Rosemary Garlic Turkey Burgers
Getting used to being back in Los Angeles has been quite an adjustment. The sun, for one, has become a foreigner to me. After traipsing through the snow under a dismally gray sky for months on end, the shock factor of the bright light that now stings my corneas has led to quite a bit of squinting. One of these days, I’ll learn to wear sunglasses and sunscreen, but it’ll probably take a gnarly sunburn for that lesson to sink in.
Living in my own room again has also taken some getting used to. I’ve grown acclimated to sharing a space smaller than my pinky toe with two other girls. At first, I hated it, but after we filled the walls with post-its and spilled a jar of honey on the carpet, we settled into our nest and were proud to call it home. Living in a triple was a bit of a shock to me at first. As an only child, I’ve never had to share a room (or much of anything) with anyone. Soon though, I learned that my third of the space needed to stay presentable to stay in the good graces of
my fellow chicks. Cleaning the room became a daily routine, and one that I participated in without a second thought. Back in L.A. I’m lucky enough to have only one roommate, my charming and unbearably cute Labradoodle, Desi. With all of this open space and no one to clean it up for (assuming the pup doesn’t mind) I kind of let things get out of hand. My desk chair became uninhabitable and, while my floor wasn’t honey-stained, it also wasn’t visible. I’d let clothing, towels, and papers pile up all over my basement bedroom. Finally, I convinced myself to spend some quality time in my room where I managed to tidy up a little bit, stuffing only a few handfuls of things under the bed.
Dorm life has its pros and cons. One subject that fits into both of those categories, as I’m sure my fellow colligate classmates will agree, is the food. Let’s start with the cons. I’ll try not to be too negative…after all, that’s what my other
is for! The Dining Hall’s food is often flavorless and repetitive. On multiple occasions I’ve found hair and plastic in my meal. Though the staff tries to create interesting meals (Frosted Flake Fried Chicken, for example), their attempts usually result in a stomachache and a half. Regardless, I am well fed. The Dining Hall is located in my building and is open just about whenever I’m ready to eat. There’s usually something I can stomach, even if that means settling for a grilled cheese sandwich and carrot sticks. We’ve got a number of other cafes and convenient stores that are more than well-stocked enough to satisfy my late night hunger pangs. Waffle Fries, anyone? What I love most, if it isn’t already clear, is that food is ready for me to eat whenever I want it. Sure, I’ve cooked up a number of my own meals over the course of the year, but its always an afterthought and completely optional. At home, I’m not so lucky. When I’m not out to dinner, most of my meals are made by yours truly. I’m lucky enough to have a dad who loves the kitchen just as much as I do, which makes life a lot easier, but the adjustment factor is still harsh.
Whenever I’m feeling homesick or just in need of a little pick-me-up, I hop on over to The Paramount Café, one of my school’s fine dining establishments. After a quick chat with the woman behind the counter, I’ve ordered a turkey burger with cheddar cheese and avocado, with sweet potato fries on the side. I watch her reach into the freezer, pull out a freezer-burned slab of ground turkey, and toss it on the greasy grill. Next she grabs some frozen sweet potato slivers, which she drops into the bubbling vat of oil. After flipping the turkey once or twice, she accesses another freezer, from which she pulls a frozen avocado half. Struggling to cut the firm fruit, she chops it up and throws it on the grill as well…to thaw. Finally, she throws it all together and puts it into a brown box, which I take over to the tables after paying with my Board Bucks. Sinking my teeth into this juicy treat, I’m as satisfied as a beaver chomping on a piece of quality wood. I know the burger isn’t the most flavorful, the avocado is still a little frozen on the inside, and the porous sweet potato fries are oozing with vegetable oil, but it’s enough to tide me over until I arrive back in California.
Well, here I am. I’ve said a temporary c’est la vie to The Paramount’s turkey burgers and a warm and welcoming hello to my homemade rendition. The sweet potato fries (my favorite food – next to arugula – for the record) usually come from Trader Joes, but I’ll explore a homemade batch another day. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted.
My turkey burgers are packed full of wonderful things and dripping with delicious flavor. The avocados are sweet and smooth, unlike the mealy, stringy ones I experienced back East. The cheddar cheese is creamy and the buns, well, that’s one that The Paramount has sort of mastered.
The key to a great turkey burger lies in what you stuff inside the meat itself. I like to keep the toppings to a minimum, since the flavor is much more potent when its woven into the meat. After these birdies are cooked, you’ll want to gobble gobble ‘em up right away!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Ground White Turkey Meat (the leaner the better)
Shallots or Onions
To start off, chop up your fresh rosemary. If you think you can get away with skipping out on this ingredient, think again. The rosemary is what makes this meal refreshing and not too heavy.
Next, slice up a few cloves of fresh garlic. After heating up a small pan, add some olive oil and your herbs. Sauté them until the garlic is browned and has absorbed most of the oil.
Now comes the fun part. And by fun, I obviously mean messy. In a bowl, use your hands to kneed the ground turkey in order to loosen it up a bit. Then, scrape the garlic rosemary sauté into the bowl along with some parmesan cheese.
While you might be tempted to hold off on this next step in preference of preserving the sanctity of the condiment, I beg of you to hear me out on this one. Squirt a small amount of ketchup into the mix. And if you’re feeling adventurous, add some soy sauce in there as well.
Now, stick your hands in there and get dirty! Kneed the concoction together until it is well mixed. I know it will smell delicious, and I know I said that salmonella is a myth in my last post, but please guys,
, lick your fingers. Once you’ve got an ingredient infused hunk of ground meat in your hands, separate it into two patties. Make sure that they are thinner and wider than you want them to be when they’re done because these bad boys are going to shrink right up. To avoid too much shrinkage though, create a small indentation in the middle of the raw patties. Push down with your thumb a few times and you should be set.
Next, either throw them on the barbeque or in a pan. If you’re using a stovetop, a grill pan works best, so that whatever fat there is won’t get stuck inside the burger. Feel free to grill up some shallots or onions along side the meat to put on top later. While your turkey burgers are cooking, use a fork to mash up the avocado until almost all the chunks are gone. Doing this really increases its surface area and allows you to get a big mouthful of (non-frozen) avocado in every bite!
When the burgers are almost done – you can make a small incision in the top to check the pinkness – put the sliced cheddar cheese and shallots on top and let them finish up.
Spread the avocado puree generously atop the lightly toasted buns, add the burger, cut in half, and…