i had to travel for work this week. this used to be a regular occurrence for me seven months ago, but now it comes as somewhat of a shock to the system.
at my old job, i spent countless hours up in the air, building up my bank of airline and hotel points and feeling very special when i gained a new status level, represented by an even shinier and more precious metal + word representing domination (platinum elite, anyone?). yes, delta status is a conversation topic amongst people who travel for a living. it means more guaranteed upgrades to first class (where the flight attendants are nice to you, they hang your jacket, and offer you a free cocktail before take off). it means you get to walk on the red carpet, which is to the right of the no-carpet isle that eventually leads you to the same door and onto the same plane. the marriotts i’ve stayed in throughout the US anticipate my arrival, refer to me by name (how was your trip in, ms. volvovski?), and offer me wine and cheese upon check in. you feel important in this completely manufactured world that no one but your co-workers and those proles standing in line behind you care about. but you are proud. real proud.
i did that for four years, sleeping in my own bed only half the year if i was lucky, before i decided that i wanted more with my time in madison than getting my dry cleaning done and throwing away the food that had rotted in my fridge while i was traveling.
but alas, even at my new job there is the sporadic week where i have to get my suitcase out. all is well until i get to the airport. These people, the same ones that so kindly poured me free mimosas during non-brunch hours and didn’t judge, no longer do. they forgot about me. “you’re silver?” they say, “that’s nice. back of the line.”
i’m shocked. somewhat embarrassed. don’t these people know who i am?
how the mighty have fallen.
to top off all the feelings of resentment for the system, and the fact that i’ve lost all my status so fast, i got stuck in albany last night. my connecting flight to chicago was delayed by four hours, meaning i wasn’t getting into madison anytime soon. but being the savvy business traveler that i am, i immediately started all remediation tactics. step 1: check for flights into your final destination through other cities to figure out your options. step 2: get your travel agency on the phone to see what they can do for you. step 3: simultaneously get in line at the counter to see if that person could help you faster. step 4: resist the urge to cry at the airport when you realize neither person can help you and get a hotel room at whatever crappy best western airport suite has a room available. step 5: try to get to sleep early since you have to be up at 4:15AM to catch your flight the following day.
so after all that i needed to get in the kitchen and make something to feel like a real person again. i needed these shrimp burgers. needed.
- ½ head garlic, still intact
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3-5 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped fennel (i used a food processor)
- ¼ cup finely chopped red pepper (food processor as well)
- ¼ cup shallots (yup, here too, just make sure you don't pulverize this stuff)
- 2 tablespoons fennel fronds, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, chopped into small chunks
- salt and pepper to taste
- ciabatta bread
- 1 tomato, sliced
- handful of spinach
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Chop off the top third of the garlic head. Roast in oven for 30-35 minutes. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the aioli. Whisk together eggs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil at a time. Slowly add in canola oil, until thick mayo forms.
- Add in orange juice, orange zest, salt and pepper.
- Once garlic has cooled, remove and mash into paste. Whisk into aioli.
- To make the burgers, cook fennel and shallots in a little olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add in red pepper for an additional 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add in herbs and shrimp. Mix well.
- Add in about 2 tablespoons of aioli to bind the burgers together.
- Form into patties (they will be loose) and cook on a hot pan or grill, about 4 minutes each side.
- Toast the ciabatta bread and spread some aioli on the buns.
- Add spinach and tomatoes or other accouterments and top with burger.
recipe slightly adapted from food52.