When it comes to family dinner, unanimity of approval is the dream. Over the past few years, we’ve developed a pretty solid rotation of meals – shrimp with feta, pork chops, grilled cheese — that achieve something close to 100% satisfaction around the table, that elicit not a squeak of protest when plate hits table. But that rotation, like the diamond-crusted roster of the New York Yankees, is in constant need of refurbishing and reinvention. Move forward or perish, right? We’re always trying to introduce new things that we can come back to again and again, things that taste a little better that what we ate last night, or are a little more heart healthy, or a little easier to make.
Here’s the problem with introducing something new: most of the time, at least one of the kids won’t touch it.
But that’s okay! We have a theory around our house: If we can achieve 75% happiness with a new meal – that is, if 3 of the 4 people at our table eat the meal without complaining, crying, or vomiting – then that meal is worth making again. And the more we make it, the more likely our li’l holdout will be to try it, and once she tries it, the more likely she will be to come around eventually to, you know, liking it. And in this way, our dinner rotation expands.
Take last Sunday, for example. It was hot and muggy and the back of my neck was getting both dirty and gritty. It felt like a burger night, only we’re trying not to eat as much beef these days and the thought of another dry, workman-like turkey burger, even dressed up with cheese, hurt my soul. So we got some ground chicken – white meat and dark — from the guy with the cooler full of farm-raised stuff at our farmer’s market, and went for something different: tandoori burgers with yogurt sauce, doctored up from an old Martha Stewart recipe. The verdict? 3 out of 4. — Andy
Tandoori Chicken Burgers
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
4 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and lots of pepper
Whole wheat hamburger buns
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
In large mixing bowl, combine chicken, scallions, ginger, lemon juice, paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cover and put in refrigerator for 45 minutes (this lets it all marinate, and also makes it easier to handle). Form into patties and grill (or fry in pan) until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes a side. (Make sure to oil the grill beforehand, as the burgers will stick.) Serve on whole wheat buns, topped with lots of crunchy cucumber slices and yogurt sauce.
For yogurt sauce: Whisk together 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, couple pinches of sugar.