Wednesday, September 17, 2014

turkey zucchini burgers with sumac sauce.

I realize I am 29 going on 30 and that at my age I shouldn't be looking for ways to sneak more vegetables into the foods I eat.  I should eat more vegetables willingly.

But in every 29 year old there lies a bit of their 5 year old self and for that reason I still look for ways to trick myself into eating more vegetables. (Because more vegetables is always a good thing.)  

The easiest way to add more vegetable deliciousness into your life is by combining vegetables with something that people love.  Tacos will always and forever be my favorite vegetable vehicle (you can stuff anything in a tortilla and have it taste awesome, true fact) but meatballs and burgers are a superb alternative when you are looking to try something new.  Vegetables, especially grated vegetables, manage to melt into the meat as it cooks which means they become practically invisible to the eyes of those that hate green things.  

These turkey zucchini burgers may be one of the greatest things ever. There is one whole zucchini packed in there along with a plethora of herbs and spices which helps to create one incredibly moist and delicious patty. They are pretty excellent on there own but when smothered in sumac sauce they become positively addicting. 

Turkey Zucchini "Burgers" with Sumac Sauce
Recipe from Jerusalem: A Cookbook 

For the Meatballs

1 pound (300g) ground turkey
1 large zucchini, coarsely grated (scant 2 cups/200g)
3 green onions, thinly sliced (chives also work brilliantly as I was out of green onions)
1 large free-range egg
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
About 6 1/2 teaspoons sunflower oil (canola oil will work too)

For the Sauce

Scant 1/2 cup (100g) sour cream
Scant 2/3 cup (150g) Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Make the  sauce by placing all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside or chill until needed.

Preheat the oven to 425F/220C. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs except the sunflower oil. Mix with your hands. Using a tablespoon (or a regular spoon), scoop about 2 tablespoons of the turkey mixture and shape into about 18 patties.  Place patties on an oiled baking sheet.  

Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to form a layer about 1/16 inch thick on the pan bottom. Heat over medium heat until hot, then sear the meatballs in batches on all sides. Cook each batch for about 4 minutes, adding oil as needed, until golden brown.

Carefully transfer the seared meatballs to a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until just cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the sauce spooned over or on the side.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


This weather is killing me with happiness. 

And it makes me want to spend  my time in a kitchen baking apple pie and roasting chickens.  And drinking pumpkin beer.  

(I wouldn't mind holing up here, staring out that window, instead of staring at my computer screen.  It's just so welcoming.)


Image via Pinterest.

Monday, September 15, 2014


We've reached this point where I've started to realize that in just a few short weeks the tomatoes, corn, and zucchini that are currently ABUNDANT at the farmer's market, will be gone.

I am going to be so sad when they are gone.  

The plus side is right now we are experiencing that kind of epic weather that only ever exists during the first couple of weeks of September.  I live for this time of year.  When summer produce is still bountiful and things like turning on an oven doesn't break me out in a sweat.  I love being able to coerce new flavors out of summer ingredients through cooking and roasting and baking.  It allows the foods of summer to take on a whole new level of flavor.  

This caponata is the epitome of everything I want to eat right now. It's chock-full of all sorts of summer deliciousness (tomatoes! eggplant! zucchini!! peppers!) but when cooked together it takes on a whole new dimension.  Caponata is kind of like an Italian sweet and sour stew.  It's traditionally eaten as an anti-pasta (and I've been known to eat entire bowls of it like that) but it also makes for a great side to sausages or served over a bed of pasta. However you choose to eat it, you will find yourself returning for seconds.  

Caponata Modo Mio
Recipe adapted From Urban Italian

Serves 6 - 8

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced large
1 red pepper, diced large
1 yellow pepper, diced large
2 Japanese eggplants or 1 Italian eggplant, diced large
2 small or 1 large zucchini, diced large
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
½ cup raisins re-hydrated in 1 cup water
1 cup basic tomato sauce 
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves 
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Basil for sprinkling

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the onion, peppers, and eggplant. When the vegetables have softened a bit (about 5 minutes), add the zucchini. Season  with half the salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients together and continue to cook.

After ten 10 minutes, add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Cover and reduce the heat to medium, and let the steam roast the vegetables for 5 minutes.

Remove the raisins from the water and add to the pot with the tomato sauce.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft but not falling apart and the sauce is well incorporated.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, Add the fresh oregano and season with remaining salt and pepper. Mix in vinegar. Serve in a large bowl with pine nuts sprinkled on top.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I am currently packing for my bachelorette weekend. 

I am feeling impossibly overwhelmed by this for multiple reasons.  One of which is because I am a notoriously bad packer who over thinks everything.  The second is because this means we are nearing the two-month mark which is a thought that makes me feel both queasy and excited.  

I am off from work on Monday and I am looking forward to a most glorious day spent in the kitchen cooking a feast to celebrate our two month to the wedding we haven't killed each other yet (I will also be addressing our final wedding invites).  I can't wait to blog about food again.  Eggplant and apples and so many wonderful things.  

Image via Pinterest.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

fresh tomato sauce (take 2)

Last week I purchased a box of tomatoes weighing close to 30 pounds.

Why you may ask, would a girl who lives with only one other boy decide to purchase 30 pounds of roma tomatoes?  I'll tell you why, it's because the box cost $15.  FIFTEEN DOLLARS.  At a price like that, they are practically giving away the tomatoes and if my father taught me anything it's that you never ignore a good deal (especially when it's a good food deal).  

On the long walk back to my apartment (and on this walk I managed to spill the box of tomatoes but we don't really have to talk about that), my arms began to quiver and reality began to set in.  What does one actually do with 30 pounds of tomatoes?

The answer lies in tomato sauce. So much tomato sauce.  Enough tomato sauce to last us though the winter.

I made tomato sauce this time last year and it was good (and far easier then this version) but it lacked the perfect stick to the pasta consistency.  So this year I set out to tackle tomato sauce again and what I discovered was the perfect sauce does exist it just takes a lot of work.

I don't need to tell you that making your own tomato paste is annoyingly time consuming.  I don't need to tell you that peeling and seeding 25 pounds of tomatoes will make you want to scream.  I don't need to tell you that deciding to make tomato sauce on the hottest and most humid day of the summer is a bad idea. But I do need to tell you that this sauce is dreamy.  The work is totally worth it.

Fresh Tomato Sauce (Take 2)
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats

10 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, preferably mixed varieties (such as Romas, Amish Pastes, and San Marzanos), plus 15 pounds ripe mixed tomatoes, mostly plums with a small portion of other tomatoes (such as beefsteaks)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
3 medium cloves garlic, minced (see note above)
2 large sprigs fresh basil
Kosher salt

Peel the tomatoes: Bring a large Dutch oven or stock pot of water to a boil over high heat. Fill a mixing bowl with ice and water and set this next to the stove. Core out the stems from the tomatoes and slice a shallow "X" in the bottom of each fruit. Working in batches, drop several tomatoes into the boiling water. Cook until you see the skin starting to wrinkle and split, 45 to 60 seconds, then lift the tomatoes out with the slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water. Continue with the rest of the tomatoes, transferring the cooled tomatoes from the ice water to another mixing bowl as they cool. When finished, use your hands or a paring knife to strip the skins from the tomatoes. Discard the water used to boil the tomatoes.  Halve tomatoes, remove their seeds, and cut into chunks. 

In a large stockpot, heat the 10 pounds of the peeled plum tomatoes, covered, over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes dump their liquid. Bring to a boil, covered and stirring occasionally, and then cook until tomatoes are softened, about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 275°F and grease several rimmed baking sheets and baking dishes with oil.

Pour plum tomato mixture into a food processor or Vitamix and blend until smooth. Pour plum-tomato purée into rimmed baking sheets and/or baking dishes, being careful not to overfill them.

Carefully transfer baking sheets and dishes to oven and bake, checking every 15 minutes and stirring once purée begins to thicken, until a thick, spreadable tomato paste forms, at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, fill the same large stockpot with remaining 15 pounds of peeled mixed tomatoes and cook, covered, over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes dump their liquid. Bring to a boil, covered and stirring occasionally, and then cook until tomatoes are softened, about 15 minutes. (Work in batches if your pot can't hold all 15 pounds at once.)

Using a food processor or Vitamix, puree the tomato mixture to desired consistency.  Set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large, wide saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and sweet, about 4 minutes. Add mixed-tomato purée and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a sauce-like consistency, 35-40 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in basil. Stir in oven-dried tomato paste and season with salt. Use as desired or freeze.

Monday, September 8, 2014


My obsession with mixed textures and materials is at an all time high.  

That and using items in awesomely unintentional and repurposed ways.  Like this killer kitchen storage system.  

Mis-matched reigns king.

Image via Pinterest