ON-THE-GO: Friday Night Friends

It’s Friday night and it’s time to celebrate the end of the week by hanging out with friends. You might have a movie planned or a game of bowling but first your going to want to eat. Yes, you could go out but if you’re pressed for time and need to make that movie you’re going to have to cook ON-THE-GO! Believe it or not cooking with your friends can be a fun and exciting activity. As you know from my previous blogs entries I cook a lot with my friends and I’ve made some of my best memories with them. This past Friday night my cousin Lauren was having her friend Nicole over, they had activities planned but first they needed dinner. I saw this as an opportunity to help and offered to come over and create a meal ON-THE-GO!

I had to create a menu that would get a delicious and colorful meal on the table and fast. My mom happens to make excellent turkey burgers that are moist and can be stuffed with a variety of ingredients. I decided to take that classic turkey burger and spice it up. The menu: first, the moist turkey burger sandwiched between a roasted tomato aioli, topped with roasted red bell peppers, red onion, and arugula. On the side, baked sweet potato fries jazzed up with 3 different spices. For dessert I chose chocolate dipped strawberries drizzled with raspberry white chocolate. I was ready to go and I had packed up just about everything including my food processor. As soon as I arrived we went straight to work.

Jeremy showing Nicole how to quarter the tomatoes

 Nicole quartered the tomato’s for the aioli (you can do this ahead of time) and then tossed them with olive oil, dried basil and popped them into the oven at 375°F for 35-40 minutes.

Tomatoes roasting in the oven

 Lauren peeled and cut the sweet potatoes into batonnet’s (French fry cut), blanched them in boiling water, and then shocked them in iced water. In the past my baked sweet potatoes fries would come out soft and droopy. However with some research, I learned that by blanching the sweet potatoes first before baking them allows them to get a crunchy exterior. For the  seasoning Lauren melted brown sugar, water, canola oil, chili powder, ginger and cinnamon until dissolved and syrup like. We gently tossed the fries together with the seasoning and baked them on a sheet pan at 450°F for 25 minutes.

Lauren cutting the Sweet Potatoes

Seasoning the fries before they go into the oven

Back to the aioli, in a food processor we combined the cooled tomatoes, two garlic cloves, paprika, and mayonnaise then pulsed in the food processor until well blended. For the burgers we took ground turkey meat (not breast, it makes it dry and tough) and combined it with four tablespoons of the aioli for flavor. My recipe calls for 2 tablespoons but Lauren liked it so much she added more (you can do the same if you like).

Lauren tasting the Aioli

 We formed them into patties and cooked them in a large skillet over medium high heat all the way through until firm. In another pan we brushed the hamburger buns with olive oil and toasted them (oil side down) in the pan until golden brown (this is done so when you spread the aioli on it, the bread doesn’t become soggy).

Nicole mixing up the ingredients for the patties

Cooking the Turkey Burgers

In the meantime, we sliced up a jar of pickled roasted bell peppers (saves you a lot of time), sliced the red onion and opened up the bag of arugula (if you don’t have arugula, spring mix works just as well). We assembled a “burger bar” so everyone could create their own and get in on the burger action. Nicole and Lauren loved it!

Sneaking a taste of the Sweet Potato Fries

The assembly line


The burger was juicy, tender and delicious. It worked well with the kick from the red onion, the smokey flavor of the pepper and the bitter bite of the arugula all held together by the garlic and tomato flavor of the aioli. The fries had a firm exterior and a soft inside and worked great with the spiced syrup. We weren’t finished yet; we still had strawberries to dip. First we melted chopped semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler (a heatproof bowl set over a small pot of simmering water) and stirred until smooth.

Chopping the chocolate

Dipped Strawberries

 While Lauren dipped the strawberries in the chocolate, Nicole melted white chocolate using the same method except this time we folded in a ¼ cup of seedless raspberry jam and a little water to smooth it out. We drizzled the white chocolate on to the strawberries with a fork and set them in the fridge until the chocolate was cooled and firm (you could definitely do this ahead of time as well). The dessert was a hit! We ate all of them!! 

Bet you can't eat just one

Remember there’s always time for good food and cooking ON-THE-GO. 

Keep on Cooking!!!

**Remember to be very careful in using knives. If you're not experienced with knives please ask your parents or someone with experience for permission and/or assistance** 

 JeremyCooks.com • ON-THE-GO

Friday Night Turkey Burgers  Yield: 4  Quarter Pound Burgers

1 lb ground turkey meat  (not breast)
2 Tablespoons Roasted Tomato Aioli (recipe below)
4 1/3 inch-thick red onion slices (1 red onion)
1 12 oz. jar Roasted red bell peppers, sliced
1 bag of Arugula
¼ cup olive oil
4 hamburger buns

Place the turkey in a medium sized bowl, add the 2 Tablespoons of aioli and mix gently. Evenly divide the turkey mixture into four equal portions (1-inch thick patties). Sprinkle salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the patties to the pan and cook all the way through, about four minutes each side. Brush each bun (cut side up) with olive and toast (cut side down) in a medium sized pan until golden brown.

Assembly: Spread Aioli on tops and bottoms of each bun, place 1 turkey burger on each of the 4 bun bottoms, top with pepper and red onion slices and some arugula. Cover burgers with bun tops and serve.

Roasted Tomato Aioli 

2 whole medium tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
¼ tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°F

Quarter the tomatoes and cut each quarter in half. In a medium size bowl toss the tomatoes with dried basil, and olive oil. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes on a regular sheet pan. When the tomatoes are done let them cool completely. In a food processor combine a ¼ cup of the tomatoes, garlic, mayonnaise, olive oil, paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until thick and smooth. Can be made one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. 

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Yield: 4 servings

2 sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch squared strips
¼ cup Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus 2 teaspoons
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon chili powder
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath (large bowl, ice, and water)

Place the cut sweet potatoes into the boiling water and blanch for 30-45 seconds. With a slotted spoon transfer the potatoes directly into the ice bath and shock. After 1 minute drain the cooled potatoes and pat dry. Put on the side.
In a small saucepot combine brown sugar, 1-tablespoon oil, ginger, cinnamon, and chili powder and simmer on medium low for 2 to 3 minutes until thick and syrup like. In a large bowl pour the sauce over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Rub 2 teaspoons of oil on a non-stick baking sheet to prevent the fries from sticking. Arrange potatoes on the sheet pan and bake until brown, 25-30 minutes, turning after 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss with Kosher salt to taste. Serve and enjoy.

Chocolate Strawberries
Yield: 1 lb strawberries

1 pint strawberries
8 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
6 ounces chopped white chocolate
¼ cup seedless Raspberry jam
2 Tablespoons water

Begin by melting the chopped semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a small pot of simmering water, stir until smooth. Dip each strawberry in the semi-sweet chocolate and set on sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Separately, melt the white chocolate using the same method. To the white chocolate, fold in the raspberry jam and water until completely incorporated. Using a fork drizzle the white chocolate over the dipped strawberries and set in the fridge until the chocolate sets for about 30 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. I'm lovin' these articles. Keep it comin' Jear Bear!!