I LOVE my herb garden!!! It is not very big, but, I have packed in all my favorites, namely: basil (lemon & sweet), thyme, oregano, Italian parsley, sage, tarragon, mint, apium (cross between parsley and celery leaves), cilantro and chives. I had not room for hot peppers, which I also love to have on hand, so, I reclaimed an overgrown spot where we park our cars and planted about a dozen plants; cayenne, jalapeno, mole, mild, cherry bombs, and habanero. I am a member of a great CSA (see top right of my blog for more info. on what that means) and receive a treasure box of seasonal produce weekly, but, I couldn’t live without my own fresh supply of herbs, and other ingredients that do a great job of bringing my food to life.
At this point in the season, it is impossible to cook without grabbing something from my lush patch of greenness at the bottom of my back steps! You can expect that everything I cook for the next few months will have a sprig of this, or a bunch of that included.
Last night’s dinner was decided as I eyed my lovely sweet basil plants as I raced up to the backdoor at about 6 o’ clock. I had pulled some ground beef from the freezer that morning with no further thoughts about dinner. I never worry about what I am going to prepare. Something always pops into my head with I look about the garden, or poke my head into the crisper.
I decided to make burgers stuffed with fresh basil leaves. I also had a ball of fresh mozzarella in the fridge. That simply never happens. I had the makings of Italian-style burgers! All I did was saute some onions, form the burgers, and stuff them with mozzarella pieces, and basil leaves. They were sweet, meaty, and gooey with cheese, in other words; they were excellent.
You will need: 1 lb ground beef, 2 tbs olive oil, 1 egg, 1 big sweet onion, small dice, 20 or so basil leaves, 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, pulled into chunky bits, 1/2 tsp coarse salt, several grinds of pepper, some slices of good, fresh bread.
1 – Put saute pan on low/medium heat and add oil. Cook onions for 20 minutes, until very soft.
2 – Whisk the egg with a fork in a big bowl. Add the meat, salt, pepper, and onions. Mix everything together (your hands are the best tool for the job!).
3 – Divide the meat into 4 equal pieces and as you are forming them, push some basil leaves and cheese into the meat as you go.
4 – Heat a skillet on medium for about 4 minutes and then place the burgers in the dry pan. For medium/rare cook for 2 1/2 minutes per side, for medium; 3 minutes per side and for well-done 4-5 minutes per side. Only flip once during cooking process.
Serve on toasted bread with toppings of your choice.