Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Everyday Food's Turkey Burgers and Working Plumbing: Simple Joys

Our sink is fixed! Hooray!

And? In an unrivaled miracle, our landlord sent a guy to mend the broken drain RIGHT AWAY. It wasn’t even one of the drunk dudes who live outside the wine store! It was an actual, honest-to-god, probably-qualified handyman!

And and? He REPLACED THE DRAIN! No duct tape!

And and and? He didn’t even tell us “It’s probably the wind,” like one “contractor” did when our bathroom wall separated from the floor! WHEE!

I’ve never been so happy to do dishes. (I’m actually doing a little butt dance as I write this.) See, one of the perils of city living is the glacial-to-totally-unresponsive progress of superintendent repairs. It takes a month to switch a light bulb, a federal mandate to replace wiring, and all too often, renters end up like CHG commenter Kelly:

“Dave and I haven't been able to use our kitchen sink (and by extension, or kitchen) for a week because [it] has the Clog From Hell. Stuff is coming back up from our drain that we didn't put there. Like, cigarette butts. And we don't smoke.”

Unlike poor Kelly and Dave, The Boyfriend and I could at least resume regular meals last night. So, we celebrated the sink fixage with Everyday Food’s Favorite Turkey Burger (and Black-Bean Salad, which is coming later in the week). A few readers suggested the cookbook, so I reserved it from the library. Two dishes in, I’m totally hooked. (Thanks, readers!)

The turkey burgers help. Usually, they’re tricky beasts, succumbing to culinary foes like Blandness, Dryness, and the ever-cursed IckThisIsn’tBeefness. EF’s version doesn’t have any of those problems. The right ratio of bread to cheese, mustard, and breadcrumbs does the trick, and the scallions are just oniony enough without being aggressively so. Bizarrely, the burgers feel light and summery, yet hearty and savory all at the same time, too.

As always, some notes if you give ‘em a go:

1) These things are HUGE. I split them easily into six burgers, instead of Martha & Co.’s designated four. We did not go hungry.

2) Ground turkey was on super-sale at Pathmark this week. ($1.49/lb!) Gruyere … was not. It’s an expensive cheese, going for a little over $1/oz, and the smallest block I could find was about half a pound. (I only needed two ounces.) I bought it anyway, knowing that the leftover frommage would not (ever in a million years) be wasted. Why, now I can make Ham and Gruyere-Stuffed Potatoes, Skillet-Seared Tomatoes with Melted Gruyere, or Ham, Gruyere and Spinach Bread Pudding. Or, I could just eat the gruyere on a stick. Because that would be good, too.

3) Though EF suggests grilling, I cooked ‘em on the stovetop without oil. Medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes per side should do the trick.

4) That thumb in the picture? It’s The Boyfriend’s. It’s all muscular and thumby and cute. (Um … but I digress.)

Favorite Turkey Burgers
Serves 6
Adapted from Everyday Food.

1-1/2 pounds ground turkey (93 percent lean)
1/2 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Vegetable oil, for grates (if grilling)

1) Preheat grill (high heat).

2) In a medium bowl, mix turkey, Gruyere, scallions, breadcrumbs, mustard, and garlic with a fork. Season with lots of salt and pepper. With your hands, mold meat into 6 burgers, each about 1-inch thick.

3) "Lightly oil the grill." Sear burgers over hottest part, about 1 or 2 minutes each side, until browned. Transfer burgers to a less-hot section of the grill and keep cooking until done. This could take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes on each side, depending on how hot your grill is. Keep an eye on it.

NOTE: I cooked mine on the stove over medium heat with no extra fat, which is what the calculations are for.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
233 calories, 11.5 g fat, $0.95

1-1/2 pounds ground turkey: 974 calories, 48.7 g fat, $2.25
½ cup finely grated Gruyere cheese: 235 calories, 18.4 g fat, $2.12
4 scallions: 19 calories, 0.1 g fat, $0.39
¼ cup dried breadcrumbs: 110 calories, 1.5 g fat, $0.15
¼ cup Dijon mustard: 57 calories, 0 g fat, $0.72
1 garlic clove: 4 calories, 0 g fat, $0.05
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.03
TOTAL: 1399 calories, 68.7 g fat, $5.71
PER SERVING (TOTAL/6): 233 calories, 11.5 g fat, $0.95


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