About Me

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My friends call me the "grammar goddess." Really. ;-) I own a freelance writing, editing and tutoring business. Previously, I served three years as food editor for The Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, which kindled my interest in food writing. My other areas of expertise in writing include features, community news, architecture/construction and engraving/personalization. I have a frightening number of cookbooks and watch too many DIY, HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Antiques Roadshow (BBC and PBS versions) shows. And I tweak nearly every recipe I make.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Pursuit of the Perfect Turkey Burger

One of the complaints I've previously had about turkey burgers was that they were bland. It was as though it were a given characteristic in my head: turkey burger = bland. I've used turkey in everything else (chili, cutlets, breast, sloppy joes, spaghetti, Spanish rice and lasagna), but not in burgers. Well, not until today, that is.

My low opinion of turkey as a burger base probably stems from my first-ever exposure to turkey burgers. Kathy, one of my roommates my senior year of college, was helping her boyfriend, Craig, adapt to a bland diet. I was present for the debut of her turkey burger, which featured dill almost exclusively as a seasoning. (If I'm recalling correctly, he had to avoid anything spicy, even pepper, and couldn't eat beef. It wasn't awful, but I did have to resort to decorating the burger with huge amounts of ketchup, which is what I do to regular hamburgers.

Since that time, I've tried turkey burgers in restaurants and have found extensive ketchup to be a necessary evil, although it's garnered me some weird looks. (Apparently, turkey burgers are usually served in restaurants with a honey mustard or other mustard-based sauce, not ketchup.)

Then I started to watch Rachael Ray and had hopes that perhaps turkey burgers didn't have to be bland. Oddly enough, my first foray into an all white meat turkey burger was not one of her recipes. It was one clipped from the newspaper, which readers liked enough to ask the columnist to reconfigure it so it could be served as a meatloaf. So it sounded promising.

Again, it was a little bland, despite my having thrown in more pepper and oregano than the recipe called for and using egg as a binder rather than applesauce (it would not have held together otherwise).

The result? It didn't require ketchup, so it was better than average; however, I felt driven to invent a mustard/horseradish/yogurt "cream" sauce for it. And I'm not sure I can replicate as I didn't follow my usual rule of writing down or even measuring  its ingredients.  Oops.

But it did give me some lovely ideas for experimentation. (Mom and I discussed the possibilities of cilantro in addition to the spinach in it and yogurt sauce with dill, onions and cucumber, somewhat similar to the sauce used in Olga's Kitchen.) 

As I can be rather stubborn once an idea takes hold of me, you probably haven't heard the last of my search for the perfect turkey burger.

New Healthy Cookbook Hits the Market for the Holidays

I had my first-ever media contact today related to the blog. It was relating to something near and dear to my heart: cancer research.

You see, like many of you, I've lost a number of friends and family members over the years to cancer, the closest being my first cousin Elizabeth last summer. So I was excited to learn that To Your Health, a new cookbook published by The National Foundation for Cancer Research, started sales in time for 2010's holiday party season.

I haven't had time to check the book out yet, other than a few sample recipes, because I just became aware of it. But I will. The link for information needed to purchase the book is here.

According to the press release I received, the recipes in this book "are brimming with cancer-fighting ingredients, including antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein. The cookbook also features lifestyle tips, early detection methods, and other helpful information on how to further decrease your risk from cancer."

Sounds good to me.

You also might want to check out the Top 15 Healthy Holiday Tips from NFCR's spokesman, Executive Chef Charles Phillips of Nashville's 1808 Grille.

Have a safe and blessed holiday season.