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A burger tribute to a great man

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Sometimes, you have to go back to comfort food. When my dad’s best friend, Carl Allen, passed away last week, all I could think of was hamburgers.

The Allens have been part of my life since I was born. We celebrated countless holidays and special life events together. We kept our horse at their stable, he came to my high school track meets and we shared breakfasts at Western Bowl. Carl made our hobby horses and doll strollers when we were little, danced with my sister at her wedding and offered us a shoulder to cry when our dad passed away.

Our families usually celebrated Fourth of July together, in no small part because fireworks were legal at the Allens’ house outside of town. We spent the day playing games, sharing a dinner from the grill and then shooting fireworks until everyone was worn out. There’s a story about bourbon, bottle rockets and almost setting the stable on fire, but that is for another day.

Carl cooked up a feast for every occasion, but Independence Day called for burgers. They were the biggest hamburgers I’d ever seen – hefty, medium rare and piled high with veggies. For a 9 year old used to McDonald’s overcooked, wafer thin patties, they were a little scary. But my dad said we’d love them and we trusted him, so we dove in. They were delicious.

Since that day, I’ve never eaten a burger without thinking of Carl, and maybe that’s why I love house burgers; they are full of love and perfect to share with friends. I’ll miss you old man. This burger’s for you.

Photo by Sandra Ramos

Photo by Sandra Ramos

Kristi’s House Burgers

This made 5 decent-sized patties.

2 lbs ground hamburger or bison
1 egg
2 tbsps worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Cavender’s Greek seasoning (this contains salt, pepper and garlic so you shouldn’t need to add those separately or you can substitute them instead)
1/3 yellow onion, diced

Combine the meat, egg and onion in a bowl. Add Worcestershire sauce and seasoning to taste. Mix the meat with your hands – no cheating and using a spoon (Carl Allen would not approve). Form the mixture into patties.

Grill the patties on a medium-high heat grill flipping once about 10 minutes depending on thickness and desired doneness. Top with cheese if desired during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Serve it on tasty bread (my nephew is partial to the King’s Hawaiian buns) and pile it high with veggies and pickles.

Enjoy with friends!

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Recipe Round-up: Gettin’ Lucky with Black-Eyed Peas

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blackeyed peas2Ah, the humble black-eyed pea. I love that we start our year with this non-glamorous legume as a symbol of good luck and prosperity for the new year – kicking off the year grounded to tradition and simple food as a way forward to bigger and better things. I know not everyone share’s my enthusiasm, but I love everything about black-eyed peas from shelling the peas to their earthy flavor, and I look forward to a heaping helping of beans on New Year’s Day.

As Lillian and I scoured the internet for recipes, we found some great new ideas. The primer from Livestrong is a great place to start if you haven’t cooked dried peas before. I can’t wait to make the paella from Virginia Willis’ blog  and the fritters look like the perfect recipe for that family member or friend who isn’t a big fan of black-eyed peas. Personally, I see a batch of the hummus in my future for my football binge watching.

Do you have a favorite black-eyed pea recipe? Share it with us and we’ll add it to our Pinterest board.

Happy New Year and cheers to a prosperous 2015!

How to Cook Dried Black-eyed Peas in a Slow Cooker, Livestrong

Black-eyed Pea Paella, Virginia Willis

Black-eyed Peas and Pancetta with Pickled Okra, In Monkey Slippers

 Accara (Black-eyed Pea Fritters), Cooking with Siri

Grilled Shrimp with Black-eyed Peas and Chimichurri, Food & Wine

Black-eyed Pea Hummus, Kalyn’s Kitchen

Black-eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup, The Gallery Gourmet

Looking for more recipes? Check out or Pinterest board.

Follow our board Black-Eyed Peas Board on Pinterest.


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The Humble Turnip: Recipe Round-up

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Turnips tend to be looked at as the stepchild of winter vegetables, heckled for being bland and boring, but we disagree.  The next time you are at the Farmer’s Market take a second look at this duel purpose vegetable: both the root and greens are edible. Turnips can replace potatoes in a recipe, can be pureed for a soup or enjoyed raw in a salad.


Chorizo and Turnip Tacos– If you try only one recipe, I suggest this one. Tacos with a picadillo like filling of chorizo, diced turnips and sliced onions.  The chorizo and turnip filling is spicy and rich, and the sliced radish garnish give these tacos a great crunch.

Turnips Anna, Kristi’s Farm to Table

Scarlett Runner Bean and Turnip Soup, Kristi’s Farm to Table

Beef Vegetable Soup, Kristi’s Farm to Table

Turnip Cauliflower Mash, Holistically Engineered

Spicy Skillet Turnip Greens, Add A Pinch

Turnip Green Pesto, Whitney Miller

Turnips with Yogurt and Tomatoes, Saveur

Grated Carrot, Apple and Turnip Salad, Fruit Guys


Do you have a favorite turnip recipe? More turnip inspiration here!

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Pumpkin Recipe Round-up

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Pumpkins get a limited window of glory each year. Let’s take the pumpkin past carving and pie with a variety of sweet and savory pumpkin recipes. If you’re using fresh, pick one of the smaller variety. Smaller is better food cooking, you can save the big ones for spooky jack-o’-lanterns.

Stuffed Pumpkin with Cheese, Bacon and Chipotle Chiles, Homesick Texan

Smoky Braised Mexican Pumpkin, Martha Stewart

Roasted Pumpkin with Goat Cheese Frittata and Arugula Salad, Naturally Ella

Borani Kadoo, SF Gate

Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Pumpkin Seeds Eight Ways, Rachel Cooks

Beef Curry with Pumpkin, Rasa Malaysia

Pumpkin Quinoa Bowl, Wonky Wonderful

Spicy Black Bean Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sour Cream Sauce, Ambitious Kitchen

Warm Roasted Pumpkin and Cashew Salad, A Fresh Legacy

Sweet & Sour Pumpkin, Blogging Over Thyme

Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce and Pecan, Julia’s Album

Pumpkin Ice Cream, Williams-Sonoma

Pumpkin Carrot Cake, The Baker Mama

Learn roasting basics and more about getting your pumpkin out of its shell on our Pumpkin Pinterest board.

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