My eldest son goes to The Ohio State University, which is about a two hour drive south from where I live. As he has not had a car on campus, anytime he wants to come home, it can mean 8 hours of driving (2 down, 2 back, then 2 down to take him back and 2 back again). So as a consequence, he did not come home a lot of weekends.
Last Thanksgiving, he was able to get a ride home on the Wednesday before the holiday, but needed to return to campus just two days later in order to be there for the big Ohio State vs
Michigan game the next day. We decided we would go down as a family and see a basketball game while we were there. Because of that, we were not able to help other family members put up Christmas lights on my Father-In-Law’s (FIL) house. My FIL is 80 and has had one knee replaced and another that likely will be. While he knows he shouldn’t be up on ladders, he’s the kind of guy that just might to get it done. As a consequence, one of my brothers-in-law (BIL) has “borrowed” the ladder and has repeatedly “forgotten” to return it. My FIL knows what is going on and good-humoredly accepts it. While my FIL was out of town for the holiday, another member of the family wanted to get the lights up.
The Ranting Wife’s boss was also hosting a student for the holiday (his nephew Isaac), who also was looking to get back to campus on Friday, so we volunteered to take him down to Columbus. We picked up Isaac and got on the highway heading south. Isaac quickly showed himself to be an extremely respectful, nice kid.
Early in the trip my wife realized that the family member might not know about the ladder situation so while I was engaging Isaac in some light conversation, the Ranting Wife pulled out her phone, started texting and asked “How do you spell the word hostage?”
I quickly looked up in the rear view mirror and saw Isaac’s eyes get a little wide. Laughing, I told her both the spelling and that I was sure she just made him REALLY nervous!
Mustard Seed Chicken Burger
This was a really surprising sandwich. Using chunks of chicken and the apple really adds a lot to this dish.
When I first saw the recipe, I expected it would use ground chicken.
Mixing the “burger” together.
The patties look a little odd.
They are a little fragile until they are cooked.
I made them to meet the size of the rather large buns, so only a couple fit on my indoor grill at a time.
Mustard Seed Chicken Burger
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tart green apple, peeled
1 1/2 pounds uncooked, skinless, boneless, dark chicken meat (from legs and thighs), coarsely chopped and chilled
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 green onions, white and light green parts only, finely sliced (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 onion buns
1 ripe avocado
Piquillo Pepper Ketchup
1. In a small saucepan, mix together the wine, mustard seeds, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and pour into a small bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight. The seeds will soften and swell. Drain and reserve the seeds. Refrigerate in a covered container until needed. The mustard seeds can be soaked and drained well ahead of time.
2. Coarsely shred the apple into a large bowl. Add the chicken, mustard seeds, Dijon mustard, and green onions. Lightly but thoroughly knead them together well. Handling lightly to keep the texture light and juicy, divide the chicken into 4 evenly sized patties about 1 inch thick. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
3. When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat until very hot or build a medium-hot fire in a barbecue. Brush the burgers on both sides with olive oil and generously season on both sides with salt and pepper.
4. Cook the burgers in the skillet, turning once or twice, until browned and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Do not press down on the patties. With a large spoon, baste the burgers several times with the fat in the pan. (You can also preheat the oven to 450°F and cook the burgers on top of the stove until they are brown on both sides, and then finish them in the oven.) To grill the burgers, oil the grate, arrange the patties on it, and cover. Cook until done as above.
5. While the burgers cook, toast the buns in a toaster oven or under the broiler, about 5 inches from the heat, until lightly toasted. Or toast them on the outer perimeter of the grill rack.
6. When the burgers are done, remove them to a warm platter, keep warm, and let rest for several minutes while dressing the buns. Peel, pit and slice the avocado.
7. To build the burgers, spread the bun bottoms with the ketchup. Add several avocado slices, then sprinkle the burgers with salt and pepper. Top with a small pile of the endive-apple salad. Cover with the bun tops and serve immediately. Pass more of the ketchup at the table.