Chicken Burgers with Shallots, Mustard, and Capers; Japanese Cucumber Salad with Cilantro, Mint, and Ginger Rice Wine Vinegar Dressing

By Ira,

This is a very easy and delicious meal. All you need to do is add shallots, mustard, capers, and lemon zest to ground chicken, form it into patties and cook it. For the side dish, cucumbers need to be finely sliced lengthwise, then topped with cilantro, mint, and then the ginger rice wine dressing.

First, prepare the plate of cucumbers, and make the dressing, but don’t pour it over the cucumbers yet. Then make the burgers, and while they’re cooking, prepare the toppings, toast the buns, and drizzle the dressing over the cucumbers.

Chicken Burgers with Shallots, Mustard, and Capers

Serves 4

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons capers, minced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coconut or grapeseed oil
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Plus Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard to serve

In a medium bowl, add the chicken, capers, shallots, dijon, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix gently. Form into 4 equal patties.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil, then the patties. If you have a smaller skillet, then you can cook 2 patties at a time. Cook for 5-7 minutes on one side,

flip, and cook the other side for another 5-7 minutes or until well done. Serve with slightly toasted burger buns, and any other toppings you like.

Japanese Cucumber Salad with Cilantro, Mint, and Ginger Rice Wine Vinegar Dressing

Serves 4 – adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef

  • 4 small cucumbers
  • a small handful of mint leaves
  • a small handful of cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1-inch size piece of ginger, grated
  • zest of 1/2 lime

Finley slice the cucumbers using a mandolin, or a potato peeler. Arrange it on a plate. Top it with torn leaves of mint and cilantro.

In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, ginger, and lime zest.

Drizzle the dressing over the cucumbers and serve.


Pasta Puttanesca and Simple Salad

By Jennifer

Pasta Puttanesca

This comes together quickly and is delicious;  even better with a glass of good Chianti.  I tossed baby Romaine with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the side.  An easy way to chop garlic is to first smash the clove using the side of a knife and your fist (be sure to place the garlic clove on it’s flat side so it doesn’t skitter out);  then you can easily remove the skin and chop away.

This recipe is adapted from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or, a decent number of turns of the pepper mill)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes in juice, preferably Italian
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 2 TBS rinsed and drained capers
  • 3/4 cup chopped basil

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil;  cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions.

Tomatoes in the blender

Meanwhile, puree the tomatoes and their juice in a blender.

Garlic skin comes off easily

Smashing garlic

Garlic, anchovy paste, spices in oil

Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat and add the garlic, anchovy paste, red-pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Stir occasionally until the garlic is fragrant;

Pureed tomatoes, olives and capers in the pan

add the pureed tomatoes, olives and capers.  Lower heat to a simmer (medium-low) and let cook until pasta is finished.  Drain pasta;  return to pot.  Add sauce and toss well.  Serve with basil sprinkled on top.

Pasta Puttanesca is served