Making a Local Burger

Good morning!

First off, I’d just like to draw your attention again to our new “Favorites” page, found in the navigation bar at the top of the blog, just under the logo. We’re hoping this comes in handy on nights when you just don’t know what to make for dinner or what to bring to the office the next day for treat. As always, always feel free to let us know what you think and how we can make DC easier for you to use!


Now, if you follow our tweets, then you may have seen me mention that on Saturday I went to a really neat gourmet store/cafe in Charlottesville called Feast! Almost all the food is local. Feast’s mission connects “local farmers, artisan food producers and consumers by specifically sourcing and endorsing hand-made, local and seasonal foods that sustain the viability of farmland and family-owned food businesses.”


So Morgan and I allowed ourselves to indulge a little, and we bought some basil pesto, fancy cheese, & apples. This week I’ll be experimenting with using that cheese, called Red Dragon. Red Dragon is a creamy cheddar made from cow’s milk, containing Welsh brown ale and brown mustard seeds. There’s a bit of horseradish flavor to it; it’s definitely spicy with some good bite (read more about it here, here or here).


I’ve praised Ray’s Hell Burger in Northern Virginia here before – and what makes them stand out is the amazing quality of their ingredients. A burger is a simple thing, but quality beef, unique cheeses and a “just right” bun really makes a difference. Morgan and I used a few slices of the Red Dragon cheese we bought, as well as a pound of local ground chuck. The result was amazing.


We try not to be big beef eaters, so we figure if you’re going to make a burger, you may as well make it the best burger. I cut up some green pepper and onion, also bought at the farmer’s market – keeping with our local theme, and threw them into the patties. Check out some of your local markets soon, and get ready to taste an amazing burger!


Making a Local Burger

1 pound local ground chuck
1 medium-small farmer’s market green pepper
1 medium-small farmer’s market yellow onion
small block of local cheese (something with bite, like Red Dragon)
6 hamburger buns (gasp, we didn’t go local here!)
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon Nature’s Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
dash paprika

Heat a grill pan on medium heat (we don’t have an actual grill, so if you do – go for it!). Dice green pepper and onion and set aside. Add ground chuck to a medium size bowl and combine green pepper, onion, egg and spices. Mix thoroughly with hands. When spices are fully incorporated, form into 6 medium size patties.

Add a small amount of oil to the grill pan and add patties two at a time, cooking for 4-5 minutes on each side (8-10 minutes total), until desired doneness is reached. Enjoy!

Spinach and Mozzarella Stuffed Mushrooms

Edwin says he loves veggies, but I don’t think he cares for mushrooms very much. This is sort of crazy, right? What kind of flexitarian can’t appreciate some quality mushrooms?

baby bellas

It’s true, mushrooms are a fungus. They have no roots, leaves, flowers or seeds, and the thought of eating fungus is more than a little disturbing. But if you can put all that aside, they’re really a pretty neat food that can add great flavor to your meals.

baby bella capsdiced bellas

You might have guessed, they’re good for you! They can also be a little dangerous, as they’re sometimes confused with young specimens of the deadly poisonous destroying angel mushroom (destroying angel – what an amazing name!).


They do have some special storage and prep concerns that you may want to consider to preserve their moisture without becoming soggy and keep them fresh for several days (brought to you by

ready for oven

  • Store loose button mushrooms in the refrigerator either in a loosely closed paper bag, wrapped in a damp cloth or laid out in a glass dish covered with a moist cloth.
  • Store prepackaged mushrooms in the refrigerator for up to one week in their original container.
  • Clean them using minimal water – wipe them with a slightly damp paper towel or kitchen cloth, as mushrooms are very porous and may absorb water during cleaning and become soggy.


I made these for lunch recently one weekend for my husband Morgan and I, and we really enjoyed them. This is a fairly mild recipe – no strong, spotlight stealing spices or pungent cheeses. If you’d like more kick to yours, try sprinkling a little more cayenne over the top, or using a salty cheese like Pecorino Romano.



Spinach and Mozzarella Stuffed Mushrooms

1 medium prepackaged container of baby bella mushrooms
1/2 square package frozen chopped spinach, cooked
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
12 turns of black pepper, 4 turns of salt
2 tablespoons Italian seasoned bread crumbs
cayenne pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F. Wipe away any dirt on the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Pop off the stems by hand (they come out much easier than if you try cutting) and dice stems.

Combine cooked spinach, diced mushroom stems, garlic and cheese (leaving out just a little bit of cheese) in a medium bowl. Using a small spoon, stuff mushrooms caps carefully so that they do not break.

Combine bread crumbs, salt, pepper, 2 or 3 taps of cayenne and a small glug of extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Bring together with a fork.

Sprinkle caps with remaining cheese and bread crumb mixture. Cook for 20 minutes; serve immediately.