Turkey and Zucchini Mini Burgers

There are hardly enough words to express the joy of a few weeks off between a busy school year and the next work endeavor. While the past year has been rewarding in its own way, making it clear to me that I made the right decision when I was deciding which school to attend, there is still a lot to be said for the rewards of a day spent simply. It’s the difference between sitting on the couch with a textbook versus a best seller, with a much-needed late evening coffee to power through a study session versus a beer just because, with cheap Chinese food from the hole-in-the-wall by the subway stop versus a seasonally-inspired home-cooked meal.

Flowers

While I spent the first bit of my brief break relaxing on the beaches and mini golf courses of Delaware, I have returned with a small but sufficient farmer’s market load (do you see those flowers?), dusted off my cookbooks, and restocked the pantry for a few days of quality cooking before my upcoming internship becomes all-consuming. And after a delicious but not nutritious very long weekend of meals out, daily ice cream, and more than daily beer, I am going to be going the healthy route for these next few posts.

Turkey Zucchini Burger

But change works best when it is implemented gradually. So, today, I bring you turkey and zucchini mini burgers. They’re as satisfying as a traditional burger (though they taste nothing like it), pack a nice melange of green vegetables and herbs, and go great with a yogurt-based sauce and some salad. They’re even great at room temperature, making them a solid cook-ahead meal to enjoy with your lunch, at, say, a new summer internship.

Turkey and Zucchini Mini Burgers

Adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook

Makes about 18 mini burgers

1 1/4 pound ground turkey (preferably from the thigh)

1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated

3 green onions, finely sliced

1 egg

2 tablespoons chopped mint

2 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup sunflower or vegetable oil, approximately

Sumac Sauce

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place all the ingredients except for the oil in a large bowl and use your hands to mix together. Use your hands to form about 15-20 small burger patties.

Ready for Mixing

Heat the oil (it should be enough to coat the pan with about 1/8 of an inch of oil) over medium-high heat on a frying pan. Cook the burgers until they are seared on each side, but do not worry about cooking them through. This should take about 5 minutes per side.

That Turkey Zucchini Base

Place the burgers on the baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 8 minutes, until they are cooked through.

Serve with pita, a Mediterranean salad, and a sumac sauce (made by throwing together your favorite proportions of greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and sumac).

Turkey  Zucchini Burgers

Pasta Salad for All Your Summer Party Needs

Is there anything more appropriate than a pasta salad to bring to a summer potluck, BBQ, or picnic? The answer is an almost definitive no. (I hear chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt flakes are also a fine addition to any summer event.)

Mixed

We all have our Fourth of July events to get to tonight, so I won’t bore you with too much exposition. Besides, you’ll need what little time you have to throw together this salad. With rich and creamy mozzarella, tangy and salty fried zucchini, and super sweet summer corn and tomatoes, this recipe creates one of the best flavor combinations I have experienced in a dish in a awhile. The simple ingredients really come together to make something more complex. And while the pasta definitely beefs up this dish, it is still very refreshing, and makes an excellent main or side dish.

Tomatoes

Browned Zukes

Enjoy outdoors, with family, friends, and fireworks!

To Mix

Pasta Salad with Fried Zucchini and Summer Vegetables

Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Makes 6-8 servings

10 ounces penne pasta, cooked

3/4 cup edamame, cooked

2 cups cherry or other small tomatoes, halved

2 ears corn, cooked, kernels removed

zest of 1 lemon

7 ounces burrata mozzarella, chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup parsley

2 cups basil, coarsely chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil

3 medium zucchini

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Zukes

Slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch thick slices. Heat the vegetable or canola oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop the zucchini slices into the oil. cooking for about 2 minutes per side, until they are golden to dark brown. Place in a sieve to drain, and then place in a large bowl, and pour the red wine vinegar over the zucchinis. Add a generous pinch of salt, and mix.

Browning Zukes

Combine one the parsley, one cup of the basil, and the olive oil in a food processor, and process until the mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Saucey Basil

Combine the zucchini, sauce, and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve slightly warm or cool. Keeps well in the fridge in an airtight container for a day or two. 

Pasta Salad