Thursday, September 3, 2009

Feeling gingerasian

Have you ever noticed that when you revisit a flavor in different forms over the years, you develop a lovely set of memories surrounding that flavor? Perhaps it is only the silly foodie in me but ginger correlates to some fantastic ones for me... Glazed salmon in the wilderness of Alaska fresh caught that day (and yes, the glaze is very portable, but don't spill it and attract bears); dried ginger chews that taunt you in the Trader Joe's checkout aisle remind me of my Japanese-food-loving bro-in-law; and now my friends, a new one... Tamarind-Glaze Turkey Burgers and the fabulous meal that accompanied them.

CrystalMeth had a mountain of japanese eggplant from her latest delivery and the burgers to tackle. I was assigned the challenge of finding ginger liqueur (only 1 bottle left at Sam's on North Ave) and apps for the evening. Feeling adventurous and realizing I hadn't gone uber-ethnic in a while, I decided to try for handmade Vietnamese Spring Rolls. Hey, if my sister lived in Japan and can make sushi with the best of them, I foolishly assumed that I had spent enough time in Little Vietnam up on Argyle to make it up as I went along. WRONG Joanna. Dead wrong. I now have a new deep, deep respect for the standards of perfection that those folks have, and that are clearly not in my Scandinavian genetics. See my feeble attempts below. Seriously how do they get them to look so perfect?!

Nuoc cham and peanut sauce for dipping were fantastic, easy and delightful. There was no playing around with these recipes. I took 'em straight from here. I filled mine with a bottom layer of red lettuce, bean sprouts, shredded carrots (didn't do the sugar bits), cooked bean thread noodles, julienned cucumber, with lots of mint and cilantro. They're such a biting fresh snack and the only disappointment is, they don't keep very well next day.
Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Eggplant Chips
Tamarind-Glazed Turkey Burgers
Ginger martinis
Lemon Ginger Sorbet with Gingersnap cookies

Tamarind-Glazed Turkey Burgers
Glaze: Whisk together
1 T fresh peeled ginger
2 T red chili paste
½ c tamarind paste
½ c honey
2 T water
2T fresh lime juice

Burgers: blend together with your hands and form into 8- ½ lbs burgers
2 T fresh minced, peeled ginger (or more if you’re as obsessed as I am)
2 t salt
1 red jalapeno chile with seeds, minced
1 t pepper
1 c chopped green onions
2 ½ lbs ground natural turkey
2 t red chili paste

8 4-in diameter rolls
8 large thinly sliced red onions
8 bib lettuce leaves


  1. Another great post and the spring rolls don't look bad in the photo very good in fact for a first attempt. I am sure the folks in Little Vietnam would be frustrated at their first attempt to can lingonberry preserves ;-)

  2. Thanks Shannon!! I'm still working a bit on formatting but I'm glad you like it... pictures are much better now, right?

  3. Yummy Yummy. I want to eat that right now. BTW Samson is following you too ;)

  4. Erin, you and your momma should really make these burgers for your back patio-- it would be fabulous.

    Give Samson a loving little ear scratch for me...

  5. Thanks for the mention! although I should clarify, I make hand-rolled sushi that is about jr-high level. No PhDs in sushi here. So, the rolls look good but I think part of the trick is to use less filling. Also... where's the tamarind in the tamarind-glazed burgers?

  6. Jr high level is takes the cake to my 4 year old style vietnamese rolls!!! You're right, I probably should use less filling, but those folks at the restaurants always make them so full! I didn't want to end up with too much wrapping...

    Tamarind added. Glad I've got my big sister lookin out for me.