Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Skipping Spring

Today was a day full of great food that hopscotched right over our impending new season. Burgerville deemed me a "Very Important Foodie" (no autographs, please), which basically just means I check Facebook often enough to be one of the first 150 people to respond and get a free lunch. Oh, but not just any free lunch. Seasonal Burgerville lunch!

It's great when a local fast food chain decides to be seasonal. It is a sign that all hope may not be lost. That, like in my marriage, the pathologically picky and seriously snobby eaters can come together in a common place with a 50's aesthetic and very attractive collateral materials.

For the sparse culinary season that is March in Oregon, Burgerville cleverly dipped into preserves - pickled! Behold, the Pickled Pepper Cheeseburger.

I'll let Burgerville's food porn copywriter take it away.

"Our featured Pickled Pepper Cheeseburger is inspired by local chef Grace Pae, founder of Artemis Foods (we're celebrating community members who share our love of local food and sustainab...le values all year long!). A 1/4 lb. Country Natural Beef patty topped with Tillamook Pepper Jack cheese, baby spinach, marinated red onions, Mama Lil's pickled peppers and a smoky aioli on a Portland French Bakery toasted Ciabatta bun. YUM! And Rosemary Shoestring Fries are back, too!"

Appealing, fresh produce that they deliver on in-store as well. The pickled peppers and onions were a genius balance of sweet and tart, the kind of thing you don't expect to find on a lunch half-hour in the middle of... er, the suburban res/com area I work in. I could just sit there and dip them in that aioli all day long. My only little qualm? Ciabatta. Ciabatta is to the 00's what Foccacia was to the 90's. Your sandwich isn't gourmet until you stuff it inside one of these cantankerous breads. The problem is, the almost-sourdough flavor and signature toothsoome chewiness of ciabatta stands up and beats the rest of these fine ingredients into sniveling submission. I want the bread to frame my burger, not chew the scenery.

This Rosemary Fries centerfold is cruelly misleading.

See all those pretty green flakes of herbage? LIES!!! Mine looked like someone accidentally shook a smidge of green-hued pepper onto the order before realizing they hadn't grabbed salt. And since they're shoestrings, they do a very poor job of holding my very favorite part about ruining my figure with fries - KETCHUP. I love ketchup. For this heavy task, a Red Robin steak fry beats these Rosemary-deprived weinie tots anyday.

So, that was my foray into epicurean analysis this afternoon. Thirty minutes later and it was back to corporate slavery.


I got to go home.

Dinner was easy, because I did all the work last night. I rubbed a whole cut chicken in that print-label Jamaican Jerk seasoning, and let it dry marinate overnight in the fridge. At the same time, I put together a Crock Pot full of Roosevelt Beans. Another reminant of my parents' travels (anyone seeing a pattern here? Tabitha stays home while her parents go on adventures... take two). My mom and dad brought this recipe back from their horseback riding guides on last summer's trip to Yellowstone. I'm sure they have an intoxicating charm I can't even hope to replicate when served on a tin plate over a Wyoming fire, but wherever you find yourself, they are damn good beans. All I had to do when I got up this morning was take the pot out of the fridge, put it in the crock heater and turn it on (and I ALMOST walked out the door without doing it! That would have been a travesty). When I got home tonight from the dentist, my teeth were freshly polished and ready to dig into whatever was making the house smell like impromptu July weekend barbecue.

Just for kicks, I topped the grilled chicken with a little chili mango sauce. Then I got all Bobby Flay on the plate. According to Matt, I am a dork. I will not challenge this assertion.

I have to seriously commend Matt. He is getting so much better at barbecuing the things I set forth from the kitchen into the manly realm of FIRE. I used to just smile through the pain as my kabobs came back charred, my pork chops dry, the steaks - raw! Even for me, the queen of rancidly rare. He cooked that chicken perfectly, and most likely would have even if I hadn't been behind his shoulder, pointing out prime grill positions for each cut. And in the ultimate badass move, he didn't even feel the need to cut into an unsuspecting breast to test for doneness, losing all precious juices in the process. He KNEW we weren't getting salmonella. That's my baby :)

Here's the recipe for the beans, which get an extra kick from our personal addition to the recipe, Sriracha sauce. Oh, and I don't like lima or butter beans, so I use garbanzo and white beans. The garbanzos add a great firmer texture. But if you like those soft, thick legumes, well... whatevs. Matt also likes to wrap it in a tortilla. He likes to wrap everything in a tortilla. The universe is his burrito.

Roosevelt Beans
1 lb hamburger or sausage (I like Costco's Louisiana Hot Links. Freeze the rest for jambalaya! MMMM.)
1/2 lb bacon, diced into 1/2" pieces and pan-fried.
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 can pork n beans, with juice
1 can kidney beans
1 can lima beans
1 can butter beans
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 good squirt of Sriracha Sauce
salt and pepper

If you're using non-cooked hamburger or sausage, brown it with the onion in the bacon grease. Toss everything in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours.


  1. Every Iron Chief knows those presentation points are important...

  2. Hmm, I thought I already commented on this. I had a question about yer beans... Do you include the juice in all the beans or just the pork n' beans? And is Sriracha sauce available at Freddie's or need I look further?

  3. Josie, you just use the pork and beans juice. Drain the other beans. If it cooks up a little too thick for your liking, add a little bit of water. Sriracha sauce can be found at any grocery store, including Fred Meyer! Just go to the Asian aisle. It's the red bottle with the green top and the rooster printed on it. You'll know it as soon as you see it.