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Monday, September 17, 2012

Cooking Matters challenges bloggers to food makeover

Is there anything more ‘American’ than the hamburger?  Just like a good helping of apple pie, few dishes say America like our beloved burger—whether it’s from Smashburger or McDonald’s, a trendy new restaurant, or your own backyard grill.

For the Cooking Matters Michigan Extreme Food Makeover, five local bloggers were asked to come up with a healthier version of foods that everyone loves.

My assignment was the burger. Whether it’s done up with sautéed mushrooms, bacon and cheddar, or just some lettuce, tomato and onion, a good burger is a thing of beauty.

When I saw the secret ingredients available to us (fennel, curry powder and plums), I was inspired by the option of curry powder, which reminded me of a new Indian restaurant I visited last week.  I decided to take the classic burger and fries, and give it an Indian inspired spin. 

Here’s the recipe:

Combine the following in a bowl:

1 tsp fresh minced garlic or garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup frozen corn
Chopped onion (small)
Squeeze of lemon juice

Fold mixture into one pound of fresh ground turkey (I purchased at Hiller’s –they grind their own).  Depending on your taste, feel free to add a bit more of any of these spices.

Form four patties, and fire up the grill or a cast-iron skillet.

Grill approximately seven minutes each side, or until internal temp reaches 160 degrees. I put a nice sear on the burgers to start with, turn for grill marks, and then flip. 

I served the burgers on whole wheat buns, with greens, tomato and a dollop of curried mayonnaise*.

Curried Mayo
1/8 cup of mayo
1/8 cup Greek yogurt
2-3 teaspoons Curry powder (adjust to your liking)
Squeeze of fresh lemon
*substituting Greek yogurt for half the mayo brings down calories and makes this a healthier alternative. It tastes good too! 

A side of fries
Thanks to McDonald’s, we’ve been programmed to think that eating salty deep fried white potatoes is a good thing. They may be tasty, but a large order of McDonald’s fries packs in 500 calories!  For this make-over, I decided to make my fries with sweet potatoes. Rather than deep frying and loading on the salt, I seasoned them with some garam masala and allspice, and baked them. You get a dish exploding with flavor, and packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins A and E, and fiber.

Preheat oven to 450. Wash and peel the potatoes. Make ½ inch slices and toss in a bowl with a little drizzled olive oil. Lay out evenly on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, allspice and garam masala. Bake approx 30 minutes, or until tender.

I love plums, and thought it would be a good idea to do something a little different with them. Stone fruit cooks up nicely on the grill, roasted or stewed.

Cut plums in half
Turn open side up on baking sheet
Add a dab of butter (optional) and sprinkle with cinnamon and allspice
Roast 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees
Remove from oven and top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. There’s enough natural sweetness in the plums to make this work. If you’d like it a little sweeter, add some honey to the yogurt.

And there you have it, an American classic with a flavorful facelift. 

Now here’s where readers get to chime in. You can check out the entire lineup of food makeovers at the Cooking Matters Michigan blog site. Then, cast your vote for the cuisine that reigns supreme!  To cast your vote:

Comment below your favorite post;
Tweet to @cmdetroit with your vote;
Or comment on the Cooking Matters Facebook page.

Vote now through Wednesday. Each vote enters you into a daily drawing for a gift card.

Allez cuisine!

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