burger

Portobello Burger, Pickled Veggies, and Honey Dijonnaise

Who are you fooling with a mushroom burger, right? Maybe you've ordered something similar in a restaurant only to regret it upon taking a bite. (That's definitely happened to me a couple of times.) The problem with most mushroom burgers is a lack of flavor and juiciness. This may sound difficult to remedy, but it's not. I've found that simply marinating mushrooms with herbs, garlic and balsamic gives them that much desired kick. Keeping the portobellos whole also helps them to become extra juicy. They`ll absorb a lot of that marinade and cooking oil, and the more absorbed, the better. You'll get all those juices and flavors back when you take a bite. You'll almost think it's meat. Portobellos are usually the size of a patty, so no fussing around; marinate, sauté in a pan, eat. The quick-pickled vegetables adds extra crisp and sharpness, the honey dijonnaise sweetens the deal. Enjoy!

Marinade

This marinade is enough for 4 portobellos.

• 6 tablespoons olive oil • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only • a small handful of parsley, chopped

If the stems of the mushrooms are too long, cut them off. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, add the portobellos and marinate for at least an hour. Turn them over a couple of times.

Pickled Veggies

You can really improvise here, if you don't like fennel, don't put any. If you think celery is great, put some. As long as you have the same amount of each vegetable. This works well on any kind of burger/sandwich.

• 1 medium carrot • 1 small raddichio • 1/2 fennel bulb • 1/4 celeriac • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar • 2 tablespoon sugar • 1 tablespoon oil • a pinch of salt

Cut all the vegetables in julienne (mandolin or with your knife skills). Mix in a bowl with the vinegar, sugar, oil and salt. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Cooking

Heat up some oil in a frying pan. Cook your mushrooms on medium heat, for 3-4 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and deglaze with some of the marinating juice (or balsamic), shaking your pan. Leave to cool a couple of minutes before serving.

Serve on a toasted bun or roll, with pickled veggies, honey dijonnaise and your favorite cheese.

Cinnamon Moose Burger

With goat cheddar, onion-pepper melt and scallion sauce, this is one of my favorite burgers.

When moose hunting season arrives, my father is always in charge of the cooking duties at Randy's camp. For a couple of years now Dad prefers to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner rather than going out hunting (I would do the same). He's really into planning what's going to be on the table for these couple of days, prepping some recipes in advance, and printing out the menu. I wish he could do it more often because he's a great cook. His hard work earns him a share of the meat and I benefit from it too because I get some whenever I visit. It's a special treat.

Moose has a slightly different taste from beef. Like most wild animals it feeds on the forest floor, which gives it a woody, unique flavor. It has a very low fat content compared to most meats and is quite tender.

Since we are in New-Jersey for the holiday season, I used a mix of local grass-fed beef and bison instead of moose.

Makes 6 burgers

Scallion Mayo

• 1 cup mayonnaise • 1 small bunch chopped scallions • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard • juice of half a lemon • red pepper flakes to taste

Use homemade mayo or store bought. Mix all the ingredients.

Onion-Pepper Melt

• 2 thinly sliced onions • 2 thinly sliced red bell peppers

Simply cook the onions and peppers in your favorite oil (be generous) on very low heat for about 20-25 minutes.

Meat

• 1 1/2 pound ground moose (or beef, deer, bison) • 1 teaspoon cinnamon • 2 tablespoons brown sugar • 1 bunch chopped scallions • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Form 6 patties and cook as you would your normal burger. Barbecueing is always the best.

Garnish

• Goat Cheddar Cheese • Arugula

Serve on grilled buns or rolls.