02 July 2011

do the summer squash

Get ready to burst into the ultimate barbeque weekend with a firework worthy bang... a hot, spicy, Southwestern chipotle bang!  Since I don't have a grill, let alone backyard access, I'm forced to make ends meet with a griddle pan and some panache.  But even though my meals may be celebrating their independence from the traditional backyard bbq (I know you're loving these holiday themed puns as much as I am,) they are worthy of any July 4th celebration, no matter where it happens to be taking place.  So, let's start with the sides.

I am a huge fan of squash.  One Autumn, I brought home so many varieties of squash that my hubby nearly turned orange and reeked of cinnamon and brown sugar for weeks.  But fall isn't the only time to celebrate the season of the squash.  Summer brings us bright and refreshing varieties of immature (that's a technical term, not a judgement) veggies that can be eaten whole and raw, unlike their grownup winter relations.  After a recent trip to the greenmarket, I returned home with five unique varieties:

                                                   avocado squash
                                                   gold ball squash
                                                   tatuma squash
                                                   caserta squash

Though they each have their own unique and fancy appearance, they all have a similar crisp and light flavor.  Summer squashes tend to have a creaminess rather than the nuttiness that their elders of the fall have and are great raw or cooked.  I like to toss them in a salad with a bit of s&p, some citrus, and a splash of oil.  Tonight I made an incredible cold salad that combined all five varieties with a bit of sweetness, a touch of spice, and a hearty helping of zest.

summer squash slaw
5 medium sized summer squashes (is that how we pluralize squash?  I'm not sure...), julienned
1/2 finely chopped large red onion (or a whole medium one)
6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 tbsp avocado oil (or veggie oil if you don't have my new fave oil)
fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
fresh cilantro, torn
1. In a medium sized bowl, toss squash, onions, and radishes together with fresh torn cilantro, oil, s&p, and lime juice.
2. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, though it's best if it can chill overnight.  Toss again before serving.

This is my favorite side to pair with my famous Southwestern Chipotle Turkey Burgers.  Now, we're not the biggest fans of turkey burgers over here at the sweet spot.  We believe that if you're going to have a burger, you might as well have a real burger... a hunk of medium rare beef with melted bleu cheese, crispy bacon, sauteed mushrooms and onions, ketchup and mayonnaise on a perfectly toasted bun.  Turkey burgers always seem too dry and blandly wimpy.  But I've discovered the secret to perfectly moist and flavorful turkey burgers - spice!  A healthy heap of spicy flare works wonders on the lean and healthy ground meat, so much so that you almost forget that you're not eating a real burger.  And even without a grill, I'm able to create that bbq feel with a nonstick griddle pan that leaves perfect grill lines on the patties.  Topped with creamy cheese, cooling avocado, and fresh crisp salsa, these burgers pack a punch of flavor that commands the respect of their beefier brethren.

southwestern chipotle turkey burgers
1 1/2 lbs ground lean turkey
fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp quality chipotle powder (I get mine at my fave spice shop, Kalustyan's)
1. With your hands, mix ground meat with s&p and chipotle.  Mix well so as not to have any pockets of spice.  Form into 4-5 patties making sure to put a kind of deep thumb imprint in the center each.  Turkey meet blows up much more than most ground meats do, so putting an indentation in the center of each patty helps prevent them from turning into something that looks more like a meatball.
2.  Cook over a medium high flame about 5 minutes on each side or until firm.  Ground turkey isn't like ground beef in that it can be pretty dangerous if not cooked all the way through.
3. Serve open-faced on top of a slice of hearty bread or an English Muffin.  Top with thickly sliced pepper jack cheese, avocado slices, and fresh salsa.  For an added creamy punch, smear a little chipotle mayo on the bread before topping it.

grill marks sans grill!

Served alongside the squash slaw and some chilled fiesta corn, this meal is fantabulous!  It's light and colorful with tons of flavor.  The spicy heat of the burgers combined with the creamy coolness of the cheese and avocado paired with the zesty, citrusy squash slaw and the sweet spiciness of fiesta corn makes for fireworks of flavor grand finale-ing all over your taste buds.  Add in the fact that it's both healthy and easy, this is the perfect plate to serve at any cookout, be it in a backyard or your kitchen.  The holiday weekend has officially been kicked off.  Happy grilling, everyone!

p.s. fiesta corn is just corn with a splash of salsa.  buy it in a can or make it yourself!

No comments:

Post a Comment