The Pillsbury Busy Lady Bake-Off Recipes From Pillsbury’s 17th Annual Bake-Off by Ann Pillsbury, pdf, epub, B005HG4TTU


  • Full Title : The Pillsbury Busy Lady Bake-Off Recipes From Pillsbury’s 17th Annual Bake-Off – 1966
  • Autor: Ann Pillsbury
  • Print Length: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Pillsbury Mills Inc.; 1st edition
  • Publication Date: 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: B005HG4TTU
  • ISBN-13: 
  • Download File Format: pdf, epub

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Cakes, Pies, Frostings, Entrees.Desserts,Cookies,Yeast Breads, Quick Breads. Indexed.

 

Cakes, Pies, Frostings, Entrees.Desserts,Cookies,Yeast Breads, Quick Breads. Indexed.

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Keywords

gluten free grocery store, tazo tea, loose leaf, minestrone soup crockpot, apple recipes,
vegan t shirts, british chocolate, vegetarian options, pinot grigio, grilled pork loin, ay to coax ourselves into eating less of the super-refined stuff we all crave and more of the skin-on, whole-grain, lower-sugar food we could all use a little more of. I make a point of avoiding words like detoxing or superfoods, which are rooted more in media health hype than in science. If food can be the source of great temptation, why not harness the desire it creates by putting together healthier—or, as Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport called it, “healthy-ish”—recipes that are full of big, seductive flavors?

And Evolved …

With each annual cleanse, we’ve tried to streamline for real-life logistics, while at the same time delving into exciting new flavor territory. We’ve all been astounded by the growing enthusiasm year after year. I have done the annual program along with readers, blogging about my cleanse successes and hunger-induced temper fits alike. The community response was a huge part of the appeal: readers were Instagramming their delicious meals and actively commenting on bonappetit.com (catching typos with incredible accuracy, I should add!). Just like me, readers were eager to take good cooking into their own hands and retool their kitchens for good taste and good health.

With Lots of Reader Input …

Some followers stuck to the exact specifications of the program, even the snacks. They would write in upset that they couldn’t find some odd ingredient—say, the salad green mizuna—at the grocery store. Don’t worry! Eat some spinach instead, I would write back. Many readers would just pick and choose recipes from the plan. That was fine too: if I could get people excited about one great recipe for quinoa, or black cod, or Brussels sprouts, it felt as if I was doing some good. And one of the most frequent comments from readers was: “Do more cleanses, for different times of year!”

And Now a Book!

It may have taken a while, but with the publication of this book, we’re doing just that. We have a section for each season. If you want to do a full two-week cleanse, we have four schedules for you as well. If you’d rather use the book as a springboard for your own à la carte version of healthier eating, by all means do that. Just remember that at the heart of the book is a true desire on my part to let the pleasures of eating guide you toward healthy habits. Enjoy!

THE CONCEPT OF THE CLEANSE

I’ve been putting together The Bon Appétit Food Lover’s Cleanse for six years now, and I have a confession to make: I have misgivings about the word cleanse. It’s more appealing, I suppose, than diet or regimen, but using it is hard for me, because it suggests that the opposite of cleansing is getting dirty. And I’m pro-food. I don’t think eating, no matter how indulgent, is a sullying experience.

IS THIS REALLY A CLEANSE?

There are plenty of cleanses, such as all-juice cleanses and lemon-water cleanses, that are far more radical than ours and are taken on as a kind of penance for the previous enjoyment of food. They promise, with little scientific evidence, to flush the body of toxins and give you a near-ecstatic energy boost. The problem with these cleanses is that they tend to vilify food, treating it as the enemy of health rather than a key to it. This kind of relationship to food is troubling to me and antithetical to a publication like Bon Appétit, which sets out to celebrate food and eating. Such withdrawal from typical eating patterns makes it too tempting to rebound from a program with defiant overeating. That said, I think there are moments when you can fine-tune the trajectory of your eating in a healthier direction.

A CLEANSE IS A PROMISE TO YOURSELF

What I do like about the idea of a cleanse is the idea of a resolution. If you set up a series of healthy rules and follow them for a limited time, I think you can discover some key things about your own eating habits. You might discover, as I have, that some of your most ingrained habits are more changeable than you think. Cravings for sugar or starchy snacks do get less pointed; you may find that you need far less meat in a meal to feel satisfied. You might realize that you have the strength to make a few small, meaningful tweaks to your diet for the long term. We don’t promise weight loss (though it could happen!) or an extra five years on your life, but I do think that working with this book can help you find a new equilibrium in your eating.

RADICAL MODERATION

The parameters of “healthier food” are ever shifting, even treacherous. To make sure our suggestions are sound, I have worked together with Marissa Lippert, both a registered dietician and a card-carrying Food Lover (she owns the West Village cafe, Nourish Kitchen + Table), to create a set of guidelines for four two-week clean-eating plans.

The boundaries are more radical in their moderation than anything else: it’s a program based more on saying yes than no. Yes to lots of vegetables; yes to whole grains; yes to healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and fish. Yes to cultured dairy that delivers protein and immune-supporting bacteria. Most important, we want you to say yes to flavor.

PLEASURE LEADS THE WAY TO BETTER HABITS

For me, the key to making these tweaks is in knowing that they can be even more pleasurable than the habits you had before you tried them. If plain steamed cauliflower makes you sad, you aren’t likely to eat it once you’re done with a diet. But if you love the way cauliflower tastes roasted and tossed with garlic, thyme, and olives, then you’ll likely eat more of it. As I developed the recipes, I looked to amplify flavor wherever I could. Condiments are a signature of the cleanse, as is technique. Knowing how to cook a great pot of beans or quinoa makes it much more likely that whole grains and legumes can displace some of the white pasta or rice you may have leaned on.

Read on to discover more about our guidelines, and most important, dip into the straightforward and rewarding recipes we have developed for each season.

OVERVIEW FROM MARISSA LIPPERT, MS, RD

I teamed up with Sara six years ago to collaborate on The Food Lover’s Cleanse, creating a cleanse that fused together nutritional balance, beautiful flavors, and simply vibrant, enticing food. From the first New York–to–Seattle phone call, I knew that Sara and I were well matched (I’m pretty sure that wine, chocolate, and cheese came up in the first three minutes of our conversation). Like her, I’m a food lover (and longtime Bon Appétit devotee). I love dining out, and I’ve been known to cook with a good bit of bacon and butter, but I also love sautéing a pan full of gorgeous leafy greens after a trip to the Greenmarket. Once we found our common enthusiasm, we dove into crafting a road map of pointers, portions, meals, and snacks that allow readers to start the cleanse with zeal and finish it with results: more energy, a sense of lightness, possibly fewer headaches or colds, sounder sleep, an overall feeling of better wellness, and maybe even a bumped-up sex drive.

For over 11 years, I’ve worked closely with hundreds of nutrition clients. That’s a whole lot of experience in the patterns, frustrations, lifestyles, and schedules of people like you, Sara, and me, who are trying to feel better and eat better. With that in mind, we chose not to overemphasize calories or nitty-gritty details around nutrients and health (too much information can get jumbled and take up unnecessary headspace). I’ve found that for many people, setting small, strategic yet manageable goals is the golden key to long-term habit change. That change could be as simple as incorporating whole grains into your meals more frequently, or as broad as shifting your pantry and fridge to be more balanced year-round. Sara and I hope the program and recipes in this book provide you a foundation to reset yourself; to connect back to what your body is trying to tell you; to explore inherently healthful ingredients that are truly delicious; and to create balanced, sustainable “default” eating routines that you can return to long after doing a two-week round of the cleanse.

BASIC RULES*

EAT ON THE REGULAR

Don’t skip meals, which tends to encourage binge eating later on: aim to eat every 3 to 4 hours to keep your metabolism on an even keel during the day. That said, once you’re done with dinner and a modest dessert, stop eating for the night, ideally giving yourself 3 hours after dinner before getting to sleep.

KICK UP YOUR WATER TO 8 CUPS A DAY

There’s no magic number for the amount of water an individual needs to drink in a given day. You should basically drink when you’re thirsty. That said, drinking water conscientiously does a couple of things during the plan. It displaces other things you might be drinking (such as wine, diet soda, or cold-pressed green juice). It’s also something to do when you’d rather be eating a handful of tortilla chips. And finally, drinking more water can help your body deal with the increased fiber that comes with eating more whole grains and vegetables.

RATCHET UP FLAVOR

If you want to reduce the amount of food you eat semiconsciously during the day, make sure the food you do eat tastes vibrant. Season your food thoughtfully with salt, and then let chiles, spices, herbs, citrus juice and zest, and flavor-boosting condiments make what you eat seem all the livelier.

CUT OUT THE WHITE STUFF

Get your complex carbs from a variety of whole grains, vegetables, and legumes instead. Whole grains give you more fiber per bite, which helps you feel more satisfied with your food, and the husks and skins of the grains also contain more diverse nutrients than bleached and polished grain products. I love white bread, pizza, and pasta, but it’s good to know how delicious other whole options—such as quinoa, bulgur, and barley—can be.

DIG INTO PRODUCE

The great thing about making a cleanse for each season is that we can incorporate fruits and vegetables that haven’t been available in our winter cleanses. The principle is the same whether we’re talking spring asparagus, summer green beans, or fall squash. See if you can get half your plate covered with produce.

EAT MORE YOGURT, LESS CHEDDAR

We cut way back on dairy, because it may give your digestive system a break. But we’re very interested in keeping some live cultured foods in our program, so we include a fair amount of yogurt and some young fresh cheeses. Nondairy sources of calcium include almond milk and dark leafy greens.

CHOOSE QUALITY OVER QUANTITY WITH MEAT

Meat is less of a focus in FLC meals, and processed meat is excised altogether. Portions are pared back to 4 to 6 ounces per meal. If you’re a meat eater, it’s important to think about the context you’re eating it in: a hamburger on a bun with fries tells a very different story from a grilled hanger steak served with homemade tomato relish and a quinoa salad with roasted figs and walnuts.

STOP THE SUGAR CREEP

Sugar isn’t evil, but it can pile up in our daily diets, especially when we eat a lot of ready-made foods. For sweetness, there’s a bit of honey, maple, fruit, and dark chocolate, but even those we keep moderate, since we’re aiming to curb sugar cravings.

DRINK LESS

Limit your alcohol consumption to 4 drinks per week max. See more about drinking here.

SAY YES TO THE AVOCADO (AND OTHER SOURCES OF HEALTHY FATS)

We incorporate plenty of foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as nuts, salmon, of course avocados.

DIAL BACK THE LATTES

If you can’t give up your morning coffee, we understand (and you’re still getting a nice boost of antioxidants), but the results of cutting back can be interesting. One of the personal effects of this cleanse is that I discovered I sleep much, much better without a regular coffee habit. This isn’t true for everyone, but it’s a discovery I wouldn’t have made without the FLC. Try to keep coffee to a single cup, low on the added milk and sugar. After that, swap it for unsweetened tea throughout the day: green, white, and herbal are generally lower in caffeine, are good sources of antioxidants, and can give you that nice afternoon lift you might be looking for.

PORTIONS GUIDE

The Food Lover’s Cleanse urges you to keep an eye on your portions. We want you to learn to observe your own hunger levels and adjust your eating to fit. Often, if you take a breather three-quarters of the way through a meal, you may decide you don’t need to clean your plate—or at least you may calm your cravings for seconds. Thoughtfulness is one thing, but sometimes you need a way to visualize how much you should put on your plate. Here’s a quick cheat sheet for portion sizes: take a look at your fist to get a good ballpark serving size for protein, and then double it for vegetables and salads! Here are guidelines for servings of other foods:

PROTEIN (MEAT, FISH, TOFU)

Size of your fist (3 to 4 ounces for women, 6 ounces for men).

GRAINS AND PASTA

Grains: ½ to 1½ cups cooked; pasta: 1 to 2 cups cooked. Go a little smaller if you’re a petite female, a little larger if you’re a guy or if you’re extremely active.

POTATOES AND OTHER STARCHY VEGETABLES/WINTER SQUASHES

Size of your fist (yup, love that fist!).

VEGGIES AND SALADS

They should take up at least half of your plate most of the time.

TREATS AND DESSERTS

Keep them small—1 ounce maximum for chocolate or a piece of fruit. See here for more details.

FRESH FRUIT

1 serving = 1 piece whole, or about 1 cup sliced.

DRIED FRUIT

¼ cup or less (2 or 3 dates, apricots, or figs).

NUTS

As a stand-alone snack, 1 good handful (about 20); for pistachios you can go up to 50.

YOGURT/KEFIR/BUTTERMILK

4 to 6 ounces per serving.

VINAIGRETTE/DRESSING

1 to 2 tablespoons per serving.

OLIVE OIL

Stick with moderate amounts for cooking/drizzling.

AVOCADO

¼ to ⅓ avocado is a serving for most women; ½ avocado is a serving for most men.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE CLEANSE

Since we’re trying to make healthier eating a (good) habit for you, we’re setting up a regular pattern for meals; this will help you avoid weird dips in energy and keep you going at a steady pace all day long. Here’s a look at the daily structure of The Food Lover’s Cleanse.

BREAKFAST

A solid breakfast gets you going for the day and keeps you from lurching hungrily into midmorning snacks or lunchtime. It’s even possible to resist office doughnuts if you start the day with a healthy, satisfying breakfast. But breakfast is a meal that should fulfill your most basic comforts, and you should feel free to repeat your favorite recipes more frequently or improvise your own meal that meets our guidelines. We’re looking for a good bit of fiber and some protein in the morning, even enough fat (yay!) to keep you feeling sated until lunch. If you like a whole-grain breakfast, look to eat ¾ to 1 cup cooked unsweetened oats or other porridge, mixing in about ½ cup fresh fruit or 2 tablespoons chopped dried fruit, plus about 1 tablespoon nuts or seeds or some almond milk for additional protein. Try to limit honey or agave syrup to a teaspoon or so. If you crave eggs, allot yourself 2 and feel free to stir herbs, vegetables, one of the pantry condiments, or a crumble of fresh chèvre into the mix. If you like a smoothie, try to balance fruit and yogurt with some protein: nuts, silken tofu, or almond milk can all give you something to anchor the fruity sugars in the drink.

LUNCH-O-MATIC

You’ll notice that we don’t provide explicit lunch recipes in the book. Because everything in The Food Lover’s Cleanse is so prescribed, over the years I’ve discovered that it’s nice to let lunch be a place to improvi
wedding chocolates, camping recipes, fried wonton, chicken curry, pakora,
about the author

Maria Desiderata Montana is the publisher of the award-winning

food blog San Diego Food Finds at sandiegofoodfinds .com. She is also a published cookbook author, editor, and award-winning

freelance food and wine journalist who learned how to cook and

appreciate European cuisine from her parents, who were born and

raised in the town of Cirella, near the capital city of Reggio Calabria in Italy. Maria’s mother taught her how to cook at an early age

using fresh, organic ingredients including fava beans, tomatoes,

and an assortment of fruits and vegetables from her father’s garden.

She loves to cook and create new recipes and strongly believes that eating with family and friends is a celebration of life itself.

She is the author of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Cookbook and was a contributing editor of the award-winning cookbook Flying Pans. She has been a regular contributor to the U-T San Diego since 2005, where she has written a variety of food and entertainment

stories, as well as her own monthly “Step by Step” recipe series.

Maria has also been extensively published in a variety of magazines and newspapers.

She lives in San Diego with her husband, John, and their two

kids, Lucia and Frank. She feels that her most important job in the world is being a mom.

xiv

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acknowledgments

Thank you to all my friends and family for all of your support and encouragement while writing this book. To my husband, John—

thank you for staying up with me during all those late nights

of writing, keeping the freezer stocked with my favorite

chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bars, and making me

cappuccino every morning. You are my rock! To my

kids, Lucia and Frank—thank you for taking time

out of your busy schedules to eat out with me

and for being the best kids in the world. I am

proud to be your mom. To my Italian parents—

thank you for teaching me about the health benefits

of the Mediterranean diet, how to grow my own

vegetables, and how to be my own chef in the kitchen.

To my sister Terese—thank you for the much-needed lunches

and shopping sprees every Friday, I love you dearly. To my three

brothers—thank you for all the jokes and for making me laugh

when I needed it most. To my mentor Jim—thank you for helping

me learn to challenge myself and to believe that all things are

possible. To my fur baby and cat Leo—thank you for never leaving

my side and sitting comfortably on my keyboard for moral support.

To my loyal audience—thank you for your dedicated readership of

San Diego Food Finds and for all the compliments and kind words

xv

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7/23/12 8:52 AM

you send my way on a daily basis. To my editor, Amy Lyons, and Globe Pequot Press—thank you for acknowledging my journalistic

capabilities and for recognizing me as a local authority of the food scene in San Diego. By offering me this wonderful opportunity, you paid me the highest compliment, and I am truly honored. To all the restaurateurs and chefs—thank you for having cultivated such a

creative and extraordinary culinary landscape in San Diego. Many of you are true pioneers of the slow food movement, changing the way

people eat and creating a healthy menu for all of us through your

utilization of local farm-fresh produce and sustainable meats and

seafood. To all of my dear friends and colleagues in the journalism and communications field—thank you for sharing your knowledge

of great restaurants with me. Your hard work and dedication is a

constant inspiration!

xvi Acknowledgments

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introduction

Aptly named “America’s Finest City,” San Diego is famous for a

moderate climate, friendly attitude, health-conscious lifestyle, and endless natural and man-made attractions. It is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California.

With nearly 16 million overnight visitors a year (another 15 million visit for a day trip), it’s no wonder that tourism is the third

largest industry in San Diego County, joining defense/military,

international trade, and research (high-tech, communications, and

biotech) as the main employers. And it’s not just a huge influx

during the summer months, as statistics show only a moderate

bump in tourism between June and September. People like to visit

throughout the year, due to one of the mildest and predictable

weather patterns in the country. It is one of the top five leisure vacation destinations in the US with nearly 90 percent of our

visitors traveling for non-business reasons. The climate of San Diego is categorized as semi-arid or Mediterranean, with an average

high temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to

upper-70s year-round. Measurable precipitation

is recorded only around 40 total days every year,

which is half to a third of the national average.

A recent study found that 86 percent of

national chefs pointed to three hot tendencies

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in the culinary industry: locally sourced

meats and seafood, locally grown produce,

and sustainability. It is so true that diners

want to know where their food is coming

from and want to be sure it’s nutritious for

themselves and their families. San Diego’s

location makes it a perfect fit for this new direction,

as fresh produce, seafood, and meats are easily sourced

year-round. It is a true hot-bed for the slow food movement, a

progressive mind-set for preserving traditional and regional cuisines by incorporating local ingredients in a fashion that preserves the ecosystem. Basically, it is the antithesis of the fast-food epidemic.

In this book, you will often see me mention menus that are driven

by farm-to-table attitudes. And it is so true! Many of the restaurants regularly use produce from local farmers, and even their own on-site gardens, to complete their recipes. No pesticides or preservatives here. The seafood? It’s usually locally caught, or harvested using a sustainable practice to ensure the environmental impact is minimal.

The meats? Many local chefs will only choose farm-raised animals

that are typically grass-fed and free of hormones. Not only is the food better tasting, it is more nutritious, and leaves you with a

sense of goodwill toward the planet and people.

Since the city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and

immediately adjacent to the Mexican border, the cuisine has serious Hispanic and Asian influences. You’ll see this trend throughout the book. California modern cuisine is a trend taking hold throughout

the region, fusing several different cuisines and styles to make

4 Introduction

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great dishes even more extraordinary. Asian fusion is really the

same concept, only focusing on the many individual flavors and

cooking styles of the orient, and melding them together on one

menu and even in one dish. Of course, French and Mediterranean

styles and flavors are also widely used to perfection. You will also notice other, lesser seen cuisines becoming commonplace in almost

every part of the city, including Indian, Latin American, African, and the Pacific Islands. Not to be outdone, there are plenty of

traditional American restaurants, bakeries, dessertiers, and burger and pizza joints to satisfy any craving.

San Diego is an experience like no other. Obviously, it would be

impossible to include every great restaurant within these pages, so the list has been narrowed to favorites. You are welcome to drop

a note with your favorite destinations at sandiegofoodfinds .com.

After all, food is meant for enjoyment and enrichment, and the

choices are endless!

How to Use This Book

Altogether, San Diego contains more than 100 identified neigh-

borhoods! In an effort to simplify your navigation, many of the

adjacent neighborhoods are grouped into larger areas within the

city. Be sure to use the area map located on page 2 as a high-level reference. Each of the 13 areas has a dedicated chapter with restaurants listed in alphabetical order, and represents a large portion Introduction 5

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of the book. There are also devoted separate chapters on industry-

supportive subjects, including the Wine Scene (local wineries and

wine bars), the Beer Scene (local brewers, bars, taverns, and brewpubs), Food Trucks, and Foodie Day Trips. The introductory chapter includes a summary of helpful tips for getting around the city, a

helpful calendar of local culinary and food events, and a summary

of the top favorite farmers’ markets. And finally, there is a section featuring more than a dozen recipes from local chefs, highlighting some of their best dishes that you can re-create at home for a special occasion or that special someone in your life.

Foodie Faves

The restaurants that have made this section are the most

noteworthy establishments that are worth a visit, from

long-standing favorites to the latest on the scene. Bon

appétit!

Landmarks

The listings in this section are the restaurants that have

been San Diego’s staples for a considerably long time and

helped put San Diego on the food map, or ones housed in

historic buildings or locations.

Specialty Stores, Markets & Producers

Some truly notable butcher shops, specialized groceries,

and bakeries exist within this fascinatingly diverse city.

Here we give you a list of must-visit specialty stores.

6 Introduction

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Recipes

At the back of the book (p. 343) we give new meaning to the phrase

“continuing education” and help you re-create some of our favorite local dishes from some of the city’s best chefs.

Price Code

The price range is covered in this book, immediately following the address listing, using the following guide.

$

Cheap: you can have a full meal for $10 or less here.

$$

Economical: $10 to $25 per person

$$$

Moderate: $25 to $50 per person (a meal equivalent

to an appetizer, entrée selection, and one alcoholic

beverage)

$$$$ Expect to spend $50 to $75 for one appetizer, one

entrée, and a glass or two of wine.

$$$$$ You will not walk out of this establishment having

spent less than $75 to $100 per person; the sky’s the

limit.

Getting Around

Walking

Depending on where you’re at, this could be the most enjoyable

option. Many of the areas in this book have central parts of town

Introduction 7

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Cooking Schools & Classes

Looking for an adventurous afternoon or evening where you can pair your love for food with a social but informative experience? San Diego is brimming with culinary educational options, ranging from short

and simple to complex and elegant. Here is a sampling of the local offerings that will add a spark to your daily routine.

Carmel Valley Kitchen, 3955 Montefrio Ct., San Diego; (858)

382-2228; carmelvalleykitchen .com. Choose from a variety of lessons and learn how to make easy recipes using fresh and readily available ingredients.

Chef Jenn Felmley Cooks, (858) 212- 9054; chefjenncooks .com.

Chef Jenn teaches large groups and hosts individual private classes and cooking parties. Classes range from cooking demonstrations on

local farms to hands-on French cooking techniques.

Cooking 4 Life, 9145 Chesapeake Dr., San Diego; (858) 433-0085.

Learn how to cook simple, healthy, and delicious meals that will keep you fit for life.

Cups Culinary, 7857 Girard Ave., La Jolla; (858) 459-2877; cupslj

.com. Take part in hands-on cooking classes where, afterwards, you get to sit down, eat a full meal, and enjoy a Q&A with the chef.

Do It With Icing, 7240 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego; (858)

268-1234; doitwithicing .com. Have fun in the kitchen learning how to model chocolate to create roses and even small animal creatures, or learn how to make your own marshmallow fondant.

The Floating Chef Cooking School, Kona Kai Marina Shelter

Island, 1561 Shelter Island Dr., San Diego; (858) 829-9021;

thefloatingchefschool .com. Nothing beats learning how to cook while on a private yacht overlooking Mission Bay.

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Great News Cooking School, 1788 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach; (858) 270-1582, ext. 3; great-news .com. Helping students enhance

their cooking knowledge since 1977, these professionally-driven

classes are available nearly every day of the week.

Harvard Cookin’ Girl, 7441 Girard Ave., La Jolla; (858) 888-3509;

harvardcookingirl .com. This ex-Harvard MBA executive has turned to helping kids learn good habits and easy cooking techniques to enrich their lives and teach them how to eat healthy.

La Cocina Que Canta, Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Baja California,

Mexico; (800) 443-7565 or (858) 764-5500; rancholapuerta .com.

christmas recipes, meat butcher, vegan custard, paleo diet for beginners, pasta meals, PLE-MUSTARD GLAZE AND GREEN CHILE–PICKLE RELISH

PROVENÇAL TUNA BURGER WITH ROASTED GARLIC–TOMATO AIOLI

TO ME, THE BURGER IS THE PERFECT SANDWICH, THE PERFECT MEAL, ONE THAT SHOULD NEVER FAIL TO SATISFY. BUT THE HAMBURGER IS TOO OFTEN OVERLOOKED AND TAKEN FOR GRANTED. SURE, THE BURGER IS INCREDIBLY POPULAR, BUT IS IT TRULY APPRECIATED? A GREAT ONE SHOULD BE. TO ACHIEVE THE BEST BURGER POSSIBLE—AS WITH EVERY SANDWICH—YOU’VE GOT TO TREAT EACH COMPONENT WITH THE THOUGHTFULNESS AND RESPECT IT DESERVES.

I love a good old-fashioned cheeseburger made with American cheese and topped with some combination of sliced beefsteak tomatoes, dill pickles, raw or grilled sweet onions, ketchup, and spicy horseradish-Dijon mustard. And while that is a classic for good reason, there are some times when I feel like getting a little more creative with my burger. Once I get started, I pull out all the stops in terms of condiments and toppings. I like to be adventurous with my food, and the burger is no exception. So from coleslaw to sautéed mushrooms, from avocado relish to pickled onions, from blue cheese sauce to blue corn tortilla chips, I’m up for it. But don’t take that to mean that I am reckless. I put a lot of thought into my burgers and want to make sure that each condiment and topping complements the other and that everything ultimately comes together to make the most delicious burger possible.

I might take a walk on the wild side when it comes to the toppings for my burgers, but I am much more of a purist when it comes to the patty itself. My personal preference is for beef burgers. I do occasionally like a turkey or a fish burger and I appreciate that others do, too, so I have included recipes for such here. But my perfect burger is made with ground beef. You can grind your beef at home, but this is rather time-consuming. I recommend either finding a good butcher who will grind your beef to order or going to a reputable source where beef is ground fresh daily. I try to stay away from prepackaged or preformed patties because I find them to be inconsistent in freshness, texture, and flavor.

My cut of choice for burgers is ground chuck, preferably Certified Angus. Chuck is not a pricy cut by any means, but a higher cost doesn’t automatically lead to a better end result. I like chuck because of its relatively high fat content: when you look for it in your market, check to see that it is listed as 80 percent lean, 20 percent fat. There is one thing you can’t deny: fat carries flavor and moisture. So if you want a juicy, flavorful burger, chuck is definitely the way to go.

This principle applies to ground turkey, too. The all-white meat, 99 percent lean ground turkey may look appealing, but I recommend choosing ground turkey with a higher fat content (usually marked as 85 to 90 percent lean). This is a combination of white breast meat and dark meat from the legs and thighs. To my mind, the moist, deeper-flavored dark meat is where it’s at, so the more in the mix, the better. You can even get all-dark-meat ground turkey, which is fantastic.

I season my burgers with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and that’s it. Although I will occasionally crust the exterior of a burger with a spice rub (as on the Dallas Burger), I never mix any spices, herbs, or condiments into the meat itself. Nor do I add ingredients such as onions or garlic or fillers such as eggs or bread crumbs. My reasoning for this is pretty simple: do all of that and you’ll have meatloaf. And if you wanted meatloaf, well then you should just go make that instead. What I’m talking about here is a burger, pure and simple. I do, however, make an exception to my rule when making fish burgers, such as salmon or tuna. On the whole, seafood contains very little fat, which is a good thing. But this leanness does mean that fish burgers could use a boost in flavor and moisture. Additional ingredients also help to bind delicate fish into a burger that will hold its shape during cooking.

When forming your burgers, try to mold the meat into uniform, fairly flat patties that are no more than ¾ inch thick. Don’t overwork, squeeze, or compress the meat as you shape it or you run the risk of ending up with dry, tough burgers. (If you are making a fish burger, put the patties into the refrigerator at this point and chill for at least 30 minutes. This step helps enable the delicate fish to bind with the other ingredients and form a cohesive burger that will keep its shape when cooked.) Once the patties are shaped, make a deep depression in the center of each burger with your thumb. This does two things. One, it prevents flying saucer–shaped burgers—you know the ones I am talking about—all puffed up and bulging in the center. What’s the first thing you want to do when you see one of those? Press it down with a spatula as it cooks. And what happens when you do that? All the juices run out and you end up with a compacted, dry hockey puck. So, two, making the indentation in the patties helps keep your reflexes in check and ensures juicy, moist burgers. As the meat cooks and expands, the depression magically disappears, leaving you with beautifully shaped and cooked burgers.

Again, I know it’s tempting, but you really don’t want to press down on your patties as they cook. Not only does pressing squeeze out all of those amazingly flavorful juices, but it can also lead to dangerous flare-ups if you are cooking on a grill, not to mention splattering hot oil all over you and your stovetop if you’re cooking inside. While I’m on the topic of safety, there are a couple of things to remember. Ground meat should always be kept in the refrigerator until just before cooking to limit the exposure to airborne bacteria. (My usual advice to let meat sit at room temperature for fifteen minutes before cooking does not carry over to burgers.) Also be sure not to serve or carry cooked meat on the same plate that held it when it was raw, as it may be contaminated with bacteria from the uncooked meat.

You can make the perfect burger just about anywhere, inside or out. Grilling is a great method; the large surface of a grill area makes it especially useful when feeding a crowd. Any sturdy grill will do; just make sure the grill is hot. A gas grill should be set to high and the coals of a charcoal grill should be heated until they burn bright orange and turn ashy.

My favorite way to cook a burger indoors is on cast iron, either in a skillet or grill pan, or on a griddle. Cast iron has excellent heat diffusion and retention properties and produces evenly cooked burgers with a really great crust. Cast-iron pans are inexpensive and with proper care can last a lifetime—or longer. Most cast-iron pans can be purchased preseasoned, or you can season it yourself before use. The majority of cast-iron pans on the market today, including those in my line for Kohl’s (see Resources), come preseasoned. These will occasionally need to be reseasoned, and you do this in the same way that you would prepare an unseasoned pan before use. It’s a very simply process: coat your pan inside and out with a thin layer of vegetable oil and place it upside down on the top rack of a 350- to 400-degree-F oven for an hour. After an hour, turn the oven off and allow the pan to cool completely in the oven. Once it is cool, you are ready to go!

A stainless-steel sauté pan or skillet is an all-around good choice for cooking just about anything, including burgers. Most have an aluminum core, which helps to distribute and retain heat; if you are in the market for a new stainless-steel pan, make sure that it has this aluminum core.

Nonstick pans are the best choice for cooking fish burgers because fish is quite delicate and the burgers have a tendency to fall apart on or stick to other surfaces. I do not like to make beef or turkey burgers in nonstick pans, however, because they do not develop the tasty crust that they would on a grill or other type of pan.

We’ve got the burger covered; now we just need something to put it on. My perfect bun has to be soft, either with or without sesame seeds. I am not overly fond of the trend of serving burgers on artisanal breads because I usually find them to be too hard. They also tend to break up the burger when you bite into it and can turn eating your burger into a fork and knife endeavor. (And burgers should never, ever be a fork and knife endeavor.) The way I see it, a burger is a sandwich and is meant to be eaten as such—with your hands. A soft bun makes that possible by almost molding itself around its contents.

Just because your bun is soft does not mean that it has to be tasteless. Softness and flavor are not mutually exclusive, so do what you can to find a good-quality soft bun. I want it soft, yes, but not airy, and it should have enough body not to disintegrate under a juicy burger. As far as supermarket offerings are concerned, look for a bun made by a brand whose sandwich bread you know and trust. I usually go with Pepperidge Farm sesame seeded hamburger buns. I also recommend trying potato bread hamburger buns. They are tender yet substantial with an appealing touch of sweetness.

I think the taste and the texture of buns are best when lightly toasted. To toast a bun on a grill, grill pan, or griddle, split the bun open, place it cut side down on the grill, and grill until light golden brown, about 10 seconds. Alternatively, you can place the split bun halves cut side up on a baking sheet and cook them under a preheated broiler until light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Keep a close eye on them and don’t let them get too brown or else that texture will take on a life of its own and defeat the purpose of starting with a soft bun.

SERVES 4

1½ pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean) or ground turkey (90 percent lean)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1½ tablespoons canola oil

4 slices cheese (optional)

4 hamburger buns, split; toasted, if desired

1. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Form each portion loosely into a ¾-inch-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.

2. IF USING A GRILL: Heat a gas grill to high or heat coals in a charcoal grill until they glow bright orange and ash over. Brush the burgers with the oil. Grill the burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 3 minutes for beef and 5 minutes for turkey. Flip over the burgers. Cook beef burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4 minutes for medium rare (3 minutes if topping with cheese; see step 3) or until cooked to desired degree of doneness (see here for approximate cooking times). Cook turkey burgers until cooked throughout, about 5 minutes on the second side.

IF USING A GRILL PAN: Heat a grill pan over high heat on top of the stove. Cook the burgers as for a grill, above.

IF USING A SAUTÉ PAN OR GRIDDLE (PREFERABLY CAST IRON): Heat the oil in the pan or griddle over high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Cook the burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 3 minutes for beef and 5 minutes for turkey. Flip over the burgers. Cook beef burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4 minutes for medium rare (3 minutes if topping with cheese; see step 3) or until cooked to desired degree of doneness (see here for approximate cooking times). Cook turkey burgers until cooked throughout, about 5 minutes on the second side.

3. Add the cheese, if using, to the tops of the burgers during the last minute of cooking and top with a basting cover (see), close the grill cover, or tent the burgers with aluminum foil to melt the cheese.

4. Sandwich the hot burgers between the buns and serve immediately.

COOKING TIMES FOR BURGERS

To me, a perfect beef burger is pink and juicy in the middle and cooked somewhere between medium-rare and medium, which is an internal temperature of about 145 degrees F. The USDA recommends cooking ground beef until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F for safety reasons. Burgers destined for those who are very young or very old, pregnant, or have compromised immune systems should definitely be cooked until well done.

Rare: approximately 6 minutes total cooking time

Medium-rare: approximately 7 minutes total cooking time

Medium: approximately 8 minutes total cooking time

Medium-well: approximately 9 minutes total cooking time

Well: approximately 10 minutes total cooking time

Well done: approximately 11 minutes total cooking time

Turkey burgers and chicken burgers, for that matter, must be cooked completely through to prevent salmonella poisoning. But since the bacteria is killed at 165 degrees F, you can cook your burgers to medium-well doneness, which is an approximate internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

I UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS A CONTINGENT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO DON’T CARE FOR CHEESE ON THEIR BURGERS. I SUPPOSE I CAN UNDERSTAND WANTING TO SAVOR THE TASTE OF PURE BEEF WITHOUT ANY INTERFERENCE FROM CHEESE…MAYBE. PERSONALLY, I AM A CHEESEBURGER FANATIC. I WANT CHEESE ON MY BURGER AND LOTS OF IT. I AM ALMOST ALWAYS GAME FOR A CHEESEBURGER MADE WITH AMERICAN CHEESE—I JUST LOVE HOW IT MELTS—BUT THERE ARE OTHER CHEESES THAT CAN BRING A LOT MORE FLAVOR TO YOUR BURGER. HERE IS A LIST OF THE CHEESES THAT I CALL FOR IN THIS BOOK.

AMERICAN

This is the cheese that most of us grew up on, at least for our cheeseburgers. It is a mild-tasting processed cheese with a medium-firm consistency and a great melting ability. It comes in both yellow and white varieties but the difference is only aesthetic. I dislike the individually wrapped slices and recommend getting it sliced from the deli. I know that American cheese gets a bad rap, but I think it is great on cheeseburgers because it melts so well and fuses the burger to the bun.

BLUE

Sharp and tangy, blue cheese can be made from cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s milk and is generally ivory in color and shot through with varying concentrations of blue or blue-green veins. Blue cheese melts beautifully into sauces and is wonderful crumbled on top of a burger. There are many varieties of blue cheese out there, from the Italian Gorgonzola to the French Roquefort. My personal favorites are American Maytag and Spanish Cabrales, but you should pick a favorite from what is available to you.

CHEDDAR

Cheddar is the most widely purchased and eaten cheese in the world. It originated in England but is now made all over the world. In this country, Wisconsin, New York, and Vermont are all known for their excellent cheddar cheese. Always made from cow’s milk, cheddar ranges from smooth when young to slightly crumbly when aged. While good-quality cheddar will bring great flavor to your burger, it doesn’t melt particularly well and can get a bit oily when heated. I still like it; it’s just not my all-time favorite.

FETA

Feta cheese is traditionally made in Greece with sheep’s or goat’s milk, but you will also find French, Bulgarian, and American varieties, including some made with cow’s milk. Cakes of white feta are salted and cured in a brine solution. Salty and tangy, feta can range from mild to sharp in flavor and from soft to semi-hard in texture. Feta will soften slightly when heated on a burger but it doesn’t really melt. What it does do is add loads of salty, briny flavor.

FONTINA

Fontina is an Italian cow’s milk cheese. (There are also Danish and domestic derivatives, but the Italian is the original.) This semi-firm, creamy cheese is dotted with small irregular holes and is pale yellow in color with a golden brown or reddish rind. It is mild, nutty, and melts incredibly well.

GRUYÈRE/SWISS

Gruyère is a sweet yet slightly salty hard yellow cow’s milk cheese named after Gruyère, Switzerland. Its flavor and texture are greatly dependent upon its age, starting out as creamy and nutty and getting progressively more assertive, earthy, and complex as it ages. The fuller aged Gruyère will develop small holes and cracks and have a slightly grainy texture. If you can’t find Gruyère, use Swiss cheese in its place.

MANCHEGO

Manchego is perhaps the definitive cheese of Spain. Made from sheep’s milk, it is piquant, buttery, and nutty. Manchego is available in two varieties: curado (cured), which is aged 3 to 4 months and has a semi-soft texture ideal for melting, and viejo (aged), which is more intensely flavored and has a firmer texture akin to that of Parmesan.

MONTEREY JACK

Monterey Jack is an American semi-hard cheese, originally from Northern California, made from cow’s milk. It has a mild taste. Most of the Monterey Jack cheese that you will find is aged for a short time (about a month), is rather soft, and is great for melting.

MOZZARELLA

There are two kinds of mozzarella: the low-moisture version, which is sold in plastic-sealed bricks or shredded in bags in the refrigerated section of your grocery, and the fresh version, which has a high moisture content and is either served the day it is made or packed in brine. Low-moisture mozzarella is firmer and more ivory in color than fresh. Both are mild in taste and melt well, though the fresh will not spread quite as much as the packaged. Even so, I prefer the clean flavor of fresh mozzarella.

PROVOLONE

Provolone is a semi-hard, whole-milk cow’s cheese that originated in Italy and is therefore a great cheese to pair with other Italian-influenced burger toppings. Provolone is aged for a minimum of four months and has a slightly sharp taste.

QUESO FRESCO

Queso fresco is a Mexican cow’s milk cheese whose name literally translates as “fresh cheese.” It is a firm white cheese with a slightly salty, mild, yet tangy taste, somewhat akin to that of farmer’s cheese. It crumbles much like feta and is normally used on dishes like enchiladas and tamales and as a garnish for black bean and tortilla soups. It will not melt but it does become soft when heated.

Now that you know what kind of cheese you’re going to use,

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