Sunday, May 1, 2011

Veggie-loaded Turkey Burgers & Some Very Exciting News

I've made some version of these yummy, healthy burgers about a half a dozen times. Each time has been kind of a haphazard "throw in all sorts of herbs and spices and veggies until you're bored with it" endeavor, but since this blog makes it look like I should know what I'm talking about, this time I actually payed some attention to what went in, and how much. (Also, the one time I made them for anyone but just the two of us they ended up a bit over-garlicky, and I'd like to avoid this in the future with an actual game plan).

This recipe calls for two appliances: a small food processor (I used my Ninja), and a George Foreman Grill. Neither are necessary to the success of the recipe, though, and hand-mincing and pan-grilling or baking will work beautifully also.

With 1.3 lbs of turkey, this recipe yielded 5 good-sized burgers, and they freeze very well.

1-ish lbs ground turkey - I used a 1.3 lb package
1 clove garlic, chopped
.75 tsp. seasoned salt - or .5 tsp salt and pinch each of garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tbs. dry parsley
1 tbs. dry cilantro
1 tsp. prepared mustard - that is, not the dry type. I used Dijon.
.5 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
.5 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
.25 onion, or 1-2 green onions
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped 
1-2 tbsp. breadcrumbs
slices of the cheese of your choice
1. Process garlic, onion, oil, mustard, herbs and spices in food processor until blended.
2. Add bell peppers, celery, carrot, and/or other vegetables and process until vegetables are minced
4. Break up ground turkey in a large bowl, add the vegetable mixture, and mix well
5. Form meat mixture into patties. If the mixture feels too wet, add breadcrumbs one tablespoon at a time combining between additions until you achieve the desired consistency. I used one tablespoon.

Since I am not fussy but I am impatient, I like to mix the burger mixture with my (clean) hands. It's faster, and I am convinced it is also more effective than mixing with a spoon or spatula. Plus you're going to have to make the patties with your hands anyway, so you might as well get in there sooner rather than later.

I cooked these on our George Foreman Grill for 10 minutes. At about 9 minutes I opened and unplugged the grill, placed the cheese slices on top, and let them melt before serving. When I feel like meddling I hold the grill lid about a half-inch above the cheese to make it melt faster. We used low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella.

There doesn't seem to be any limits to the vegetables you can use in these burgers. This was the first time that I used celery and carrot, and they did give them a decidedly more "vegetabley" flavor (according to Brady), but we both agreed they were just as delicious as ever. For texture and nutritional kick, next time I think next time I will try adding mushrooms. Adding a couple naturally-absorbent, fiber-packed mushrooms will probably eliminate the need for the breadcrumbs. You could also try zucchini, eggplant, or even greens like kale or spinach, though tough greens may need to be steamed and pressed ahead of time.

So maybe next time it'll be mushrooms, spinach, a little Feta, and Swiss on top. Maybe on crusty bread instead of a roll? With a side of baked oven-fries? Good thing I'm blogging this or I'd forget the next time I went to make a burger...

Brady mentioned this evening that he's never had burgers like "mine" in any other context. After being reassured that this was, in fact, a good thing, I started to think it was kinda cool to have a signature burger. And though I do sometimes make beef burgers (with lots of Worcestershire sauce), I'm glad that my "signature" is a healthy one. (I only made the ones with beef, cheddar and bacon the one time, so that doesn't count. Right?)

We ate these with a zucchini and tomato salad. Together, these would be a great meal for a summer evening. I often serve veggie burgers with steamed green beans, I think because of their similarity in shape to French fries. Somehow that seems right. But this salad was also great with the burgers: simple and fresh.

I can just about always count on Brady to pick a beer that will complement a particular dish, which we often indulge ourselves in on weekend nights. This was a GREAT pairing with Stone IPA.

Veggie-loaded turkey burger with zucchini and tomato salad & Stone IPA.
Despite my zeal for all things whole-grain, I can't resist a fresh, delicious-smelling bakery roll. Which is why we ate these burgers on fresh, delicious-smelling rolls. Which I did not bake. And I regret nothing.

Quote of the Day: "Chris: Have you ever tried a turkey burger?
Ron: Is that a fried turkey leg inside a grilled hamburger? If so, yes, delicious." ~ Parks and Recreation

Now for the more EXCITING part. I know you were curious. Which could be why you read this post in the first place. So I'll tell you. My fantastically beautiful, brazen and brainy big sister Alexandra became engaged this morning to her equally fabulous manfriend, Sebastian, of Sebastian Ebarb Designs. I know, right? Big news. It also happens to be her 25th birthday!

Since Sebastian is a staff member and student at the School of Visual Arts with another year to go, and Allie is about to graduate from Brooklyn Law School and take (PASS) the Bar Exam, their late spring/early summer wedding is probably two years away. And after a rather obvious "You know you're my maid of honor, right?," I think it's about time I find out just what a maid of honor is supposed to DO. My guess is "a lot," but I don't think there is anything that I wouldn't do for her. Except wear an ugly dress, but she wouldn't do that to me anyway. So here's to new chapters!

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