Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chorizo Burgers

I'm not a fan of beef hamburgers.  I know they are the quintessential all-American food, but I just don't care for beef.  Sure, I'll eat it if it's the only thing served at a party, but I prefer pork, chicken or seafood over beef every day.

We love to barbecue at our house and E normally makes a few hamburgers for the beef eaters who come to dinner.  We always end up with more hamburger rolls than burgers, so I wondered if there was a burger I could make that I would eat.  I remembered eating a chicken burger that was a spicy blend of sausage and chicken a few years ago, so I decided to try to make my own version. 

I used fresh Mexican chorizo (Primio brand). Chorizo comes in two styles:  fresh and smoked.  The smoked variety is firm and doesn't need to be cooked.  The fresh variety is soft like uncooked Italian sausage.  The fresh was the best choice for this burger because the spicy, fatty sausage blends well with the lean chicken.  The result is a spicy, sausage-like burger that's not to greasy and it's lightened up by the chicken.

I make my burgers about 3/4 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter with a sight indent in the middle.  The indentation keeps the burgers wide and flat when the middle puffs up during the grilling process.

These burgers only take a few minutes to form and you can park them in the fridge until you're ready to grill them.  I even made extra burgers and froze them for future barbecues.

Chorizo Burgers
a Keeley original
makes 4 burgers

1/2 pound Mexican fresh chorizo, casing removed
1/2 pound ground chicken
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients by hand.  Divide mixture into four equal portions and form into burger patties.

Grill over medium-high heat for about four minutes per side, or until burgers are cooked through.

Serve on a fresh roll with lettuce, tomato, red onion or other toppings of your choice.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grilled Barbecue Chicken Pizza

I'm going to go ahead and declare pizza as my favorite food... or at least my favorite food of 2011.  To me, it's the ultimate comfort food.  A pizza can be traditional or it can be a surprisingly good creative variety, like this one.

E and I love to grill, so I can't believe it took us until this year to try grilled pizza.  As much as I loved using my pizza stone in the oven all winter, I can't believe the difference a hot grill makes.  Our pizza crust is perfectly crisp and bubbly on the outside and chewy on the inside.  Think Bertucci's or California Pizza Kitchen, except you get to make it at home and top it any way you like!

I love my Emile Henry pizza stone, but I'm sure any stone will work (or even a grill-safe pan).  We love the smoky flavor of grilling on charcoal, but you can do this on a gas grill, too.  If you're new to charcoal, check out my tutorial on how to build a fire.

If you think the combination of barbecue sauce and cheese is weird, please trust me... it works!  The crust and the sauce almost become one and the smokiness from the grill, the smoked gouda, and the grilled chicken really take this pizza over the top.  Plus, there's the subtle onion flavor from the fresh chives at the end. 

I'm getting hungry just writing about this.  This is definitely a good pizza.  Try this after a long day at work (it's cooked in less than 10 minutes, minus the time spent to build the fire) or when you are entertaining friends.  Why not have a grilled pizza party?  I should do that sometime!

Barbecue Chicken Pizza
a Keeley original
serves 2-4

prepared pizza dough (1 pound, or 1/3 of this recipe)
1 cup chopped, cooked grilled chicken breast
3/4 cup smoked gouda cheese
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup chopped chives (optional)

Place a pizza stone over medium/high heat and preheat for 15 minutes.

While the stone is heating, coat a pizza peel (or the backside of a baking sheet) with flour or cornmeal.  Place the dough on the pizza peel and stretch it to a thin circle, about 14" in diameter.

Carefully slide dough from the pizza peel onto the preheated pizza stone.  The flour (or cornmeal) should make this transfer easy.

Cook the dough for 2-3 minutes, using a spatula to check the bottom side for doneness at regular intervals.  Once the bottom side is lightly browned and the top has big air bubbles, flip the dough.

Working quickly, top the pizza with barbecue sauce, cheese, and chicken.  Cover the grill and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

Remove pizza from the pizza stone and place on a cooling rack.  Top with chives.  Slice and serve.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mocha Whipped Frosting

Last weekend I needed a dessert for a dinner date.  I knew that the dessert needed to be able to travel and I also knew that I didn't want something too heavy since it's been impossibly hot and humid this week.

I decided to make a layered chocolate cake.  For years I struggled to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe.  Some were too fake (tasted like straight up from the box cake), some were too dry, and some weren't chocolately enough.  Earlier this spring I found success with Kahlua Chocolate Cake and I decided to try this recipe as a layer cake.

It worked!  The next dilemma was the frosting.  I do not like traditional thick, sugary icing.  I prefer whipped toppings that aren't too sweet.  I already knew that I was serving a very rich cake, so I wanted a light, creamy icing that complimented the dark chocolate flavor of the cake.

I spent some time surfing the web and watching The Food Network and I came up with this recipe that yields a light, fluffy whipped chocolate icing that's definitely not too sweet.  The cream cheese acts as a stabilizer, so the icing doesn't melt at room temperature (although I'd still store this cake in the fridge in between servings).

I had to stop myself from eating spoonfuls of this frosting straight from the bowl.  It's that good.  As an added bonus, this entire recipe, including the cake, is easy.  I baked the cake the night before (two 9" cake pans for this recipe, baked for 40 minutes) and whipped up the frosting the next day.  I stored the completed cake in the fridge for a few hours before dinner.

I'm definitely not a master cake decorator, so just know that this icing is thick enough to make pretty swirls and designs if you are so inclined.  Honestly, regardless of how it looks, this icing (and cake) were good.

You can use this frosting anywhere you like.  You can use it for your favorite cake recipe, cupcakes, or you can be like me and just eat it straight up with a spoon.

Mocha Whipped Frosting
a Keeley original
makes enough to cover a 2-layer cake

8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon instant espresso (or instant coffee)
1 Tablespoon Kahlua (or other coffee liquor)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chill a large bowl in the refrigerator before adding ingredients.

Combine all ingredients in large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and whip (using the whip attachment of a stand mixer, if using) on low speed for two minutes, then high speed for three minutes or until icing forms stiff peaks.  Refrigerate for later use or frost cake immediately.

Let frosted cake sit in the refrigerator a few hours prior to serving.

Friday, June 10, 2011


I'm back.

I took an unexpected hiatus from blogging this spring.  I had the misfortune of experiencing a severe car accident in late April.  I was on my way home from work and in the blink of an eye I almost lost my life.

Without dwelling on the details, I'd call this life-changing, to say the least.  The "problems" that I stressed about before the accident are clearly in perspective now.  Health, safety and family come first.

Anyway, all drama aside, I'm still dealing with some injuries, but I am back in the kitchen and I'm returning to my job.  I haven't done much cooking over the past six weeks and I haven't been in the mood to take many photos, but my mom and husband took great care of me.  Now that I'm getting back to normal E and I just made our weekend grocery run and I'm looking forward to cooking on the grill.

I managed to plant my culinary garden back in April.  I wrote about it in this post.

April to Early May:

Today, June 10th:

My garden exploded!

I have a crazy amount of sage... and it's a perennial, so I've had this same plant for 3 years.

Strawberries!  Unfortunately, the goldfinches love them.  Any tips on how to keep them away?

I can't believe my tomatoes are already this big.

Zucchini blossoms... this is my first time growing zucchini.
My plants are flourishing.  My veggies (and fruits) are growing and I am healing.  Life is good.

I can't wait to share some new recipes.  I have a lot of cooking to do now that I'm finished my Ed.D.!  I've never appreciated my life as much as I do now.
Related Posts with Thumbnails