By Steph Farrar
I love what the sun brings out in people. Our bare arms and short shorts, flip flops and personal days off. It brings out the best in our spirits and our goals; a sunny day brings a new chance to produce or encourage change. I was in a terrible mood all day on Wednesday this week, for no reason (other than the obvious mom, family, career stuff). And I almost took that mood to bed with me until my husband miraculously helped me refocus.
My attitude was pungent like the aroma of an onion as it's being cut. My energy was electrically disappointing and down. Heavy. If you were born in the late 70's, like I was, maybe we're experiencing a similar, regular thing. Getting older... no way around it... sucks. I don't mean actually getting older, because that's something I'm enjoying, hopefully with dignity and grace. But I mean aging, gravity weighing in, pulling down on our skin, our mood, our energy. And there's just so much spandex in L.A. All day spandex. And skinny. And young. And beautiful. And with perfectly thick ponytails and downward dogs.
It's weighing on that 22 year-old version of me, if I'm being honest (which is why I'm here).
There's no way of knowing what a young, stunning, modelesque little tigress is going through, as I sit there envying and judging her book by its cover. It's similar to a small percentage of my Instagram feed, fueling me with self-doubt and diversion, a little snapshot of a seeming reality which most likely isn't so pretty. It would seem to me, all she eats is steamed broccoli while smoking cigarettes. But she's 22, so she can eat and do whatever the hell she wants.
But wait... so can I. And this is what I want. Almost every day. I've been trying to recreate Los Feliz's Mustard Seed's Turkey Burger Salad for years now. And I think I've perfected it. But don't tell them. We like them. We love their coffee.
I've been making this salad for a while, and until my Mum-in-Law told me she always adds mango chutney (what?) to her turkey burgers, everything changed. The skies opened up like they have this week, sun shining, spandex all too see-through, with an epiphany. No breadcrumbs. Just chutney.
Ground turkey, cilantro, onion, salt and pepper, two eggs, 1/4 cup mango chutney. It's just so easy. And so light. You can totally add breadcrumbs after you mold the patties if you want. Everything magically sticks together while cooking, as long as you don't fuss with them too much. Let them cook. In addition to the previous ingredients, I magically made a balsamic glaze from part of the original dressing, after emulsifying enough to thicken beautifully. So I added the glaze to the patties while cooking. Insane. The salad itself is simple greens with steamed broccoli and carrots, and if you're me, tons of pickles.
Tons and tons of pickles.
I'm not pregnant, thank God. I just love pickles. The only two ingredients Sam and I don't agree on are olives and pickles. He hates. I worship.
I would rock spandex all year long if I only ate those two glorious things. But who wants that? I mean, besides me?
Turkey Burger Salad with Basil Glaze and Vinaigrette
1.5 lbs. lean ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped brown onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup mango chutney
1 large red onion, halved and sliced into half moons
1/2 cup either shredded or sliced medium cheddar cheese
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Romaine and spring lettuces
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped carrots
10 pounds of pickles (just kidding)
6 tbsp canola oil
4 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp minced basil s
alt and pepper
This salad is easy. It just takes smart timing. This is how I do it.
First, bring a pot of water to boil, and either cook or steam the broccoli and carrots. I add th carrots first, for one minute, then add the broccoli for two more minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Put aside to cool and sprinkle with a hint of salt and olive oil.
Make your glaze and dressing. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, mustard, basil, salt and pepper. While whisking, first add canola oil slowly, then olive oil, until fully combined but not too cloudy. Set aside half of the dressing. With the second half, continue whisking until emulsified and thick, creating a glaze for the patties.
In a medium saute pan, add butter over medium/low heat. Add red onion and let slowly cook, stirring occasionally to caramelize for 25-30 minutes. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, brown onion, cilantro, chutney, eggs and salt and pepper. Form into patties. Make a small indention in the middle of each patty with your thumb. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs if desired.
Bring a large saute pan to medium/hight heat. Add patties and cook 4 minutes first side and do not touch them...they are delicate. With a pastry brush, add glaze to the top of the patties before flipping. Cook another 4 minutes, and add glaze to second side. Flip one more time and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
Set oven to Broil. Remove patties from pan. Place on baking sheet and top with caramelized onions and shredded or sliced cheddar cheese. Broil at top of the oven until cheese is melted and bubbly.
In a large serving bowl, add lettuces, broccoli and carrots, pickles if desired, and lightly dress with your balsamic vinaigrette. Top with your gorgeous turkey burger patty. Garnish with torn basil if desired. And enjoy!!!