Walnut Burgers and Organic Spinach, Walnuts, Goat Cheese Salad with Homemade Apple Cider Vingerette Dressing

4 03 2009
Walnut Burgers and Salad
Walnut Burgers and Salad

This post is a bit late so just hang in there.  The story behind this meal is great almost at every turn.  So lets start with the immediate review, move into the story, and then end with more of a review details.

AMAZING!!!! Everyone I feed these too makes an audible noise of approval/surprise when they first take a bite.  Lets start out by saying that they are NOT raw meat and in fact are Vegan, which is more of an adjective to describe them than a reason I made them. The EXACT same reaction I had when I made them the first time.   After thinking about it for me the audible gasp is NOT because they are the prima donna, fillet mignon of Vegan burgers but rather that most times when I taste food there is always a “but”; always SOMETHING that I would like to try and change. Often times the reaction is DAMN that is good BUT I might add some more X and it would be better! But not these babies.  Something about them for me just goes. EXCELLENT. And stops there.  Its the stopping there part that makes me gasp more than the excellent part.

So what is in these non-meaty meat looking patties? As the name suggests its mostly ground walnuts, tofu (to hold it together), hazelnuts, onion, bread crumbs, ground beats, ground carrots and some other stuff.  Mix it all together, form them, and pan fry them to perfection.  Not difficult except I always end up making many dishes dirty in the process of making this particular dish!!!

 So this story I tell you? Well getting the recipe was hard enough.  I had made the walnut burgers about 2.5 years ago when I lived with another friend.  Well I used some cookbook she owned and randomly picked them and was super impressed! I believe because some folks were making lentil burgers which I’m not found of and wanted to try another non-meat version of a patty and this was an option.  Well fast forward to a few months ago and the sous chef was going over the friends place. I asked her to find the recipe and bring it back.  I don’t remember asking that nor her response. But a month ago or so I was over at the friends place and she told me that they couldn’t find it and I could look for it if I wanted to.  So I went through the cookbooks I thought it was in and then through all the ones I didn’t think it was in. Nothing.  Which is the same place that the sous chef and friend got to.  I finally picked back up the cookbook we all thought it was in and was leafing through the recipes and low and behold “Hurstin’s Walnut Burgers” in the book we thought it was in! But wait there is more….. I got back to the index where my search in every cook book started and looked up walnuts, burgers, and even Hurstin’s for the second time…. NOTHING.  There is no mention of the recipe ANYWHERE in the index!!!!!! At which time jokingly I conclude that vegan’s can’t read because it isn’t in the index. 

So after the recipe is acquired it goes into my computer recipe program and sits there.  Enjoying its use of 1 and 0’s on my hard drive for awhile.  Fast forward to the farmers market now two weeks ago.  We spent the night at the sous chef’s house and I didn’t have my reference book with me, the market is still full of mostly tubers, and I’ve run out of new and exciting vegetables to try during this season so I don’t have a plan and nothing is jumping out at me. At all.

Now most weeks I try to come up with one whole meal from the farmers market.  Which is great except sometimes I buy more produce than I need for the recipe and I have leftovers. Dealing with uncooked, raw leftovers in my fridge and/or my pantry is NOT my strong suit.  I do much better with just buying what I need, using it, and repeating it.  Now the past few weeks I’ve been getting better about knowing/using what is in my pantry but my produce is still a bit on weak “non-recipe” use.  So this market story is a double boon.  1) No recipe in hand/recipe making it up as I go and 2) Using produce/market “leftovers” in the new recipe.

So how does that relate to walnut burgers?  Walnuts.  I didn’t have a recipe and as we were on lap 1 on our market trip nothing jumped out at me.  On lap 2 beets jumped out at me as one of the two ingredients of walnut burgers that I can remember off the top of my head.  AND I have left over walnuts at home from a previous market trip and lets be honest I’d rather use things I have at home for meals to cut some costs but it makes me excited when the things I am using are from the farmers market and not from the store.  It just fits in with the weekly market meal better.  So I got myself some beets. And I have walnuts. And I have no idea what else I am doing for dinner because walnut burgers by themselves just don’t seem rounded out yet.

Lap 3 I spot the baby spinach.  This actually was spotted on lap 1 but only as a data point of what is at the market.  But I love spinach salad so a side of a spinach salad would be great. At some point I remember I have walnuts which are great on salads. Lap 4. AND I have goat cheese! Lap 5. At this point it literally is a lap per ingredient as I’m putting the plan together in my head.  Somewhere on lap 4 or 5 I decide I want to get an apple to slice up and put in the salad and at the time I was thinking a nice sweet raspberry vinaigrette dressing for the whole thing.  Well on our final lap I’ve got the whole plan worked out and the ingredients bought and I find the mecca: nettle leaves.  I didn’t use them in this recipe but I have them and need to use them soon but I was excited to find the sting nettle leaves in the market.  Stay tuned for updates on that plan.

So fast forward a few days and for some reason I get another idea: apple cider vinaigrette! I mean come on I’m putting apples in the salad why not some sort of apple cider vinaigrette to go with it. So through the wonders of google I find a nice simple  recipe that uses apple cider/juice which I have about a cup of farmers market apple cider left over ready to use! Perfect! (recipe here) So after another trip to the store for some basic items I’m off to cook with amazing results.

 I’ve covered the walnut burgers above so lets talk about the salad.  It was great as well.  I used the first baby spinach I saw this year at the farmers market for the base, crushed up some the farmers market walnuts from a few weeks ago, crumbled up some goat cheese I bought a million years ago that was unused and unopened, and then I toped it thinly sliced apple slices from the farmers market this week to.   The key was the homemade apple cider vinaigrette dressing I used.  It was excellent! The recipe was basically apple cider, apple cider vinegar, agave syrup (I made and used simple syrup instead), and a cinnamon stick.  It was supposed to sit for 24 hours but 1 hour later it was still really yummy.  All the flavors of the salad really worked nicely together and non of them including the goat cheese really dominated the taste.  The dressing was light but had lots of flavor but just enough to add to what was already there. 

So overall separately the salad and the burgers would have been amazing but together it was like double amazing! I almost forgot not included in the picture but I served it with  farmers market Turkish bread that was also very tasty.  So there is the story of the walnut burger. How it was a challenge at every turn but in the end fantastic and totally worth the craziness leading up to it.




3 responses

5 03 2009
CN Heidelberg

WALNUTS! My only weakness. How did you know?


5 03 2009

A little bird…

Don’t die yet…. they don’t hold that well in the mail to Germany yet. We have our scientists working hard on the problem and hope to have a resolution in about 20 years. (we don’t pay our scientists well enough sorry!!!)

13 04 2009
Spring Green Salad starring Miners Lettuce, Napa Cabage Raab, Dandelion Greens, and Grated Kohlrabi « Where energy and creativity meet

[…] thew some walnuts and goat cheese I had sitting around on top of the salad and served it with the homemade apple cider vingerette that I had left over from a previous […]

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