Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lizano burger and lemon asparagus

A few weeks ago, my friends and I had a potluck BBQ for my birthday, and I had the most delicious asparagus ever. Last weekend was another friend's birthday BBQ, and I was in charge of the turkey burgers, which were probably the best I've ever made. Tonight, I put them both together to make one supremely delicious dinner!

What You Need:
  • Ground turkey
  • Yellow or white onion
  • Fresh garlic
  • Salsa Lizano (or your own substitute)
  • Provolone cheese, sliced
  • Asparagus
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lemon

Unfortunately, most of you will be unable to make these burgers using my key ingredient - Salsa Lizano. I was introduced to the sauce in 2006 when I went to Costa Rica for the first time. I loved it so much that I stocked up on a couple of bottles before returning home. To my delight, the grocery store in my neighborhood had quite a large Hispanic section and sold my Lizano! Since moving to Philadelphia from North Carolina, I haven't been able to find Salsa Lizano anywhere, nor have I met anyone who's ever tried it. I returned to Costa Rica last May and was sure to stock up on a few bottles of that delicious, all-purpose sauce. And yes, it is a sauce, not literally a salsa, as the name may be misunderstood. Lizano is a mix of deliciously tangy and somewhat spicy flavors, best described in use as Costa Rica's version of America's ketchup.

What You Do:
  • To make the burgers, use the necessary amount of ground turkey meat (99% fat free/white meat) and add to it the desired amount of chopped onions, garlic and sauce. Mix all together, form your patties and grill (or cook in a frying pan, as I did due to the drizzly weather today). Just before they are finished, top with a slice of cheese. I ate my burger sans bun tonight, but when I do eat them I always choose potato bread. Mmmm, so good!
  • To prepare the asparagus, slice off the bottom ends of the stem and discard (don't forget to compost!); slice the asparagus stalks to the desired size (I cut mine into thirds). In a frying pan, add a little extra virgin olive oil, throw in the asparagus and cook until slightly brown, stirring occasionally so all sides get cooked. Turn the heat off and squeeze lemon onto the asparagus and stir to be sure all stalks get coated.

Both parts of this meal have really strong and delicious flavors, perfectly complimenting each other. It can sometimes be a mistake to serve more than one intensely flavored food in a meal, but you can't go wrong with these two!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The BSI winner and next host is... are all awesome! The variety of recipes submitted for beets was really interesting, and I honestly wish I could have picked more than one winner. To come to my decision, I looked for creativity in the recipe, and of course something I'd love to try!

The entries were:

Beet Burgers from Aubree Cherie of Living Free

Beet Nut Bread from Chaya of Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog

And the winner is...

Beet Burgers!

This recipe is so wildly creative. First of all, I was so pleased that everyone had such healthy recipes, so props to everyone for that! It can be a such a challenge sometimes to eat healthy, particularly if your version of healthy excludes many ingredients that are found in easy-to-prepare food. As soon as I saw the recipe for beet burgers I was totally fascinated. I do not eat beef, so I love other alternatives for burgers! Congratulations Aubree, and thank you so much to all of you for being such good sports about cooking with beets ;) I'd like to try several of these recipes, so I'll be sure to post my progress.

Aubree, please email me your address so that I can send off your prize!

Your next host of the Blogger Secret Ingredient will be Alisa of One Frugal Foodie. Be sure to check her blog for this week's ingredient!

Thank you again to everyone for submitting their recipes! Now we all have lots of delicious ideas for new ways to eat beets. (See, they're really not so bad, now are they?)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A little motivation

To get everyone thinking about what fantastic recipe they will submit for this week's BSI contest, here's a quick little dinner I made last week using fresh beets from the co-op.

A very basic prep, I washed a medium sized beet, filled a pot with enough water to cover the beet, put a lid on and boiled. While the beet was cooking, I diced two chicken breast strips and sauteed them in extra virgin olive oil and garlic powder. After the beet finished boiling, I removed it from the water and let cool, then sliced off the skin. Chop it up, toss it in the bowl and you're ready to eat! I really enjoyed the flavor of the beet with the garlic-covered chicken!

Here's an extra incentive to those of you thinking of submitting a recipe:

I have a good friend who hasn't eaten beets since she was a child and discovered how much she absolutely couldn't stand them. I suggested getting fresh golden beets, which had the potential to be a double-win in her attempt at trying beets as an adult (apparently your taste buds change about every 7 years). First benefit: the beets are fresh instead of canned. Second benefit: since they aren't the typical red beet, she may see them as something totally different and not association them with the canned beets she ate years ago. After seeing that I chose beets as my ingredient for the BSI challenge, she has declared that whatever the winning recipe is, she will make it for her official adult beet-eating taste test to see if she likes beets! So there you go get your beets!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Big bowl salad

After an unnecessarily strenuous bike ride tonight (got partway to yoga class and had to turn around because my wheel was slightly bent and rubbing the frame - like driving with the parking brake on!), I needed a big meal. With some chicken in the fridge, I threw together my favorite garlic chicken salad with spring greens, grape tomatoes and a little shaved Parmesan.

Now in mid-April, some of those early season crops are in the ground. In my garden, the tiny greens are just sprouting. I bought this lettuce mix from my co-op, and it was probably grown in a greenhouse. Here in Philly, the last frost date is May 1 (can you believe it?!). That said, none of the frost-sensitive seedlings I've sprouted (squash, melon, three types of tomatoes...) are in the ground just yet. The frost tolerant seeds, however, have been planted. Along with the lettuce we're seeing sprouts from the beans and beets. The carrots and peas probably aren't too far behind. I can't wait until I can make a salad from my own backyard! Mmmm.

Blogger Secret Ingredient Reveal

Welcome! I'm really excited to be hosting Week 75 of Blogger Secret Ingredient! This is my first time hosting and I wanted to pick a great ingredient to use. So many of you have chosen some of my favorite items in the past, so I really had to think for this one.

Luckily, I've recently become a big fan of a particular root vegetable...



Beets are chock-full of nutrients. They can be eaten cooked, raw or juiced; produce natural dyes; can be planted before the last spring frost and have edible greens. What more can you ask for? Besides just the typical red beet, there are many other varieties including a white beet and (my favorite!) the vibrant golden beet. Take a trip to your local farmers' market and pick up some fresh beets to use for this week's BSI contest!

All entries will be due by 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, April 18. The winner and next host will be announced on Monday, April 19. To submit your recipe, please email me at savinglittleturtles at gmail dot com. Please send the full recipe (and photos if you choose), or a link to the specific entry on your blog. If you also have interest in being the next BSI host, please include that in your email or leave a comment below.

Because I love gardening and growing my own produce (I'm even growing two types of beets this year!), the winner will receive a variety of organic heirloom seeds, about a $10 value.

For those who are new to BSI (or need a refresher on the rules), each week there is a new host who must:
  1. Pick an ingredient, preferably one that is in season and readily available and not too expensive;
  2. link back to all the other previous weekly hosts;
  3. review the recipe submissions by Sunday night of each week;
  4. pick a recipe that is your favorite; and
  5. post the winner Monday morning and send the winner a token prize of your choosing.
To participate:
  1. you do not have to have a food blog to particpate
  2. you do not have to submit a photograph
  3. if you don’t have a blog, you can submit your recipe to that week's host, and they will post your recipe for you
The previous hosts and ingredients are:

Week 74: Dinner at Christina’s – Sour Cream

Week 73: The Chef in My Head - Goat Cheese

Week 72: 5 Star Foodie - Asparagus

Week 71: Eats Well With Others – Carrots

Week 70: Burp and Slurp - Brussel Sprouts

Week 69: Fun Fearless Foodie – Parmesan Cheese

Week: 68: Natalie’s Killer Cuisine - Cocoa Powder

Week 67: Eat, Live, Travel, Write - Lemon Zest

Week 66: Travel Eat Love - Coconut Milk

Week 65: Run Beans Run - Tofu

Week 64: Chicago Marathon Val - Mushrooms

Week 63: Biggest Diabetic Loser – Cheddar Cheese

Week 62: A Fit and Spicy Life – Balsamic Vinegar

Week 61: Peanut Butter Fingers - Nutmeg

Week 60: Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now - Garlic

Week 59: Home Cooked Em – Cinnamon

Week 58: The Balanced Broad – Flax

Week 57: Cookin Fanatic - Blue Cheese

Week 56: Foodie in the City - Ricotta Cheese

Week 55: Savvy Eats - Maple Syrup

Weel 54: Sound Eats - Dried Fruit

Week 53: Mega Nerd Runs - Acorn Squash

Week 52: Healthy Tipping Point - Pancake Mix

Week 51: Live, Laugh Eat - Almond Butter

Week 50: Balance, Joy and Delicias! – Cauliflower

Week 49: Healthy San Diego Living - Chickpeas

Week 48: Thought 4 Food - Yogurt

Week 47: London Foodie in New York - Chocolate

Week 46: Johnstone’s Vin Blanc - Oats

Week 45: Guilty Kitchen - Figs

Week 44: Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet - Peanut Butter

Week 43: The Sophisticated Gourmet - Brown Sugar

Week 42: My Kitchen Addiction – Lime

Week 41: Nutmeg Nanny – Coffee

Week 40: Chaya’s Comfy Cook – Broccoli

Week 39: Healthy Delicious – Plums

Week 38: Zoe - Feta

Week 37: ChezWhat- Potatoes

Week 36: Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice – Blueberries

Week 35: Girlichef -Greens

Week 34: The Ungourmet – Watermelon

Week 33: Bread + Butter – Bell Pepper

Week 32: Burp and Slurp -Corn

Week 31: Say Yes to Salad – Kabocha

Week 31 1/2: Simply Fabulous Now – Cherries

Week 30: Thinspired – Bananas

Week 29: To Be The Whole Package – Almonds

Week 28: Kristas Kravings – Lemon

Week 27: From French Fries To Flax Seeds – Coconut

Week 26: Plentiful Plants – Avocado

Week 25: Training Fuel – Eggs

Week 24: Dinner at Christina’s – Cabbage

Week 23: Hey What’s for Dinner, Mom? – Strawberries

Week 22: One Bite at a Time – Basil

Week 21: Just Sweet Enough – Black Beans

Week 20: What I Ate Yesterday – Kale

Week 19: What’s for Dinner – Orange

Week 18: BranAppetit! –Spinach

Week 17: Tales of Expansion Dates

Week 16: Biggest Diabetic Loser – Zucchini

Week 15: Sweet & Natural –Peppermint

Week 14: bella eats [and runs] – Ginger

Week 13: Coffee Talk – Walnuts

Week 12: For the Love of Oats – Pumpkin

Week 11: Trying to Heal – Sweet Potatoes

Week 10: The Inner Workings of a College Graduate – Eggplant

Week 9: Itzy’s Kitchen – Pears

Week 8: The Fitnessista – Cranberries

Week 7: Tri to Cook – Lentils

Week 6: Rhodey Girl Tests – Polenta

Week 5: Eating Bender – Butternut Squash

Week 4: Care to Eat – Apples

Week 3: On a Lobster Placemat – Mushrooms

Week 2: Hangry Pants – Tomatoes

Week 1: sportsnutritionliving – Quinoa

You can find all the details about BSI here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sauteed vegetable and quinoa salad

What started as a "use the random bits of leftover veggies" type of meal ended up being a great vegetarian meal. I've eaten this several times already and am not tired of it! I made a full batch of it, and bring small containers to work for lunch. Mmm.

What you need:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Asparagus
  • Red bell pepper
  • White onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Shaved Parmesan
What you do:
  • In a large sauce pan, add 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water. Boil until water is absorbed.
  • Wash asparagus and pepper; chop or mince desired quantity of all vegetables.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, begin by sauteing the asparagus in olive oil. Once it is slightly browned, add the peppers, onions and garlic. Continue cooking until onions are clear.
  • Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables and saute a few more minutes.
  • Spoon into a serving dish and top with shaved Parmesan.
High in protein, quinoa is an excellent grain choice for vegetarians, as well as those with wheat or gluten allergies. It is also an alkaline food, helping to balance the body's pH.