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Abrazos! xox Penny

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dusting off the 'Barbe for Burgers and Tropical "Catsup"

So, when I left on this last trip, it was 46 degrees and still spring. I was spoon-deep in warming soups. Now, it is 90 plus with a heat index already over 100 and although we are a little short of the Summer Solstice, it is summer in my book. And how. Phew. Hot stuff out there. Anyway, it is high barbecue season. Last summer, I was a meat eater and in my glory at the 'barbe. This summer, I am a vegetarian and still plan to be the mistress of the coals.

While I am still experimenting with the ultimate veg burger recipe (one with no soy!), I dropped by our Whole Foods this weekend for my favorite. Ray and Ches are the resident grill-masters there and they never miss a chance to greet me and say, "Got your veggie burgers today!" and do they ever. The best in town! Their veggie burgers are a combo of lentils and barley sassied up with fresh ginger and other wonderful ingredients. Yum. Below is a pix of the guys working their magic and the picture above is the magnificent creation I actually got to eat!!

I looked on the Whole Foods website, and they have the recipe for a burger that is really close to my new favorite. Thanks to Whole Foods for the recipe and Ray and Ches for the fabulous burgers they flip, the friendly way they do it and the pix! My add-ins to the recipe are in italics.

Lentil Walnut Burgers with Grilled Toppings

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms ( I prefer Baby Bellas here)
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (I toast mine)
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional, but necessary!)
2 cups cooked brown rice, divided 
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils, or 1 (15-ounce) can lentils, rinsed and drained 
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons high heat sunflower oil or expeller-pressed canola oil, divided
Burger buns and sauces of choice

*Note: I would also add a sprinkle of smoked paprika to this recipe. Love cooking with it.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, mushrooms, walnuts, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.

In a food processor, purée 1 cup rice, lentils and egg until smooth. Transfer to bowl with vegetables, add remaining 1 cup rice and stir to combine. Form lentil mixture into 10 to 12 patties, using about 1/4 cup of the mixture to make each one.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Arrange half of the patties in skillet and cook, flipping once, until golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat process with remaining sunflower oil and patties. Serve hot.

While the coals are still hot, throw on some sweet onion slices, rounds of fresh pineapple, pepper strips, slices of summer squash ...whatever veggies look delicious to you. Grill 'til done, season to taste and then load 'em up on your burger! Hmmmm.

Once I have tweaked the burger recipe to taste, I will slather on this fruity "catsup". It is very similar in taste to a catsup I had in Hawaii years ago and definitely not the Heinz 57 variety. Actually, it is like a sals-up...half salsa, half catsup. The more you blend it, the creamier it becomes. I leave mine a little chunky.

Tropical Sals-up

2-3 tomatoes, seeded (I only had 2 yellow tomatoes when I made this up)
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes that have been soaked for 20 minutes,
   then drained well
1 fresh mango, peeled and chopped, or about 2 cups of frozen mango, thawed and drained of any juice
1/2 small red or Vidalia onion
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded 
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy or the consistency you like. Store in fridge. It will keep about 2 weeks. Use on burgers, of course, but also other sandwiches, grilled tofu and as a topping for a baked sweet potato! It is great even as a dip with chips, over a nice cheese or as bruschetta. need to wait for those burgers, I am just going to grab a spoon!

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