Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Meal Plan- April 26th- April 30th- Olive Lentil Burgers

I present to you the final recipe for April. This completes four months of delicious culinary experiments (and money saving in the process!) and I couldn't be more thrilled. In these last four months, I've been introduced to new cuisines, new ways of cooking and new and unique flavor combinations. Take these burgers from the Handheld chapter for example. I would have never thought to pair olive and lentils and mushrooms together. But let me tell you- not only does it work but they are remarkably good. The dominant flavor here is olives but that is not a bad thing, not even a little. I had a bag of lentils sitting around so I cooked them up ahead of making this recipe and froze them in 1 cup portions. All I had to do was defrost a couple of bags the night before and they were ready to go. Everything else, I already bought in advance so I spent only about 35 shekels this week (at the shuk) on some vegetables for salad and some pita bread. 

Obviously, there can't be a cooking day without a mishap in my kitchen. It took me forever to figure out how to use my brand new KitchenAid food processor-- turns out I was trying to use the wrong blade (face palm) but my is it a night and day difference from the last food processor I had. This baby actually processes things and fast leaving no large chunks! The second mishap I had was not realizing the olives weren't pitted. The grating sound of the processor gave it away and I had to pick out the pits. Thankfully, I had a lot of patience that day, shrugged it off and kept going. Once the mushroom mixture was done, everything came together pretty fast. These burgers shape like a dream and cook up so nicely. They flip perfectly without breaking apart (because there aren't big chunks to make things crumbly!) and they are just so uniquely yummy. I know these look pretty boring and blah but they're not. I, however, am a tad bit boring-- I had them just plain in a pita. Im trying to avid nightshades so tomatoes and ketchup were out. Sad face. The burgers have enough flavor though to carry their own.
I omitted the oil that the recipe called for but my olives were packed in oil. I tried to rinse as much as possible but I didn't stress about it here. I also omitted the lemon juice because I was lazy and only used half of the amount of liquid smoke. Another winner. 

Olive Lentil Burgers
slightly adapted from Isa Does It

1 small onion, diced medium
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves
fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 cup PITTED (see above mistake) kalamata olives
1 1/4 cups cooked lentils
1 cup bread crumbs, divided
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp liquid smoke, optional

Preheat your oven to 350.
Preheat a a large skillet. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and saute about five minutes, adding water to prevent from sticking. Add the mushrooms, garlic, pepper, thyme and tarragon and saute for 7-10 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked. Set aside to cool.
Process the olives in a food processor until chopped but not pureed. Pour into a bowl. Place the mushroom mixture into the bowl of your processor (you don't need to clean it for this). Add the lentils, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, soy sauce and liquid smoke, processing until almost completely smooth. Add this mixture to the reserved olives along with the remaining half cup bread crumbs; blend well with your hands.
Form into six patties and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for fifteen minutes. Flip and bake an additional fifteen to  twenty minutes. Enjoy as you would any veggie burger.

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