Category Archives: BURGERS


401674_3107550370100_1304531591_32244544_484452443_nSummer, love it, can’t wait for it to start and hate when it’s over. This is my happy time.  Even the food changes for the most part as I migrate to being outside versus inside and what better way to start of the month of June than with a recipe of mine that is best when cooked on a charcoal or gas grill.  CHICKEN PATTIES…now don’t think a dry hockey puck of plain chicken with some seasoning, i understand that fowl (get it?? please lol) version is a thing.  Mine though reflects my world, that ItalianAmerican world of NYC and NJ that has a particular love for ItalianAmerican cuisine.  Every Summer growing up starting with Labor Day the local Salumerias (Pork Stores) would start selling certain meats just made for the Summer months.  The Cheese and Parsley ring on the crisscrossed skewers and the chicken patty made with Provolone and Parsley, sometimes Basil too, sometime diced peppers and onions in the mix too but my preference was/is the provolone/parsley and basil blend.  Easy to make, easy to cook and wonderful to eat.  These patties of my youth and current life are delicious.  You need a good sharp chef’s knife and a food processor.  What?  What about ground chicken?   It will be too dry.  It will be too processed and the texture will be off.  Your end pattie should have some chicken texture.  Trust me, it makes for a better pattie.

The recipe makes 4 patties.

TIME: 45 minutes                                     YIELD: 4 PATTIES



or use all breast, or all thigh, if all thigh it will take longer to cook.












Chill the blade and bowl of a food processor for 10 minutes.  Then Pulse the meat and cheese no more than 3 times. Add the rest of the ingredients.  Pulse JUST until everything is blended.  Turn out the mixture into a bowl and form into 4 equivalent patties. Place on wax paper and cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

On a well oiled grate, grill the patties on medium heat (whether it’s gas or charcoal) and grill on each side for at least 5 minutes per side, certainly make any time adjustments for your grill.  A too high grill will burn the outside and keep the inside close to undone.  A too low grill will steam the patties.  Yes, all these different temps and methods change how the end product tastes!! When they are done, place on a platter and tent with foil.  Leave them sit for 5 minutes.  Then serve on Rolls or on their own..  A very delicious taste of my “Summer”. Enjoy.





003The Fall Season seems to turn even our foods in to rust, red, orange and muted green colored fantasies.  Seasons also affect my recipe development as was the case on a blustery autumn day when there was Italian Sweet Fennel Sausage, Calabrian N’duja(a chile spike Calabrian spreadable salami), fresh sage sitting in my fridge.  Grey and chilly outside meant something warm and fall-ish needed to be cooked in the kitchen and I came up with making sausage patties with the ingredients plus some pantry items like a bag of Dried Cranberries.  The pairing of savory minced meats with sweet dried fruits is a gift from the Arab countries and was brought to the Western Mediterranean during their conquests of those areas.  Raisins, currants, pignoli, almonds and so forth show up in ground meat and fish dishes quite often in places like Italy and Spain.  I pooled those resources to develop this VERY tasty SAGE AND CRANBERRY SAUSAGE PATTY.  There’s flavors from Southern and Central Italy here but I’m modifying the recipe for the blog since N’djua is a ridiculously tough food to find for most people.  Instead I’m going to use Spanish Pimenton (Smoked Paprika) and Peperoncino (Italian dried hot pepper) to replicate the flavors in the Calabrian N’duja.  A little finishing of the cooked patties with Marsala or Sherry nicely rounds it all out.I’m such a fan of the sweet /savory foods.  This is one of them.  Serve with bread, or a vegetable or even rice.

TIME: 35 MINUTES                                     SERVES: 2-3

2 lbs. the BEST ITALIAN PORK SAUSAGE MEAT YOU CAN GET (simply slit the casings and remove the meat)  you can use ITALIAN TURKEY SAUSAGE as an alternative.



3 FRESH SAGE LEAVES, FINELY CHOPPED, plus some whole leaves for garnish




(if you want less “heat” from the chiles, go with 1/2 Tsp and replace with 1 tsp of sweet paprika..but use the Pimenton as well.  Paprika is simply an Eastern European word for red peppers)


Mix everything except the olive oil and only use 1 tbs of Marsala or Sherry in a bowl.  Combine till well blended. Let sit for 10 minutes. 401674_3107550370100_1304531591_32244544_484452443_nNow form into 4-6 patties. In a pan, add 2 tbs of olive oil and place on medium heat, and cook the patties until crusty and golden brown on each side, about 6 minutes per side.  Remove the finished patties to a platter and lightly cover with aluminum foil.  Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and deglaze it with the remaining Marsala or Sherry. Add  a little more olive oil and then return the patties to the pan and simply heat them up in the pan sauce, about 2 minutes.  Done.  Garnish with dried cranberries and, although I didn’t when I made them in the picture, I’ve toasted almond pieces and garnished with them too. Sweet, savory, hot, porky, Mediterranean, herby, and with the almonds, crunchy.  This is when food talks back to you and you response, GRAZIE or Thank you.  Happy Cooking!!



note:  no salt added, why? Sausage is well salted.  Adding salt to these patties would make them way too salty.




Ever just   want something from your childhood?  A super craving of sorts? It happened today and the craving was for the old fashioned American Classic Blue Plate Special,  The SALISBURY STEAK.  A little history here. Believe it or not back in the late 1800’s a doctor named James Salisbury1185030_266441590190815_42477728_n

had some ideas about the types of foods that are bad for the human body and what was good  for it.  His theory was that RED MEAT eaten three times a day followed by glasses of hot water were the way to glorious health.  Starches and vegetables he believed were converted into toxins and should only be eaten in small amounts.  Hmmmm…I guess nothing has changed since FAD diets relying on complete removal of one or many food groups and heavy intake of another will always be part of our culture.  The original/authentic recipe for the 3 times a day steak was to use an amount of ground lean meat formed into a steak like shape and broiled.  That’s it.  Somewhere along the line a host of ingredients was added to the mix and even other vegetables and a brown gravy.  Surely somewhere in your past you may remember, fondly or not, this box in your freezer.1185030_266441590190815_42477728_n

As a child growing up in a home where 95% of everything served to us was from scratch it was like a holiday or treat when we got my mother to break down and ” OK, just this one time..” buy a Swanson Salisbury Steak dinner.  I freely admit, I love meatloaf too. Times and taste change, we mature, sometimes our palates do as well and that Swanson dinner isn’t tasting too good to me anymore. Now I make my own.  Tonight I decided to do some research just to compare the recipes out there with mine or with ideas I was thinking of incorporating (yes, each meal gets that much thought into it, LOL).  When I Googled SALISBURY STEAK the first one up was a Five Star Rated recipe on the Food Network website by the lovely yet criminally insane infront of a stove Sandra Lee.   Her recipe scared the life out of me.
The absolute lack of food responsibility by Food Network posting that and handing it 5-stars just killed me.  Included in this SalisburySteakaggedon were repetitive layers of processed ingredients, all loaded with salt, sugar, fat, yet all performing the same function in a recipe.  Do you add 4 types of sugar to the average recipe? 4 types of fats?  I didn’t think so.  The only flavor you are left with is salt and that food lab iinduced good feeling your supposed to texturally feel when eating it.    Ok, here is the link for you to make your own judgment on and see what it is I’m talking about:
Enough about Sandra and her tasty treats…let’s cook…for the record..I tried to incorporate the flavors I remembered from those TV dinner Salsbury Steak meals but using what nature has offered to us to get the job done…This should make enough for 5 diners.  Dice 1/2 of an onion, 1 small cubanelle pepper or green pepper, 1 clove garlic minced..(keep the onion and pepper dice to a small even dice for even cooking), 2 tsp. Worchestershire Sauce, 1  1/2 tsp. English Dry mustard, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/8 cup Rolled  or non-Instant Oats (Oatmeal), 1 large egg, beaten, 1 tsp. Bell’s seasoning (which can be found, especially around the Fall holidays in the herb section) , 1 1/2 lbs. ground sirloin. Mix this all up together and form into oval patties about 1/2 inch thick.  keep covered until ready to cook.  Use the other 1/2 of that onion for the gravy..slice it , slice 1 small cubanelle (just so much more flavorful than a green bell) or a small green bell, 10 cremini mushrooms, sliced…in a large pan heat 1 tbs. of canola oil, gently saute’ the sliced vegetables, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  After about 8-10 minutes, they should be soft and nicely cooked.  Remove them to a platter.  Now…in the same pan, add  just a few more drops of oil and fry the steaks for 5 minutes on each side.

if no Bell’s Seasoning available, not a gamechanger..simplyuse 1 tsp of Thyme.

Make sure they brown nicely.  IT’S FLAVOR! Remove the steaks and place them on a platter, cover with foil.  Add 3 tbs. of unsalted butter to the pan, then when it’s melted, add 4 tbs. of sifted unbleached flour stirring to pull those bits off the bottom of the pan.  We are making a little roux here.  Let this cook for 2 minutes, then add 1/8 cup of Beefstock, homemade, YES PLEASE! or    use a good boxed low sodium 99% fat free brand, there are plenty out there today, the cans are generally higher in fat and sodium.   Stir well to incorporate all the roux and bring to a boil.  Add 3/4 of the sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms..then add steaks.  Lower to a simmer and let the liquid reduce by almost 1/2,   If you like your stuff really saucy, reduce it less…by the way, check for seasonings at the very end and not while you are cooking.  When you are happy with the consistency of the sauce,   a few drops of Worchestershire will add a little more flavor. This takes about 10 minutes to finish off the steaks in the sauce.
Serve the steaks with the sauce poured over then and top with the reserved peppers, onions and mushrooms.
Lots of flavor, sort of a Salisbury steak idea meets the Southern tradition of “smothered” meats.

Unlike Dr.Salisbury prescription for a bland broiled steak 3 times a day with a hot water chaser (you would definitely lose weight because after one day of that you’d not eat for 2 months!), this recipe adds a host of vegetables to it, uses a leaner grade of meat, the oatmeal has got to have some benefits…don’t you feel healthier already?  lol…Happy Cooking friends..serve with roasted potatoes, or mashed, and maybe steamed carrots since there is a green vegetable X2 in the recipe.165994_3211681293308_1441686714_n (1)





How do you like my fancy placemat? There’s a cool idea from A FOOD OBSESSION for your next casual dinner party, using food magazines to dress up the table.  I like!   I chose that issue to highlight the BEST MEAL OF THE YEAR line on the cover, plus the Bon Appetit is always an invite to enjoy what you are about to eat.  How French!  How delicious!  Delicious like the CHEESEBURGER.  September 18 is considered by those who make up such things as NATIONAL CHEESEBURGER DAY.  This is not National Hamburger Day, that gets celebrated at another time so stick to the cheese on the burger for now!  Not going drag this post out, it’s simple.  Here’s my way of making a cheeseburger…

the meat—-the fattier the tastier and the juicier, especially if you don’t like it blood rare. The most accessible grind of beef for a burger that I use is GROUND CHUCK, also defined as a mix of 80% lean and 20% fat. This not only tastes wonderful it cooks wonderfully too.  The higher the lean to fat ratio you really need to cook those blends quite rare as longer cooking dries the meat out. It’s all muscle and no fat.  I know, sounds gross, but that’s the dealio.  The meat should be just meat.  Anything else to me (meaning adding ingredients and flavors to the meat itself) turns them into seasoned meatloaf patties.  I want a beefy burger so I leave the seasoning, and that includes salt and pepper out of the mix.

seasoning—Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper…used to finish the burger right before serving and placing on a bun or the plate.

heat source–varied…a salt seasoned hot cast iron skillet, a high broiler, a charcoal fire, a gas grill..all good.  My preferences are the iron skillet and the charcoal fire.  But they are all good and should be high because that crust is created when the surface of the burger hits the heat.

size—up to you, completely.  I don’t like something that’s too big for my mouth so 1/4 lb of meat is my comfort zone.

type of cheese—again up to you.  Mozzarella is not a favorite, I know, you must be shocked at that since I am a huge fan of that cheese but on a burger I think it’s a bad choice.  American cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Colby, Brick, Muenster, Swiss, Provolone all melt nicely and complement the burger.  American is my number one just because of that whole comfort level thing..most every cheeseburger of my youth was coated in melted American cheese.  I love it on a burger.

roll—(bun), partial to Potato Rolls, will entertain a Brioche roll, least of all is a Kaiser Roll but this is really up to your taste because I can’t think of a reason why telling you a Potato roll is better, only that I like it better.  You are on your own here.

Optimum “done” factor…Black and Blue, Rare, Medium Rare, Medium, Medium Well, Welldone, Burnt.  I like Rare-Medium wife likes burnt so again, you make the call.

ADD-ONS—your call, i’m no help to you here other than I like ketchup, look at that picture..lots of it and it must be Heinz 57.  Onions I like raw, i’ll entertain grilled, there’s bacon, mayo, lettuce, tomato, avocado, relish, mustard, BBQ sauce, SteakSauce, Hot Sauce, Thousand Island, the list is endless. Eat it the way you want.

Time to wrap up here, make a cheeseburger at home using some or all of my preferences and let me know what you’ve come up with.  Cheeseburgers for everyone!!!