Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dinner Is Served

We come from two different worlds, the Lone Ranger and I. He's a professionally trained chef, with an enviable economy of motion and no-nonsense approach to food. His goal is to get product on the table as quickly and expertly as possible. Whereas I -- like all true believers -- try to elevate everything to High Art. It's made for some interesting clashes our first few go-arounds in the kitchen. I'm stroking vegetables while he peels with blurred motion. I vie for the perfect angle with my photos, and his hands are always in the way of the shot. But he's nothing if not accommodating, that man.
Although he would challenge the claim, the Lone Ranger is spoiling me rotten. He picks me up at the train station every Friday evening, menu settled, shopping done, adult beverages chilled in the fridge. I lend a hand with the prep work if I feel like it, or merely attempt to stay out of his way as I digitally record his efforts for this bloggy posty stuff. He manages to keep his cool and work around me, and I have yet to complain about his cooking! Here's a typical quick Friday night bite:
Thai Sliders - recipe adapted from Rachel Ray
  • ¾ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ cucumber, seeded and finely diced
  • ½ small red onion, chopped
  • ½ small red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 3 Tbsp aged soy sauce
  • ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 slider buns, or small dinner rolls, split
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
In a small pot over medium-high heat, place the vinegar and sugar; heat to a low boil to dissolve sugar into the vinegar. Turn off heat and stir in the mint.
Combine chopped cucumber, onion and red pepper in a bowl, and pour hot vinegar over the top. Stir to combine and let stand, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat with the soy, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, chives and black pepper. Form an even mound of meat, score it into 4 equal portions and from each portion form 2 patties, about 3 inches in diameter each.
Heat vegetable oil in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add the patties and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden and firm.
To serve, place a little shredded cabbage on the bun bottoms, top with the patties, some cucumber relish and the bun tops.
I always hold Ms. Ray's food as suspect, too pedestrian for my tastes, but then I'm a monumental snob. These were yummy sliders though. Garlicky, with a brightness from the ginger. The relish went perfectly with the peanut butter and soy. As you'd expect with Asian cuisine, there was complexity, but also a pleasant freshness to the flavor. Since the ingredients are so economical, spend a little extra on good, light rolls. Brioche would have been perfect.
I should have insisted. The Lone Ranger would be sure to comply!
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

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