Asian Turkey Burger

(6 burgers)

Turkey burgers are tricky. The concept is great--they're quick and low in fat (and appeal to kids if ketchup is on hand). But the result can be disappointing--often dry, crumbly and flavorless.

This recipe ingeniously uses applesauce for moisture and sweetness and Asian flavors for zing. We found it in Ray Overton's "Main-Course Sandwiches" (Longstreet, $15.95). Overton serves it with peanut sauce, but we like it topped with lettuce, onions and a dollop of hoisin.

2 pounds lean ground turkey

1/3 cup applesauce

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon roasted (Asian) sesame oil, plus additional for the pan

1 tablespoon very finely minced fresh ginger root

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 scallions (white and tender green parts), finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 sesame-seed hamburger buns

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, applesauce, hoisin and soy sauces, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, scallions and salt and pepper to taste. Form the meat into 6 patties. (May be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

Lightly brush a grill pan or skillet with the sesame oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the patties and fry until golden, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the other side is golden and the turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bun. Serve immediately.

Per burger: 358 calories, 29 gm protein, 21 gm carbohydrates, 17 gm fat, 120 mg cholesterol, 4 gm saturated fat, 652 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber


Just in time for Black History Month: "Good Things to Eat," a reprint of a charming cookbook first published by Rufus Estes in 1911 (Howling at the Moon Press, $19.95).

Born a slave during the Civil War, Estes is reputed to be the first African American chef to compile a cookbook. As the story goes, he made his way from Nashville, where he worked in a restaurant, to Chicago during the Reconstruction era. There he became a cook on a private rail car, preparing mainstream to Southern to Creole dishes for presidents, European royalty and tycoons. Fortunately, he wrote down 591 of his fine-tuned recipes. One tells how to make a simple Apple Slump. Others are more complicated: Virginia Stew requires a "half-grown chicken, two squirrels, a slice of salt pork and a quarter pound of lard."


A warming trend: In both food and decor, "lemon, lime and orange are our emphasis," says Clelia Berindoague, general manager of the welcoming new Cafe Citron (1343 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-530-8844). So there's seviche to eat and fresh fruit juices to sip. Slated to open as Cafe Dupont, the name was changed at the suggestion of a first-time restaurant designer--the manager's daughter Jackie--who bathed the walls in soothing shades of yellow and green, mounted some lovely old citrus ads and graced the bar with fruit displays. Chef Jose Navati weighs in with dishes that traverse Latin America, including chicken stew from Bolivia, fajitas from Mexico and a sub sandwich peppered with Caribbean jerk seasoning. Open since Monday for lunch and dinner, the restaurant is as sunny as it gets in the city this winter.

Everything new is new again: That contemporary American restaurant across from the Warner Theater, Sporting News Grille, was less than four months old when its owners closed the place on Dec. 10 and reopened it three days later as the more upscale Christopher Marks (1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-628-5939). "We had an image problem: a sports bar that wasn't a sports bar," explains proprietor George Korten. The reincarnation, named after a Manhattan maitre d' from the '30s and '40s, finds colored oil paintings replacing black and white sports photos and linens instead of paper on the tables, plus the cooking of Robert Polk, a former sous chef at Bis on the Hill. On the menu: mushroom risotto, crab cakes fashioned into a towering "club" and Long Island duck, perched atop a stuffing of andouille sausage and pumpernickel. Nice touch: a pear and slices of cheese tucked into the bread basket. Less welcome: the kitchen's over-exercised salt shaker.

--Tom Sietsema


We can't get enough of this sweet (but not too sweet) Citrus Mustard created by the Ojai Cook in Southern California. No surprises here, this light, refreshing blend tastes just as you would expect from the list of ingredients: whole-grain mustard, orange marmalade, fennel seeds and green peppercorns. (Even if it weren't fat-free, we'd be hoarding jars as though they were made of gold.)

For uninspired weeknight leftovers, this condiment is a godsend, adding a citrusy zing to anything that you might slather with mustard: hamburgers, cold-cut sandwiches, cold rotisserie chicken, hot dogs, sausages. It even doubles as a glaze for roast poultry, ham or grilled seafood. Don't forget about the side dishes; mix it into vinaigrettes or mayo-based salads. Or, as the manufacturer suggests, stir it into fruit salsa and serve with chips, quesadillas or grilled meat or fish.

About $5.25 for 7 ounces. Available locally at Dean & DeLuca; for mail-order, call 1-888-657-1155 or www.ojaicook.com.


TODAY: Australia Day celebration with Aussie menu items at McCormick & Schmick Grill. 11:30 a.m.-midnight. 600 13th St. NW. Call 202-347-1500.

THURSDAY: Bollito Misto Feast-- Piedmontese wine dinner at Galileo. $75 includes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 1110 21st St. NW. Call 202-331-0997.

SATURDAY: Tasting Extravaganza-- gourmet food tasting at Fresh Fields Tysons Corner. Free. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 7511 Leesburg Pike, Tysons Corner. Call 703-448-1600.

SATURDAY: Discussion of quick, healthful cooking strategies with "Great Adventures in Food" author Ellen Haas at Borders Books and Music. Free. 2 p.m. White Flint Mall, 11301 Rockville Pike, Kensington. Call 301-816-1067.

TUESDAY: Five-course wine dinner at the Rail Stop. $65 excludes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 6478 Main St., The Plains. Call 540-253-5644.


FEB. 2: Winter wine dinner and discussion with Washington Post wine columnist Michael Franz at Clyde's of Tysons Corner. $55 includes tax and tip. 6:30 p.m. 8332 Leesburg Pike. Call 703-734-1901.

FEB. 2: Isole e Olena wine dinner at i Ricchi. $95 includes tax and tip. 6:30 p.m. 1220 19th St. NW. Call 202-385-0459.

FEB. 7: Game dinner featuring recipes from Joanna Pruess's "D'Artagnan's Glorious Game Cookbook" at Equinox. Sponsored by Les Dames d'Escoffier. $38 includes tax and tip. 6:30 p.m. 818 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-973-2168.

ADD THIS WEB SITE TO YOUR BOOKMARKS: www.alabev.com/food.htm

Sure, you could offer your Super Bowl guests any old beer that happens to be on sale. Or you could pay attention to the wide range of brews out there and, while you're at it, try your hand at the subtle art of beer and food pairing. Dishing up a fiery three-alarm chicken chili? Try a pale ale or an amber lager. Have you forgotten the difference between a porter and a stout? Go to this site for a simple, straightforward list of beer types, characteristics and what goes with what.