Chef on a Shoestring

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Southwestern Turkey Burgers

On a hot summer day nothing is better then a nice juicy burger. But ground beef isn't the leanest meat in the world, especially when your trying to watch your weight. Using ground turkey is a nice alternative to using ground beef as there is a much lower fat content, and it will satisfy that desire you have for a nice juicy burger. Turkey burgers are infamous, however, for being crumbly and dry, and that is exactly what these southwestern turkey burgers aren't. A beaten egg acts like glue binding the ground turkey and bread crumbs, keeping the burgers intact from beginning to end. Cumin and Chile powder gives the burgers a southwestern flare that isn't too overpowering and keeps you comming back for more.


1/4 Cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 Cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Garlic cloves mashed to a paste
1 Teaspoon chili powder
1/4 Teaspoon ground cumin
2 Pounds ground turkey
1 Egg
1 Small onion minced
3/4 Cup fresh bread crumbs


In a small bowl stir together Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic paste, chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste until sauce is smooth.

In a large bowl stir together turkey, onion, bread crumbs, and 1/2 cup sauce until combined well and form into six 3/4-inch-thick patties.

Heat up your Grill its almost time to eat!

Brush the burgers as they cook on the grill, keeping them nice and moist as they cook.

I hope to get my hands on some ground bison, I love bison burgers even more then hamburgers. To me I think they have more flavor and texture then ground beef, not to mention better for you. Happy Grilling!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Steak au Poivre A Steakhouse Favorite

If your looking for an easy steak recipe look no further, this steakhouse favorite will do the trick. Steak au Poivre, meaning peppered steak is a deliciously easy meal that is sure to impress your friends. By making it at home you can control the amount of peppercorns that you use allowing the steak to be as bold or tame as you wish, I prefer bold! Steak au Poivre isn't just reserved for a New York Strip Steak or Delmonico it is equally as tasty with a nice skirt steak or flank steak. If you want a signature way to make steak look no further, you won't prepare your steak any other way from now on, I know have'nt.


1 Flank Steak around 1 ½ pounds
2 4 Tablespoons of Whole Black Peppercorns
3 1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt
4 1 Tablespoon of Peanut Oil


Crush the peppercorns using a rolling pin or mallet, don't use a pepper mill or spice grinder it will not taste the same as the freshly cracked peppercorns. After you finish crushing the peppercorns go ahead and crush the sea salt into a fine powder. Rub the crushed peppercorns and sea salt on both sides of the steak. Drizzle the peanut oil on both sides of the steak and prepare the grill! I rub my grill down with some peanut oil also to ensure that the meat doesn't stick to the grill. I use peanut oil because it has a nice high burn temperature and his a better flavor then regular vegetable oil.

I know some people use liquor to make a sauce with the dripping from the steaks but I prefer to use a barbecue grill any day over a stove when making steak. Be sure to overcookedcook the steaks to ensure the steakhouse feel! Happy Grilling!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Fine Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Some times you just have to pay the extra money to get the flavors you want. No I’m not saying go out and buy truffles or filet mignon, the point of this blog is to talk about inexpensive great cooking, but if you spend a little bit more money on your spices, oils and vinegars you will smell and taste a difference in your food. My sister recently went to Italy for two weeks and brought back some culinary delights including some of Modena’s famous balsamic vinegar. This stuff is to die for, it’s not like the stuff you buy off the shelves at the grocery that’s full of corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, this stuff is the real deal. She brought back two types of balsamic vinegar, one by the name of Ortalli and the other Gusppie Giusti, both of which were aged in oak barrels, as opposed to cherry, chestnut or mulberry. We opened the Gusppie Giusti first and it is what we have been using all summer. You can tell from the instant you pour the vinegar a difference in the quality. The balsamic vinegar which she brought back from Italy is a deep reddish purple, and pours thick dripping out of the bottle. A bottle of fine balsamic vinegar such as an Italian balsamic is tough to come buy in the grocery unless you live in a large city such as New York or Los Angeles so I would suggest buying online, I know that what ill be doing as soon as I run out.

Spending the extra money on a fine balsamic or a fine olive oil is a nice treat which is worth the money because it will last you some time in comparison to buying an expensive cut of meat or bottle of wine that will be gone the next day. Using a quality product on an inexspenive piece of meat will sure liven up your tastes buds and make that $10 flank steak taste like a $25 NY Strip.

If anyone is interested I can post pictures of an olive oil production facility which she visted in Imola next time just let me know!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Low Carb Citrus Tiger Shrimp

Tonight I made a quick and easy BBQ shrimp recipe which had tons of flavor and was carb friendly. This isn't your typical shrimp on the barbie recipe, as it has more of a citrus zing then a chile punch, which you usually expect with barbecued shrimp. I decided to use wooden skewers because they are easy in terms of cleanup and add a bit of savory flavor. Be sure to watch the shrimp as they don't take long to cook and may burn if you don't pay attention.


20-25 Tiger Shrimp
2 Lemons Juiced
2 Limes Juiced
1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
3 Cloves of garlic chopped into a paste
2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Lime Zest
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Zest
A pinch of red pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together and put into a ziplock bag with the shrimp and allow them to marinade. Be sure not to let them sit too long because the citrus juice will begin to cook the shrimp!

Delicious Chocolate Chip Scones

I have made these scones numerous times now and they always seem to be a hit. The recipe can be easily changed to make different types of scones, for example I have made Coconut Rum and Blueberry scones from just modifying this recipe, but my favorite is still the plain old chocolate chip. The ingredients are as follows:

2 Cups of sifted unbleached flour
3/4 of a stick of soft butter
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/3 cup half and half
2/3 cup of 1% or 2% milk ( You can skip this and use 3/4 of a cup of half and half but I cant tell a difference in taste, but my waist line certainly can)
1/3 of a cup of sugar (set some aside to sprinkle on the top of the scone)
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Egg Yolk
1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
Pinch of Salt

  1. In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
  2. Pour in the milk, egg yolk and vanilla
  3. once the wet and dry ingredients have been incorporated drop in the stick of butter and roll up your sleeves its time to mix the butter in.
  4. Once the butter is mixed in you can start to lay out balls of the dough on a greased and floured sheet pan
  5. Flatten the balls with your hand and then trim into triangles
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for around 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

I hope you enjoy these scones as much as I do. They are great for breakfast, dessert or a quick snack!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Grilled Turkey Breast with Sweet Corn

I will use this new blog to discuss the challenges and triumphs which I have in the kitchen and on the Grill. As a twenty year old college student I don't have much money to spend on food. But that doesn't mean that I have to eat Top Ramen every night for dinner, a rather inexpensive piece of beef, chicken or fish, can taste like a four star meal if you but some time and effort into it. For the first meal which I will discuss is a Turkey breast which I made on the grill just last week. The ingredients are as follows.

1 Fresh Turkey Breast, not frozen 2.0 lbs (around $6.00-$8.00)
3 Tablespoons of Montreal Grill Seasoning
1/4 cup of Oil (Olive or Canola)
1/4 cup of Balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons of Cider vinegar

  1. Combine all ingredients in measuring cup and whisk until blended thoroughly
  2. Take a pronged fork and press into the breast meat creating pockets for the marinade to go into the meat creating more surface area for the marinade to make contact with
  3. Optimally let the meat marinade overnight, or as few as 4 hours, turning it occasionally to allow the marinade to make with the entire piece of meat
  4. Once the meat has been sufficiently marinated turn your grill on high, let it stand for around five minutes allowing it to reach a high enough temperature to sear the skin of the turkey sealing in all of the juices.
  5. Once the breast has been on the heat for a few minutes turn the heat down to the lowest setting occasionally brushing on the leftover marinade keeping the meat nice and moist.
  6. The breast will need about an hour and fifteen minutes to cook all the way through, be sure to check with a meat thermometer to ensure that it is cooked.

*Consumption of raw or undercooked meat can result in serious illnesses!!!

The Turkey came out perfectly moist and tender, slicing nicely after letting it sit for a few minutes

As a side dish we made yellow sweet corn as it is in season here. To make the Sweet Corn all you have to do is let a pot of water come to a boil with enough water to submerge the stalks of corn and let them boil about 4-5 minutes.

Any suggestions as to a side dish, or to improve this recipe is greatly appreciated!