Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lunch today and many days to come:)

It's leftovers!! We had a guest over last night for yummy veggie burgers and we made a lot! So today lunch was ready in less than 5 minutes. My god, best burger I had in a long time! Of course, I am spoiled to have my husband home, so he can bake whole grain buns and cook burgers to perfection with patience, skills I still haven't developed-yet:) It is really fun to be in the kitchen together especially on days that are gloomy gray like this. Also, I learn something new from him everyday, I am truly grateful to the universe for our connection.

Don't laugh, but I will tell you how I built my burger. We had dandelion pesto on hand, so I started with that, added Swiss chard, roasted pumpkin, home pickled cucumbers, tomato and leftover lentil burger on top. Everything was cold and it was great. Now, I know it takes a lot to do all these things at once, especially if you are hungry. The trick is to organize your kitchen in a way that works for you. You can bake bread and freeze, or skip bread and make this into a salad with lentil patty on top.

Roasting veggies is so easy because you don't need to babysit them and wait in front of the stove. They also keep well in the fridge. Kitchen can be a challenge if you are pressed against time, or don't have the inspiration. However, it can also be an artist canvas if you work with ease and use local ingredients. Then you can see the magic happen on its own, painting plates in colorful veggies and watching your inspiration blossom.

Here are the recipes I used for the burger...Something to play with, hopefully some joy and excitement! Have fun!

Pickled Cucumbers:

Using a mandolin, slice your cucumbers thinly. Long English cucumbers of thin Asian cucumbers are the best. If the cucumbers have a lot of seeds take them out because they are hard to digest. Sprinkle pinch of salt, 1/2 cup rice vinegar and a dash of black pepper. Press down with a plate and let them sit for about 30 mins or overnight in the fridge.

You can totally skip this and use fresh cucumbers. That is how I made our burgers at Organico all these years, easy yet delicious and fresh.

Roasted Pumpkin

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Wash the skin of the pumpkin and cut into finger thick pieces on the long side. Place them with the skin on a roasting pan, sprinkle sea salt, olive oil and sage. I used dried sage, but you can also use fresh sage or any other herb you like. Rosemary is also great.

Next, make sure to get your hands in the roasting pan and show some love to the pumpkin, covering each side with olive oil.

Bake for 40 mins, turning the pan in the middle. Check for doneness by inserting a knife. Let it cool. If using for the burger, take the skin off. This is also a great side dish to any other meal or salad.

Plantains and pineapples are also a great alternative. You can bake or grill them.

Dandelion Pesto:

1 bunch of dandelion, chopped into small pieces.
1 bunch of basil, chopped.
1 bunch of arugula, chopped.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 heads of roasted garlic or 2 raw cloves (roasted garlic is creamy and sweet and helps with the dandelion flavor, so if you have time, don't skip this step).
1/2 tsp sea-salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Juice of a half lemon
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional

Blend everything in a high speed blender until creamy. If you like your pesto chunky, use a food processor instead and process slowly, adding your greens in parts.

Keeps in the fridge about a week.

A super easy spread alternative would be mashed avocado with basil or cilantro with lime and salt. Please don't stress!!!

Lentil Burgers

3 cups of soaked green lentils, about 2 cups of dry lentils soaked overnight.
5 cups of water
1 onion, cut into two
1 head of garlic
1 celery stalk, cut into 3 pieces
1 bay leaf (its ok if you don't have it)

Bring all the ingredients to boil, and cook until the water is gone and the lentils are soft.

Saute with 4 tablespoons olive oil:

1 onion, diced small
2 stalks of celery, diced small
1 medium carrot, diced small
1 tablespoon of tomato paste

It will take about 10 to 15 minutes, until the carrots are almost mushy. Add 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp black pepper and 1 tsp salt.

Once the lentils are cooked, put them over a sieve and drain the water. Transfer the lentils into a big bowl.

Add the sauteed veggies and combine with 1/2 cup oat flour, 1/2 cup ground flax seeds, 1 cup oats. Mix well with a wooded spoon, pressing into the lentils, like making a dough. There will be still chunky pieces of carrots and celery and that is good. If the mixture is too wet, add more ground flax seeds. If it is too dry, add some liquid from the lentils. You should be able to make patties at this point. It is ok if the mixture looks wet, as long as it holds it shape.

Make sure to taste them and see if you like the taste. Adjust seasonings to your liking, salt, pepper, cumin. I also added a dash of cayenne pepper at this point because it was a little sweeter than I liked, carrots to blame:)

Place the mixture in the fridge for about 30 mins, the flours and oats soak up more liquid. Roberto did the rest of the cooking. He first pan fried the burgers, high heat both sides about 3-4 mins each until browned and then baked 400F for about 10-15 mins, so they dry up inside. It was perfect.

Leftover burgers are great for the next day, they hold their shape even better.

Again, if you want a burger now and don't want to spend the time in the kitchen,think what could be an alternative for the lentil patties...Maybe portobello mushrooms or eggplant steaks?

Additional toppings:
Fresh greens
Sauteed Onions
Some good organic ketchup if you can find it...

Cheers to the happy times in the kitchen!!

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