Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Very Important Game Lunch

Right now, as I type this a Very Important Game is going on in the world of the National Football League. So much so that our whole day and part of last night was sculpted around this event.

The plan started last night where m and I agreed to go to bed at a reasonable hour (no staying up late to watch movies or play video games or knit sweaters). Then this morning, we wouldn't sleep in, but get up early (for a Sunday at least) and go for a walk to get in a little exercise first thing. There was talk about going to the area we call the 2.5 neighborhood (there was an open house that we cruised through and the place was going for 2.5 million. dollars. that's right. and we loved that house and the location and everything, but come on now. 2.5??) maybe stop by Amandine to pick up croissants and coffee on the way. Perhaps a stop at a sort of ad hoc outdoor gym that is dubbed by locals as The Stairs. Then we cruise back home by 12 noon exactly to watch The Game.

Okay so we more or less did that (though somehow I still managed to sleep in) and then we had this great lunch that I wish I had had enough foresight to photograph, but darnitall I was really tired from all the walking and didn't have the presence of mind to bust out the camera. But you know, posterity. So important. So here's the really good lunch to accompany a Very Important Game without photos :(

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Buffalo Burgers with sauteed mushrooms and carmelized onions
Strawberry Lemonade

Sweet Potato Fries
One large sweet potato, scrubbed clean with the pointy ends trimmed off
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Four cloves of garlic left unpeeled (optional)
Freshly crushed sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut up the sweet potato into thick juliennes. I like to cut them into thick slabs diagonally and then stack the slabs two or three high to cut them again. This is the easiest and quickest way for me to cut up vegetables since I don't have a mandoline. It's important to try and cut the pieces to be as close in thickness as possible so that they cook evenly. Scatter the fries onto a rimmed baking sheet. Add garlic cloves. Drizzle olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Bake fries in oven for about 20 minutes or until tender. Use a spatula to turn them so that they cook evenly. When they are fork tender, put them under the broiler for about 10 minutes to further crisp them. Pull out garlic cloves and set aside. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Strawberry lemonade
While the potatoes are baking, squeeze about 1 lb of lemons reserving the juice in a pitcher. Add about 1/2 a gallon of water and maybe about a cup of sugar to taste (I like my lemonade really sweet and really tart). Hull and slice about 5 medium strawberries and add to pitcher, chill and serve. (Sorry about the vague measurements, I usually make lemonade on the fly tasting and mixing as I go along so I didn't keep track of exactly how much of each ingredient I used.)

Buffalo Burgers with sauteed mushrooms and carmelized onions
1 package of ground buffalo meat
1/2 medium white onion sliced
1 package of sliced white mushrooms
Small loaf of ciabbata bread
Sprinkle of dried oregano
Salt/Pepper as needed

This is less a recipe per se and mostly a bunch of my notes. I picked up a package of ground buffalo meat and formed large meatballs shapes (they get flattened into patties in the pan) to sizes of my liking (manly-man sized super patty for M and dainty little girl patty for me). I heated up a drizzle of olive oil in a pan and added the larger meatball first, flattening with my hand to form a thick patty. I sprinkled the top with some dried oregano and some crushed salt and pepper. I let the patty cook for about 5 minutes on a medium flame and then flipped it with a spatula. I added the smaller patty at this time, sprinkling with oregano, salt and pepper like the first.

(This just in: as I write this, the Very Important Game ended in a victory for the good guys. There is a lot of clapping and grunting going on in my living room and both t.v.'s are on.)

Cook burgers to your preferred done-ness and let rest in pan for a moment.
In the still warm oven, slide in the ciabbata bread to crisp.

Meanwhile in another pan, sautee some sliced white onions in olive oil until they are translucent, add sliced mushrooms and let cook until the mushrooms have browned and the onions are carmelized.

Slit ciabbata in half and lay hamburger patty across one half. Add mushrooms and onions. I also sliced up half an avocado as a garnish on the side and also squeezed out the roasted garlic from the sweet potato fries and smeared onto my burger patty before adding the mushroom/onion mixture.


The timing on this was a little tricky. (Or perhaps I was too tired from all that freaking walking.) So many things that felt like they needed to happen at exactly the same time. And the fries weren't the crispiest which was a shame. Perhaps less oil? Higher heat? I'll have to research some remedies. Still a satisfying lunch worthy of the victory of the Very Important Game.

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