California, as it turns out, is pretty much the best to place to live, with maybe the exception of Paris. We have been basking in the sun and relative heat; even 80 degrees here feels cool compared to Missouri, where humidity makes everything 20 degrees hotter. And I've become totally re-inspired by the food here. I'm not kidding when I say that it's hard to get bad food in San Francisco. I love that.
With all my free time lately (when I'm not desperately pleading with landlords to allow a 75 pound Boxer in one of their apartments), I actually have time to cook dinner in a relaxed fashion. It's glorious! Also, upon the recommendation of my friend Noah who is now a wine-maker extraordinaire, I'm reading Wine for Dummies because I really want to know more about wine. And because I should know more now that I'm living next to one of the most amazing wine regions on the world.
For dinner, I made rosemary chicken burgers flavored with sun-dried tomatoes and green onions, and topped with caramelized onions and Dijon mayo. It might have been the first time I've ever made a burger, which is silly, because it was so quick and simple. On the side, I tossed together a fresh corn and avocado salad from a recipe in an old issue of Sunset Magazine that was laying around my brother's house. I'm telling you, fresh corn is so worth the extra five minutes it takes to cook it and cut it. Makes all the difference.
After dinner, we went down to the beach to watch the sunset and the surfers. And guess what? Several of them were lady surfers! I think my husband wishes his wife were so adventurous. Unfortunately for him, his wife is terrified of sea creatures and of water sports.
So far, life is pretty good in California.
Rosemary chicken burgers with caramelized onions
Adapted from a recipe in the recent issue of ReadyMade Magazine
1 1lb ground chicken
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
1/3 c. green onions, thinly sliced
2 T sun-dried tomato pesto, or chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 hamburger buns
Using clean hands, gently mix together all of the ingredients except the egg. Don't overmix or the burgers will be tough. Lightly mix in the egg. The mixture will be wet, but if it feels too wet, add a few more breadcrumbs. Form 4 patties, pressing your thumb in the middle of each one to form a little well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat your grill to medium and brush the grate with olive oil. Grill, covered, for about 10 minutes or until the centers are no longer pink, turning occasionally. Give the buns a quick toast on the grill before serving.
1 T mayo + 1T dijon mustard, whisked together
Caramelized onions (recipe follows)A slice of tomato, if your heart desires
3 T olive oil
1 whole yellow onion, thinly sliced
Heat olive over over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to turn a nice caramel color. Reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Serve on top of burgers.
Fresh corn and avocado salad
Adapted from a recipe in Sunset Magazine
6 ears of corn
2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 large avocado, chopped
1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
2 T lemon juice
1 T dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook shucked corn for 5 minutes, turning once, just until corn is barely cooked through. Don't overcook. Set corn aside to cool.
Whisk the lemon juice, dijon, olive oil, s&p together in a small bowl to make a vinaigrette. Set aside.
Cut the corn from the cobs with a knife. In a large bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and mix gently to combine.