Showing posts with label bison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bison. Show all posts

Monday, August 25, 2014

Shiitake and Onion Bison Burgers

We're always trying to eat healthy, even though we still want our cakes, cookies and burgers. We very big on bison around here. It's supposed to be better for us than beef because it's lower in fat and especially low in saturated fat. I don't find the flavor remarkably different from beef but it's significantly leaner. Often called buffalo, they're in the same family, but they aren't actually buffalo, like the ones in Africa and Asia. There's also good news if you worry about growth hormones and antibiotics because they are not administered to bison.

So when my mom handed me a big bag of shiitake mushrooms, I went on the hunt for a recipe. I found Edison Mays' recipe for Shiitake Mushroom and Sweet Onion Burgers at Food Network. I just switched it up a little bit and made it with bison.

It worked out great. Because bison is lean, it should be cooked over a lower heat than we usually cook beef. Don't let that scare you. You can still grill and pan fry, just like you would hamburger - but turn the heat down and don't grill directly over the flame.

While we're busy being healthy, did you know that shiitake mushrooms are used against cancer in some countries? They contain antioxidants and reduce inflammation. Who knew? The flavor of shiitakes is more pronounced than white or crimini mushrooms but they blend quite nicely with the mushrooms and bison in this recipe.

Shiitake and Onion Bison Burgers
makes five burgers

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped shiitake mushroom caps
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 pound (16 ounces) ground bison
1-2 tablespoons olive or canola oil

Melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onions until translucent, about five minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and soy sauce, and cook, turning occasionally. The shiitake will shrink substantially. Salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat to cool. When cool, mix with ground beef and shape into burgers. (If desired, you could cover and refrigerate at this point and cook the burgers later in the day.) Heat the additional olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the burgers and cook until you begin to see the sides turning color. Flip. Cook until done.

According to guidelines, salmonella is killed at 160. Others recommend cooking bison to 135 - 155. It's your call.

Serve as is or on a bun.

Cook onions and shiitake mushrooms.
Mix with bison.
Pan fry or grill.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Lasagna Cupcakes

After a very long year between books, The Diva Frosts a Cupcake comes out tomorrow. But I haven't been lazy. I'm now writing two series. Each June a Domestic Diva Mystery will be released, and starting this December, a Paws and Claws Mystery will come out every December. More on Paws and Claws in another post.

For the last year, I have been baking and eating cupcakes. Poor me! The photo to the right shows Coco Loco cupcakes on top, Lemon Meringue Cupcakes in the middle, and strawberry cupcakes on the lowest level. The recipes for all of those cupcakes and more are in the book.

In The Diva Frosts a Cupcake, Nina Reid Norwood arranges a gala banquet with an eight-course cupcake dinner. Accordingly, I had to come up with a few savory cupcakes. Originally, I thought I might make little cupcake shepherd's pies. That would be easy enough. And the potatoes on top would even look like frosting. But I kept hearing about lasagna cupcakes. I've made them several times now and I have to tell you -- they're a hit. All my tasters loved them.

They're actually simple to make. I may never bake a big pan of lasagna again! Don't tell Natasha, but I cheated by using canned sauce. You can certainly use homemade sauce if you prefer. I've made them with ground beef and ground bison. They're delicious with both. I would imagine that ground turkey would work well, too.

There really aren't too many tricks to this. The first time I made them, friends helped me with the laborious task of cutting rounds out of lasagna noodles so they would fit neatly into the pan. But we discovered that they were somewhat difficult to remove from the pan neatly and intact after baking. Please note that the photos are from that first attempt.

The next time, I tried using a lasagna noodle rectangle that was a little bit too long for the cupcake well as the base piece of pasta. That was exactly what they needed. Not only did the little corners that stood up act as handles for lifting them, but they slid out of the pan much better. The corners become hard and crunchy, of course. You can trim them before serving, or leave them on if your family likes crunchy things. Count on at least two per person for diners with average appetites.

Krista's Lasagna Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes.

12 to 14 (a couple extra) pieces lasagna noodles
1-2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for pan
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 pound ground bison (or lean ground beef or ground turkey)
1 14.5 ounce can pasta (or tomato) sauce
8 ounces low-fat mozzarella, shredded
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated 

Cook the lasagna noodles according to package and drain. Heat the olive oil in a pan over low heat and add the minced garlic. After two minutes add the oregano. When it’s aromatic, add the meat and cook. When the meat is cooked, mix in the tomato sauce, salt to taste, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Thoroughly grease the wells of a muffin tin with olive oil. Cut each noodle in half and line each cupcake well with one piece so that the ends extend slightly beyond the well. Add a layer of meat and sauce to each well. Add a layer of mozzarella to each well.

Needs more mozzarella!

Cut the remaining noodles roughly to cupcake width. Lay one across each cupcake well. Repeat the layering of the meat and sauce, and the mozzarella. Sprinkle a substantial layer of Parmesan on top of each.

Don't forget the Parmesan.

Bake 18 - 20 minutes. The cupcakes should be bubble a bit at the edges. Remove from oven and use a sharp knife to loosen the cupcakes around the sides. Allow to stand five minutes before removing cupcakes from the pan. If they do not should their shape, allow to stand a few minutes longer.

Lift the cupcakes out of the pan using the using the pasta that sticks out as little handles. The handles will be somewhat crunchy. You may wish to cut them off.