Thursday, August 28, 2008

Brie and Fig Jam Panini

You may remember my go-to apetizer from my Italian Dinner Party entry. It is based off my favorite panini I love to make, a twist of Whole Foods' Barton Springs sandwich. My roommates and I absolutely go crazy for these. They're so filling all you need is a light salad as a side. And hey, who needs a panini grill when you've got a grill pan and a cast iron skillet?

Brie and Fig Jam Panini
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in strips
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ciabatta rolls
1/4 cup fig jam
8 strips of Brie cheese
4 ounces arugula
1 lemon

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Season chicken strips with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until done. Remove from heat.

In the meantime, preheat a grill pan on medium heat. While heating, slice ciabatta rolls in half and spread fig jam on each half. Add 2 slices brie and 2 strips chicken. Place sandwiches on grill pan and place still-warm cast iron skillet on top to press. Flip after 3-4 minutes and cook another 3 minutes, until brie starts to melt.

While sandwiches are toasting, combine arugula, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a small bowl. When sandwiches are done, add mixture to sandwich. Enjoy!

Asian Ginger Steak

**Update, I was a runner up in the contest and featured on the Whole Foods Market blog "What We're Reading" section--

My friend and coworker (and fellow food blogger!) Jodi informed me about Whole Foods Market's Budget Recipe Challenge to create a meal that costs under $4 per person. I was intrigued and challenged by this. I usually start my meal creation with good intentions, then I always want to add more ingredients for additional flavors, nutrients or colors. This is a challenge in discipline, so I'm pretty excited with what I've come up with. And hey, the first 100 entrants get $25 to Whole Foods, which I'm not going to pass up!

Asian Ginger Steak with Stir-Fried Vegetables and Ginger-Infused Rice

2 inches ginger, divided
3 cloves garlic, m
2 limes
1/3 cup tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
lt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds sirloin tip steak
Cooking Spray
1 1/2 cups 365 white enriched rice
1 16-ounce bag 365 frozen stir fry vegetables, thawed

Peel one inch fresh ginger and grate. Add ginger and minced garlic to a large zip lock bag. Next zest both limes. Add lime zest and juice to bag, along with 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce. Add salt and pepper and steak, and marinade for 30 minutes. Heat a grill pan on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.

In the meantime, prepare rice according to instructions. Half way through cooking, add other inch of ginger, peeled. Once rice is done, remove ginger.

Once steak is done marinating, place on grill pan and cook about 5 minutes on each side for a medium steak. Remove from heat and let rest before slicing.

While rice and steak is cooking, heat a large skillet or wok on medium high heat. Add vegetables and remaining soy sauce and stir fry until cooked, about 3 minutes.

This recipe serves about .3 pound of meat per person, about 1/2 cup cooked rice and 1 cup vegetables.

Since the deadline is quickly approaching, I'm posting this recipe without testing it first. I plan on making this on Labor Day, at which time I'll add more pictures.

**Pictures now posted! :)

Wish me luck in my first food blog competition!

Budget Breakdown Per Person:
Ginger- $.12
Garlic- $.06
Lime- $.08
Soy Sauce- $.10
Salt and Pepper- $.05
Steak- $2.38
Cooking Spray- $.01
Rice- $.18
Vegetables- $.50

Total- $3.48

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pesto Turkey Burgers

After a long separation due to travel, my roommate Rachel finally returned. Naturally, I had to make a meal utilizing her favorite ingredients to welcome her back- pesto and sun dried tomatoes. I know I know, my last post included those two ingredients as well, but this is much different and just as delicious!
I love making chicken and turkey burgers- it's one of my signatures that I can make 1,000 different ways. Tonight's is an Italian turkey burger that I have to admit is one of my best :)

Italian Turkey Burgers

1 pound ground turkey breast
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
8 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon pesto
1/4 cup light mayo
5 ciabatta rolls

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

olive oil

Heat a grill pan on medium high heat and coat with cooking spray. Combine turkey, onion, seasonings, tomoes and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Shape into 5 patties. Place patties on grill and cook about 5 minutes on each side.

In the meantime, combine pesto with mayo for a pesto aioli of sorts, add a little lemon juice for extra zing.

Slice ciabatta rolles in half lengthwise and drizzle a little olive oil on the cut side. Sprinkel rosemary on and broil for 2-3 minutes, until lightly toasted. Slather on some pesto aioli and include a patty.

I served these with Sofrito Mashed Potatoes, a recipe from Guy Fieri of Food Network. My friend Emily said I simply HAD to try them, and she was right-- these potatoes were the most interesting ones I've ever had! Granted, sofrito doesn't really go with Italian I realize, but both dishes were so good nobody cared :)

2 tablespoons salt
2 pounds potatoes (recommended: Yukon gold)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
3 ounces tomato sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons salt
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

Fill a large pot with water, salt and potatoes and bring to boil. Cook until fork tender.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium sauce pot over medium heat. When oil is hot add onions and peppers and saute for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook
until it begins to brown. Lower the heat and add tomato paste and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. Deglaze with white wine and reduce by half.

Add tomato sauce and bring to simmer for 5 minutes. Then stir in butter and cream and set aside, covered to keep warm.

When potatoes are fork tender, drain water and mash slowly adding the sofrito mixture. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with cilantro.

I toyed with the idea of putting the sofrito mixture in the food processor, but in the end the chunkier potatoes won out and were delicious! I might try that method next time to see how it compares though.

Question: What's your favorite kind of burger?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

There's nothing more satisfying to me than a nice creamy pasta. Since I had a lot of pesto leftover from my pesto tilapia, I thought I'd combine the two to make a creamy pesto sauce.

Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

1 pound farfalle pasta
1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 red onion, diced
8 sundried tomatoes, chopped
4 ounces fresh spinach
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons pesto

Boil water in a large pot and add pasta once boiling. In the meantime, heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Swirl in a little olive oil. Add chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper, cooking about 8 minutes. Add diced onion and saute another 3 minutes. Add sundried tomatoes and continue cooking. Wilt in spinach and stir.

In the meantime, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour and whisk, cooking about 1 minute. Stir in milk and heat until thickens, stirring occasionally. Add parmesan cheese and remove from heat. Stir in pesto.

Add pesto sauce to chicken mixture. Add pasta and stir to combine. Serve with additional parmesan as needed.

I made a simple salad to go with this to get some more veggies and utilize the extra spinach.

Bacon Spinach Salad
4 slices bacon
1/4 cup red onion
2 whole carrots
8 ounces fresh spinach
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Sweet onion and poppyseed dressing

Cook bacon in the 350 degree oven about 15-20 minutes, remove and place on paper towel to drain. In the meantim, slice red onion and carrots. Add to a large bowl with fresh spinach and pecans. Crumble in bacon and add desired amount of dressing.

Christine's Turkey Bean Chili

Living in Texas, it's only appropriate to have a chili recipe in your arsenal when the timing is right. Normally, August is no time for chili, but this past week was rainy and dismal. The weather coupled with a few extra cold days in the office, chili sounded like just the antedote. This recipe is from Cooking Light, but I call it Christine's since it's her favorite thing that I make.

Turkey Bean Chili
1 cup prechopped red onion

1/3 cup chopped seeded poblano pepper (about 1)

1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and dra
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

6 lime wedges

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add first 4 ingredients; cook for 6 minutes or until turkey is done, stirring frequently to crumble. Stir in chili powder and next 8 ingredients (through broth); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

To me, chili wouldn't be complete without a topping of cheese and a side of cornbread, so I sprinkled my bowl liberally with some cheddar cheese. I also prepared a box of cornbread mix, but I added some fresh corn kernals for a nice added texture.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pesto Tilapia

One of my favorite things to do with my food processor is to make pesto. I just recently got this latest kitchen toy last Christmas, for the sole purpose of making the pestos I'd seen in cookbooks and magazines for years.

Pesto Tilapia
3 tablespoons pinenuts
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 bunches basil leaves (about a cup and half)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound tilapia fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

To prepare pesto, cook pinenuts in a skillet on medium heat until lightly toasted, about 3 to 5 minutes; set aside. In the same pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic and roast a couple minutes. Add pinenuts and garlic to food processor and pulse. Next add parmesan cheese and salt and pepper and pulse. Add basil and pulse again. With the processor on, stream in olive oil until reaching desired consistency (I use about 1/4 cup).

Heat a large skillet on medium high (I used a castiron) and drizze with olive oil. Season tilapia heavily with black pepper, and add a bit of salt as well. Sprinke cumin over fillets as well. Place seasoned side down in the skillet and season the other side as well. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with a teaspoon of pesto spread across the top.

I served this with grilled corn and seared broccoli for a healthy, balanced meal.

Grilled Chili Lime Corn
4 ears corn, shucked
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 limes
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a grill pan on medium high heat. Place corn on pan and begin grilling, turning occasionally. In the meantime, add all other ingredients to a micowave save bowl and heat until butter has melted. When corn is about done, begin brushing chili lime butter on all sides and turning to get a lovely toasty brown color on it. Serve with extra chili lime butter on the table.

Seared Broccoli
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 heads broccoli
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a medium skillet on medium heat and swirl in 1 tablespoon oil. Add minced garlic and saute for one minute. Add broccoli and sear, turning occasionally, around 8 minutes. Season with red pepper and salt and pepper. Drizzle additional olive oil as needed to prevent drying out.

The final product plate including pesto!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dinner On the Go

After missing a week of cooking due to my sister's wedding, I was more than ready to get back in the kitchen! Since I got back from Houston around 7 from wedding weekend, an elaborate dinner was not in the cards. Thankfully, during my short period of downtime during wedding planning, I caught an episode of Everyday Italian where Giada prepared 4 meals with 5 ingredients in 15 minutes.

1 pound rigatoni pasta (I used corkscrew)
3 cups purchased garlic-flavored croutons, (about 5 ounces)
1/4 cup slivered almonds (about 1 ounce), toasted
1 cup julienned roasted red bell peppers
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl.
Place the croutons and the almonds in a food processor. Pulse until it becomes the texture of bread crumbs. Add the crouton and almond mixture to the hot pasta. Add the peppers and the olive oil. Toss to combine and serve.

I really enjoyed the texture that the croutons and almonds gave, but I could've used another flavor dimension in here. I think next time I'll add some sun-dried tomatoes, and maybe some fresh herbs if I have them on hand.

I also stole some salad from my house before I drove back since we bought a HUGE one that we hardly made a dent in. I served it with a sweet onion and poppyseed dressing, which was a great balance for the pasta.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pineapple Polynesian Chicken

You've gotta love those tried and true meals that you know your loved ones will, well, love! Pineapple Polynesian Chicken is one of those. It's actually a recipe from a Weight Watchers cookbook that my mom shared with me years ago that I've adapted to make my own. My best friend Brittney can't get enough of it and I will probably be punished for making it when she's not around.

Pineapple Polynesian Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces

3 garlic cloves

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced

3 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal

1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded and diced
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed

1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 can chopped pineapple, in its own juice

1/3 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high. Cook chicken until brown
and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with foil. Add garlic, ginger and red onion to the large skillet, saute for 3 minutes. Add carrots and bell pepper and sautee another 3 minutes. Add snap peas, water chestnuts and pineapple and simmer 2 minutes.

In the meantime, in a small bowl combine ketchup, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and cornstarch. Add to vegetable skillet along with chicken. Let simmer on medium low heat for 5 minutes. Add almonds and serve.

I love to serve this with ginger-infused rice. Prepare white rice according to the package (I usually substitute chicken stock for water). About half way through add a 1-inch piece of fresh peeled ginger and continue to cook. When done, remove ginger and serve.

My favorite thing about the meal is all the colors. They absolutely pop and add so much flavor. Plus, the snap peas, water chestnuts and almonds all add their own dimension of crunch that is so interesting. This is a real crowd-pleaser!

Eat Your Heart Out

I'm a huge fan of breakfast, but rarely do I take the time to make it on the weekends. I love trying new brunch places with friends and enjoying taking the morning off. This Saturday, however, the stars aligned and I had both the supplies and will to make breakfast. We made heart-shaped waffles and bacon, served with apple juice and coffee. The perfect hearty breakfast for a slow morning.

Waffle mix, prepared for directions
1 tablespoon sugar
Zest and juice of one lemon

Combine and cook in waffle iron (mine happens to be heart shaped). Just make sure you don't end up broken-hearted! hehe...

I'm love preparing bacon in a cast iron skillet. Not only does it really intensify the flavors of the bacon, but the bacon seasons the cast iron in a way that many things cannot. Check out this perfect (if not healthy) Saturday morning breakfast:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Southwestern Mac N Cheese

Well, it was only a matter of time before I made mac and cheese for the blog. This is one of mine (and my roomies') favorite go-to meals because it's delicious comfort food, but I've got a TON of fun variations to pack some nutrients in it to make it not quite so guilty. Tonight's is a southwestern spin on my favorite carb and dairy combo :)

Southwestern Mac N Cheese
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 ears corn, kernels removed
1 red pepper, halved, seeded and diced
1 green pepper, halved, seeded and diced
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste 1 lb. elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place a pot of water on high and boil. In the meantime, place onions and garlic in a medium sized skillet and sautee on medium heat about 3 minutes. Add other veggies and seasonings and cook another 5 minutes, set aside. Once water boils, salt the water and add pasta.

While pasta cooks, heat a large saucepan on medium low heat and melt butter. Add flour and whisk together, let cook for about 30 seconds to a minute. Add milk and whisk to remove clumps. Let cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Next add parmesan cheese and stir; remove from heat and set aside.

Once pasta is done, drain and put in a large bowl. Add parmesan mixture and cooked veggies. Place 1/3 back in pasta pot (which has been greased on the bottom), then layer with 1/3 of the sharp cheddar/Mexican cheese. Continue layering, ending with the cheddar on top. Place in oven and let bake 10-15 minutes. When removed, add chopped cilantro on top.

I served this with a simple avocado salad to get even more delicious greens in, which turned out to be the perfect compliment:

Avocado Salad
1 bag salad mix

1 orange bell pepper, halved, seeded and chopped

2 small avocados, chopped

1 lime, zested and juiced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup cilantro

Add all to a large bowl and toss to combine.

The happy vegetarian Brooks!

Italian Dinner Party

I know lots of people like to save big meals and dinner parties for special occasions, but I'll find any excuse to cook for friends. Last night was the new episode of Project Runway, so I had to invite the girls over to enjoy a hearty Italian meal while we bashed the designers, and so they could see my new house!

Since we wouldn't be eating dinner until somewhat late, I decided to prepare my go-to appetizer, Baguettes with fig jam and brie cheese. This is inspired by my favorite panini at Whole Foods which features fig jam, brie cheese, turkey deli meat and a spring mix. My appetizer is so easy to prepare- just cut the bread, slather on about a tablespoon of fig jam, and then add a slice of brie cheese. Toast in the broiler for about 2-3 minutes until the cheese starts to melt and serve hot!

The main course, Herbed Chicken Parmesan, comes from the Cooking Light Italian cookbook, which I tried once this spring and absolutely loved. The two different cheeses add dimension, and I love the idea of adding balsalmic vinegar to pasta sauce to jass it up. I also sauteed 4 or 5 garlic cloves to add to the sauce.


1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 pound chicken breast tenders
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups bottled fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce (I used Central Market brand Basil and herb)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) shredded provolone cheese
*Note, I doubled this recipe as I was serving 8 people, not 4


Preheat broiler.

Combine 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Place egg white in a shallow dish. Dip each chicken tender in egg white; dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Set aside.

Combine 1/8 teaspoon salt, pasta sauce, vinegar, and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; vent. Microwave sauce mixture at HIGH 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Pour the sauce over chicken in pan. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining Parmesan and provolone cheese. Wrap handle of pan with foil, and broil 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.

I know it's cliche, but I served this with a big pot of spaghetti with plenty of the extra balsalmic pasta sauce to go around. To add some greenery, I created a fun new Italian salad to go with it:

Balsalmic Italian Salad
8 oz. romaine lettuce
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into disks on the diagonal
1/4 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup grapes, cut in half
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 lemon, zested then juiced
3 tablespoons balsalmic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine in a large bowl and toss to combine dressing. Note that the amount of vinegar and olive oil can vary depending on your tastes. I love using the citrus to brighten the flavors and add some zest!

The final product, served of course with champagne in honor of Project Runway. What a great first dinner party!

What's your go-to appetizer for simple, but impressive, entertainment?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Taste Adventure

Well the time has come for the apron adventurer to step outside the kitchen and attempt new food in a new place. Recently some coworkers and I have started a boot camp run by our very fit/ambitious/inspirational office manager Kim. We run from our office building in downtown Austin to Town Lake, do some drills and run back. While running back a few weeks ago we noticed a wine bar we'd never heard of- Taste.

The ambitious wine drinker/happy hour lover that I am, I couldn't wait to try it after checking out their menu and wine list. Kristen, my coworker and friend, and I went yesterday and had sort of a mixed experience.

First on the list was of course picking the wine. They have a $5/glass happy hour special on weekdays, but I was all that intrigued by what they had to offer, so I tried the Waters Winery Viognier ‘07 that my boss Emily said I HAD to try.

I have to say- it was delicious!

Kristen was in a red wine kinda mood, so she had Alamosa Wine Cellars' El Guapo Barrel Reserve (Tempranillo) ‘01, a Texas wine!

After we had some wine to make us happy, it was time to try some yummy new foods. Their menu was pretty diverse and interesting, so there were several things we wanted to try. Lucky for us 3 out of the 4 "small dishes" we wanted to try were happy hour specials too!

First up, the cheese: There was no way we were going to a wine bar without having a cheese plate, so we went for the small one in order to squelch our cheese craving without ruining our appetites. The plate included a pretty strong fontina cheese and a very different small granual-like cheese that was very sweet like honey. (Note: our server was very incompetent and I'm fairly certain he knew less about wine than ME- which is pretty tough to do. Enough to say he didn't know what cheese he was serving us either :( )

I decided I wanted to be adventurous, so I insisted we try the smoked ostrich. I was not disappointed! Wrapped around buffalo mozzarella, served with cherries and drizzled with a smoked tomato vinaigrette, there was a ton of flavor packed in this small little dish.

Kristen is currently going through an Ahi Tuna phase, so we had to include that on our list. Served with a watermelon salad and melon vinaigrette, this was a refreshing and simple piece of fish that was really fun to eat- and look at!

Finally we had the salumi plate, including speck, salami, & other assorted dried meats with house mustard. I have to say this was less than inspiring, definitely not my favorite.
Overall, I'm glad we went, but I don't think I'll be making a ton of repeat visits. This was a bit overpriced for happy hour, and the expertise (at least from our waiter) was somewhat lacking.
Question: What is your favorite wine tasting trick/technique?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Big Fat Greek Lamb Burger

My girlfriends and I like to get together for mini dinner parties from time to time, and for this occasion we were planning on catching up on the latest episode of Project Runway. In honor of the crazy challenges the contestants have to do on the show, I decided to challenge myself with something new as well-ground lamb.

I've long been intrigued by the art of the lamb burger (especially since cheeseburgers are one of my all time favorites), but for some reason I've made burgers out just about everything except lamb: beef, chicken, turkey, salmon and black beans. My boss Emily brought me some great cookbooks with several lamb burger recipes in them, so I decided to take inspiration from those and try my own recipe.

My fellow apron adventurer Karen

Oven fries
2 russet potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Lamb Burger
3/4 lb. ground lamb
1 shallot, diced, divided
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
2 roma tomatoes, diced, divided
Fresh mint, divided
Salt and pepper
6 ounces fresh spinach
1 cup button mushrooms
Feta cheese
4 whole wheat pitas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a foil-lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle cumin on as well, about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Drizzle with olive oil, about 1/3 cup. Toss to evenly coat potatoes. Bake in oven about 20 minutes.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and place on medium high heat. Combine lamb, 1/3 cup shallot, garlic, cumin, 1 diced tomato, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint and salt and pepper in a bowl. Shape into 4 patties. Place patties in skillet and cook 5 minutes on one side; flip and cook until done on other side (about 4 or 5 minutes).

In the meantime place a smaller skillet on a medium heat burner. Saute remaining shallot and mushrooms 3 minutes. Add spinach and fresh mint. Stir around and place lid on skillet to wilt spinach, about 2-3 minutes.

Warm pitas and then add patties (but into chunks for easier eating), spinach mushroom mix, feta cheese and extra tomato.

The final table including champagne (because you can't watch Project Runway without it!)

So now my question for you - what's your favorite kind of burger?