Are you ever motivated to cook a particular dish or sauce based upon its color, or pair certain foods together based upon an imagined aesthetic, how it would look plated or photographed? I have to admit that, although I am firstly interested in taste, after that I think food is sort of a visual playground for me. Admittedly I have more time on my hands right now than when I was working . . . all day, every day, so that could be a factor in my recent unusual creations. But I do have a streak of silliness that runs through my cooking, no doubt about it. The one thing I won’t do, however, is assemble little bits and pieces of foods like a painting, which is what I’m seeing a lot in restaurants these days . . . I want a full plate of food, not little bits and pieces!
Let’s take beets, for example, aren’t they beautiful when sliced open?
How about Purple Basil? Not only is is vibrant in color, but it’s also a bit more peppery than Italian green basil. Wouldn’t it make a fabulous pesto, on top of something sweet, made with beets. Say, a jewel-toned beet burger?
I really winged this burger, not consulting any recipes but relying on intuition and refrigerator odds and ends. I had some spoonfuls of dark baba that needed to be terminated, as well as a load of carrots that I needed to make headway with that arrived over the weekend in my CSA box.
So then, to some grated, strained and pressed carrot and beet (and beet stalk — no waste here!) I added a couple of eggs, the last of the baba, toasted cumin seed, salt and pepper, sriracha and walnut oil. In went breadcrumbs made from two old heels of Bezan’s bakery 12 grain natural levain bread, formed into patties . . . but in a biscuit cutter, in a skillet (to hold round shape). I browned the beetburgers, released the biscuit cutter and finished them in a 375 F oven for about 25 minutes. One burger we topped with pesto and tucked into a sourdough poppy bagel from Red Bread, the other we served fussy/paleo style . . . that is, no bread. Since I don’t really roll with measurements unless I’m baking bread or cakes, please recognize that you’ll have to go with your instincts on the recipe . . . . what you’re looking for is something that feels like a raw hunk of hamburger would in your hand . . . you want it to hold together somewhat well, but since you’ll end up with, at best, a fairly wet and loose patty, get out your biscuit cutter or a makeshift round shape such as a jar lid, to hold your patties in place while they brown. The pesto recipe will come with another post.