Apparently, Thing-In-A-Bun is my go-to for a quick low-energy dinner. I think I tell myself there’s no need for a side dish, it’s easily eaten out on the patio, and it usually comes together fast. The other night, I made salmon burgers, a popular favorite around here, and thought of you! You’ll love the tangy, yogurt-dill sauce that goes with this Thing-In-A-Bun!
Makes 4; Adapted from Martha Stewart, Queen of Everything.
In a bowl, mix together:
- 1 pound of skinless salmon, diced into 1/4″ – 1/2″ cubes
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup panko (plus more if your mix seems too watery when it’s time to portion them)
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- 1/2 teaspoon (or more!) dried or fresh dill
- Zest and juice of half a lemon
- 2 green onions, sliced thin
- Salt and Pepper – just a bit of each
Stir ingredients well to combine. Let rest while you prepare a baking sheet with foil and oil. Butter the cut side of four hamburger buns and toast them lightly under the broiler. Using a biscuit cutter as a guide, spoon the salmon mixture into four patties on the prepared baking sheet, packing the mix down with your spoon to form a tight patty. Broil, turning once, until cooked through and just browning along the edges, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Prepare the topping by mixing together:
- 1 cup plain yogurt (just a little single serving size works great here!)
- Zest and juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried or fresh dill
- 1/2 teaspoon horseradish
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Top your burgers, pull together a salad from the back of the fridge, and treat yourself!
Growing up, my very favorite event in public school may very well have been Cheese Zombie day. Warm, soft dough wrapped around melty, gooey cheese and eaten out of hand on the schoolyard, they were amazing. Turns out these weren’t an exclusive specialty of the house at Pleasant Hill Elementary; friends from around the East Bay remember them fondly. Some folks have even admitted they prefer them with a slip of ham inside, though I have severed all ties with those people, and align myself with the cheese-and-only-cheese camp.
A friend of a friend acquired this recipe from a former lunch lady, and I’ve adapted it for household proportions (unless you want to make 200 of these – if so, let me know! I’m equipped for that!). I’ve tried it with fancier cheeses, but will admit they come out a little runny and oily. This really is the one time I will allow Velveeta into our house, and it’s totally worth it. I’ve heard of folks filling these with mozzarella, pepperoni, and a bit of tomato sauce – sounds lovely!
This recipe is suitable for beginners – it’s super easy! Here’s how:
Adapted from a recipe by the Mount Diablo Unified School District
Dissolve 2 tablespoons of active dry yeast into 2 cups of warm (not hot!) water in the bottom of your mixer’s bowl, stirring until all the grainy bits have gone gooey. Then add:
- 6 cups of bread flour (you could use all white, or substitute up to 2 cups wheat bread flour here);
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar;
- 1 1/2 teaspoon table salt; and
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, grated on a cheese grater or chopped into small bits
Mix the ingredients with the dough hook on low speed for 10 minutes. You will really think this is taking too long, and after about 5 minutes you’ll decide the dough looks ‘doughy’ enough. Please, please, please listen to me. Keep going. Let your mixer work this dough for a full 10 minutes, and you’ll be delighted to discover that it’s come past ‘good enough’ and become velvety, soft, and elastic.
seriously silky, y’all
You could stop right here and use this dough for dinner rolls that your family will love you for. You, however, are on the hunt for Cheese Zombies, so you will unwrap a block of Velveeta, and hack it up into cubes of a size you prefer. Myself, I prefer less cheese and I go with a block about 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch, by 1-inch per Zombie. This recipe won’t use up a whole block of uncut Velveeta, so you should feel free to purchase instead 2 packages of pre-sliced Kraft or Velveeta processed cheese, unwrap each slice and stack them, and slice them into your cubes; trust me, you’ll have lots less waste to deal with if you don’t have another plan for a third of a block of american cheese!
On a smooth surface, turn out your dough and form it into a ball. Cut the ball into quarters, and each quarter into sixths (snack size) or quarters (meal size) as you prefer.
With each piece of dough, form into a ball, then flatten into a disc. Top with a bit of your cheese, and pinch the sides to seal the cheese inside.
Roll the finished Zombie between your cupped hand and the counter to super-seal the bottom (nobody likes a leaky Zombie!).
Place your Zombies onto a prepared cookie sheet and let rise under a damp towel until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Once risen, brush the tops of your Zombies with a wash made of one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water. You can sprinkle the tops if you like with something fun like sesame, za’taar spice, flaky salt, cracked pepper, or leave them unadorned.
Bake in a 350-degree oven until lightly browned on top, about 17 minutes.
My Darling Sister,
I thought I would share my lunchtime walk with you today. We started out towards a geocache located in Chinatown. We walked two blocks to Kearny and agreed we were both starving – I spotted the House of Nanking. I hadn’t been there since college (1999) and it has changed since then.
I ordered the wonton soup, expecting the tradition clear broth. This was the BEST I have ever had! Coconut milk as the base, with slices of lemon and fresh basil leaves and stems. They had fresh pork wontons in there, and crispy rice with a splash of hot oil. No more crazy lines to get in, and cramped seats – it is more open and there was no wait. Food came out right away!
Next we headed up Washington to our geocache. It was located in an alley that has a fortune cookie factory you can view for free! So of course we did.
Fortune Cookie Factory
Fortune cookie making! We payed a dollar to take photos – as the sign requested.
My favorite colors.
Next geocache was located near the Cable Car Museum.
First off this museum is SO LOUD! Obviously it is still a working station driving the cables for all the cable cars to run across the city. It is also free!
Cable car waiting for its run.
Hipster cable car man.
You can barely make out the Mason sign in my picture, but each wheel is labeled for which cable car it runs.
There are what run the cables for the whole cable car line.
Giant spool of cable. It is super heavy. Even a 4 inch piece of cable is heavy to hold.
You can purchase old street signs for $175.00. Not bad.
We saw this building on our walk back and decided to check it out. On our walks we have discovered hidden temples before – although this isn’t quite hidden.
I didn’t take any pictures inside, but it is altars and beautiful lanterns hanging from the ceiling. There is incense burning and old ladies sitting around folding prayer papers. Pretty cool.
Mosaic on the outside steps.
Some cool fruits and my favorite colors.
Kumquats? Anyhoo hope you enjoyed my lunchtime walk. We got 6,800 steps in!
My Darling Sister,
I attempted a Pinterest craft…and succeeded! For a moment I lost faith, and thought this was going to a Pinterest fail. My motivation was to make cupcakes with gold nuggets for a gold panning theme.
I purchased black Wilton cupcake papers from Michaels. I like how ripply the edges are. Purchased two cans of Wilton edible gold spray, and blue rock candy from the checkout line. I would have purchased clear if they had it, but the choices were red, purple and blue.
I lined a vans shoe box with tin foil and parchment paper, to handle all the overspray.
I took a wooden spoon and broke the rock candy off the stick and into large pieces while still in plastic package. Then I poured the contents onto a tupperware lid. The spray is very liquid and pools, so I took advantage of that.
The original poster added lustre dust to the rock candy while wet to add a more yellow-golden hue, but I was too lazy to drive back to Michaels.
The first coat was disappointing. Once it dried, then the second coat really stuck and restored my faith in this Pinterest project.
It took two cans to coat three packages of rock candy.
I frosted the cupcakes with my trusty recipe for buttercream frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 of a stick of softened butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 teaspoons of milk (I don’t actually measure that I just add little bits at a time till I like the consistency)
a pinch of salt
I pushed the gold nuggets into the frosting right after piping onto the tops of the cupcakes, because if you wait too long the frosting gets a nice crust.
Check out my new super-sweet cupcake carrier/display stand. I couldn’t resist – it collapses down to one tier for storage! Also purchased at Michaels – wish I had one of those coupons I always allow to expire.
We will have to think of more edible things to gild, sister!