August 8, 2010

Back to School.

I love chalkboards (I also loved having the chance to write on the overhead projector when I was in the 6th grade math class, but that's besides the point). That's why I purchased them for the apartment. For reference, they are purchased from Pottery Barn. I figured this would be a better start to just get a few of them rather than painting a whole wall with the chalkboard paint before being fully settled into our Wicker Park apartment (it's been 1 full week as of today).

Most things in my life relate to food in some way or the other, so I'll get to the main reason why I'm (a tad too) excited about my new place to write! I am overly amused with the idea of writing out all my menu selections for each meal I cook for public (Doug's) knowledge! Hooray!

Today was a big day for a couple of reasons as outlined below. (I'm a type A project manager so I make lists--using bullets and numbers).

1. I got to write the dinner meal on a chalk board (chalkboard photo).
2. We used our new dining room table (post to come shortly with photos).
3. We used our new grill for our turkey burgers.

Details of the first meal in our new dining room below! Nothing like a Sunday dinner before Entourage and Mad Men (is it bad to have wine on Sunday nights? I hope not!) This is the order that I set everything up. I'm just learning how to time my meal items so they are pretty much finished at the same time (the hardest part in my opinion).
1. Prep water to boil. Start the stove.
2. Pre-heat oven.
3. Wash and cut potatoes & sprouts (and the ingredients that go with the sprouts).
4. Put the potatoes in the water. Put the sprouts in the oven. They will be done around the same time.
5. While they are cooking/boiling, prepare the turkey burgers.
6. Drink at least 2 glasses of wine while you cook.

Healthy Light Thai Turkey Burgers:
1 small shallot sliced into 5 pieces
2 tablespoons cilantro
2 1/4-inch thick slices of ginger (fresh ginger)
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (don't be alarmed. It sounds strange, but it basically tastes like sesame sauce with some sesame oil flavorings in it).
1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey breast

Combine shallots, cilantro, ginger, fish sauce into food processor. It should only take a few "pulses" to make the mixture blend. Put the ground turkey in a bowl & knead in the contents from the food processor. Put it on the grill (and wash your hands 4 times like I did because it's technically raw meat) and then put on a whole grain bun.

FYI: I used Whole Foods purchased peanut sauce. It was absolutely delicious on the burgers. I didn't add anything else on there. I'd say to add tomato and arugula if more items are needed for flavor. I don't know if cheese goes with this--I don't think it does. It wasn't included in the original recipe that I looked up from Food and Wine Magazine (June 2010 Issue).

Potato Salad with Mustard Sauce:
This is the perfect way to have a potato salad without it being heavy. It's more fresh using mustard and vinaigrette (instead of a mayo and cheese). I got this recipe mostly from Real Simple, but tweaked a few things so the sauce wouldn't be super salty. Sous Chef Doug Malcolm had to re-make the sauce after tasting after the first batch given that the mix was extremely salty. The below recipe references the updated quantity of salt.


Red and Yellow Potatoes (or whatever kind you like). About 20-25 mini potatoes (probably from 2 to 3 pounds based on how many people you are planning to feed.
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard
1 small bunch fresh tarragon, roughly chopped (about a handful. It smells and tastes like licorice, and is really good with the mustard).
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup Basic Vinaigrette

Boil water. Add sea salt. Make sure you don't put too much water in the pot so that when the potatoes are put in the water they don't splash on your pants (what happened to me).

Whisk together the vinaigrette and mustard in a small bowl. Pour half the mixture over the hot potatoes and toss. The original mixture instructs to toss 1/2 of the sauce up-front and then add the rest + the tarragon later. It worked when we added it all at the same time while whisking and also just put it on the potatoes at the same time.

Brussels Sprouts with Shallots: I didn't know that these were called "Brussels" with an "s" on the end until today. Blonde Mish moment. (Thank you Doug for not judging me when I discovered this). Had to share that. Moving on...

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shallots:
2 pounds of Brussels Sprouts
2 Cloves Garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil (trust me, I used the spray and it did make things crispy but the sprouts weren't as moisturized).
Salt & Pepper

Heat oven to 400° F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the Brussels sprouts,oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast until golden and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Our oven took only 21 minutes, so definitely double check how everything is progressing.



  1. In addition to more oil, the brussels sprouts definitely need to be liberally seasoned. And if you cook them cut-side-up, they get nice and caramelized. We could have probably used the broiler instead.

    Turkey burgers - medium grill heat. Cook until juices run clear. Can be tricky because they will quickly get dry if overcooked but it's poultry so you don't want a medium-rare burger. I think I got them just about right, but the peanut sauce can help add some moisture.

  2. glad you have that flashlight so that we could check if the burgers were done in the dark!