Meg’s Cooking Corner

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pesto Burger Barbeque

This is a great burger for 4th of July weekend or any barbeque night. Here's where quality fresh ingredients really count. Thick peppered bacon from the butcher's area, sliced swiss cheese from the deli, carmelized onions, and my new favorite mix-in ingredient: pesto.  The pesto makes the ground meat very moist and flavorful. Finally, remember to toast your hamburger buns and you will have a perfect burger to devour! Pair it with Calico Baked Beans for a great barbeque.Check out more recipes at Tempt myTummy Tues, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Tastes and Tues at the Table.Also check out the Grocery Cart Challenge.

Pesto Bacon Burger

2 pounds ground chuck, chilled
1/2 tsp Sea salt
1/2 - 1 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup favorite pesto (more for spreading on buns)
sliced swiss cheese
peppered bacon
sweet onion
hamburger buns

In a bowl, mix the hamburger meat, pesto, salt and pepper. Divide the meat into shaped patties and chill in fridge till ready to use (can prepare several hours ahead or overnight). Cook the bacon in a frying pan. Drain grease, then place sliced sweet onions in pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and carmelized. Grill hamburgers for 7-10 minutes to desired doneness. For the last minute or two of cooking, drape a slice of swiss cheese over each burger to melt. Add hamburger buns to grill.To serve,  spread the bun bottoms with pesto. Top with hamburger, caramelized onions and bacon. If desired, spread a little mayo on the top bun. Enjoy!

Calico Baked Beans

The perfect accompaniment to burgers and bbq is my favorite baked beans. This recipe comes from Elina and can be served as a main dish or as a side. As I usually make it as a side dish, I freeze half of it so it will be ready to take out next time you have a barbeque.

Calico Baked Beans

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (28 oz) can baked beans
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans
1 (16 oz) can butter beans, drained
1 cup ketchup (we use gluten-free ketchup)
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp vinegar
6-8 slices bacon

Brown ground beef and drain fat. Combine all ingredients except bacon and place in baking dish. Cook bacon until crisp and chop into pieces. Sprinkle over beans. Bake at 350 for about one hour or until desired consistency.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

White Wedding Cupcakes

Spring and summer brings weddings, and lately a trend has been to serve cupcakes instead of wedding cake. My friend recently had only two weeks to organize a beautiful wedding and reception for her sister. The day before the wedding we got together and decorated 120 cupcakes in my home. It was a lot of fun, and they turned out lovely. The recipe for these moist cupcakes comes from Recipe Girl. The recipe saved us some time as it begins with a cake mix, and it's important to simplify things if you have a lot of cupcakes to make! You can make the cupcakes ahead of time and freeze them unfrosted, then pull them out a day before you need them to frost them. Decorating tips are listed after the recipe. I will be using this recipe a lot this month for several birthday parties!

White Wedding Cake Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 325F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans (you'll need approximately 36). In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and beat with hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Use ice cream scoop to fill prepared cupcake tins about 3/4 full. Bake about 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Yield: 36 cupcakes

-Add a tsp of almond extract (in addition to the vanilla) if you wish to have a different flavor.
-You can also use this mix to make cake. Pour into greased and floured cake pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Wedding Cupcake Buttercream

3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tbsp whipping cream

In a large bowl, with a hand mixer, cream together sugar and butter on low speed. Mix until well blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for another three minutes. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for desired spreading/piping consistency. Yield: Enough to frost 12 cupcakes    
*This recipe doubles or triples well

Decorating Tips:  I use a Wilton 1M tip to do the frosting swirl. We decorated the cupcake with edible sugar pearls. It's easy to customize the frosting and/or pearls and sprinkle colors to match the colors of the wedding. There are also many fancy cupcake liners out there now. My friend displayed them on a table on several different silver cupcake stands, with a small round cake centered in the middle of the table for the bride and groom to cut into. Decorate with tulle, ribbon and fresh flowers around the table.