Holiday

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

I cannot express to you how juicy, cheesy and flavorful these burgers are! Last week we were talking about tried and true recipes and this is another one I’ve been making since 2008. Although these Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers aren’t in Matt’s and my rotation, that’s only because we try to eat somewhat healthy and don’t want to be eating cheese-stuffed burgers weekly. However, when we’re in the mood for a burger both of us instantly think about these huge smoky burgers. Especially with the beer involved they just scream summertime and standing out by your grill with a drink in hand.

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

Instead of melting the cheese on top, the burger meat is loaded with chunks of smoked gouda cheese. They create melted and gooey pockets of cheese in the burger, but the chunks are just big enough to not completely melt and still maintain their rich smoky flavor. The smoky flavor gets even more pronounced by the addition of smoked paprika in the burger seasoning. The beer, Worcestershire sauce and other seasonings also add to the richness and depth of flavor in these burgers.

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

I suggest letting the burgers firm up a little in the fridge after you make the patties otherwise you risk them falling apart with the cheese and liquid ingredients added to the meat. These ingredients are what make the burger so juicy though so I definitely wouldn’t skip anything! Pretzel buns are perfect for this burger because you want something that’s going to stand up to the bold flavors, just like Uncle Rob’s Tailgate Filet Sandwiches with Whiskey Marinade.

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

These Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers would be the ultimate dish for Father’s Day or the burger-lover in your life. I think it’s especially fitting to be posting these Father’s Day burgers today because it is my father-in-law, Floyd’s birthday! In addition to being caring and always willing to go above and beyond to lend a hand, my father-in-law loves burgers. So what better way to celebrate? I hope you enjoy these and make them for someone special this weekend!

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers
 
Yield: 6 burgers
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds 85% lean ground sirloin
  • ⅓ pound smoked gouda, cut into ¼-1/2” chunks
  • ¼ cup grated onion, about ⅓ of an onion
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces beer
  • 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 pretzel buns
  • Lettuce and tomato, for serving
Directions
  1. In a large bowl add the ground sirloin, diced gouda, grated onion, Worcestershire sauce, dijon, smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground coriander, salt and pepper. I used about 6 grinds each of our small salt and pepper grinders. Mix with your hands until roughly combined, try not to over-mix. Add the beer and mix into the burger. Form the burger meat into 6 patties. Lightly press your thumb into the center of the burger so the center is thinner than the edges. When burgers cook they bulge into the middle so this ensures an even patty. Place the patties on a plate or platter, cover then refrigerate for about 10 minutes. You can skip this step, but your burgers are more likely to stay together if they have a chance to firm up a little in the fridge.
  2. Heat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Lightly brush the burgers with the vegetable oil then grill for 4-5 minutes on each side for a medium done burger. Do not press down on the burger with your spatula while it is cooking or flip other than the one time. This is how burgers lose their juiciness! Bobby Flay recommends an internal temperature of 145 degrees F for a perfect burger, which comes out medium, although the USDA recommends 160 degrees F for ground beef. We always follow Bobby Flay’s recommendation, but cook to whatever temperature you prefer or are comfortable with.
  3. Remove from the heat and serve on the pretzel buns with the lettuce, tomato and condiment of choice. I recently had these with some pesto mayo and it was SO good!

Recipe slightly adapted from Rachel Ray.

Red, White & Blue Lemonade Slushie Cocktails

Red, White & Blue Lemonade Slushie Cocktails  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy Friday! It’s the Friday before a long weekend, which means we really have to celebrate. I wanted to post a festive drink for Memorial Day weekend, but when I was searching Pinterest for ideas most of them involved some sort of layering. A glass filled up part-way with a red drink layer, followed by a white layer then a blue layer. Definitely festive, but way more complicated than I wanted. It’s a holiday weekend! You don’t want to be stuck inside making multiple components for a cocktail!

Red, White & Blue Lemonade Slushie Cocktails  |  Lemon & Mocha

So I decided to stick with one color. The blue can be livened up with some red berries on top and it looks so refreshing. Oh, and it’s delicious. To get the blue color I used blue curacao. If you’ve never used blue curacao liquor before all you need to know is that it’s VERY blue and tastes like orange. Even though this drink is just blue and red (if you include the berry garnish) I still decided to call them Red, White and Blue Cocktails because they are perfect for both Memorial Day and 4th of July.

Red, White & Blue Lemonade Slushie Cocktails  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m a big fan of vodka lemonade drinks so I thought it would pair well with the citrus of the blue curacao. Throw it all in your blender with some ice cubes and you have a slushie vodka lemonade cocktail perfect for sitting out by the pool or playing lawn games in your backyard.

Red, White & Blue Lemonade Slushie Cocktails  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now this is definitely a simple drink so feel free to jazz it up by using flavored lemonade or throwing frozen berries (make sure they’re blue!) into the blender.

Red, White & Blue Lemonade Slushie Cocktails  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you want to make these without alcohol you could try using a blue sports drink, like Gatorade, instead of the vodka and blue curacao. This weekend I’ll be relaxing with friends and family – and having this festive vodka lemonade on repeat. What are you doing this Memorial Day Weekend?

Red, White & Blue Lemonade Slushie Cocktails  |  Lemon & Mocha

4th of July Lemonade Slushie Cocktails
 
Yield: 1 drink
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce blue curacao
  • 5 ounces lemonade
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 9 ice cubes
  • Blackberries and raspberries, for garnish
Directions
  1. Put the vodka, blue curacao, lemonade and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Garnish with the blackberries and raspberries.
Notes
To make these without alcohol, substitute the vodka and blue curacao for a blue sports drink, like Gatorade.

 

Flag Fruit & Dessert Platter

Flag Fruit & Dessert Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Memorial Day weekend always feels like the official start of summer. I’m sure I would feel differently if I was a teacher or if Matt and I had kids in school, but for us, come Memorial Day we are in full summer mode! Up here in Boston it usually means we will have warm weather from here on out without any random 50 degree “spring” days – not that I want to jinx it. It also means summer barbecues and outdoor eating are sticking around for the next few months. I love the casualness of a barbecue and it goes well with my new-found love for easy entertaining.

Flag Fruit & Dessert Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you know me, and especially if you’ve been to dinner at my house, you know I tend to… over-do it when it comes to food. Everything from scratch, multiple courses, me barely sitting because I’m making sure the fresh ravioli will be ready the same time as Matt is done searing the sous vide steak. Sound familiar? I love cooking, and I especially love cooking for other people, so when I have a chance to go all “chefy” and put my pent-up absorption of Top Chef season viewings to good use I go to town.

Flag Fruit & Dessert Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

However, in the last six months or so I have realized how amazing it is when you have people over and keep things simple. The food is still delicious, everyone still has a great time and best of all I (and my sous chef, Matt), get to fully enjoy the company. I have completely embraced grocery store shortcuts and I don’t plan to go back anytime soon. I still love to have at least one thing I get a little “chefy” with, whether it’s some homemade bread or a crazy dessert, but it doesn’t need to be the whole meal.

Flag Fruit & Dessert Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

That’s where this Flag Fruit & Dessert Platter comes in. This is the perfect easy entertaining dish to serve at Memorial Day barbecues, Fourth of July parties or anytime you’re feeling patriotic. As I’ve mentioned in the past posts, Babu and I used to make a flag cake every July 4th so I’m always looking for new ways to reinvent the iconic red, white and blue dessert. I thought it would be fun to do a snack board that’s easy to put together and make ahead of time, whether you’re hosting or bringing it to someone’s house. I went with a sweet and salty theme, although feel free to get creative if there are other treats you would prefer to include!

Flag Fruit & Dessert Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

For the red stripes I used cherries, strawberries and watermelon. For the white stripes I used store-bought yogurt covered pretzels and Chex Mix Muddy Buddies. I wasn’t able to find these in the Market Basket by me, but I might not have been looking in the right spot. Does anyone else get overwhelmed in there? I found both things at 7-11, although I know Trader Joe’s carries yogurt covered pretzels and the Flipz brand also has some. You can certainly make your own Muddy Buddies as they are just Chex cereal covered in chocolate, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar, but I was trying to keep it simple. A word of warning if you buy the Muddy Buddies – do not buy the cookies and cream flavor. Actually, let me re-phrase – buy the cookies and cream flavor to eat because it’s delicious, but do not buy it for this platter because it has speckles of Oreo that would throw off your white stripe.

Flag Fruit & Dessert Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

The blue stars are where I went a little “chefy”, but it’s not even really that fancy because it’s still so simple. Matt loves gummies so I wanted to include them in this dessert platter somehow. I tossed them in with the blueberries for the blue star portion of the flag board. These are lemon-lime gummy bears that I dyed blue. If you would rather another flavor you could substitute with a different fruit juice, such as orange or grape, but don’t use pineapple because the enzymes do something to the gelatin that makes them not turn out right. Making homemade gummy bears is something I’ve been wanting to try for a while and I finally went for it after reading the reviews on these cute animal silicone molds. The gelatin, juice and honey mixture gets heated in a saucepan then piped into the molds using a big dropper that comes with the molds.

Untitled design

After 20 minutes in the fridge to set they pop right out of the molds, cute smiles, paws and all! I highly recommend these molds if you want to try homemade gummies, otherwise feel free to go full simple and buy them at the store! I have another easy entertaining recipe to share on Wednesday so stay tuned! In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite recipes on Lemon & Mocha that each include some sort of grocery store shortcut:

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto  |  Lemon & Mocha

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto

Crab Dip Puffs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Crab Dip Puffs

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs

Chicken Cacciatore with Mushrooms & Artichokes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chicken Cacciatore with Mushrooms & Artichokes

Babu's Coffee Cake

Babu’s Coffee Cake

Summer Berry Trifle

Summer Berry Trifle

Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Crunch Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Crunch Chocolate Brownies

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake

Flag Fruit & Dessert Platter
 
Ingredients
for the platter
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon, diced
  • Cherries
  • White yogurt covered pretzels
  • Chex Muddy Buddies
for the gummies
  • 3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • ⅓ cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Blue food coloring
Directions
for the platter
  1. Wash and dry the berries and cherries. Place your bowl in the top-left corner and fill with blueberries and blue gummy bears. Lay the cherries horizontally on the top of your platter for the first stripe. Follow with a horizontal stripe of the yogurt covered pretzels. Then a stripe of the strawberries (you can hull and cut this if you prefer) followed by a stripe of the Chex Mix Muddy Buddies. Finish with a horizontal stripe of the diced watermelon at the bottom of the platter.
for the gummies
  1. Place the silicone gummy molds on a baking sheet that will fit in your fridge. I use two toaster oven sized pans. This will fill up one and a half of the silicone gummy molds in this post.
  2. Combine the gelatin, lime juice, honey and lemon zest in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until the mixture has melted and combined. Add a few drops of blue food coloring and stir to blend. Use the dropper to fill the silicone gummy molds. Place in the fridge and let set for 20 minutes. Pop them out of the molds then serve or place in the fridge in an airtight container.
Notes
I didn’t put amounts for the platter ingredients because it will depend on the size of your platter. The platter pictured here is roughly 11-inches by 17-inches. I used roughly 7 ounces of yogurt covered pretzels, 5 ounces of Muddy Buddies, 3 cups of cherries, 3 cups of whole strawberries, 3 cups diced watermelon, and ½ pint of blueberries.

To prep ahead of time place all the fruit in their spots except for the watermelon. Place the gummy bears in their spot as well. Cover and put in the fridge. When ready to serve, add the yogurt covered pretzels, Muddy Buddies and watermelon (their juices will run on the platter).

 

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Don’t worry, I promise this cake isn’t scandalous. Definitely delicious, but certainly not scandalous. It is called a naked cake because the sides aren’t frosted, but I will get to that in a bit. Last month we celebrated Matt’s 30th birthday!

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

When Matt and I first started dating during our sophomore year of college we celebrated his 20th birthday – that’s a whole decade of birthdays! We had only been dating for a few weeks, but I made him these very literal cupcakes.

200803091lemonandmocha

I’ve clearly come a long way- ha! I’ve made Matt many birthday desserts over the years, but I wanted this one to be extra special.

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

I decided to turn one of Matt’s favorite desserts, this Summer Berry Trifle, into a layer cake. The cake layers are angel food cake that have been brushed with a simple lemon syrup to keep them extra moist and bursting with light lemon flavor. The creamy filling and topping is a sturdy whipped cream. Basically, the base of a cream cheese frosting folded in with lots and lots of Cool Whip to make it light and fluffy. Piled in the middle and on top are sweet fresh berries. I used a combination of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Altogether, they make a fresh and light cake – perfect for eating a big slice.

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

When you get a big bite of the syrup-brushed cake with the cream filling and the berries it is completely magical.

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now, to the scandalous aspect of the cake. A naked cake simply means that there is little or no icing on the sides of the cake, letting the layers bare all. The layers of whipped filling in the middle and on the top of the cake are thick enough that you really don’t need the additional filling on the sides of the cake. Leaving the cake naked lets the beautiful berries in the middle of the cake peek out. It also saves you time from having to try to make the sides look perfect and smooth – a win-win!

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

I think a cake this delicious is great any time of the year, but it is especially fitting for a summer gathering with berry season soon approaching. Enjoy!

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Triple Berry Angel Food Cake Trifle
 
Yield: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 box angel food cake mix, batter prepared according to directions on box
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon or almond extract
  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 ounces reduced fat Cool Whip
  • 8 ounces strawberries, washed
  • 1 cup blackberries, washed
  • 1 cup raspberries, washed
  • More berries for topping, if needed
Directions
  1. To make two round cakes, I lined two 9” round pans with parchment paper. I divided the batter between the two prepared pans, making sure not to fill them more than ¾ full. You will most likely have some excess batter. I weighed them with my kitchen scale to make sure they would be even layers. Bake at the temperature specified by the box for 20-30 minutes. The cake is done when the top is dark golden brown and the top cracks are dry not sticky. When it’s done baking, tilt the pan on its side. I leaned mine up, cake facing down, against a raised cooling rack. Once it’s completely cool, run a knife around the edges of the pan then carefully remove.
  2. Over medium-high heat in a small saucepan heat ¼ cup of the sugar and ¼ cup of the lemon juice. Stir frequently while heating until the sugar dissolves. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon extract. Set aside.
  3. Beat the remaining ½ cup of sugar and the cream cheese on medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Fold in the Cool Whip until smooth. Stir in the tablespoon of lemon juice. Take one of the cooled angel food cake rounds and brush the top with the lemon syrup. Spoon a bunch of the whipped filling onto the cake and smooth with a spatula. Put half of the berries in a single layer on top of the filling. I left the blackberries and raspberries whole, but I halved and quartered the strawberries depending on how big they were. Dollop some more of the whipped filling on top of the berries then carefully smooth it out over the berries with a spatula. Top with the second angel food cake layer. Brush the top with the lemon syrup. Spread a thick layer of the whipped filling on top and smooth with a spatula. Top with the remaining berries. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from the July/August 2010 issue of The Food Network Magazine.

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits. Yes, you read that correctly. I will let that sink in for a moment. As much as I love all the chocolatey treats I’ve made over the years, this might be one of my favorite desserts I’ve ever made. I say one of because I definitely would never be able to choose. You know about my love affair with homemade lemon curd from Monday’s post so I’m going to skip ahead here and dive right into this no-bake cookie butter cheesecake layer.

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’ve never tasted cookie butter before (also known as speculoos spread), it tastes like crushed up sweet spice cookies that have been turned into a spread a little thicker than peanut butter. If that description is blowing your mind right now wait until you actually try some; definite life-changing experience right there. So this amazing spreadable cookie butter is combined with cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Right when you think it can’t get any better, Cool Whip is folded in to make the whole layer light, airy, and perfect for eating by the spoonful. But try to resist! You need it for the parfaits!

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits  |  Lemon & Mocha

The cookie crumb layer is made with speculoos cookie crumbs, which are the same cookies used to make cookie butter. The predominant flavor is brown sugar with a bit of cinnamon. I used the Lotus Biscoff brand for both the cookies and the cookie butter, but Trader Joe’s also makes an excellent version of both products.

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits  |  Lemon & Mocha

The buttery cinnamonyness (say that five times fast!) of the speculoos cookie crumbs and cheesecake pair perfectly with the tart creaminess of the lemon curd. Top it all off with some Cool Whip and extra cookie crumbs and you are one spoon away from light, creamy, and flavor-exploding heaven.

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits  |  Lemon & Mocha

These are the first parfaits I’ve made and they do take a fair amount of time to put together. The presentation is spot on and they would look really nice for a shower or fancy brunch. Next time I might try putting all the layers in a small trifle bowl to reduce the amount of assembly time. And I say next time because these will be happening again very, very soon. Enjoy!

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits
 
Yield: 4 parfaits (see note)
Ingredients
for the lemon curd layer
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
for the cookie crumb layer
  • 16 speculoos cookies, about half of an 8.8 ounce package
for the cheesecake layer
  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup cookie butter or speculoos spread
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 8 ounces reduced fat Cool Whip
for the topping
  • 4 ounces low fat Cool Whip
Directions
for the lemon curd layer
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in the pieces of butter. Whisk the curd frequently until the curd is thick enough that it keeps the mark of the whisk when you touch it to the curd in the saucepan.
  2. Transfer the lemon curd to a small bowl to cool. If there are small lumps of egg you can push the curd through a fine mesh sieve, but I typically skip this step because it will also strain out the lemon zest, which adds a lot of flavor. Cover the surface of the lemon curd with a piece of plastic wrap so that it’s completely touching the curd. Place in the fridge to cool.
for the cookie crumb layer
  1. In a food processor, pulse the cookies until you have crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, carefully smash the cookies in a freezer bag with a rolling pin or meat mallet. Put in a bowl and set aside.
for the cheesecake layer
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, cookie butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the Cool Whip and fold in until combined. Try not to eat it all and set aside.
assembling the parfaits
  1. Use parfait dishes or stemless wine glasses to layer the parfaits. Start with the cookie crumbs. It will depend on the size of your dish, but I used a couple spoonfuls. Then top with some of the cheesecake layer. You’re going to want the cheesecake layer to be the thickest layer (other than the Cool Whip on top). It takes a bit to get into a rhythm with these; I found if I used a spoon to push the cheesecake cream to touch the edge of the glass all around it stuck better and let me smooth it instead of it moving around with my spoon when I was trying to spread it. Next is the lemon curd layer. A little goes a long way; you don’t want it to overpower the cookie butter cheesecake. The layer looks thick in mine, but that was because I was trying to make sure it was visible it for the photos. Next top with another cookie crumb layer, then more cheesecake, then more lemon curd. Finally top with Cool Whip to fill the glass, smooth and sprinkle some cookie crumbs on top. Eat or cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Notes
I used 11 ounce stemless wine glasses and it made 4 parfaits. Depending on how hungry you are, this was a lot of parfait for 1 serving. Maybe fill them only ¾ of the way up or use smaller glasses.

Lemon curd from Sketches and Scribbles.