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My Horn: I Toot it Mightily

So, this was a good week for cooking in our house. Point blank - I rocked it out.

No pasta. No stir fry. No grilled cheese and soup or the "breakfast for dinner" trick. I actually sat down on Sunday morning and hashed out a week's meal plan based on a cookbook I found several years ago at my favorite cheap-ass store, I mean, my discount retailer of choice, T.J. Maxx - this Best of the Best cookbook from Food & Wine.

I can't take the credit for the food - these recipes are soooooooo tasty. I just followed the directions.

Sunday night - Shrimp in Garlic-Sage Butter

Saute 1 lb. shrimp in:
½ cup butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (I used about a teaspoon of dried sage)
2 large minced garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon salt

Wednesday Night - Turkey Burgers with Avocado Mayo
A Bobby Flay recipe, this one is a keeper just on the creamy Avocado Mayo alone. I didn't make the Poblano Pickle relish - couldn't find a poblano or anything comparable at Giant (no, they don't have Kroger here in Maryland. It's Safeway and Giant if you don't live in an upper class trendy area with a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe's).

Avocado Mayonnaise
1/2 ripe Hass avocado, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Turkey Burgers

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey, 99% lean
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 slices Monterey Jack cheese, 1/2 ounce each

Heat your grill to high.

Shape the ground turkey into 4 round patties about 1 1/2 inch thick. Brush each burger on both sides with the oil and season with the salt and pepper. Grill until cooked completely through, about 4 minutes per side. Place a slice of cheese on each burger, close the lid of the grill, and cook for 1 minute longer to melt the cheese. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Top each burger with 1 tablespoon of the avocado mayonnaise and a few tablespoons of the relish. Serve the remaining avocado mayonnaise on the side if desired.

Thursday night - Georgian Cheese Pie, or Hot and Cheesy, Flaky Goodness
I've never worked with puff pastry before. Why, God, Why? It's so good. And easy. Laziness is an ingredient in my kitchen, so I plan on making more things with frozen puff pastry in the future.

Again, all I did to these was follow directions.

However, when it comes to some directions, I only have so much patience. And effort - see above reference to laziness. Such was the case with Tuesday night's Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant from the incredible Smitten Kitchen blog.

I didn't really want to stuff uncooked rice in an eggplant and simmer it for 50 minutes, so instead I cooked the rice and made the stuffing and then simmered it for a little over 10 minutes. I also added cinnamon and oregano to it, which I think added a little more flavor and fragrance. Plus, I only had one eggplant and so I used a yellow bell pepper and stuffed it. Come to think of it, I really bastardized this recipe. Sorry, Smitten - you are my inspiration, I swear.

This was honestly the best thing I have made in a while. The eggplant was tender, the tomato sauce was better than Ragu or other bland bottled sauce, and it had a lot going on texture-wise with the veggies, rice, feta that was half-melted, and the pine nuts. Yum. I want to make it again. Now.

I have to remind myself that all it takes to put better food on the table is a little planning and a commitment to just trying new recipes. I hope I have more new ones to share in the future!


D.C. Eats Update

- Old Ebbit Grill
We joined our university alumni group here for dinner this week. Adjacent to The White House, it's apparently the oldest restaurant in D.C. Dark wood paneled, Old Ebbit is just the kind of place where many meal deals have been brokered.
I had the Rockfish, sauteed and served over a potato puree with a romesco sauce. I'd eat a flat tire covered in Romesco.

- Mayur Kebab House
I passed this place last week while en route to the bank downtown during my lunch break and while I didn't stop then, I made it my business to visit on Wednesday.
$8 will get you a buffet with a spicy lean - but only certain things like spiced chickpeas and tandoori chicken and these little rounds of fried potato are laid out traditional buffet DIY style. All other items are doled out to you by servers behind a glass counter - didn't like the chicken tikka but the eggplant and the yellow lentil curries and a yogurt cheese dish were great!
One drawback - they use Styrofoam for dine-in orders.

Well, look at this - it's almost Friday. Hope everyone has a great weekend!


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