<editorsnote> Nerds, meet my buddy Fanny. No really – that is her actual name. She is a massive massive massive foodie, and would like to share with you all the adventures on all of the things she puts in her mouth. Wait, no – not like that … I mean … well, you know what I mean. Aw shucks, just hit it already Fanny … </editorsnote>
#TalkNerdyToMeLover’s Fanny Slater
when was the last time any of you watched the golden girls? you probably have to think about it…don’t you? well, if you’re my best friend sara—
your answer would be, “what are you talking about, i’m watching it right now.”
well just to refresh your memory, in almost every episode there is a signature moment of recollection brought to you by the eldest character sophia. it is always a long-winded story about her as a young woman, and each time it consistently starts out something like this: “picture this! sicily, 1947. a beautiful girl stands beneath a lemon tree, brushing her long golden locks…”
well, let me fill you in on my week.
picture this! hollywood, 2011. a young woman with dirty blonde hair and sad, droopy carolina blue eyes leans over a kitchen sink to avert scraps of chicken from getting caught in the folds of her scarf. she reaches a greasy hand out to a clear lime-ridden bottle with a long skinny neck. she watches half of the honey-colored liquid disappear and then pops a piece of potato in her mouth. she swallows and then inhales heavily as she realizes that she has yet to remove her jacket or even her dark brown boots.
well friends, i’m embarrassed to admit that this horrific visual image i’ve just painted for you illustrates the perfect picture of yours truly last night around 8:30 PM. i knew that having a full time job would lead to long hours and less time in the kitchen, but i had no idea that i would find myself hunched over a sink shoveling store-bought roast chicken into my mouth like a homeless person who had just found the jackpot of all trashcans. don’t get me wrong, the paychecks are great–but money doesn’t buy happiness. money buys you a six pack of coronas and roasted baby potatoes from gelson’s that are not meant to be eaten with your fingers. someday when i have my own cooking show and i’m teaching the world how to caramelize red onions, all of my past bosses who ever kept me at the office past dinnertime will rue the day they made fanny slater stay late! and i don’t mean roux–the combination of equal parts flour and butter used as a thickening agent for sauces and soups. the point of this story is not just that i’ve been left with no time to cook and little inspiration to create new dishes in my head. the point is that even a foodie needs to pick up dinner once a while. if you have the time to spend an hour and a half creating delicious masterpieces like open faced lamb burgers with homemade olive tapenade–then you absolutely should. but if the daily grind has drained you of your creativity, then treat yourself to a hot pocket and couple of cheap beers.
i now present to you: open-faced rosemary lamb burger on toasted ciabatta with feta, homemade red onion jam, olive tapenade, and tzatziki
despite the fact that my enthusiasm for eating this week has been limited to the pint of fro-yo in my lap thanks to late nights at work and a raging sinus infection–you know that i wouldn’t end my rant without leaving you a FAN–get it? that’s my name–tastic recipe. for those of you that don’t follow me on twitter (SHAME ON YOU! just kidding, i literally just signed up) then you might have missed homemade lamb burger night last week. you know…last week–before i was officially working full-time and had a pause in my day to do important things like floss my teeth and remember to wear socks. i had been watching a lot of diners, drive-ins, and dives that week and the plethora of burgers appearing on the show began to entice the foodie part of my brain. also known as…95% of my brain. what’s the other 5% you ask? a complete encyclopedia of quotes and references to episodes of f.r.i.e.n.d.s.
okay, let’s get down to it:
when i think of lamb, i think of succulent juicy herbaceous flavors. in order to make that into a burger, you have to let the lamb be the star. i used complementary flavors (they were so thoughtful!) like rosemary, garlic, and dried oregano. i like my lamb a little on the rare side–which some people may think is crazy–so feel free to cook yours crazy to medium crazy. in a roaring hot pan with a touch of olive oil, i seared the burger on both sides (4-5 minute per side). once it was done and the juices were settling, i began the components for the rest of the dish. i figured if i was going to go through the trouble of making a homemade greek burger…
i might as well go all out with the condiments.
homemade olive tapenade: finely chop kalamata and greek-marinated green olives (you can find these at any grocery store with an olive bar) and mix with a squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers, and cracked black pepper.
red onion jam: thinly slice red onions and cook SLOWLY in butter and salt. once they start to break down (10-15 minutes) add a splash of red wine vinegar, a touch of sweetener like agave or honey, and balsamic vinegar. reduce mixture until the consistency is similar to a thick marmalade.
homemade tzatziki: plain non-fat greek yogurt (or sour cream), cucumbers, dill, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. **foodie note: if you shred the cucumbers, make sure to drain the water out of them by adding a little salt and letting them sit for five minutes. nobody likes a runny tzatziki**
as you can see from the chain of events, the ciabatta was toasted, spread with olive tapenade, topped with fresh spinach, our lamb burger, and the red onion jam. it was then finished off with some crumbled feta and tzatziki sauce. the moral of the story is that with a little time and a little patience, a beautiful restaurant-style meal can be created in your own kitchen with some pretty basic ingredients. however with absolutely no time and an overflowing amount of patients (when you work in a dentist’s office like i do), you might want to keep a frozen pizza in your freezer and a bottle opener on hand.
**foodie note: ….MADE YA LOOK! insert shameless plug here for twitter: