A former mentor once said to me, “when you hire a team of people, try to get a balance of dreamers and doers.” I think about that statement often, still sometimes wondering what category I fit into. I think of myself as both a dreamer and a doer and find it hard to box myself in. I spend a good amount of time in the day, dreaming about the things I want to manifest in my life (e.g., a new logo for this site, a real garden to grow my own vegetables in, the opportunity to write a cookbook, etc. You know, the usual. :)) I also spend a lot of time in doing mode: working, studying, learning all the things there is to know about running a blog well, and then actually bringing them to fruition. All the while, I still try to be present and grateful for what I already have–perhaps the most important part of it all. So where do I fit in that equation?
Perhaps that I walk the line is a gift that I possess, bringing new ideas and an ability to follow through on the things that I most believe in. I have dreamt big dreams and have made a lot of things happen, albeit very slowly, on this blog over the last year or so. Dreaming up recipe ideas is happening 24/7. I garner inspiration from nature, from the weather and what’s in season, from family traditions, from beautiful books, from other bloggers, and from Instagram (and I don’t just mean food feeds. Have you seen this guy?).
I’ve been dreaming about beet burgers for about 2 years, ever since I tried Mark Bittman’s version in the book How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (which, by the way, is a solid resource book for anyone who is learning to cook or just wants to have some new ideas. It’s like an encyclopedia for veg cooking. So good!). These burgers are a take on the original recipe, though I didn’t really adjust things too much. I made them 2 years ago and then, because I always want to try new things, never got around to making them again until now. Instead, I just dreamt about making them. So this is my version: Beet, Hazelnut, and Date Burgers. I paired them with a grainy mustard sauce (which, for the record is a fancy way of saying that I mixed mustard and mayo together), some peppery greens and sprouts, and wrapped it in a chard leaf or collard green, depending on what day you caught me. The burger is warm, earthy, and slightly sweet, which makes the pungency of the mustard sauce all that much more welcome. Because the burger contains bulgur, I opted out of a bun. The recipe is simple, and if you have a food processor to grate the beets, putting the burgers together takes mere minutes.
Despite my best intentions, I do sometimes get hung up on things and can lack inspiration or the wherewithal to do anything about it. One thing I haven’t been able to “do” until now (something that any novice blogger could have probably figured out on day 1) is setting up my RSS feed. Ugh. Techies, don’t judge! I’m learning. But I’m happy to say that if you do the RSS thing, you can finally click on the RSS icon up there (the one farthest to the right) or the one on my Facebook page and actually be able to sign up to have 80twenty in your feed. Alternatively, if you like the recipes delivered right to your inbox, just put your email address into the “subscribe” box. If neither of those ways of connecting floats your boat, I always enjoy a pop-in. So just feel free to visit me whenever, and how often, you like. No pressure. Just wanted you to know it was there.
- 1 lb beets washed, trimmed, and grated (a food processor attachment works wonders here)
- ¼ packed cup, pitted medjool dates
- ½ cup whole, raw hazelnuts
- 1.5 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- ½ cup bulger *See note below
- ¾ cup boiling water
- ¼ cup flour, plus more, if needed, (I used a gluten-free blend)
- Grape seed oil, for cooking
- Equal parts mayonnaise or veganaise and grainy mustard. (e.g., For 7 servings, you'll need 7 tbsp of each condiment (or about ⅓ to ½ a of a cup of each).
- Arugula and/or peppery sprouts for serving
- Grape seed oil, butter, or coconut oil to cook
- Optional: Collard greens OR Chard leaves OR Buns to serve it in. They are also great eaten on their own with the sauce.
- *Note: If you are gluten-intolerant, you can try subbing cooked quinoa or millet in place of the bulgur. In this case, eliminate the boiling water. If you've added the flour and the mixture still doesn't come together easily, try adding a lightly whisked egg or chia/flax egg. Please note: I have not tried this version, but it's my best guess as to how it might work. If you try it this way, I'd love to know how it turns out.
- Combine the beets, dates, hazelnuts, and ginger in the food processor and pulse to combine so that everything is well-chopped, but not in a paste.
- Pour the mixture in a large bowl, add the mustard, cayenne, bulgur, and boiling water, and stir to combine. Cover with a plate and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the mayonaise and mustard together to make the sauce.
- Remove the plate and stir to combine again. If the mixture seems too wet, add some flour, a tablespoon at a time, to help it bind. You may need more than ¼ cup.
- Prepare a skillet with a lid. Heat the skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Add the oil or butter and when it has melted carefully place the burgers into the pan. The burgers are delicate, so make sure that you have room to flip them (3 in an average-sized pan works well).
- Cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes. Carefully flip the burger, cover with the lid, and cook on the other side for 4-5 more minutes, or until nicely browned.
- Serve with a generous dollop of mustard sauce on it's own OR tucked into a chard, collard leaf, or bun and with some arugula or sprouts.
- To make a meal of it, add in some roasted Brussels sprouts.