Remember that time I said I was a creature of habit? Well, I wasn’t effing around. Especially when it comes to food. I know what I like, I know what I need, and lord help your teeth if you’re going to try to tell me otherwise. Unless you’re my friend Lanners.
I met Chelan “Lanners/Lan-Lan/Lannakin Skywalker” Simmons while shooting season one of The LA Complex (premiering Tuesday April 24th on the CW, plug plug plug) in a whirlwind summer that could only be described as life-changing. Right from the second she batted those lashes at me we were the best of friends, spending our off days taking down the wine supply at local bars, going “slut dress shopping!” when we felt the need to turn some heads, testing our willpower in the “quiet room” at the ladies-only spa down the street (we made it 90 seconds), and basically bonding like only two little heart-slaying princesses can. Chelan’s one of those sweet Shirley Temple-esque kind of girls who wouldn’t hurt a fly, the type of person you want to shove under your wing and fiercely protect from all the baddies in the world. She’s the little sister I never had. But Lanners has also taught me a fair thing or two, namely how to drop my guard (in Lanners speak, that would go a little something like, “Maybe just try to not be so scary sometimes, maybe?”), how to calm down and take a breath (“How ’bout waiting a bit before you send that email? Like a month, maybe?”), and how to embrace my romantical side (“See? He gave you the last bite of his dessert! It means he loves you!!!”). I’ve got a soft spot for her, and because I’m prone to exposure to these spots, especially after a few Chardonnays, she’s gotten to know it. And abuse it.
Lan’s also got one heck of a bod on her. If you did your research and used the old Google machine, you might be able to figure out what I’m talking about, but suffice it to say, she spends a lot of time in the gym and even more time “eating clean.” The whole notion of eating anything clean scares the hell out of me, mostly because it sounds like it involves soap in the mouth, which I’ve only gotten once and remember quite clearly (I’m an adult now, Mom, so fuckity fuck fuck fuck!). But if you’re a reader of this blog, you know I spend a lot of time indulging, and in all honesty it might do me good to live cleaner, at least a couple times a week. Like, on Mondays and Tuesdays when no one really goes out anyway.
So Chelan’s on one of her clean streaks, meaning she’s feeling insecure about her (stupid perfect) body and wants to take a few days off to cook at home and eat a little better. And she wants me to do it with her. And sometimes when she makes those Bambi eyes at me, it’s hard for even me to say no, and I end up bending. Like yesterday. I was craving a burger and fries like a Normal, and Lanners decided to teach me how to do it all healthy-styles by taking away the bun and baking yam fries instead of regular fries. She swore to me I would not miss my bread, or my mayo on my bread, and even let me have ketchup with my fries. And you wanna know what? It was goddamn delicious. And filling. And satisfying on just about every level, believe me. Would I lie to you? I mean, maybe about my natural hair colour and my age and whether I read the newspaper, but about food? So, of course, I have to share the recipe with you. Behold:
The Actress Diet Burger and Fries
1 lb extra lean ground beef or ground sirloin
2 large onions, one sliced and one diced (hey that rhymes!)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped fine
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp steak seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tomatoes (we used yellow heirloom tomatoes because “they look so cute!” says Lanners)
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Start your caramelized onions. Heat a skillet over medium heat with a tbsp of olive oil. Stir in your sliced onion and season with salt and pepper. Keep stirring and watch the heat. You want them softening and cooking slowly, so keep it relatively low. Stir occasionally for 20 minutes.
While those are going, slice your yams into fries. This was my job and I originally went for a wedge shape, but Lanners told me to go back and cut them nice and thin, “like McDonalds fries!”, to trick your mind into thinking you’re cheating. Diet sorcery! Toss your fries in a bowl with a tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil and spread them out. Bake in the oven for 20 minute or so, or until tender.
Heat a small skillet over medium-high with another tbsp of olive oil and sauté the diced onion and garlic for a few minutes to soften. Add to a mixing bowl with the ground beef, sun dried tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, steak seasoning, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated, but don’t over mix, because the meat will get tough. Divvy it up into two piles and form two big burger patties. Heat a large skillet over high heat with another tbsp of olive oil and cook the burgers about 8 minutes a side for medium-well.
Pit, peel, and slice the avocado at the last minute so it doesn’t get brown on you. Top each burger with caramelized onions, some sliced tomato, and the sliced avocado. Serve alongside those beautiful yam fries. And just try not to be satisfied. Just try.
SERVES 2 HUNGRY ACTRESSES and/or ACTORS WHO HAVE SHIRTLESS SCENES COMING UP
Stay tuned for our next eating healthy venture: “Duck and Pork Lettuce Wraps”. Chelan says I can even have wine with this one! Okay, she actually said, “I can take the bun away, but prying the bottle from your hands may take some more effort! Baby steps!”
She’s fearless, that one.