Sunday, June 30, 2013

Black and Bleu Burgers


We haven't done it for years because many of the family members who attended are gone now or have moved away, but we used to have really fun Fourth of July gatherings at our house.  People brought a dish to share, we cooked large amounts of meat for sandwiches, and there was always strawberry shortcake or a cake decorated like the American flag.  One year Olivia made table decorations out of dowel rods that looked like firecrackers.  We had everyone bring lawn chairs and we would set up the croquet set and even horseshoes.  We decorated everything we could in red, white, and blue and filled galvanized tubs with icy beverages.  At dusk we played pre-recorded patriotic music while the kids in the crowd did twirling of their sparklers in time to the music.  We haven't had one of these parties for many years now, but every Fourth of July we reminisce about those happy times and all the fun memories we made.

Recipes like this black and bleu burger are the kind of thing that make those summer holiday memories.  I would strongly urge, especially if you have children, take the time to celebrate the birth of this great nation and the precious time you have together as a family.  Just add laughter, love, watermelon, and lemonade.  You will have a blast!

P.S.  Being the "over the top" fabulous foodies they are, Olivia and her husband, Dan, served their burgers on sourdough hamburger buns they made from scratch!  Yum!


1 lb. lean ground beef
4 hamburger buns
bleu cheese crumbles
blackening seasoning (see recipe that follows)
assorted other burger condiments

Divide the ground beef up into four patties.  Coat each side of each patty with the blackening seasoning to taste.  Grill the burgers on the grill to desired doneness.  Remove from grill, place on  hamburger buns, and top with bleu cheese crumbles along with any other desired condiments.  Enjoy!


    • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
      Combine all ingredients. Keep unused portion in tight container.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Olivia is not a big seafood fan, but her husband is and he reports these crab cake sliders are fantastic.  The original recipe was for mini crab cakes, but Olivia made them slightly larger and put them on ciabatta buns.  I have not made these but I am a huge fan of crab cakes and if my son-in-law likes them I know they must be good!  If you are looking for something a little different to serve as your holiday fare for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, give these a try.  They would be super with fresh fruit, grilled vegetables, a nice slaw, or just about anything you can think of to accompany them.  Enjoy!

Crab Cake Sliders with Spicy Mayo


Crab Cakes:

1 pound crabmeat
1/2 red bell pepper, small diced
5 scallions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup finely crushed crackers or panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper

For Cooking & Serving:

Olive oil
15 slider buns or halved dinner rolls
1/2 cup spinach, arugula or sprouts for topping

Spicy Mayo:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice (from about 1/4 lemon)
1 1/2 Tbsp. chili sauce, such as Sriracha
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


Prepare a large baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all crab cake ingredients. Mix ingredients with your hands. Shape into small patties and place on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook. (Can be made 1 day ahead)

Meanwhile, make your spicy mayo. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to blend. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be made 1 day ahead)

When ready to cook crab cakes, drizzle about 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, carefully place crab cakes, in batches, in pan and fry until browned, 4-5 minutes per side. Carefully flip crab cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, another 4 minutes.

Place sliders onto buns. Top with mayo and greens, and serve.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


In our neck of the woods it has been a somewhat wet spring.  This is bad for overflowing rivers and some very wet farmland but it has been good for our small gardens and potted plants.  Included in those homegrown items are herbs such as cilantro and vegetables such as asparagus.  Olivia made this delicious cilantro chicken dish (two flavors that are fantastic together) and served it with asparagus.

If you haven't already, start checking out your local farmers markets.  The early vegetables such as asparagus, radishes, onions, and a great variety of lettuces are starting to appear.  The freshness and goodness of these homegrown foods cannot be matched by anything you will find in the grocery.  Support local growers and improve the quality of food you eat.  Happy eating!

  • 2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken thighs or breast meat
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, mince
  • 3/4 bunch fresh cilantro (save remaining for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon salt & pepper
  • Sweet chili sauce for basting

Cooking Process: 
Soak skewers in water for at least 20 minutes to prevent burning.
Cut chicken into 1" cubes and place into bowl.  Add olive oil, garlic and cilantro in a food processor and pulverize. Pour the marinade into the bowl with the chicken, add teaspoon of salt and pepper and marinate overnite if possible.
Preheat the grill to medium heat and coat with oil. Remove chicken from the refrigerator and put 5-6 pieces of chicken on each skewer.  Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. Brush chili sauce on chicken just before done cooking to create a nice glaze.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


For many years I have been a faithful reader of The Amish Cook, a syndicated newspaper column written by an Amish woman who shares delightful stories about her daily life and great down home recipes that almost anyone would enjoy.  There is an associated web site that has loads of good recipes.  I saw this one and had to share it.  It looks like a great choice for a quick meal using ingredients you may already have on hand and I think it would probably be popular with the kids.

I don't know about you but I think this could be a great mid week dinner for the family on the go.  Just add some salad or fruity dessert and voila!  Dinner!

Hope this becomes an addition to your weekday lineup.

1 pound hamburger or sausage
Small onion, diced
1 medium green pepper
1 pint pizza sauce
2 cups cheese
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspsoon vegetable oil
1 /2 teaspoon salt
Brown meat with green pepper and onion.  Add pizza sauce. Put in a 9 X 13 inch pan. Sprinkle cheese on top.  Mix flour, eggs, milk, oil, and salt.  Pour over and bake uncover at 425 for 25-30 minutes until browned.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hawaiian Mini Burgers

When camping season rolls around, we are always on the lookout for great new recipes to cook over the open fire.  Olivia found this wonderful addition to our repertoire in a Taste of Home magazine and boy is it good. It has just the right amount of sweet and spicy.  The Hawaiian sweet rolls are the perfect accompaniment.  Try these on the grill or over an open fire.  You won't be disappointed,

We tried these burgers during the Memorial Day weekend and they were a big hit.  Here is another idea to use with Hawaiian rolls. The Hawaiian bread comes in the form of round bread loafs, dinner rolls, and even hot dog buns.  We tried the hot dog buns for the hot dogs we grilled and they were great.  We even found a clever use for the leftover hot dog buns.  When they are split in two, each slice is the perfect size for making pieces of french toast the next morning for breakfast!



  • 1 can (8 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt-free seasoning blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound uncooked chorizo or bulk spicy pork sausage
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 12 Hawaiian sweet rolls, split
  • 6 lettuce leaves, cut in half
  • 12 slices tomato


  • Drain pineapple, reserving 1/2 cup juice. In a large bowl, combine
  • pineapple, green onion, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings. Add
  • turkey and chorizo; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into twelve
  • 1/2-in.-thick patties.
  • Place on a broiler pan. Broil burgers 4 in. from heat 4-5 minutes on
  • each side or until a thermometer reads 165°.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix ketchup and reserved pineapple juice.
  • Serve burgers on rolls with lettuce, tomato and ketchup mixture.