How to Make Healthy and Delicious Summer Rolls *VIDEO*

I love summer rolls — crunchy, fresh, and flavorful all wrapped in a delicate rice paper wrapper.  Summer rolls are one of those things I never thought I could make at home.  The wrappers, the rolling, the sauce!  Not only are they way easier than I imagined, but they can be quite the nutritious dish to boot.  Filled with loads of raw veggies and herbs, a summer roll is like a salad all wrapped up in a neat little package.  In the video above, I go a pretty traditional route with avocado, cabbage, carrots and herbs, but also I use less traditional roasted sweet potato sticks and shredded Brussels sprouts.  Rice paper is so neutral.  Who says you couldn’t put a cobb salad in there or poached chicken, corn, cabbage and barbecue sauce?  I say the sky’s the limit and can we talk about perfect these would be for school lunches?!  Per-fect!

If you want to make these in advance, cover them with a damp paper towel and refrigerate for ideally up to one day, but I’ve even kept them 2 or 3 days.

healthy and delicious summer rolls | pamela salzman

5.0 from 3 reviews
Healthy and Delicious Summer Rolls
Author: 
Serves: 8 rolls
 
Ingredients
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter, preferably organic (or cashew or almond butter)
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ Tablespoon raw honey (choose a mild flavor)
  • ½ Tablespoon water
  • ½ Tablespoon shoyu or gluten-free tamari
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • For the summer rolls:
  • 8 (8-inch) rice paper rounds, plus additional in case some tear
  • 1 large sweet potato, (peeled if desired) and cut into ¼” matchsticks
  • unrefined coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 medium brussels sprouts, thinly sliced or shredded
  • ¼ head of small red cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded, grated, or julienned
  • 1 large avocado, cut into thin slices
  • handful each of fresh mint leaves, basil leaves and cilantro leaves
  • Other possibilities: cooked shrimp, chicken, tempeh or tofu, cooked rice noodles
Instructions
  1. To make the sauce: whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl or a glass jar and set aside. *
  2. To make the summer rolls: Drizzle the sweet potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 18-20 minutes until tender.
  3. Fill a shallow baking dish or a skillet with warm water. Soak 1 rice paper round (make sure there are no holes) in warm water until pliable, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the water and transfer to a plate or cutting board.
  4. Spread 2 teaspoons of peanut sauce on the rice paper (or omit and use as a dip once rolls are assembled) and top with 2-3 large mint leaves, 1-2 large basil leaves, a pinch of cilantro leaves, a
  5. pinch each of the Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and carrot, a few sticks of sweet potato, and a couple of avocado slices, taking care not to overstuff. Roll up rice paper tightly around filling, folding in sides and continue rolling.
  6. Transfer summer roll to a plate and cover with dampened paper towels.
  7. Make the remaining rolls in the same manner. Serve rolls halved on the diagonal.
  8. Store in the fridge covered with a damp paper towel 2-3 days.
Notes
* Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature and re-emulsify before using.

You are going to have so much fun making these summer rolls!

By the way, I have a YouTube channel!  I would love it if you subscribed over here.  Thank you!

Deconstructed Guacamole Salad Recipe

deconstructed guacamole salad | pamela salzman

I just dropped off my oldest at college this past weekend.  Up until this point, nothing has made me feel as old as saying to someone, “I have a child in college.”  And it doesn’t help when people respond with, “Wow!”  Rub it in.  Thank heavens for Mr. Picky who is in elementary school and still asks me to cuddle him at night.

ingredients

My daughter goes to school in Dallas.  So when I visit, I make sure to b-line for some good Tex-Mex food.  You all know my weakness is guacamole and chips.  Guacamole = healthy food.  Chips, not so much.  In LA you can find places to give you jicama with your guacamole.  In Texas, not so much.  So I try not to overdo it when I’m there, but I’m not always successful.

deconstructed guacamole salad | pamela salzman

Although I grew up in New York, California cooking has stolen my heart.  Lightness, freshness, color.  It’s addictive.  And the best avocados!  Come visit me and we’ll have fun just prancing around the farmers markets.  We can make this salad, which is like fancy-pants guacamole.

deconstructed guacamole salad | pamela salzman

I taught this salad last year or the year before and it is one of my favorites.  First of all, it takes minutes to pull together.  Second, it includes two of my favorite foods, tomatoes and avocados, which I will remind you are both insanely delicious right now.  Use whatever tomatoes look great and have fun mixing colors and shapes and sizes.  Lastly, it’s basically guacamole that I can eat with a fork or on top of a piece of fish or grilled chicken and I don’t feel the need to have 25 tortilla chips along with it.

deconstructed guacamole salad | pamela salzman

It also happens to look very pretty on a buffet.  But tomatoes are leaving us soon, friends.  Enjoy it ALL while you can, because you’re going to blink your eyes and they’ll be gone.

Deconstructed Guacamole Salad Recipe
Author: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges or 1 ½ pints of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ small red onion, sliced very thinly (soaked in ice water for 15 minutes to tone down the onion flavor, if desired)
  • ½ jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 medium or large ripe avocados, pitted, skin removed and sliced crosswise into ½-inch slices
  • a handful of whole cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¾ teaspoon of sea salt
  • a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • a few drops of hot sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • optional: serve with broken corn tortilla chips on top or around the side of the salad
Instructions
  1. Place the tomatoes, red onion and jalapeño on a platter. Arrange the avocado slices on top. Scatter the cilantro leaves all over.
  2. Whisk together the lime juice, salt, hot sauce and oil together and drizzle all over salad. It’s best not to toss this salad, otherwise the avocados will get messy. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt if necessary. A sprinkle of flaky sea salt is nice.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips on the perimeter of the platter or crushed on top, if desired.
Notes
The amounts for the ingredients are merely guidelines. Feel free to adjust quantities to suit your taste.

 

 

 

Chicken posole verde recipe

chicken posole verde | pamela salzman

I decided to be more forward-thinking this year and post some new delicious Mexican recipes early in anticipation of Cinco de Mayo, which is one of my favorite food holidays.  Not that I don’t make Mexican, or Tex-Mex meals all year round, of course.  I know a lot of people who are planning celebrations the weekend before Cinco de Mayo and are already asking me what they should make.  I really don’t know too many people who don’t love Mexican food and it’s a great meal to make for a crowd, kids included.  If you haven’t noticed, DIY parties are all the rage and Mexican menus fit the bill perfectly with their topping bars for tacos, fajitas and soups.

I prefer to cook hominy from scratch

Speaking of soups, have you ever had posole, also spelled pozole?  I had never heard of it until about 5 years ago, when my husband came back from a lunch and was raving about the posole.  When anyone in my family comes home raving about anything, *BING*, note to self:   “learn how to make that from scratch!”

prepping tomatillos

Posole is is a traditional Mexican soup or stew, which once had ritual significance. It is made from hominy, plus meat, usually pork, but also chicken or turkey or pork rinds, chili peppers, and other seasonings and garnish such as cabbage, salsa and limes and/or lemons.  I have seen many recipes for posole, red or green, vegetarian or with meat, different seasonings, but there is always hominy.  Hominy is an interesting food.  It comes from dried field corn, also known as maize, not to be confused with sweet corn which you enjoy off the cob in the summer.  The corn is prepared by removing the skins after soaking them in the mineral lime (cal), which changes the flavor (for the better) and releases the niacin, making this slightly processed grain healthier than simple dried corn or cornmeal.  (I took this from the Rancho Gordo website.)  Not surprisingly, cooked hominy tastes like corn tortillas, but in a form of a chewy little nugget.  Quite tasty.

chili peppers

You can buy prepared hominy which I have only seen in cans (probably lined with BPA, sadly) or you can buy dried and cook it yourself, which is what I did when I taught this in my classes a few years ago and what I still do when I want to make posole.  It is an extra step for sure, so if you want this to be a really fast recipe and you don’t mind cans, by all means buy it prepared.  I have only seen dried hominy sold by Rancho Gordo, which is an exceptional source for dried beans, especially heirloom varieties, grains and spices.  Some retail stores sell Rancho Gordo products or you can purchase directly from their website.  But I know from some students that you might be able to find other brands of dried hominy in Latino markets or in the “ethnic foods” aisle of some supermarkets.

verde

When I decided to make posole for the first time, I took no timing wondering red or green.  I much prefer green (tomatillo-based), especially in the spring and summer, because it’s so much lighter and fresher than red (tomato-based.)  We all loved that first batch and I knew it would be great to teach in a class.  I especially love setting out a topping bar for posole because all those add-ins give such great texture, color and really turn this soup into a meal.  I love adding avocado, cabbage, radishes, cilantro and feta, which I think is a perfectly good, and more healthful sub for the more traditional Cotija cheese.  The kids like to add tortilla chips or strips, naturally.

chicken posole verde | pamela salzman

This soup reheats well and freezes well, too.  You can serve posole as a meal or with veggie quesadillas and/or Mexican chopped salad on the side.  If you want this to be vegetarian, just use veggie stock and drop the chicken.  Maybe add in a little quinoa or some sweet peas.  Stay tuned for more fantastic, healthful Mexican recipes to come in the next couple weeks!

chicken posole verde | pamela salzman

chicken posole verde | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken Posole Verde
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked, stemmed, washed and halved
  • 1 anaheim chili, seeds discarded, quartered
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds discarded, halved (leave seeds if you like it hot)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro, divided
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 ½ teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 ½ cups cooked hominy* or 1 29-ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • Suggested garnishes: cubed avocado, sliced radishes, shredded romaine or green cabbage, cilantro, Cotija or crumbled feta, and/or tortilla chips (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine onion and tomatillos in a medium saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook, covered until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Transfer vegetables to a blender with the chilis, garlic, ½ cup cilantro and 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt and puree until smooth.
  3. Season the chicken with oregano and 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Pour puree into the pan and lower heat to medium low. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the broth, hominy and chicken to the saucepan. Cover and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 10 minutes. Chop the remaining ¼ cup fresh cilantro and stir into the pot. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Serve posole with suggested garnishes.
Notes
*To cook dry hominy, soak in lots of water 6 hours or overnight.  Drain and cook in a pot with fresh water.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for about 90 minutes to 2 hours or until tender.  Drain and it is now ready to use.

 

Slow Roasted Wild Salmon with Mango-Cucumber Salsa Recipe

slow roasted salmon with mango-cucumber salsa

When I was about 10 years old, I decided I disliked beef and poultry enough that I would give them up for good.  I was a pre-teen pescatarian, limiting my “animal” consumption to fish alone which created a bit of anxiety for my parents.  The concern was that I wouldn’t get enough protein since I was still growing.  Of course I was quite fine since I ate plenty of eggs, cheese, yogurt, legumes and nuts in addition to fish once a week.  But I have always preferred seafood to animal protein, even to this day.

wild sockeye salmon

Then I met a cute boy in college who asked me out to dinner and I said yes and he took me to a…steak house.  Hmmmmm……..A cute boy is a cute boy, so off I went.  Ironically, the boy was a meat and poultry-eater, but not a fish eater.  Opposites attract, I thought.  Or hoped.  That night I had my first bite of steak in many years and I actually thought it was delicious.  Not delicious enough to turn me into a full-fledged carnivore, but I did continue to eat a little beef and chicken until very recently when I decided, once again, that I just don’t like beef at all and I only like chicken enough to have a bite.  After all these years, I’m still a fish girl.

mango salsa

If you’ve hung around this blog long enough, you know that I married “the boy” and I’ve turned him on to almost all fish, except salmon. Once in a while he’ll have a bite to be nice, but he just can’t get into it.  We tell the kids he’s “allergic.”  But I absolutely love wild salmon and believe it or not, so does Mr. Picky!  (“Love” might be a strong word, admittedly, but he always eats it.)  We both think it’s delicious and since it’s so rich in important Omega-3 fats and a powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin, I like to find new ways to make it.  (By the way, this is not the case with farm-raised salmon.  Not healthy for you and bad for the environment.)

cooked!

Slow roasting salmon is practically the only way I have cooked salmon in the last year.  I just taught this method in my classes last month and everyone was so excited it.  By cooking the salmon at a super low temperature (250 degrees) for a longer period of time, the fat just kind of melts into the fish and you don’t dry it out the way you might at 400 degrees which can cause the proteins to seize up a bit.  I find wild fish to be a little tricky to get just right where it’s still moist and succulent, as opposed to tough and dry.  Slow roasting is a dream and results in the most velvety salmon!  Plus a bonus is that at such a low temp, you don’t damage the delicate Omega-3 fats.  My son says he also likes this method because the house never smells like fish afterwards.  It’s truly the perfect way to cook wild salmon!

slow roasted wild salon with mango-cucumber salsa | pamela salzman

Like I told my classes last month, this recipe is more about trying the technique of slow roasting and it’s not about the mango salsa here.  I serve slow roasted salmon with lots of different salsas (try this one with corn and black beans), sauces ( I like this one with dill and cucumbers), dressings, or just a squeeze of citrus.  Since it’s wild salmon season right now, I bet you can get your hands on some fantastic fish.  I normally buy my wild salmon during the year from vitalchoice.com which ships it frozen on dry ice.  It’s the best quality fish I can find.  But starting in May, Grow in Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica Seafood have outstanding salmon and I haven’t been disappointed.

Needless to say, I will not be making salmon on Sunday for Father’s Day, but you certainly can.  I guarantee, slow roasting is a game-changer!

slow roasted wild salmon with mango-cucumber salsa | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Slow Roasted Wild Salmon with Mango-Cucumber Salsa
Author: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • For the salsa:
  • ½ cup diced cucumber (If you use a variety like Persian or Hothouse, you can leave the seeds and skin on.)
  • 1 mango, firm, but ripe, peeled and diced
  • ½ jalapeno, minced, seeds removed for less heat
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped or 3 Tablespoons finely diced red onion (this measurement is really according to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (tender stems are ok)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 24 ounce fillet of wild salmon*(leave out of refrigerator 20 minutes before roasting)
  • unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the salmon on the baking sheet and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat the top of the fish lightly. You can use your hands to oil the fish. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until center of salmon is rare and starting to flake when you poke it with a paring knife. The amount of time it takes to cook the salmon perfectly depends on the temperature of the fish when you place it in the oven and the thickness of the fish.
  3. While the salmon cooks, prepare the salsa. Mix all the salsa ingredients in a medium nonreactive bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve salmon warm, room temperature or cold with salsa.
Notes
*If you use individual fillets, adjust cook time accordingly.  6 ounce fillets will take approximately 20 minutes.

If you’re really not sure if the salmon is done, you can roast until the thickest part registers 125 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

  

 

Couscous with dried apricots and herbs

couscous with dried apricots and herbs | pamela salzman

We had such a lovely getaway in Palm Springs with the kids this weekend.  My husband, who designs and builds houses, likes to go to a few days of Modernism Week every year and we decided to make a little family trip of it this time.  My kids are exposed to a lot of talk about food because of what I do, but my husband also discusses his business with them, too.  I wouldn’t say they could go out and build a house tomorrow, but they have an understanding of architecture and design.

dry couscous with salt and olive oil with dried apricots and hot liquid

So it was kind of funny to me when my kids would walk into a home on a tour this weekend or a show, and people would be shocked to see them.  “Oh my word!  We have children here!”  The first time I heard this, I figured the kids weren’t welcome.  But I was very wrong.  “How nice to see children appreciate design!”  I was proud of the kids because they were well-behaved and seemingly interested.  And it made me think about how the experience was a little analogous to food and eating.  I always tell my students that part of the process of creating a healthful eater is simply exposing the kids to a wide variety of nutritious food.  Another critical part of the process is modeling good eating habits.  One day it will all click with them and they’ll end up surprising you!

Cover and after 10 minutes it's done

I am flexible with Mr. Picky though.   Sometimes I will make something like this couscous with dried apricots and herbs for dinner, but leave a little plain couscous and apricots for him on the side.  I usually encourage, but often insist, that he at least try the dish with all the herbs and such.  Sometimes he will and sometimes he won’t, but this strategy works well for me since I can accommodate him a little without my having to make a second meal.  And the message that I am sending is that eventually he will eat like the rest of us.

fresh herbs

Mr. Picky happens to like couscous and dried apricots and if he’s really hungry, he’ll eat the herbs and all.  He won’t eat it mixed with the Moroccan chicken I posted on Friday.  He will eat them separately though.  No problem here, although I personally like couscous as an accompaniment to soak up something juicy and saucy.  Other than that, my girls will take leftovers in their lunch boxes with some feta and maybe a little extra lemon juice and olive oil.  Yum!

dry toast almonds couscous with dried apricots and herbs | pamela salzman

Couscous is like a busy person’s dream come true.  You pour really hot water or stock on it with a little salt and perhaps some olive oil and presto!  Ten minutes later you have a nice fluffy side dish.  I know that couscous is processed durum wheat flour and not a whole grain, but there’s still a decent amount of fiber in it and you can also find whole wheat couscous if that’s important to you.  Of course you can also make this recipe with quinoa if you want a gluten-free version which I have done many times.  In fact, I’ve often said to people who haven’t tried quinoa that you can take your favorite couscous dish and sub quinoa.  Only you cook them differently.  But you knew that.   And there are other ways to mix this recipe up — dried cherries or raisins instead of the apricots, pistachios or chopped almonds instead of the sliced almonds, parsley instead of the cilantro or just use all of one herb.  This is an easy recipe to let your personal taste be your guide!

couscous with dried apricots and herbs

Couscous with Dried Apricots and Herbs
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 10-ounce box of couscous (1 ½ cups couscous)
  • ½ cup dried unsulphured apricots, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons unrefined extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups HOT (even boiling) chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup whole almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 2 scallions, green parts only, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the couscous, dried apricots, salt and olive oil in a medium bowl and cover with HOT stock. Stir with a fork to combine. Cover and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
  2. Pour lemon juice on top and toss to combine.
  3. Add the almonds, scallions, mint and cilantro to the couscous and toss gently to combine.
Notes
Pomegranates are a delicious addition when they are in season (December-February)

Black bean and pumpkin soup recipe

black bean and pumpkin soup | pamela salzman

Nothing is as comforting to me as a one-pot, hearty meal in a bowl.  I love substantial soups and stews, especially ones with beans or legumes.  I very often make soups on the weekend for lunch or for a Meatless Monday dinner.  They also make a fantastic school lunch for the kids the next day.  This black bean and pumpkin soup is P-E-R-F-E-C-T for a chilly fall day, especially on Halloween if you want to send everyone off with a filling, warm meal.  This is almost like a chili because of the beans and the small amount of cumin and oregano, but not quite as thick.  My favorite ingredient in here is the pureed pumpkin which gives the soup a little body.  So much nutrition in one bowl!

veggies prepped

This soup is a really easy one if you use canned pumpkin and canned beans.  I’m so glad more manufacturers are responding to our desire for BPA-free products.  There are more and more companies who are using cans without BPA.  That is particularly relevant to this recipe because I know you can find organic pumpkin puree in BPA-free packaging by a company called Farmer’s Market or by Pacific Foods and organic black beans in BPA-free cans by Eden organic.  A gentleman behind the customer service desk at Trader Joe’s told me they don’t use BPA in their cans, except canned tomatoes.  I haven’t verified this yet with the company, but I am excited if that’s the case!

cooked black beans

BPA-free pumpkin options

Also exciting is the fact that for the first time in a loooong time, I have Mr. Picky’s Halloween costume ready to go.  This never happens in our house quite this early, as in a week before Halloween.  Poor kid one year made a Batman costume the night before out of grey baseball pants and an cape from an old zombie costume of his sister’s.  This year he is going as a punk rocker complete with wig and (temporary) nose ring.  All of his costumes must involve eyeliner or face paint and this year will be no exception.  My girls are not trick-or-treating this year.  I think the novelty has worn off.  That and my husband said there will be no teenage children of his trick-or-treating without a costume.  I agree — way lame.

soup in progress

Ideally the girls will stay safe at home with a few friends and a pot of black bean and pumpkin soup on the stove and enough in their bellies that they only feel the need to eat a couple pieces of candy and not a basketful.  Believe me, I am not the party pooper you might think I am.  I know full well that on Halloween night, Mr. Picky will take all of his candy and hoard it behind the extra towels underneath his bathroom sink.  I leave them there without letting on that I know his little secret.  Until Valentine’s Day when I need to make room for the fresh loot.

Hope you have a fun and safe Halloween!  This Thursday is exactly four weeks before Thanksgiving.  You know what that means!

black bean and pumpkin soup | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 ½ cups diced green cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • a pinch or more of cayenne or to taste (optional)
  • 4 ½ cups cooked black beans or 3 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed (click here for how to cook beans from scratch)
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
  • 1 ¾ cups pumpkin puree or 1 15-ounce can (not pumpkin pie filling) (click here for how to make pumpkin puree from scratch)
  • 2-3 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, cabbage, cumin, oregano and cayenne* and toss to coat with the oil, onions and garlic.  Sauté for a couple minutes or until the vegetables no longer look raw.
  3. Add the beans, cilantro, pumpkin puree, salt and pepper and stock.  Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer.  Cook partially covered until the vegetables are tender, about 18-20 minutes.  Taste for seasoning.
Notes
I have made this soup several different ways. If you want a little more heat, you can sauté a diced jalapeno pepper (do this in Step 1) and/or add a teaspoon of ground chipotle pepper (add this with the other spices.) If you want a little smokiness without the heat, add a teaspoon of smoked paprika with the other spices. You can also puree part of the soup for a thicker consistency. Lots of options!

 

 

 

Mediterranean turkey and zucchini burgers recipe

mediterranean turkey and zucchini burgers |  pamela salzman

I’m a happy mama since I picked up Mr. Picky from sleepaway camp on Saturday.  13 days is just too long for me to be apart from that guy.  I have been enjoying all the stories, hanging on every word as if he traveled around the world.  Bless his heart, Mr. Picky “snuck” some food from camp to bring to my husband and me.  Thankfully, it was from breakfast the morning he left and not from last week.  From his backpack he pulled out a paper cup with a few pieces of melon for me and a cup with mini cinnamon buns mixed with tater tots for my husband.  What does that tell you?

grated zucchini

While Mr. Picky can’t stop talking about his counselors, his bunk mates and all the competitions in which he participated, I had to find out about the food.  What was your favorite dinner?  Did you eat any vegetables?  What did you drink?  Blah, blah, blah.  I’m so predictable, but I have no self control.  I have to give the camp props that soda is not served.  I don’t know if I could handle that.

that's everything!

So what I have gathered is that Mr. Picky didn’t eat any protein at breakfast ever since, go figure, the camp doesn’t serve Organic Pastures Raw Organic Milk, and Mr. Picky still doesn’t eat eggs or cheese.  And it also sounds like the only vegetable he ate was cucumber.  So we have some catching up to do!  One thing that my son loves is any type of burger, even veggie burgers.  I made these turkey burgers the week before he left and he loved them so they’re going on the dinner menu again this week.  It’s another winner recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Jerusalem” cookbook.

12 patties

yogurt-sumac sauce

If you’re bored with plain burgers, these are so different and delicious.  And a great way to make a (small) dent in your zucchini crop.  They are moist, herby and they’ve got a great kick to them.  If spicy isn’t your thing, you may want to cut back to a pinch of cayenne.  Although if you make the sumac sauce, which is delicious, it really cuts the heat from the burgers.  But I’m not really doing dairy these days and Mr. Picky didn’t want any sauce, so I only made half the recipe for the sauce and I thought it was the perfect amount.  I also didn’t use traditional buns when I made these.  Bread will just detract from the tastiness of these burgers!  Instead we ate them on lettuce leaves with some chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, right up my alley.  Of course if you want a more traditional burger, you can probably get 6 “standard” size patties and pile them onto buns with all your favorite fixings.  Delish!

mediterranean turkey and zucchini burgers |  pamela salzman

mediterranean turkey and zucchini burgers recipe
Author: 
Serves: 4-6 (Makes about 18 1½ ounce burgers or 12 2½ ounce burgers)
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground turkey (I like dark meat)
  • 1 large zucchini, coarsely grated (scant 2 cups)
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (perfect for us, but the original recipe called for ½ teaspoon; you can use even less if you don’t want them spicy)
  • unrefined olive oil, coconut oil or ghee for searing
  • For the Sour Cream & Sumac Sauce:
  • Scant ⅓ cup / 75 grams full-fat Greek yogurt
  • Scant ¼ cup sour cream / 50 grams (or use all Greek yogurt)
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • ½ Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ small clove garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sumac
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Make the sour cream and sumac sauce by placing all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside or chill until needed.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the patties except the olive oil. Mix gently with your hands and then shape into about 18 burgers, each weighing about 1 ½ ounces or 12 burgers, each weighing about 2 ½ ounces.
  3. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to form a layer about 1/16 inch thick on the pan bottom. Heat over medium heat until hot, then sear the patties in batches on both sides. Cook each batch for about 5-7 minutes on each side, adding oil as needed, until golden brown and cooked through.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the sauce spooned over or on the side.