared it for us to make together. I planned to pick mom up, stop by the store, and get to work cooking. Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan. Mom decided she would meet at my house, so I went to the store solo after work. When I arrived home from the store, BF needed a ride to the car shop to pick up his car. When I called mom to tell her, turns out her hubby needed a ride to the Harley shop over there as well. So it turned into more of a pick BF up, pick mom’s hubby up, drop at respective shops, get home and then get to work… Oh crap, someone go pick up mom!

When I finally started cooking, I was already famished. I threw together a quick meat and cheese platter for me everyone to snack on while preparing dinner, since it was much later than we were used to eating. Thank goodness this meal came together so easily. It was surprisingly flavorful and filling, but without feeling heavy.

I halved the recipe because there were only four of us, and swapped boneless skinless chicken for the bone-in/skin-on that the original recipe called for. Also, since I was delusional with hunger, I only cut a few of the tomatoes and left the rest of them whole. Serve the salsa on top of (or under) the chicken, it’d also make a great caprese salad side all on its own.

Garlic Basil Chicken with Caprese Salsa
[Printable Version]
For the chicken:

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½  teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts

For the “Salsa”

  • 1 qt. mixed colors cherry and/or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups (12 oz. drained) fresh mozzarella balls (or torn mozza if you can’t find them)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  1. Make rub for chicken: Pulse basil, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper in a food processor until roughly chopped and rub all over chicken. Let sit about 30 minutes (or just while you make your salsa).
  1. Make “salsa”: Stir together tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to combine; let stand 30 minutes.
  1. Grill chicken over med-high heat until cooked through (about 10 – 15 minutes) and transfer chicken to a platter. Tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve chicken on top of or covered in salsa.

[ Adapted from Sunset Magazine, July 2011 ]

pesto

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My love affair with pesto and all things basil started at an early age. I remember the first time I had pesto – my dad took me to dinner at Avenue Bistro in Toledo, OH. I was a nasty hybrid of vegetarian + picky-teen-eater at the time so my dinner was essentially a house salad and this mystery green concoction on the table. I probably ate at least two loaves of bread covered in pesto. My dad must have been horrified at the amount of food I consumed, since he was the type who ran five miles a day and lived off of iceberg lettuce alone. But oh man that stuff was good.

Now that I’m a “grown up” I can make my own pesto. Honestly, it’s so easy I’m sure I could have made it back then, too. The bright flavor of basil with the salty parmesan cheese, plus the subtle depth added by the toasted pine nuts (mmm, pine nuts)… pesto is just divine on all accounts. It’s a perfect, refreshing snack in the summer – just buy a loaf of crusty bread at the store, rip off a piece, and dunk it on in! Don’t want the guilt that accompanies realizing you’ve eaten a whole loaf of bread in one sitting? Try using it as a pasta sauce – just toss it with pasta. Maybe add a splash of cream if you feel so inclined… I think I like where this is going….

[[PS – I’m entered in a kitchen contest – VOTE FOR ME HERE!]]

Pesto

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  • 1 C basil leaves
  • 1/2 C freshly-grated parmesan
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted (some stores will sell them pre-toasted if you’re not a fan of toasting them yourself)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Splash of fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C olive oil

1. Whir everything except the oil in a food processor until it forms a paste.

2. Pour oil in, a few tablespoons at a time, while the food processor is running until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. (Some people like theirs with less oil, ideal for spreading, while others like it with more oil, which makes it more dip-able)

3. Taste and adjust salt and pepper

*Tips

*This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for company

*It’s not baking – so don’t worry about exact amounts. Adjust the taste to your liking – you can even add a different kind of cheese or different leafy greens – spinach & feta perhaps?

*A splash of lemon juice is always a welcome addition to pesto

*Extra pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays – it makes a great addition to pasta sauces. I like to add a pesto cube to red sauce for an extra boost of flavor.