Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Grilling This Memorial Day Weekend?

In Memory of my Uncle Steven Casanova...
He, who was always in the kitchen...

Born November 29, 1949 and died of colon cancer January 22, 2009...

A professor at St. Cloud State University, he served as a student advisor of M.E.Ch.A. and developed the Chicano Studies Program. As an activist, he was involved with "El Movimiento" in many different ways throughout his entire life. He was a Sundancer, spiritual guide, mentor, and council member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation. As a self-taught chef, he learned how to cook and was in the middle of writing a cookbook that would guide his culture towards healthy eating. 

Always seeking knowledge and giving guidance, Uncle Steve remains in my heart and in my kitchen. In celebration of his life, I have created the Casanova Burger, a combination of many of his favorite ingredients. Although he'd probably wouldn't eat this hearty burger all the time, since its not the healthiest of ingredients, I know he would have savored every bite if he was here to enjoy it with me this Memorial Day Weekend. With his belly full 'Casanovaness' and heart full of gratefulness, he probably would've even helped me clean up. 

Casanova Burger
• 1 ½ lb 95% ground beef 
• ¾ lb bulk chorizo
• 8 oz black beans, rinsed and dried
• 2 poblanos, thinly sliced
• 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
• 1 orange, zest & juice 
• 2-3 TBS olive oil
• 2 avocados
• 1 medium tomato, chopped
• 1 lime, zest & juice
• BOULDER BLUES Teasonings (Tea + Seasonings = Tea-sonings)
Note: Tea-soning yields about 11 TBS: Use 5-6 TBS for patties, 3 TBS for sautéed veggies and 2 for guacamole
o 2 TBS BOULDER BLUES, finely ground

o 2 TBS Chipotle Chile Pepper

o 2 TBS garlic, ground
o 1 TBS grange peel, dried
o 1 TBS salt
o 2 tsp marjoram

o 2 tsp back pepper

o 2 tsp thyme

o 2 tsp cilantro flakes

o 2 sp cumin

o 1 tsp oregano
• 6 hamburger buns, light and fluffy, (I like Ciabatta)
• Queso Machego, 10-12 ¼ in slices
• Optional: 1 cup sour cream
• Garnish: 1 orange, 6-8 slices & pickles

Prep Time: 15 - 20 min / Cook Time: 10 minutes 
Serving Size: 6 - 8

1. Heat grill to medium-high. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
2. Tea-sonings: Grind BOULDER BLUES green tea. In a mixing bowl, add the BOULDER BLUES and combine with Chile garlic, orange peel, salt, marjoram, pepper, thyme, cilantro, cumin and oregano. 
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, chorizo, black beans orange zest, lime zest and 6 TBS of Tea-sonings. Form 6 – 8 burgers. Set aside to tenderize.
4. Add onions to skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add Tea-sonings, poblanos, juice from orange and sauté until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Reserve.
5. As the poblano mixture sautés, place the burgers on the grill. Cook to medium rare or medium, about 4-6 minutes on each side. Take off grill, place on foil, put cheese on top and tent, letting the cheese melt.
6. Guacamole: In a medium-mixing bowl, mash avocado. Fold in tomatoes and zest and juice from lime and 2 TBS of Tea-sonings.
7. Lightly toast buns
8. To Plate: Place buns on each plate, spoon sour cream in small side dishes. Top base of bun with guacamole, layer burger, top burger with poblano mixture and spoonful guacamole on top of bun. Garnish with an orange slice and a pickle.

My promise, which I made at my Uncle Steve's funeral, to finish his cookbook (actually it is more like start & finish since I only have 3 of his recipes), is alive and well. This recipe will definitely be part of the cookbook. Which means I need your help to make this Ultimate Burger Recipe. The next time your grilling burgers, grill the Casanova Burger and post or e-mail me any suggestions, comments or cooking techniques that might help improve the taste, flavor or presentation of this burger because this recipe needs to be the Ultimate Burger Recipe...


  1. in honour of your uncle steve ~ i will give the casanova burger a whirl and report back. best wishes with the cook book ~ what a lovely tribute to finish his works ...


  2. Thanks for visiting my blog, what a lovely tribute to your Uncle! I am a loose tea appreciator myself and really like the looks of the Pu'erh, which I haven't heard of before, but how can you go wrong with an Earl Grey that could help you loose weight and assist rehabilitation from your hangover!
    Off for a cuppa!