Just Because

Because it's getting warmer out, and because I can't in good conscience give you another cookie recipe.

Because I love olives, and hope you do, too.

Because burgers made with turkey don't have to taste like cardboard.

Because the phrase tomato jam just sounds so cozy and delicious.

Because the Katies and Perri and I ate them together, with pearl barley salad and wine. And wine. And wine. And wine.

Because I care about you.

Just because. Turkey feta burgers with olives. And tomato jam.

Turkey Feta Burgers with Olives & Tomato Jam
Adapted from Bon Appetit (August 2008)


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • big pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper
for tomato jam:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper

To make the tomato jam, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, and add the onion, cooking until soft and fragrant. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the sugar, thyme, salt and pepper, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and you're left with about 2 cups of tomato jam. Remove the jam from pot and let cool.

To make burgers, place the ground turkey in a large bowl. Throw in the onion, feta, olives, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, and mix gently, just until everything is combined. While mixing, try not to squeeze and mash up the turkey meat too much -- overworking the meat will result in tough, dry burgers.

Gently form the turkey mixture into six medium-sized patties, pushing your thumb in the center of each patty to form a small indent (burgers puff up in the center when cooked - making indents ensures a nice, flat patty, instead of a round burger that looks like a meatball).

Heat up the grill (or, if you live in a tiny apartment like me), grill pan, to medium-high heat, and brush the grill (or grill pan) with olive oil. Grill the burgers until slightly charred and completely cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

Serve with fluffy rolls and tomato jam. And maybe a big scoop of ricotta, because it's damn good and that's the way I roll.

Makes 6 burgers and about 2 cups of tomato jam.


A Little Smackerel

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best—" and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.

From A. A. Milne, of course. Silly old bear.

I don't have a lot to say today; I just wanted to leave you with a little smackerel of something to taste.

Chewy Brown Butter Chocolate Pecan Blondies

These are a sort of specialty of mine. I've tested and re-tested this recipe a dozen times, and I'm pretty confident saying that these are the blondiest of blondies. They're moist, toothsome, and full of deep, rich flavor. Make them when you're in a brownie state of mind, but are feeling a bit devious. Like, brown butterishly devious. Go on. It's just a little smackerel.

  • 1.5 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line a 8x12x2 inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting 2 inches of paper hang over the side of the dish. Butter the lining, too.

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Brown the butter in a medium saucepan, using medium heat and stirring often. When it’s finished, it should be a rich golden-brown color.

While the butter is browning, mix the two sugars in a large bowl, and break up any big lumps in the brown sugar. After the butter has browned, let it cool a bit and then pour it into the bowl with the sugars and whisk the butter and sugar together until combined.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and then add them to the butter/sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and whisk until the mixture is combined. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans and transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.

Bake for 27 minutes or until the top cracks slightly and is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center comes out with moist pieces clinging to it. Remove bars from pan using the parchment paper, and, once completely cool, cut them into 2-inch squares.

Makes about 20 to 25 blondies.