Monday, February 14, 2011

Pecan Burgers

Pecan Burgers

Serve 6 (about two burgers each)

Pecans are a delicious, nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich nut native to North America. That is why pecans were chosen for these great uncooked burgers. Instead of cooking, these burgers are dehydrated until a crust forms on top and yet still moist inside. A tasty tangy tomato pesto and marinated onion rings are the crowning features of these burgers.

To the Chef:
Check the recipe as you will need time for soaking the pecans (about 6 hours) and for dehydrating the burgers (about 5 hours). If making the Marinated Purple Onion Rings, they will need to marinate (about 3 hours), so plan your time in the kitchen. The Pecan Burgers and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto can be made several days ahead of time and the burgers reheated in the dehydrator just before serving. The Marinated Purple Onion Rings should be made the day of your meal as they will get soggy if left to marinate too long.

Pecan Burger

2 cups pecans, soaked 6 hours

1 cup celery, sliced

1 cup parsley leaves, chopped large

½ cup flax seed meal

½ cup purple onion, diced large

2 tablespoons Nama Shoyu (raw soy sauce), tamari or 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink crystal salt

¼ teaspoon Himalayan pink crystal salt

2 cloves garlic, crushed

For an Artful Presentation (optional)

12 large outer leaves of Bibb lettuce

1 recipe Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, see below

1 recipe Marinated Purple Onion Rings, see recipe below

Pecan Burger Process
: In a food processor, put all the ingredients for the burger and process until almost smooth. If necessary, add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture flows freely through the blade. Be careful not to add too much water as this mixture needs to be thick for shaping into burgers.

Shape into Burgers: On a piece of unbleached parchment paper cut to the size of your dehydrator tray, put 2 tablespoons of the nut mixture (for small appetizer size burgers) or ¼ cup (for larger burgers) and into a burger about ¼-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Dehydrate the Burgers:
Dehydrate the burgers at 145°F for 1 hour. Turn down the dehydrator to 115°F and continue to dehydrate until they are slightly crisp on top and moist in the center, about 4 more hours.

For an Artful Presentation (optional) Assemble Burger: On a large platter or individual dishes, put the 12 leaves of lettuce. Place a burger on each lettuce leaf, spread some Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto over their tops and crown with the Marinated Purple Onion Rings.

Store: Keep these burgers in a covered glass container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Put sheets of natural wax paper between the layers.

Serving Ideas: Serve Pecan Burgers as the main dish of a meal, as little appetizers for a stand-up buffet or as a snack when you need a little extra protein.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce

Makes About One Cup

A pizzazy tomato sauce alive with flavor, texture and color. Let this tasty delight crown your main dishes whenever a tomato taste is desired. It is especially complementary served over Pecan Burgers (see above).

To the Chef:
Look for sun-dried tomatoes without sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide is a health concern. It is used to preserve the color of dried fruits including tomatoes and to keep them moist and plump. Tomatoes that have been dried without sulfur dioxide will be more dry and dark looking but will be much better for you!

1 medium tomato, cut in large chunks

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in 1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill weed or basil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon agave nectar or other sweetener

½ teaspoon pink Himalayan crystal salt or sea salt

1 clove garlic, crushed

Process: In a food processor, put all the ingredients and process until slightly chunky.

Serving Ideas: Use like you would catchup.

How to Store: Store in a covered glass container for up to 5 days.

Marinated Purple Onion Rings

About Twenty Onion Rings

Marinated Purple Onion Rings can be made in a snap but must marinate for several hours to be at their best. They are a tasty and attractive addition to a meal or tossed into a salad. Purple onions are often mistakenly labeled red onions.

To the Chef: Start early as these onion rings will need to marinat for 3 hours. Slice the onion thick or thin depending on the texture, taste and look you are wanting to achieve. I prefer thinly sliced for Pecan Burgers as they will be more supple, slightly sweet and will tend to clump together and loose their shape. A thicker cut onion will be slightly crunchier, have a spicier taste and will keep its shape longer. Cut your onion with a sharp knife or for a uniform precision cut, use a mandolin or V-slicer.

Onion Rings in Marinade Sauce

1 medium purple onion, sliced in thick or thin rings

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu (soy sauce)

¼ tablespoon Himalayan pink crystal salt

Shake all Ingredients: In a wide mouth jar, put all the ingredients. Tightly cover with the lid. Shake to coat the onion slices. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Serving Ideas: These onion rings can be used to garnish on top of savory dishes, add them as a minor ingredient to salads or as a major ingredient to a simple salad of sliced tomato and perhaps some cucumber and sweet basil.

How to Store: Marinated Purple Onion Rings are best used the day they are made.