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.

Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing Recipe

In a perfect world we would all be eating mostly whole foods, that is foods that came into this world a certain way and stayed that way.  Whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods are more recognizable by our bodies and better for our health.  Period.  I also talk a lot about limiting gluten, that pesky inflammatory protein found in wheat and to a lesser extent spelt, barley, rye and farro.  One of the problems with our overconsumption of wheat is that 99.9% of the time (I made up that statistic), it is in a processed form such as bread, pasta, baked goods, flour tortillas, pizza, etc.  And in the US, much of the processed wheat is refined too, which means anything good that was in there has been taken out.  Ugh.  I know all those foods are delicious and I am not telling you to never eat them again (although you would be better off), but it’s important to at least acknowledge how much processed wheat you’re eating and try a limit these foods to every once in a while.

So if you buy bread or pasta labeled “whole wheat,”  they are technically made from whole wheat and not actually whole wheat.  If you wanted to actually eat whole wheat, you would eat these little babies right here.  They are called wheat berries which is where wheat flour comes from.  They are a true whole grain because they’re still intact, as are their B vitamins, fiber, protein, even calcium.  Wheat berries remind me a lot of spelt, farro and even short-grain brown rice, but more chewy which makes them perfect in a salad.  My kids love them!  Truthfully you can use wheat berries in any recipe calling for spelt or farro, none of which, however is gluten free.  GF folks can sub brown rice or quinoa very successfully in this recipe.

In as much as I love wheat berries, though, this salad wouldn’t be as delicious without the creamy lemon-tahini dressing which I have been putting on everything lately.  If you have a jar a tahini in the fridge, it is likely because you used it to make hummus, the delicious and popular Middle Eastern chickpea dip.  Tahini is just ground up sesame seeds, plain and simple with lots of good fats, protein and calcium.  If you like hummus, you’ll love this dressing since it contains almost all the same ingredients.  It’s zingy, creamy and a little different from your standard vinaigrette.  I tend to make it a tad on the spicy side, because I love a little kick, but definitely feel free to leave it out if your family prefers things mild.  I took these photos after my class yesterday, when I made the recipe with some thinly sliced radishes, green onions and torn red leaf lettuce, but really the sky’s the limit here.  I have made this salad with blanched asparagus, radishes and spinach — delish!  I have also used cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, feta and parsley.  There’s a picture at the bottom of the post of one version I did with roasted eggplant, red peppers, red onion and parsley, although it vaguely reminded me of that fabulous Ina Garten roasted vegetable orzo dish that I made waaaaay too many times about 10 years ago.  Still great, but in my opinion the richness of the dressing works best with light, fresh vegetables and greens.

If I didn’t just make this salad A LOT this month, I would definitely be including it in the summer entertaining menu rotation.  For you organized, plan-ahead cooks, the day before or morning of I would cook the wheat berries and allow them to cool, prep the vegetables and make the dressing.  I would not, however, dress the salad until the day of otherwise the wheat berries will just soak up all the dressing.  I used wheat berries from Bob’s Red Mill, but I have also seen them in the bulk section of some natural food markets.  Whatever you make this weekend, have fun and keep it real!

Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups wheat berries -- I used soft white wheat berries (or 1 cup quinoa cooked with 1 ¾ cups water)
  • Dressing:
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or mashed to a paste
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 4 Tablespoons unrefined cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • dash or two of cayenne pepper ( I use ¼ teaspoon to make it a little spicy)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Salad: (these are suggestions ~ you can also go with cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, chickpeas, asparagus, peas)
  • 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 radishes, sliced thinly or julienned
  • 2 big handfuls of tender greens (such as spinach, watercress, argula, or red leaf lettuce)
Instructions
  1. Put the wheat berries in a medium saucepan and fill the pan with cold water (as if you were making pasta.) Add a big pinch of salt (kosher is fine.) Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook wheat berries until they are tender, about 50-60 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl to cool slightly.
  2. For the dressing: whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl and season with salt, cayenne and black pepper to taste. Dip a piece of lettuce in the dressing to taste for seasoning.
  3. Combine green onions, radishes and greens with the wheat berries in the serving bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat lightly.

Miso soup recipe

I think the reason I started cooking at such a young age is because I love to eat good food.  My mother was and is a terrific cook, but she didn’t have time or the interest to really experiment in the kitchen, especially outside the Italian food comfort zone that she was in.  So when I was in the mood for something that my mom didn’t know how to make, I would grab a stack of her cookbooks and a couple years worth of Gourmet Magazine and flip through until I found what I was looking for.  I could get lost for hours reading recipes and then coming up with my plan.  How much easier we have it now with the internet, although I can still get lost for hours on cooking websites!

One of the simple pleasures in life for me is finding out that something I love to eat in a restaurant is incredibly simple to make at home.  We don’t eat out very much, but the kids love their annual birthday dinner at Benihana and I look forward to sushi out with my girlfriends every now and then.  When I am at a Japanese restaurant, I love starting my meal with a comforting bowl of miso soup.  You may remember from my post on Creamy Miso-Ginger Dressing how beneficial unpasteurized miso is to the digestive system as well as being a wonderful detoxifier.  Of course, I love the salty savoriness of it, too!  Many years ago I decided to figure out how to make miso soup with the preconception that it would be difficult.  For goodness sake, it’s about as easy as boiling water.  In fact, when I taught this miso soup recipe in a class a few years ago, more than one person remarked that it was easier than cooking pasta (and better for you, too!)

I typically make miso soup the way you would find it in a Japanese restaurant in the US, except for the canned fried onion crisps.  What’s up with that?  Do they add those to miso soup in Japan?  Somehow I’m doubting it.  Regardless, I always add wakame, which is an amazingly nutritious sea vegetable that you need to try if you haven’t.  It’s so high in minerals and incredibly alkalizing — go get some!  I love the wakame flakes by Eden since they rehydrate in minutes and there’s no chopping involved.  If I have tofu in the fridge, I’ll add that and perhaps some thinly sliced green onion.  The day I photographed this soup, Mr. Picky asked for soba noodles, so I tossed a few into his bowl.  Steamy Kitchen has a version with shiitake mushrooms and sliced boy choy that looks great.  Like me, she enjoys soup for breakfast!

Some of the ingredients may seem exotic or hard to find, but I assure you no good natural food store worth their sea salt doesn’t carry unpasteurized miso and a good selection of sea vegetables.  In fact, I found everything at my local Whole Foods.  The only ingredient that may throw some of you, especially my vegetarian and vegan friends is the bonito flakes, which are made from a type of mackerel that has been steamed, dried and shaved into flakes.  It adds a really cool smoky, hearty undertone to the soup.  But if it’s not your thing, I would add a drop of shoyu or simmer the stock with some dried shiitakes to make up for omitting the bonito.  No matter how you prepare it, this just might be the easiest and most healthful bowl of soup you never thought you could make.

Miso Soup
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 ¼ cups of water
  • 1 (6-inch) piece kombu (dried kelp)
  • 1 cup dried bonito flakes (optional, but delicious)
  • ½ cup rehydrated wakame (soak according to package directions and chop, if necessary)
  • 6 ounces firm non-GMO tofu, drained and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 Tablespoons organic and unpasteurized miso (I use white. But check labels if you need the miso to be gluten-free.)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallion greens
  • Shoyu or tamari to taste, if desired
Instructions
  1. Make the dashi (broth): In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water and kombu to a boil. Remove the pan from heat and add the bonito flakes. Cover the pan and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain stock through a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth-lined colander into a large bowl or another saucepan. If you are not using the stock immediately, allow to cool uncovered and then refrigerate it, covered for up to a week.
  3. Transfer all but ½ cup of stock back to the original saucepan and add tofu and wakame, if using, and heat until hot.
  4. Whisk miso into the reserved ½ cup of stock until smooth. If you think you will consume all of the soup now, stir all of the miso mixture to the heated stock and serve immediately. Otherwise, add a spoonful of the miso mixture to each individual bowl and ladle hot stock on top. You can add noodles to each individual bowl, if you like.
Notes
Miso is a live food. In order to preserve its beneficial enzymes, do not boil it.

Green Goddess Salad

I just spent a lovely four days in Park City, Utah enjoying the clean air and the peace and quiet (outdoors, of course; indoors I have my three kids and two of their friends, so no peace and quiet in the house from noon ’til midnight.)  There are no televisions and I insist that the kids leave the phones in their bedrooms so we can hike and dine without the ping of 6 iPhones.  Heaven.

Of course, with travel comes a deviation from eating the way I like to eat.  I consumed a little too much guacamole and chips a little too late at night, and then someone tried to torture me by buying a container of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.  I had mentioned it was like a more healthful Nutella, not that it was actually healthful.  By the end, I missed my juicer and my garden and all I wanted to eat were salads and vegetables.  In fact, I was craving this Green Goddess Salad while I was on the plane home.

No, I didn’t name this dressing after you.  The original Green Goddess dressing was created at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel in the 1920’s, for the English actor George Arliss.  Arliss was staying at the hotel and dined there every evening before he performed in a play called “The Green Goddess.”  There are so many variations on this dressing, the base of which is usually mayonnaise, sour cream and tarragon — the only herb I don’t like.  Can we still be friends?  So considering I am using none of the above, I don’t know if I can actually call it a Green Goddess dressing.  One day last summer, I tried to clean out some little bits of herbs that were lingering and blended them into my own version of the dressing and we all loved it.  So feel free to adjust the recipe according to whatever herbs you have on hand, even if it’s tarragon.  The kids think it tastes a little like ranch dressing.  So I made more the next day and used it as a dip for raw vegetables.

Green Goddess is a creamy dressing that’s a nice break from traditional vinaigrettes, and one that works well with crisp and sturdy lettuces.  There are dozens of ways to enjoy this salad, even as a main course, since so many things work well with the dressing.  Here I used tomatoes and radishes, which are both perfectly obvious, but you can add hard boiled eggs, shrimp, poached chicken, cucumber, avocado, and/or corn.  One day I took a few beefy tomatoes from the garden, sliced them up and drizzled this over.  Whatever you do, don’t leave out the anchovy paste — it really adds a little salty something and doesn’t taste at all fishy.  Your kids and your picky spouse don’t need to know it’s in there.  In fact, they don’t need to know anything other than you made up your own Ranch dressing.

Green Goddess Salad
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, leave washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
  • Any of the following:
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Chopped or sliced cucumber
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Cubed avocado
  • Raw or cooked corn kernels
  • Quartered hard-boiled eggs
  • Dressing:
  • ½ cup whole plain yogurt (regular or Greek)
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 Tablespoons basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped dill (if you have it)
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or two anchovy fillets
  • ½ - ¾ cup unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil (depending on how thick or thin you like it)
  • ¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all dressing ingredients except oil, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. With the motor running, slowly pour in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Toss lettuce in a serving bowl with enough dressing to coat lightly. Either toss remaining salad components separately with dressing or arrange on top of lettuce and drizzle with dressing.
Notes
The original Green Goddess dressing contains lots of tarragon. Feel free to experiment with other different fresh green herbs such as tarragon, cilantro, chervil or mint.

For a dairy-free version, use ½ cup silken tofu in place of the yogurt and increase lemon juice to 3 Tablespoons. I’m sure you could also substitute ½ of ripe avocado, but I haven’t tried that.