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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

turkey burger high

 

I suppose this dish is just a continuation of my current turkey craze. Maybe it’s because we see so many along the roads here in Marin where I live. (My son and I even named one who frequents our neighborhood, Herbert, although I’m pretty certain “he” is a “she.”) Or maybe it’s because I’m impressed at how relatively healthy turkey meat is–especially given its economical price.

At any rate, these “burgers” are incredibly flavorful and juicy and pair perfectly with a tzatziki sauce. You could make the “burgers” more burger-sized and serve each one on a lightly-toasted sesame bun–with or without the tzatziki, or make them smaller and serve two or three over a bed of crisp lettuce with a little tzatziki on top like I like to do. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

turkey burger close

 

Like most of my recipes, this is easy to prepare without being so easy and plain that it’s pedestrian. These burgers also reheat well, so you can make enough for two meals. The actual burger recipe is from the gorgeous book Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. 9781607743941_p0_v1_s260x420The tzatziki recipe is my own. If you haven’t picked up a copy of this cookbook, you should. Most of the dishes are very straightforward and easy to prepare. I’ve loved everything I’ve cooked so far from the book, and the text and mouthwatering photographs make it an incredible read. As a side note: Ottolenghi was one of the first places I discovered when I moved to London. It was on a narrow crooked street in Kensington that I just happened upon. It wasn’t a sit-down restaurant–just a patisserie-style take-out place that also offered catering. Every single dish I bought from the tiny shop was amazing.

 

Ingredients

 

Burgers

1 lb ground turkey (white or dark meat)

1 large zucchini, coarsely grated (1 1/2 to 2 cups)

3 green onions, the white parts and a little of the green, thinly sliced

1 large organic egg (or egg substitute if you have allergies)

2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp freshly-ground pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

sunflower oil for searing

 

Tzatziki*

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 a large cucumber, peeled and grated

1 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbsp high-quality olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

1-2 tsp sumac

*If you’re making tzatziki for a more special occasion, I recommend 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup sour cream. If you’re using it on grilled vegetables or chicken, you can add 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill instead of the sumac.

 

Method

Start by making the tzatziki. Combine all the ingredients for the tzatziki, except the sumac, in a small bowl and chill until needed.

 

turkey raw

 

Preheat the oven to 425F. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the burgers except the sunflower oil. Mix well until everything is evenly incorporated. Using your hands, shape the mixture into approximately 12 burgers–2-3 inches in diameter.

Pour sunflower oil into a large cast-iron skillet until the bottom is covered with a 1/16-inch layer. Heat over medium heat then place the burgers in and brown them on both sides (approximately 2-3 minutes per side). Transfer the burgers to a parchment lined baking sheet or broiler pan and place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until just cooked through.

Serve warm on a bun or on a bed of lettuce. Spoon a little of the tzatziki over the top and sprinkle the sumac on top of the sauce. Serve the extra sauce on the side.

Serves 4 to 6.

Happy eating!

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I recently attended a talk and cooking demonstration given by Diana Stobo, local author of “Get Naked Fast.” The little morsels that got passed around at the event were delicious and seemingly simple to make. I bought her book on the spot, and started cooking from it the very next day.

Because I believe in balance, and because I have heard too many theories suggesting an entirely raw food diet can be unhealthy, I have never considered going completely raw. That said, incorporating a raw food approach into your existing diet can only be good for you as far as I’m concerned. Not only is your body free from foods that are difficult to digest and potentially aggravating (e.g., animal protein, processed wheat, etc.), but you are virtually always guaranteed your body will receive all the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables and then some as well as an incredible range of nutrients.

In case you’ve never read up on it, a purely raw food diet typically consists of fruits and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, seaweed, nuts, beans and some grains. Food is eaten raw (i.e., uncooked, hence no animal or animal by-products, such as diary). It is believed that heating food above 116 degrees destroys a food’s “lifeforce” and the beneficial enzymes which aid the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Diana doesn’t advocate going completely raw, which is what I like so much about her book. For example, she cooks her quinoa (which might later be cooked in a pancake), and her lentils. She appears to be much more about lightening the load on your digestion and your body as a whole.

The six or so recipes I have tried from Diana’s book are really tasty. Even my meat-eating, meat-loving husband agrees! And what I especially like about a more raw food diet is that in addition to feeling lighter, it actually curbs my cravings for naughty things, such as cheese, cookies and pies. It actually makes me–dare I say it–dread putting something in my mouth that I know will take hours and hours to digest.

I’m striving for a 30-50 percent raw food diet. Since I haven’t eaten mammals for the past two decades, scaling back on fish and fowl is easy. My biggest hurdle is baking less.

In case you’re looking to drop a few pounds before summer is fully upon us, you might consider modifying your diet slightly toward raw food. Because of its balanced approach, I highly recommend Diana’s book as a great introduction to raw. To order, go to http://www.dianastobo.com/.

(Note: My favorite recipes from Diana’s book are Portobello Mushroom Fajitas and Spicy Lentil Tostadas.)

Happy and healthy eating!

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