Savory Turkey Burgers with Quick Mango Red Pepper Chutney

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(Becky, the Mama.)

A family story pops up almost every Thanksgiving.   Decades ago, my adorable cousin Kenny, about age five, tiny and wearing enormous glasses took a bite of the day’s celebrated roast bird, smiled, and then with a slow southern munchkin voice, asked my mom, “What kind of chicken is this Aunt (pronounced “Ain’t”) Ruthie?  Tur-key?”

I must confess, I’m not a big fan of turkey (even cousin Kenny’s “chicken kind of turkey”) — as it too often tends toward dry and flavorless.  I’ve found three exceptions, however.  One is a  recipe for marinated grilled turkey tenderloin. Moist, delicious,  a family favorite.  Another is a savory-sweet recipe for Asian turkey meatballs.  Finally there is this creation for savory turkey burgers loaded with flavor and topped with a sweet and spicy quick mango red pepper chutney.  It’s beautiful on a serving plate, plus budget and waistline friendly dish. Yummy paired with a side of jasmine rice and my simple sesame avocado  cucumber salad.  For vegans or vegetarians,  trying grilling Field Roast Apple Sage Sausages, and then simmer them in the sauce a few minutes before serving.

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Savory Turkey Burgers with Quick Mango Red Pepper Chutney

Makes 6 to 8 patties depending on size you prefer

Burgers

1 lb ground turkey (you can also use ground beef if you prefer)

1 lb  sweet Italian turkey sausage, out of casing and crumbled

2 t. seasoned salt or grill seasoning

1 egg

1/3 c. soft bread crumbs

Sauce

½ cup chicken or veggie broth

1 /4 c. brown sugar

1 T. Dijon mustard

1/3 c. red wine or balsamic vinegar

Pinch salt and pepper

1 fresh mango diced (Or 3/4 c. fresh pineapple, chopped, is also delicious if you prefer)

1 roasted red pepper, diced

2 green onions, chopped

Directions:

Mix the ingredients for turkey burgers together and form into patties, any size you like.   Grill or sauté with a little olive oil until brown and caramelized on the outside, cooked through on the inside.  (You can cover the pan once the burgers are brown on the outside and let simmer a bit more if they need to cook through more on the inside.) Remove from pan to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm and let juices redistribute.   To the same skillet, add veggie broth, brown sugar, mustard and vinegar to skillet. Turn heat on high to bring to boil and then back heat down to a simmer,  until sauce begins to get thicken.. Add mango, red pepper and onions, pinch salt and pepper continue to cook until the chutney is hot again.  Serve a spoonful of warm sauce over turkey patties.

Vegan or Vegetarian Alternative: Use Field Roast Apple Sage Sausages, split down the middle length-wise. Brown in a little olive oil, then continue recipe above.

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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Savory Turkey Burgers with Quick Mango Red Pepper Chutney
The recipe URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-ZD
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

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Quinoa Mango Black Bean Burrito

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(Becky, the Mama.)

Okay.  I have an honest confession.  If there were a support group for it, I should have joined.  Here it is:  I’m afraid of quinoa.  Not of eating it, mind you.  I actually love it and I know it is a vegetarian’s friends, full of all good things.  One cup of the nutty, fluffy tasty grain provides over 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, along with goodies like magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium and all for around 220 calories

My first encounter with quinoa was all positive: my daughter-in-law Julie took me to an adorable coffee shop called The Red Cup in Mukilteo, Washington, overlooking the water.  The kind of cafe with bright funky colors alongside soothing bohemian baristas in Birkenstocks and granny skirts.

red cup 1

They serve an organic warm, tasty burrito stuffed with quinoa and cheese that comes with tangy fresh mango salsa.   I’ve often thought how much I’d like to try recreating one of those burritos, but I found my mind braking at this thought: “Oh, no, I’ll have to learn how to make quinoa.”

Finally, I told my daughter-the-vegan that I have a quinoa-making phobia.  Her response? “Mom, you are going to laugh at yourself when you find out how ridiculously easy it is.  Just use your $10.00 cheap-o rice maker and pretend it is rice.”

So today I faced down my fears. I marched to my rice maker, poured a cup of quinoa and 1 ¼ cups of water into the bowl, turned it on, then walked away slowly.  When I returned, hesitantly, 15 minutes later… a miracle had occurred.  The tiny little beads had burst and turned nutty and fluffy and … awesome.

The rest was easy and familiar: I grilled a tortilla, sprinkled a little cheese around, then layered quinoa, black beans, salsa, mango,cilantro and chopped green onions.  Rolled that baby up, cut it in half at a diagonal. and dipped it in a bit more salsa mixed with diced mango.

I was immediately transported to that café in Seattle.

Just give me some Birkenstocks and a granny skirt and call me the “Quinoa Queen.”

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Quinoa Mango Black Bean Burrito

Serves 1

1 medium to large Tortilla (white or wheat, I prefer Tortilla Land brand)

1/4 -1/3 cup grated cheese, depending on preference
1/3 cup cooked quinoa, warmed (click for Rachel’s simple directions)
2 T. black beans, warmed
1/4 c. diced mango, divided
Sprig cilantro, rough chopped (optional)
1 green onion chopped 
1/4 cup salsa

Grill tortilla on both sides until brown in spots, hot and pliable. (Use a bit of olive oil if needed to keep from sticking.)
Layer cheese, quinoa, black beans, 2 T. magno, cilantro and onion.

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Tuck in two sides and then roll up into a burrito. Cut on the diagonal, in half. Mix salsa with remaining mango and serve alongside the burrito.

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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title:Quinoa Mango Black Bean Burrito
The URL:http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Wb
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook


Avocado Mango Salad “Cocktail” in Jicama Nests

Avocado Mango Jicama “Cocktail” Salad

What would you do if given the gift of one uninterrupted day, a day where your kids, your husband, your friends and your boss gave your their blessing to walk away and create your own perfect 12 hours?  A day to refill your soul?

Some seasons of my life are busier than others and the last two months has been filled to overflowing with people, appointments and a list of “to-dos” that seemed endless.  Seeing his wife was in a state of overwhelm,  Greg hugged me on Friday night and said, “Honey, tomorrow I want you to take the whole Saturday  just do anything you want at any given minute, all day long. Don’t worry about a thing.  I’ll even make my own meals.”

It may have been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard anyone say.  (True to his word, Greg made his own lunch: two pieces of leftover corn on the cob, a piece of leftover blueberry pie and some leftover salad.  Yes, he missed the protein food group, but it was a great improvement over his usual “bachelor diet” when I am away: potato chips, chocolate chip cookies and cereal.)

Saturday dawned with the song “Saturday in the Park” playing in my mind, and the line, “I’ve been waiting such a long time, for Sat-ur-day” echoing again and again.  The feeling of unencumbered space stretched out for the next 12 hours left me near euphoric.

I spent the day writing on our new book in uninterrupted bliss at Denver’s famous Tattered Cover Bookstore, then lunched and wrote some more at The Corner Bakery, over-looking a gorgeous outline of the Rocky Mountains.  When I walked in the house that evening there was a vase of sunny yellow flowers and a loving card from Greg, “Just because.”  I wrote in my Facebook status:  I feel like a wilted flower that has been put in the fresh water of creative work, healing solitude, and the benevolent blessing of a good man who wants little in this life but for me to be happy.  I may yet live!

After I opened the card, Greg and I went to the back porch for our Summertime Happy Hour, a ritual we started in early June to make sure we have a little time to connect before dinner.  One of the things that centenarians the world over have in common is “joyful rituals.” This has become one of our favorites.  I made us clementine mojitos using the mint from my herb garden,  perfectly refreshing.

The day of rest and writing left me infused with creative energy as I cooked supper a little later.   I grabbed a crisp jicama, a vine-ripe tomato, an avocado and a mango out of the crisper.  In my mind’s eye I saw this recipe appear: a pretty salad of orange, green and red nestled in a bed of white grated jicama, drizzled with a fresh lime dressing and served in margarita glasses.  It would be  our “salad course.”   Let me tell you, it  was every bit as tasty as it is beautiful! So cold and refreshing after a 100 degree summer day.

I am delighted to share this recipe  with you,  along with encouragement to take time out for “Fill the Well Day” for your body, mind and soul as soon as you can!

Becky’s Avocado Mango Jicima “Cocktail” Salad

Avocado Mango Salad “Cocktail” in Jicama Nests

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups peeled, grated fresh jicama

1 avocado

1 fresh tomato

1 fresh mango

1 T. chopped cilantro or parsley or mint

2 T. chopped green onion

Juice of 2 limes

1/2 t. salt

4 t. honey

4 T. crushed corn or tortilla chips

Cajun seasoning or Tajin chili-lime seasoning to sprinkle on top

Lime slices for garnish

Tajin seasoning: a delightful blend of lime, salt, and chili pepper. Wonderful on this dish!

The flavors of jicama, tomato, mango, green onion and lime blend beautifully

Directions:

Place 1/2 cup grated jicama in each of 4 margarita glasses or pretty glass bowls to create a white “nest.”   Mix avocado, tomato, mango, herb of your choice and green onion together in a bowl and gently toss.  Place this mixture on top of the grated jicama, dividing evenly in to the four glasses.  In a small bowl mix the dressing of lime juice, salt and honey.  Drizzle evenly over each of the salads.  Top each salad with 1 T. crushed chips and a nice sprinkling of Cajun or Tajin seasoning.  Serve with long teaspoons if you have them and put a slice of lime on each rim.  Have guests stir and toss their salads once they are served to make sure everything gets coated with the lime dressing.


Salmon with Avocado-Mango-Lime Salsa

Becky's Salmon with Avocado-Mango-Lime Salsa

Growing up, the only salmon I knew personally came from a can.  My mom would mix it with crackers and egg, fry it and serve it as salmon patties. Then we kids would  drown these little fish-fried hockey pucks in as much ketchup as possible, picking at them, eating a little bit of the edges hoping this would satisfy our mom so we could simply move on from this so-called dinner, and get to dessert.

I never made a single salmon patty for my children. Never served them salmon at all. Felt that I was doing them a huge favor.

Then, eight years ago I married Greg, an Oregonian and Lover of All Things Salmon. It was then, in my forties, that he gently let me know I’d not only never eaten salmon the way it was intended to be served, but I’d mispronounced it all my life.  Who know that there is such a thing as a silent “l” in the middle of a word?  It took me a full year to stop saying “SaL-mon” and start saying “Sah-men” as they do in the Great Northwest.  About that time my eldest son left Texas to hop on an Alaskan fishing boat and has been catching fresh salmon every summer ever since, living for 4 to 5 months at a time on a boat full of stinky sailors and fresh fish.

I figured, at this point, that I owed it to both my husband and son to learn how to cook salmon correctly.  I stumbled along, trying out recipes, eating salmon at restaurants and just sort of tolerating it.  Then one evening, I was out with a friend who encouraged me to order the salmon on the menu and let the chef cook it his way.  I took one bite of this chef-prepared salmon and said, “Oh. My. Gosh. This is the best meat I’ve ever tasted! But it doesn’t taste like salmon. Or fish. It tastes like crispy butter,  crunchy out the outside but moist flakes of soft yumminess on the inside. How did the chef make this?”

What the chef did was cook the salmon on a searing hot grill and left the middle of the fish still slightly moist and opaque.  He did not roast it. He did not cook it to death.  And this made all the difference.  He also served it with a fabulous lime-garlic-tomato salsa.

Now, I hate to brag,  but these days I make the best salmon you’ve ever tasted.  You need to start  with a good fresh piece of salmon, of the milder tasting variety.  Since Denver is not near an ocean,  the best catch of the day around here is at Whole Foods.  The Norwegian salmon is the mildest. I like the fish guy to cut  one big slab of it, enough for two to three people, and leave the skin on.   But I’m getting ahead of myself!  Here’s the recipe.  You will love it!

Seared Salmon, crispy outside, moist and flaky inside. Perfection!

Becky’s  Salmon with Avocado-Mango-Lime Salsa

Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients

Norwegian salmon, skin on, cut it one slab, enough to serve 2 to 3 people (Fresh wild caught salmon is also delicious, but not as mild as the Norwegian at Whole Foods)

1 -2 T. olive oil (enough to coat pan and keep fish sizzling)

1 – 2 t. grill  or steak seasoning (enough to lightly sprinkle on both sides of your fish)

1 avocado

1 small mango

1 small tomato

1/2 clove garlic grated fine

1 T. fresh lime juice

dash salt

dash sugar

Directions:

Using a grill pan preferably (or a large flat skillet that will take high heat) pour olive oil to coat the bottom and let it get “screaming hot.”  Put salmon skin down onto grill pan.  In about 30 seconds the skin will start to loosen, turn the salmon over and remove the skin with flat spatula, scrapping off any of the grey stuff on top of the pink fish.  (Toss the skin in the trash.) Sprinkle lightly with 1/2 t or so of grill seasoning. Flip back over and cook this side of the salmon on high heat until it is seared and beautiful rich golden brown.  In the meantime, sprinkle the other side with 1/2 t. of grill seasoning.   Flip and cook the other side on high heat until it is a rich golden brown.  Remove from heat.  Let sit a few minutes while you make the relish.

Dice tomato, mango and avocado and mix together in a medium sized bowl.  Add lime juice, fresh grated garlic, a dash of salt and a pinch of sugar.  Gently toss, taste seasonings.

Using two spatulas move fish to large serving plate (pour any pooled juices atop) and garnish with the avocado-mango-tomato salsa.  I like to serve this family style, letting every one at the table gently pull of the amount of salmon they want with a big serving fork and spatula.  Serve any remaining relish in a bowl and allow guests to add more if they like.

Variations: add minced red onion, chopped jalapenos, and/or chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or mint or flat leaf parsley or basil to the salsa

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Salmon with Avocado-Mango-Lime Salsa
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/20/avocado-mango-lime-salmon/

Becky’s Salmon with Avocado-Mango-Lime Salsa

Quicky Sticky Jasmine Rice & Mango

Becky's Quicky Sticky Jasmine Rice & Mango

Yesterday was my birthday, which means I’m only two years away from being able to answer the question, “Do you qualify for the senior discount?” in the affirmative.

The first time I say, “Yes, I’m officially old” to the kid behind the counter, you can be sure there will be salty tears stirred into my 20% Off Cup o’ Joe. (I know, the fact that I refer to coffee as “Joe” already dates me somewhere pre-WW2. But I thought I’d start practicing speaking Old People Talk. I want to get a leg up on fitting in with the AARP’s version of high school seniors as we gather in packs at the mall — before it opens, wearing sensible shoes and fanny packs, to walk around it ten times.)

But before I hit the ol’ double nickel birthday, I’d like to give anti-aging my very best shot. I am friends with and have worked with brain doc and Public Television guru, Dr. Daniel Amen. His latest book, Use Your Brain to Change Your Age, is packed full of research, stories and tips to stay young. If I were forced to sum up the entire book in two points, it would be:

1) Eat nutrition-packed, brain-healthy food. (Colorful fruits and veggies are our best friends in the anti-aging/anti-disease corner.)

2) Exercise. (Walking 30 minutes a day five times a week wards off dementia like a miracle drug.)

In August, I started a regular exercise routine, and though I am no where near svelte, I like the endorphin rush from moving in the morning, know I’m getting blood flow to my brain, and feel my endurance improving. Thanks to my Darling Daughter the Vegan, I’m discovering all sorts of yummy, creative ways to put more antioxidant-rich plant-based foods into my day. Yesterday, I decided to start my new birthday year off by becoming an EOD Vegan: Every Other Day Vegan. Periodically, I’ll report in and let you know if I’m aging backwards or losing any of my ample backside.

Thai food is one of my favorite vegan-friendly sources and last week I enjoyed a lunch of two amazing hot-spicy curries with my friend Lucille. When the waitress asked if we’d like to try Sticky Rice and Mango, since the mangoes are in season and “oh so sweet!” – we were game. And boy, am I glad we were. Fresh sliced mango with a side of almost translucent slightly sweet “sticky rice,” with a warm creamy coconut sauce over all, was delicious.

Making Thai sticky rice involves more time and contraptions than I’m willing to give or buy, but we adore Jasmine rice that I make in my $13.00 rice maker purchased at Wal-mart.

My cheap little beloved rice maker

(Commercial here: rice makers are awesome! You just pour in the rice and water, flip a switch and no burned rice, just perfect little fluffy grains, and all in about 15 minutes.) So I invented the following “Quicky Sticky Jasmine Rice & Mango” recipe – which I liked just as well as the original Thai dish. It makes a light, sweet ending to a Spring or Summertime meal.

Quicky Sticky Jasmine Rice & Mango

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked Jasmine rice (Jasmine rice imparts an amazing aroma and taste.)
1 ¼ cup water
1 can coconut milk, full fat (will be divided)
2 T. organic sugar
4 small mangos
Optional: 2 T. shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, divided.
¾ t. salt, divided
About 8 mint leaves for garnish

Directions:

Into rice cooker (or pan, if you are cooking the rice on the stove top), put jasmine rice, ½ t. salt, water and ½ cup coconut milk and 1 T. coconut if you like. (Use mostly the liquid portion of the coconut milk to go into the rice, saving the majority of rich cream that rises to the top of the can, for the sauce.)

Into a small sauce pan, pour the rest of the coconut milk/cream from the can. Add 2 T. sugar, and if desired, 1 T. of shredded coconut, and ¼ t. salt. Stir and heat until creamy hot and sugar is dissolved. Set aside to let warm slightly.

Peel and slice mangoes, arranging them on pretty plates. You can cut them any way you like, but as you see in the picture, I cut them near to the seed, in two halves, then sliced the halves but keeping the shape intact. The dish in this pictures is enough to serve two, so I used one small mango for two people.

When the rice is done, ladle about ½ cup of the sweetened warm coconut milk over it, and stir. This will help make it “sticky.”

Pack the rice, about 1/3 cup or so, into a small cup (I used a Japanese tea cup that I first sprayed with vegetable oil), carefully turning upside down onto the plate next to the sliced mango.

Rice packed into small cup, ready to turn upside down on plate

Ladle some of the coconut milk over the rice and drizzle on mango as well. Serve any leftover coconut sauce on the table to let the guests serve themselves more if they like. Garnish with sprigs of mint.

Variations: Try with other tropical fruit like pineapple or banana. Berries would also be yummy.  Makes a delicious light breakfast as well. Try with brown Jasmine rice.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Quicky Sticky Jasmine Rice & Mango
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/18/quicky-sticky-jasmine-rice-mango