Super Delicious Hamburgers!

 Damn, Americana.

You know, I've never before thought my hamburgers weren't delicious, even when I made them only with ground beef (and we're talking the very cheapest packet at Jewel, here) and whatever seasoning I want to try. I thought that adding a bit of butter to the center was an amazing idea and was thrilled with it. Even more exciting was the bit of butter and cheese addition to the center. Then I did what I presume many others did and experimented further, using a Jamie Oliver (yes! Food Revolution strikes again!) recipe and was pretty delighted. On the one hand - I'd go back to my simple "smack ground beef together and cook" method and be okay, but...then again...my roommate freaked out over it. And it was damn good.

They even freeze and reheat well!

So, use whatever bread or condiments you like and be delighted. I don't particularly like pickles, but others do, and I had guests the night I made this so I managed to find corn-free pickle slices (harder than you think) and a tomato and spinach (which I like more than lettuce, mostly, but I should suck it up and buy the lettuce because today I actually did want it and...you don't need to know all of that, I'm sure) and an onion and mushrooms (both of which I cooked in a bit of basily-butter) and mayo and this cranberry-mustard I picked up at Stanley's. Delicious, even though I never use mustard except in recipes. And buns! I almost never get buns. It's hard enough buying bread with my allergy, bothering to go onto buns is almost not worth it.


Anyway. The method of making these burgers is much like making these is a lot like making the meatballs I showed you recently. So you'll need...and should have, if you made meatballs...


- twelve saltines
- eight sprigs of parsley (finely chopped) OR a few good shakes, if dried
- two heaped TSP honey-dijon mustard
- one lbs ground beef
- one egg
- salt, pepper, other seasonings, etc (I used cumin)
- olive oil
- butter

Smash up the crackers and mix with the parsley, mustard, and ground beef. Add the egg and some salt and pepper and any other seasonings you may desire - I used cumin. Cumin tastes amazing here. Mix everything together quite well and then divide into six and pat each bit into your burger shape - about 3/4 inch thick. I like to put a sliver of butter in the center of my burgers, I find it adds deliciousness and moisture.

Drizzle the burgers with a bit of oil and pop them in the fridge until needed.

Preheat a frying pan (or a grill pan) for about four minutes on a high setting. Then turn the heat down to medium, place the burgers on the pan, and press lightly down on them with your spatula. Cook them to your liking at three or four minutes a-side. Or grill them.

Remember - if the eaters in question are kids or pregnant or sick or something, you'll want to cook them well-done. That's no pink in the middle. If you like it less so well done (I'm a medium girl myself, I like a bit of pink) then have at. You'll be the one sick, after all, if you don't cook it through enough. Not me.

Prepare all your trimmings as you like them, and serve.

If you have extra burgers, wrap them up in plastic wrap (or waxed paper, or whatever) and pop them into the feezer in a secured fashion.

This was my Fourth of July main course, but clearly this is amazing for any time.


Blackbird Blackberry Pie

 A completely delightful and delicious pie. 
That you totally want there to be four--and-twenty of.

Well, that's what Heather called it.

But it is made of blackberries and it is delicious and a pie and has a pie-bird in it. So she isn't wrong, but Heather's a bright girl, so of course she isn't wrong. She's awesome. So is this pie. It's delicious! And she thinks so too. So you should agree with her, 'cause my Heatherleh knows from deliciousness.

I basically wanted a pie on the Fourth of July. I didn't know it was the last day I'd feel not sick for over a week (I say over, 'cause I'm still not at peak form, in a few troubling ways, but I'm not as sick as I was two days ago, so YAY that's awesome) and so, despite the heat and my utter and complete laziness - which happens on any day I have off that I shouldn't - I dragged myself to the a nearby grocery store along with the rest of the freaking area.

I did manage, stunningly, to get a self-checkout pretty quickly. I can't even do that on emptier times.

This pie is simple. If you have a favorite crust recipe, please use it! Or a pre-made crust. It's fine. Mine is simple - I just mix a stick of softened butter with around a cup and a half of flour, a dash of salt, and a half cup of sugar. If it is too crumbly, I mix in two TBS of ice water. Then I ball it up, flatten in it plastic wrap, and chill it for about a half hour.

Divide in half. Roll it out, place it on the bottom of your buttered pie pan. OR press it in the bottom of a buttered pie pan if, like me, you a) don't have a rolling pin and aren't in the mood to clean off a bottle or something and b) the dough is soft enough that making bits of dough flat in the bottom of the pan makes sense.

Put the other half back in the fridge.


- two packets of blackberries (or raspberries or blueberries), rinsed with bad ones removed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- two TSP vanilla

and mix together in a bowl. If you aren't in any great hurry, let that sit for about fifteen minutes to a half hour, but never mind if you don't - I rarely do and it's never bothered anything. Pour the mixture into your pie crust.

If you have a pie bird, put in in the center.

Roll out the other half of the dough and place around the pie-bird or, much as before, flatten out and put the dough on top the pie around the pie-bird by hand. It'll look rougher, but that's okay. It's rustic! Sprinkle the crust with sugar, barely.

 Looks pretty tasty, if you ask me. 
And you sort of it, by reading this blog.

If you did NOT use a pie-bird, then cut some slits in the crust or designs or something. It'll let the steam escape. If you have it, you still can if you want to, but you needn't.

Bake at 375 F for approx 35 mins, until the crust is golden. Let sit and cool, so the pie can gel.

Slice and serve with whipped cream or ice cream or by itself. Be delighted!

OPTIONAL: You can buy tapioca and mix some of it in with the berries, if you want more of a fruit-gel around your fruit.


This soup is brought to you by technology, love, and the letter D.

 Made with love. And edamame. 
If that doesn't cure you, what will?

As happens from time to time, I was struck by an illnes last week, and no amount of anything seemed to be getting it to move. No, this is was not any simple summer cold. Those are awful but go away. This wasn't even my standard "oh, fine, I'll work out more" seasonal cough - that involves no actual working out, save for the fact that a few days into it my lungs usually are sore and it hurts my entire torso to cough. This was something else entirely.

This was a cough that was as bad as the one described, but somehow even worse. This was a fever - a really soaring high fever, at that, up and down and off and on. Chills, of the variety that made me look psychotic in a sweater in Chicago in July, and being dizzy and oh, the endless coughing and oh, the frightening fever. It made me take my first sick day since I started this job over a year a go. And I've been sick, people. I went went blind once (it's a long story) and opened that store on time and stayed there all day. I was on time this time too, but I had been arranging someone to come take my shift before I even made it in.

And as I was working a double, with interns, this was pretty much a huge favor. So I missed a day of work, then I missed two days of work, then I had two days off planned anyway but I spent them dying in my apartment. With my cat and my netflix and, sometimes, my roommate. Who made me this soup.

He was starting to get sick, also. And Kelly was texting me that she wished she were here to make me soup when Matt (also via text, from work) asked me if I wanted soup. She relayed to him a soup recipe and he made some additions or changes and lo! A Ginger Chicken Udon soup was served to me. We watched something on Netflix. I tried not to die.

This soup is delicious. I'm not sure how he did it. I'll have to ask. But it's delicious. It features heavily on the ginger root, all diced and steamed and cooked up with some steamed chicken and veg (including cress!) and a delicious broth. Spicy! Awesome. With lazy fat udon noodles from a packet I'd almost forgotten about in the fridge, comforting and invigorating and soothing.

A rough list of ingredients:

- chicken broth
- chicken, steamed
- edamame
- udon noodles
- bell pepper
- diced ginger root
- garlic
- carrot

It didn't herald the end of my sickness, but it certainly brought an evening of comfort and my fever even dropped down to Not Making Me Contemplate the ER levels, which was really the second major thing I wanted. I even coughed less!

That could be due to many factors. Namely, my super awesome Love You Lots So Don't Die Soup.

but god do i love this picture

Thanks, guys. You've always got my back.


Crunchy Garlic Chicken or Why I Love Jamie Oliver

 Dear god. 
Lock. It. Down.

I don't want to exaggerate anything, but oh my god I completely love Jamie Oliver. The man is amazing and seems like the sweetest guy. I will genuinely be crushed if there is any scandal about him - but I will still love his food. (also, there will never be any scandal, he is a peach). If I could meet any one chef, I'd want to meet him. Of course, if I could meet any handful of chefs, that'd be even better.

Basically, as much as I detest Bobby Flay, King of Tools, I love Jamie Oliver. That, my friends, is saying something as I have broken into the conversations of strangers when Flay is mentioned.

In Jamie's Food Revolution there is a recipe for Crunchy Garlic Chicken. I can not sing the praises of this recipe enough, seriously, I died. DIED. Then came back to eat more because this is so amazing. If you aren't new to the blog, then you'll know about my quest for the perfect chicken strips. I've found them in panko, yes, but this might actually blow that out of the water. At the first go, I'm going to go ahead and say that - yes, once again - this is a Lock It Down recipe. I made a few minor changes to the original recipe, but essentially let it be.

I suggest serving this with a salad or some simple veggies, but if you'd like to go for full-blown comfort then try some mashed potatoes (to make it healthier, make it a mashed cauliflower or cauliflower-potato blend). Jamie suggests using a cream cracker, such as Jacob's, but my Jewel doesn't carry them and I didn't really feel like hunting them down. Anyway, he'd said the same thing for the meatballs, and saltines were pretty much the bomb in that.

Without further ado...

Crunchy Garlic Chicken


- two cloves of garlic
- seven to eight saltines
- two TBS butter
- a few shakes of parsley (or four fresh sprigs)
- salt and pepper
- two TBS flour
- one egg
- two boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- olive oil
- the zest of one lemon OR Garlic-Lemon Trinidad Seasoning
- OPTIONAL -Orange-Pepper (a fantastic change from lemon pepper, if you use this nix on the black pepper above)


Peel the garlic and zest the lemon. If you have a food processor, zoom the crackers with the butter, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, and salt/pepper. You'll want to make the mixture very fine, then pour the crumbs on a plate. If you do NOT have a food processor (clearly, I do not) then mince the garlic very, very finely. Bash the crackers up and mix with the parsley, lemon zest, pepper, garlic, and salt. The butter should be softened and then stir it in with crumb mixture. Put that on a plate.

Helloooooo, crumbs.

Sprinkle the flour onto a second plate. Be thankful that you have so many saucers in your ramshackle apartment.

Beat the egg in a small bowl with a fork.

Cut the fatty bits out of the chicken. If you want more of a strip type of thing, cut them into strips. I cut my chicken breasts in half to make them thin, then lightly score the bottom of the chicken breasts. Smack them with a pan a few times (in plastic wrap, of course) to flatten them out a bit - unless, of course, you already cut them in half because it's a little late and maybe you don't want to whack things.

Dip the chicken in the flour, getting it totally coated, then dip it into the egg, then coat with the flavored crumbs. Pat the crumbs onto the chicken so it sticks.

sizzle sizzle sizzle
"Oh, that delicious smell? It's nothing...but awesomeness."

I fried mine in some olive oil for about five minutes on each side, until cooked through and delightfully golden and crisp. You can also bake them, however. Preheat your oven until it is hot as blazes (475 F yikes!) and put your chicken on a cookie sheet and bake for about fifteen minutes.

Now. You can serve them whole as they are, cut them up into strips or bits or whatever you like. Squeeze a bit of lemon on them if you'd like. Serve with the sides of your choosing. Swoon.

Poor picture, unbelievable food.

The only flaw in this is keeping the breading crisp for the next day, I chucked some in a plastic container and it didn't really keep up. It was still delicious, though. Really, I think this is much more meant to be eaten the night of, which will be fantastically easy as this stuff is killer.


 A crisp, light, veggie laden salad.
Come to mama.

I realize it might not always look like it on here, but I actually do really love a good salad. I eat my veg regularly and enjoy a lovely salad lunch as much as anyone else. Do I tend to order salad as my meal out with people? No, not usually. But I do really enjoy a nice, tasty salad as a meal or a side.

I made a most delicious salad the other day, is my point. Truly delightful. A handful of spinach, a cut up avocado half, a cut up tomato, some cucumber, a scattering of cheese, a few sliced radishes, and a lovely balsamic vinegarette.

It's actually the vinegarette I'm here to share with you.

I used a ratio of three parts extra-virgin olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar. My olive oil this time was infused with lemon. I added a dash of salt (and one I get sea salt OH MAN LIFE WILL BE AWESOME) and some pepper.

Drizzle on the salad, toss so all the leaves get covered. You don't need a lot, I'm not a drowner. Enjoy!


Spaghetti and Meatballs

 Absolutely delicious. Garlic, a hint of spice, amazing meatballs.
I may never order this anywhere ever again.

So, there's this guy and more than this guy, there's this book that he wrote, and I love it. I love him. I love the whole kit-n-kaboodle of the whole thing. You've heard me sing the praises of Jamie Oliver before and you'll hear it again, don't doubt it. But it's only reasonable! This fellow knows how to cook!

For my birthday, my mother sent me a copy of Jamie's Food Revolution, which I'd only been going on about since it hit the shelves, and was absolutely delighted to finally have it to add in my cramped cookbook cabinet. That cabinet needs to get a big bigger. I may need a new place to store them, they're all crammed in at angles and crafty little layers and so on and forth. Very impressive. I'm going to need more room.

Not the point. The point is, this book? Amazing. Go get it. Get two! One for you and one for a friend. His theory on this is that you pass it on, and they pass it on, and so on and so forth and then everyone knows how to make good food at home! This is the first recipe I've made out of Food Revolution (and I suspect this book is also Jamie's Ministry of Food over across the pond, but that's neither here nor there) and before I fall asleep, I'm going to share this with you all.

And then I'm going to sleep so well it'll be insane.

My roommate, Matt, in awe of the deliciousness.

I made very few alterations to the original recipe, just a pinch more of this or a bit of that. The usual.

My roommate, Matt, told me that it was so good it was like I slapped the women of Italy in the face. High praise indeed!


- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary (but, if your rosemary plant as dying and taken to someone's mother's house, then you could use dried - I still chopped it up)
- 12 saltines (or any plain cracker)
- 2 TSP dijon mustard (or a honey mustard is okay too)
- 1 pound ground beef
-  1 TBS dried oregano
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper
- olive oil

- small bunch of fresh basil (but dried is okay too)
- 1 medium onion
- 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp Vulcan Fire Salt (for a spicy kick, you can also use cayenne or a red chile)
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes (I get both the plain type and also the ones with garlic or balsamic or onion in them, feel free to mix it up but keep an eye on your taste)
- 6 - 8 mushrooms, chopped
- 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
- 1 pound dried spaghetti or penne or whichever
- Parmesan cheese, for grating (okay, this, I did not use. I had shredded Italian cheese. And I used it.)

Here is how to make the meatballs!

Raw! Like the cavemen liked it! 

Pick the rosemary off the stalks and chop them up or, if using dried rosemary, just chop that up too. Smash the crackers until fine, and add that to a bowl with the mustard, ground beef, rosemary, and oregano. Crack in the egg and add a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. Mix well. Go ahead, scrunch your hands up in there.

Turn it into meatballs - it should make about twenty-four, depending on the size you'd like. Drizzle them in olive oil and roll them about so they are all properly coated. Put them on a plate, cover, and pop in the fridge until ready.

These also freeze fantastically! I put some in waxed paper, to keep them from sticking I rolled them each separate and popped in them the freezer. Today, I just chucked a few in a hot skillet and BLAMMO delicious meatballs. I'm completely using this as one of my "stock up" recipes. Of which I can never get enough of. I need to start doing that more.

Back to the dinner.

To cook all!

Finely chop your onion and garlic and, if using a chile, finely slice it.

Put a pan of salted water on to boil and a heat a frying pan on med heat with a good glug or two of oil.

Add the onion to the frying pan and stir around for seven minutes, 'til softened and golden. Add in the garlic and chile and, if using fresh, large basil leaves (if not, shake in dried basil). Stir about for a moment. Add in the mushrooms and cook for a three minutes. Add in the tomatoes and balsamic, bring to boil and season to taste. Stick a lid on and let simmer, stirring occasionally.

Is the water boiling? If yes, add the pasta and cook to instructions, if not, move on.

Now. Get another frying pan. Add a bit of olive oil and your meatballs. Stir them around and cook for around eight to ten minutes - they should be nice and browned on the outside and when cut open, there should be no pink. If they are cooked through, add them to sauce and let simmer.

That one is broken because I ate part of it.
I am not ashamed.

I actually held back on a few of mine.

Now. Cook the pasta, if you haven't already, and reserve some of the cooking water in a cup. Then drain the pasta, back in the pot, and spoon half the sauce over it and add a splash of the pasta water to keep it nice and not claggy. This is where I added my set aside meat balls back to the sauce that was to be put on top the pasta. Serve, with sauce and meatballs on top, and sprinkle with some cheese or tiny (or shredded) basil leaves.

Really dig in, this is madly delicious. I had some garlic bread on the side of it and it was absolutely insanely delicious. I'm ready to call it a lockdown here and now, actually. But I will hold off.

'Cause I have a sneaky plan and until I'm ready to REALLY put into action, really unleash my crazy plan for this site here, I'll hold off on anything rash. Like locking something down a touch too early.

But do please make this, teach others, and really enjoy. It's brilliant as leftovers, as well, as I discovered today.

Oh what a beautiful moooooorning

Doesn't that look delicious?!?

For those of your in Chicago, I must suggest if you get the chance to check out Red Hen Bread (two locations, one in Wicker Park, one in Lakeview/North Lincoln Park) then you do so. When I used in Lakeview, I used to go to the nearby location and get this utterly delicious sweet potato/pecan bread. Oh. Mah. God.

Plain, toasted, with butter, with jam, as french bread, and I bet as bread pudding...this stuff is like cake. CAKE I TELL YOU.

And because it says "bread" I can pretend it is healthy cake.

Anyway. I awoke with a craving for bacon (don't judge) the other day and on my far-too-early-to-be-reasonable-on-a-day-off meanderings, I remembered that I live near the Wicker Park location. I may or may not have gotten some iced coffee, I may or may not have gotten some microwaveable bacon from Aldi (seriously, stop judging) and I had some pineapple and cheese and....do you see where this is going?

Brioche, my friends. Brioche. In my mouth. With bacon, melted cheese (mozzerella), and pineapple in between my sliced brioche bun. With my iced coffee. I almost giggled I was so pleased.

By almost, I mean, I did, because I am totally that girl. I suggest you all eat something on brioche. Or just brioche. And if you can, I suggest you go to this bakery. Consider in my public service announcement.

It's small, it's adorable, it's full of light and the delightfullness of an airy bakery. I dare you to not be happy standing there, contemplating your options. Get a sandwhich! It doesn't even have to involve bacon! No one can live on just bacon. Or, if you can, you shouldn't, because it's so delicious it deserves to be enjoyed and not taken for granted.