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  • Burgers al Pastor

    I love burgers!

    I love tacos al pastor!

    How thrilled was I when flipping through my DVR’d collection of cooking shows I saw Marcela Valladolid‘s Mexican Made Easy making BURGERS AL PASTOR!

    To quote a recent crazy person – WINNING!

    Oh, wait! It gets better! Marcela had super duper burger guy Spike Mendelsohn making these fabulous burgers with her!

    Now, between Marcela, the ingredients, Spike and the absolute love in our house for burgers and tacos al pastor, this was a burger that HAD to be made!

    • 6 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and soaked
    • 2 t crumbled dried marjoram
    • 2 t crumbled dried oregano
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1 small white onion, chopped, divided
    • 1/2 C sweetened pineapple juice
    • 1 t salt
    • 1/4 t ground pepper
    • 2 pounds extra-lean ground pork
    • Vegetable oil
    • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
    • 1/2 C mayonnaise
    • 8 sesame seed hamburger buns
    • 1 C fresh cilantro leaves

    NOTE: If you can’t find the guajillo chilis, ancho chilis or pasilla negro chilis will work. The guajillo chile comes from drying a mirasol chile and it has a mild to slight heat. I soaked the chilis in warm water for about 20 minutes.

    Drain the soaked chiles very well and put them in a blender with the marjoram, oregano, garlic, 1/4 of the chopped onion and the pineapple juice and puree until smooth. Add the salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

    NOTE: I used the food processor. Easier clean up and same effect! And besides, the blender and I are not friends any more!

    Place the ground pork in large bowl and pour the marinade on top. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    NOTE: The meat is now BRIGHT red. Don’t be alarmed!

    While the meat and marinade is mingling, peel and core and slice the pineapple.

    NOTE: Try to but a pineapple that will be as wide as your burger or buns once sliced. I was able to remove the core with a donut hole cutter.

    After 30 minutes or so, divide the pork mixture into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a 1/2-inch thick patty.

    NOTE: Your hands will now be bright red! No worries! It washes right off!

    Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

    NOTE: I did these outside on the grill. Make sure you lightly oil the grill or these will stick. The sugar in the pineapple juice does carmelize, so no worries about the grill marks!

    Working in batches, grill the burgers until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer the burgers to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Let rest for about 8 minutes.

    Brush the grill with a little more oil and grill the pineapple slices until golden brown, 2 minutes per side.

    NOTE: GRILL HOT!! I put the oil on a paper towel and use tongs to oil the grill. BE CAREFUL!

    Spread 1 teaspoon mayonnaise on the cut sides of each bun and warm on the grill about 2 minutes, cut-side down.

    Build the burger time! Burgers onto the bottom half of the bun. Next comes the grilled pineapple, then cilantro and chopped onion. I added a little extra OOMPH here with avocado cream (I’ll post that recipe later). A squeeze of lime doesn’t hurt here! Top with the other half of the bun. Dive in!

    These are slightly spicy and sweet at the same time. Your first look at this may cause a raised eyebrow or a skeptical look, but these ingredients work in perfect harmony. This burger is AMAZING! This is a burger that will appear here MANY times over the summer!

    Cola & Jam Spareribs

    One of my favorite styles of cooking is hands down BBQ. And, conversely, the thing I jones for the most during the winter is BBQ.

    Leave it to Dorie Greenspan to come up with the perfect solution for my winter BBQ blues in Around My French Table ~ Cola and Jam Spareribs.

    The timing was perfect – an upcoming French Fridays with Dorie recipe coupled with a gloomy, chilly Sunday and the ribs were on sale! Trifecta!

    I love that Dorie’s recipes shoot different scents wafting throughout the house. There is a marriage of different aromas and flavors that always come together perfectly both for your nose and mouth. The anticipation of what’s to come is mind boggling.

    So quick to put together with simple, yet intriguing, ingredients.

    I have to admit. I cheated a bit. I bought my ribs already cut. Anything to make my time in the kitchen simpler and more enjoyable.

    I let the ribs sit in the marinade for a little over 2 hours in the fridge. Then brought them to room temperature before I put them in the oven.

    I confess, I am a baster.  I baste constantly cooking my turkey on Thanksgiving, and I basted these ribs far more than the recipe suggested. Especially after  adding the Coca-Cola for the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

    The end result was sticky and sweet from the orange juice and Coke with a depth of flavor from the Chinese 5 spice and ginger. Falling off the bone tender and moist.

    This recipe will have MANY repeat performances in our house.

    BBQ Sauce

    This is my Mom’s recipe – with a few changes over the years from me. A work in progress, so to speak. My Mom never really struck me as the BBQ sauce type. But, there one weekend, was the most wonderful BBQ sauce I had ever tried.

    How she came up with the recipe is a mystery.

    You could blame it on the rain and cold.

    On boredom at being at the beach in the cold and the rain.

    On the LONG drive from the beach to the stores, and realizing just before dinner that you had no BBQ sauce.

    You can even blame it on not wanting to deal with the ‘weekend people’ in town – especially cleaning out the grocery store (and liquor store, truth be told!) of all the good stuff by Friday afternoon.

    I prefer to think that there is a far more altruistic reason – wanting the best for one’s family, a better flavor, a more healthy version.

    • 4 T dry mustard
    • 2 C cider vinegar
    • 4 2/3 C ketchup
    • 1/2 C Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/4 C sugar
    • 1/4 C honey
    • 2 T tabasco
    • 1 T salt
    • 1 t fresh ground pepper

    This recipe can easily be halved. If you make the whole recipe you need a LARGE bowl! I always keep the empty ketchup bottles to store the BBQ sauce – makes my life SO easy! I have also switched in brown sugar for the white and molasses for the honey.

    Place the mustard in a bowl. Pour in vinegar and stir until mustard dissolves.

    Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined.

    Store in fridge in an airtight container.

    Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

    How easy was that!?