You guys all know about my love affair with avocados by now, right? You may also know about my love for Gaby, a fabulous chef, blogger and now cookbook writer! Gaby and I worked together for a year, became best buds and basically spent every day talking about food. And now she has written a new book about my favorite ingredient ever, Absolutely Avocados.
I am not only obsessed with this book because it’s Gaby’s or because every recipe involves ‘cados, but because every recipe is easy to make, delicious and filled with Gaby’s fun tips. Meat-lover Q flipped through the book and was immediately set on trying these Cheese-Bellied Guac Burgers and so we tried it!
Five minutes to prep, eight minutes to make, seriously the easiest and most delicious turkey burgers ever. Gaby is such a skilled chef and recipe builder and I knew she wouldn’t lead us astray. These burgers were phenomenal, as is everything else in this book!
Cheese-Bellied Guacamole Turkey Burgers
- 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt (I used 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon salt)
- 4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (we used mixed Mexican cheese)
- 4 hamburger buns, sliced
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 cup Bacon Cojita Guacamole (or guacamole of choice)
- Prepare a gas or charcoal grill. For those of you without an outdoor grill, we used a Cuisinart Griddler and it worked perfectly.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, paprika, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and garlic salt. Mix together with your hands until the spices are evenly incorporated. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions.
- Take 1 portion of the ground turkey and form it into a large disk. Add 1 ounce of the of the shredded cheese in the center of the turkey disk. Form the patty into a ball to enclose the cheese and then form the turkey into a patty that is roughly 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Repeat this process for the remaining turkey and transfer the 4 patties to a plate.
- Brush the hot grill with olive oil.
- Transfer each turkey burger to the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the burgers and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes, until fully cooked. Remove the patties from the grill and transfer to a clean plate.
- Brush the hamburger buns with the olive oil and transfer to the grill for 1 minute, until they are just toasted (a toaster oven works well also).
- Put 1 burger patty on the bottom layer of each bun. Top with 1/4 cup of more of the guacamole and top with the remaining bun. Serve immediately.
- 3 Hass avocados
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese, plus more if desired
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped serrano chile pepper
- Juice of 1 lime
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 strips cooked bacon, chopped into bite-size pieces
- Cut each avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin, and place the avocado flesh in a bowl.
- Add the cilantro, cojita cheese, serrano pepper, lime juice, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mash with a fork until half smooth and half chunky. Fold in half of the bacon. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Garnish the guacamole with the remaining bacon, and add more cotija cheese it desired.
Recipes from Absolutely Avocados
For dinner tonight, I decided to make Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas. This is my absolute favorite dish to order at a Mexican restaurant, something about the combination of flavors that I just love. Making these quesadillas wasn’t hard at all- they just took a bit more prep work than a normal quesadilla. When cooking out my spinach, mushrooms and onions I had a revelation that they might also taste delicious over brown rice, so I’ll be experimenting with that next week.
These quesadillas are so flavorful that I decided to top them with fresh avocado and tomatoes instead of guacamole or salsa. The quesadillas tasted fresh, which I think is really important with Mexican food as it can tend to make you feel really full (might have something to do with the margaritas too…). But I liked that these quesadillas were light and a perfect quick dinner. I cooked them in the toaster oven as opposed to on the stove since I like my tortillas to be crunchy, but feel free to make these on the stovetop if you prefer.
Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas
Makes 2 quesadillas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 portobello mushroom crown, chopped
- 4 medium cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 clove of garlic, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tortillas (I used Mission Plus Life Balance since they are low in calories)
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese (I used this kind from Kraft)
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 1 roma tomato, chopped
- In a medium frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Once the pan is hot and the olive oil has a sheen to it, add your onions and both types of mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add spinach, garlic , salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook entire mixture until spinach has wilted down, approximately 2 minutes. Set aside
- Layer one tortilla with 1/8 cup of cheese. Add 1/2 of your spinach/mushroom mixture and top with additional 1/8 cup cheese. Top entire mixture with second tortilla to form a quesadilla.
- Place quesadilla into toaster oven and toast for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Remove from toaster oven, slice into quarters and top with fresh avocado and tomatoes.
- Repeat steps 2-4 for second quesadilla.
I keep my cheese and spinach/mushroom mixture in the center so nothing spills out
It is hot and humid in LA right now. This is not normal LA weather, this is Georgia weather. I’ve been sleeping with all the doors and windows open, and I’m still hot (yes, this may also have something to do with the two dogs curled up against me, but still)… Sorry for the diversion from the food, but had to vent since Q has no sympathy since it’s 110 degrees with no fans or AC out in “The ‘Stan.” (Yes, I think it embarrasses Q that I call it that, but oh well I like it).
(It's not just me, Bentley's hot too)
Back to the food! I made these delicious golden corn cakes yesterday and planned to save them for dinner tonight. But after trying one, they immediately became lunch. I love the way Yotam Ottolenghi cooks, he is an Israeli vegetarian chef based in London and his food is clean and simple and always delicious. This recipe actually came from a feature in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago.
They are light and fluffy, almost like really airy corn pancakes. They get their lift and fluff from egg whites which you beat and beat and beat until soft peaks form (5 minutes and your arm feels like it’s going to fall off). The cakes pair perfectly with a light arugula salad and this became the perfect summer lunch.
Corn Cakes with Arugula Salad
Serves 4 (Yields 16 cakes)
- 1/2 cup quick cooking polenta or fine-ground cornmeal
- 1 1/4 cups corn kernels, cut from 1-2 ears of corn (*frozen is fine)
- 1 small shallot, diced fine (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed, diced fine, about 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, roughly smashed (*don’t use cumin powder, get the seeds and use a mortar and pestle like this one to smash them)
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
- 3/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt (*I used 0% and it was fine)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for frying
- 3 eggs, separated
- 4 cups arugula
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (*we added these)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic (*we added this)
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (*For topping)
- 1/4 cup sour cream (*For topping)
- In a large bowl mix polenta with corn, shallots, jalapeno, cumin, salt and pepper. Add yogurt, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 egg yolk (discard the other two yolks). Mix well with fork.
- In a separate bowl, beat all three egg whites to soft peaks. (Takes about 5 minutes). Carefully fold whites into corn batter in two stages (meaning half in one fold and half in another). Let rest 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make dressing. Whisk 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil with lemon juice and balsamic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Set large nonstick frying pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Pour in 1 teaspoon olive oil. Once hot, spoon 2 tablespoons of batter per cake into pan. Repeat until pan is full. Cook cakes 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Flip and cook 1 minute, or until golden. Transfer to paper-lined tray.
- Toss arugula with cherry tomatoes and half of the cilantro. Add dressing and toss again. Season to taste. Serve corn cakes with a spoonful of sour cream and cilantro alongside greens.
Recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi posted in the Wall Street Journal (07/30/11)