Old Cheddar Cheeseburgers w/ Sauteed Arugula & Mushrooms

This was a spontaneous first attempt at hamburgers and they turned out not too shabby, if I may say so. I shared the meal with K and my littlest brother, P– we all reached for seconds. The old cheddar and lightly sauteed arugula added great flavour kicks, and the sauteed mushrooms added that extra layer of texture that I’m so fond of.

Because I made them on the fly, I don’t have any measurements recorded– but that’s ok because cooking is largely about interpretation to your own tastes! Here’s an outline of what to do– I hope you like them too!

What you need:

  • 1 small cooking onion, finely chopped
  • about 1 lb (500 g) ground beef (this was extra lean)
  • 2-3 tomatoes (sliced and put into a small serving bowl)
  • 1 package pre-sliced cremini mushrooms (or buy whole and slice them yourself)
  • 2 big handfuls arugula
  • approx. 2 tbsp. yellow mustard (I used French’s)
  • old cheddar (slices to top burgers)
  • sea salt (about 1/4 tsp)  and black pepper (about 1/2 tsp)
  • hamburger buns of your choice (I prefer with sesame seeds– again, for texture)

What to do:

  1. Wash mushrooms and place in a small, covered pot and steam over medium heat until soft. You may have to add a bit of water if the pot starts to get dry. *Let them cook as you do everything else below.* Place into small serving bowl once soft.
  2. In a large pan (the one you’ll use for the burgers), sautee the arugula until it darkens and softens (about 1 minute). Set aside in a small serving bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, combine meat, onion, salt, pepper, and mustard. Mix well with hands.
  4. In the large pan used for the arugula, place as many burgers as will fit reasonably, cooking on medium-low heat (not too high so you don’t burn the meat). Flatten burger patties to about 1.5 cm thickness as you load them into the pan. Flip after cooked on one side, cook completely.
  5. Add cheese slices on top of each fully-cooked burger just before setting them aside on a large serving plate.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all burgers are cooked.
  7. To eat, have family or guests place each burger on a bun and top with the sauteed arugula, mushrooms, and sliced tomato. Bon Appetit!

Hassle-Free, Never-Fail Tomato Salad

What the title claims is true. My mom likes to make this salad for our Sunday family dinners and I’ve loved it each and every time. I tried to make it recently and it turned out perfect. So scrumptious, so juicy, so tasty… and so easy!

Here’s what you need:

  • Tomatoes, chopped into roughly 1.5″ chunks (the delicious-smelling kind with the vines still attached when you buy them)
  • Fresh Basil, chopped (a good handful)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • black pepper (freshly ground into the salad)
  • Goat Feta Cheese (made into small-medium chunks)

Here’s all you do:

  1. Throw tomatoes, basil, and feta into a large salad bowl and mix with your hands. Don’t worry if the tomato juice starts to get over everything– that’s part of it!
  2. Drizzle some balsamic over the salad (enough to go around the circumference of the bowl and a bit).
  3. Grind some pepper over the salad.
  4. Mix again and enjoy!

Morrocan Beef Salad

I found this unique recipe in the August 2010 issue of Style at Home Magazine. They do this great food feature in each issue called “Fast 5”: “Donna Hay’s fresh quickies for every night of the week”. I tried this one out and it was so yummy, festive, and totally fresh-tasting.

I couldn’t find any marinating steak so I substituted veal and grilled it through, and I didn’t end up needing all of the spices (I pre-mixed them to ensure the flavour was uniform throughout). Nevertheless, I’ll copy the recipe below since it’s so simple, and you can do with it what you wish!  (The image above is the result I had.)

***

Directions:

Rub an inside or outside round marinating steak with 2 tsp (10 mL) each ground cumin and sweet paprika, and sea salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Marinate for 10 minutes. Barbecue for 5 minutes on each side or until medium-rare (I say grill it to your preference). Slice and serve with a salad of feta, drained canned chickpeas, mint leaves, sliced tomato, and lemon juice.

***

Summary of Ingredients:

  • inside or outside round marinating steak (or veal, as I used)
  • 2 tsp (10mL) each ground cumin, paprika
  • sea salt and pepper (to your taste)
  • oil
  • feta
  • canned chickpeas, drained
  • mint leaves (I chopped mine)
  • sliced tomato
  • lemon juice

Hot Brown Sugar Apple Granola over Ice Cream

The air is getting cooler outside and the scent of  burning firewood has begun to linger during recent evenings.

When Autumn calls, hot apple pie topped with ice cream is always a welcome dessert. Don’t have the time to make one? Not a problem! This dessert incorporates a few of the delicious flavours of that favourite Fall staple and can be quickly whipped up for all to enjoy.

Here’s all you need:

  • Ice Cream (I used Pralines N’ Cream, but French Vanilla would work)
  • 2 Apples (peeled, sliced)
  • Brown Sugar (I used about 3 tablespoons)
  • Vanilla Extract (about a teaspoon)
  • Pre-Made Granola Cereal (I love Quaker Harvest Crunch “Original”)

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a lid-covered pan with raised sides (or pot with lid), heat apples over medium heat until softened to your liking.
  2. Add Brown Sugar. Mix to coat.
  3. Add Vanilla. Mix to Coat.
  4. Turn off stove and remove from heat. Cover.
  5. Get your ice cream scooped into bowls.
  6. Add granola into the apple mixture, stir gently, spoon over ice cream. (Wait until you’re ready to serve to put in granola so it stays crunchy and doesn’t get soggy.)
  7. Dig in!

The combination of smooth and crunchy textures, along with the varied temperatures and rich flavours make this dessert so delectable to eat.