There are many things I love about living in the historic neighborhood of downtown St. Pete: the closeness to the water and several parks, the cobblestone streets that lead to the most adorable bungalows with their unique qualities, the beautiful old banyan and oak trees that provide the much-needed shade on these blistering hot days, the rustling of the bamboo trees with the slight hint of breeze, but most of all, I love the special sense of community that still exist here, and the people in this town are very supportive of the local businesses. From the local artisans to the multiple eclectic restaurants, shops, and local breweries that have popped up in the last few years, this town is fast becoming one of the top places to not only visit, but to live in. It is also an up and coming foodie town.
Last week, I visited one of these local artisans, The Urban Canning Company. They produce handcrafted and naturally preserved foods made from seasonal ingredients, with the most unique flavors. I don’t get excited over shopping at the mall. Honestly, I don’t really enjoy the mall at all. But one thing I do get excited about is shopping at these local shops, whether it’s a vintage shop down Central Avenue, or a little boutique that showcases works of local makers. Mostly, I am over the moon when the shops revolve around food made locally. Being at Urban Canning was just heavenly. They have items like jams, pickles, and beer mustard made with beer from Green Bench Brewing Company. I mean, how great is that? Everything is right around the corner from me! It is my little piece of heaven.
I did buy a few items from them, and I plan on making regular trips there. One of those items is this jar of Rosemary Mead pickled cherries. I have to admit, this is a first for me. I’ve never tried pickled cherries before, and I didn’t really know what to expect, but I love pickled anything really, so I just couldn’t wait to try it. Let me tell you, it is amazing! It’s tangy with a slight hint of sweetness, and the earthiness of the rosemary just complimented the flavor so well. I just knew that I had to make a recipe out of this great find. I thought of a few things to make, but based on the flavor, I thought it would go really well with lamb, and since Labor Day Weekend is coming up, I figured why not a lamb burger with pickled cherry relish? The burger recipe below is adapted from the Sheila Lukins All Around the World Cookbook. To make it my own, I added the goat cheese and rosemary, and of course, the pickled cherry relish. This combination of flavors is just out of this world! The creaminess of the goat cheese as it oozed out with each bite along with the sweet and tangy relish with a tiny bit of crunch from the pistachio was like a symphony (yes, I may have heard music after each bite). I hope you give it whirl! Have a safe holiday weekend ahead!
INGREDIENTS FOR THE RELISH:
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1/2 cup (pitted) pickled cherries
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons roasted shelled pistachios
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and pulse until the ingredients are evenly chopped and incorporated. Season with the salt and pepper and refrigerate.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BURGER:
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1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
3 large minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon agave
6-8 tablespoons of goat cheese
1 bag arugula
6-8 Hamburger buns
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Be careful to not over mix. Form the mixture into 6-8 patties. Make an indentation in the middle of each patty and place a tablespoon of goat cheese then reform to close off the middle. Grill or broil to the your liking. Place the burgers in between each bun and layer with arugula. Spread some relish on top of each burger and enjoy!