I am not afraid to admit it: I am ready for warmer weather! Stir craziness has set in, as I stay inside every night and dream of sitting on outdoor decks. I’m ready for driving with the windows down, long walks with my dog and all the general amazingness of the long-awaited Chicago warmth!
Mother Nature seems to be taking that April showers thing to heart in these past few weeks of spring. I’m still waiting for those first crisp warm days that mark the end of our cold bitter winters and provide the tiniest whisper to the glory that is Chicago summer. To finally have the smell of BBQ and happiness wafting through the air for all to enjoy is something I yearn for, where baseball games can be enjoyed without multi-layers and walks outside are not met with the agonizing task of selecting the appropriate coat. I think we all can agree that this rainy, sometimes cold, sometimes colder, start to spring is no one’s favorite and has overstayed its welcome.
Now you may be asking yourself: “How does this relate to a food blog that I come to for wonderful recipes and insight into the delicious food that my friends at The Chopping Block are making?”
Warmer weather is inspiring for food! People throw dinner parties. Guests leave their houses to attend said parties. Folks cook outside and finally meet those neighbors that have been holed up in their heated apartments avoiding the chill. And stores start selling tasty Summer Shandy!
I know that warm weather will be just the motivation I need to explore some of the great restaurants I have yet to try and test out a few new recipes I’ve been saving, like this Thai Turkey Burger with Cilantro Carrot Slaw. Now, that belongs on a deck with a beer.
What summer dish are you waiting to try? Share your ideas here!
Thai Turkey Burgers
Yield: 4 sliders (or 2 regular burgers)
Active time: 25 minutes
Start to finish: 40 minutes
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 scallion, thinly sliced on the bias
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
1/2 pound ground turkey
1 egg white
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, rough chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, rough chopped
1/2 teaspoon nam prik pao (roasted chili paste)
Salt to taste
4 slider buns or brown ’n’ serve rolls
Sweet chili dipping sauce
- Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat and add the grapeseed oil. Gently sauté the scallions, shallot, garlic and ginger until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes. Allow to cool.
- In a bowl, mix together the ground turkey, egg white, fish sauce, cilantro, mint, chili paste and salt to taste. Stir in the sautéed aromatics.
- Form the mixture into four sliders.
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat.
- Grill the sliders on the first side until caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the meat reads 155º on a meat thermometer. Set aside on a plate.
- Toast the buns on the grill until light golden brown.
- Serve the sliders on the toasted buns and top with a dollop of sweet chili dipping sauce. Serve with Cilantro Carrot Slaw (recipe follows).
Cilantro Carrot Slaw
Yield: 4 servings
Active time: 25 minutes
Start to finish: 25 minutes
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and grated
1 jalapeño, seeds removed (optional), and minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, roasted and rough chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, rough chopped
Zest of 1 lime
1 to 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium-size bowl toss together the carrots, jalapeños, scallions, peanuts, cilantro, lime zest, rice wine vinegar, olive oil and sesame seeds.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve chilled.