Our time here in France is quickly coming to an end. I knew it would go by fast but I can feel so many undone ‘to-dos’ just slipping through my fingers now. We’ve got some big travel plans come spring time, and then we’re hoping to find a place to plant some roots back home in Canada once fall comes along. I knew that this winter was going to fly by, but things are happening with such haste now, it is a struggle just trying to keep up.
I feel darn lucky to have had so many friends and family come visit over the years, and just last week we had two wonderful people here for a few days. We were so fortunate with the weather, a nice change for them from the freezer that is the north east right now. I suppose that their visit was pretty uneventful in terms of tourist hot spots, but a few sunny days on the hill and some cozy nights around the dinner table is my idea of time well spent. As sad as it is, sometimes it takes seeing your world through the eyes of a visitor to find a new appreciation for it. To see everything again as if for the very first time, with awe and wonder – it humbled me.
Our little house here has become our home, one that Matt and I have made together. It’s cold, and totally mismatched and calling it rustic would be a compliment, but it’s been ours and we’ve made a lot of memories here. It never really dawned on me that I might miss it much, we’ve been so busy planning and organizing our adventures for the future that I can sometimes forget how good we have things here. All this to say that mindfulness, and living in the moment and being grateful for what have is not just some high-vibe, hippy-dip idea, it is really the key to happy days. So although I know the next few weeks are going to be pretty task heavy, I am putting effort into recognizing all that we have here, the life that we are able to live everyday and that my walk to work is pretty damn beautiful. There is no victory in rushing through life, I am, indeed, exactly where I’m supposed to be.
LENTIL, WALNUT + BEET BURGERS WITH QUICK PICKLED FENNEL + SUNFLOWER SEED AIOLI
Every now and then a homemade burger really hits the spots, especially when served with a side of sunshine, good company and a cold beer. You could totally out-burger me here and make your own buns (have been meaning to try these for ages), but I thought 3 out of 4 components has good enough for a week night. Trying to find a lady like way of getting these in your belly is pretty much impossible, and using a knife and fork is majorly frowned upon. Embrace the forearm drip and get yourself a few napkins. The patties also make a great addition to a salad with lots of greens, some fennel, a mustardy dressing and maybe a few toasty seed, if you prefer to go that route.
I can see many more quick pickled goods in my future, quickled shallots, pearl onions, jalapenos, cauliflower (!?) – ‘quickling’ – y’all. Watch it, that’s patent pending.
Makes 4 large burgers or 6 smaller slider size ones. Vegan + Gluten Free.
1 medium beet, peeled + quartered
1 tablespoon flax seeds
3/4 cup raw walnuts
1 1/2 cup cooked black beluga lentils*
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + extra for brushing
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced and fronds reserved
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns
1/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Sunflower Seed Aioli
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for 1 hour or overnight
1 small clove garlic
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Cracked black pepper
Small handful capers, drained and roughly chopped (optional)
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Toasted bread, or gluten free bun or choice and some fresh greens
For the quickled fennel, place thinly sliced fennel + fronds, garlic and peppercorns in a jar with a fitting lid. In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, water and maple syrup. Poor mixture over fennel, seal the lid, shake to get everything covered and set in the fridge to marinate, at least one hour, best if overnight (you can top up with a splash of water to make sure things are well submerged). Fennel will keep in the fridge up to a week.
For the burgers, place the flax seeds in a small bowl and cover with water. Set aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Shred the beet using a grater or in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk. If you’ve used a food processor, remove the shredded beet from the bowl and switch out the disc for a metal blade. Add the walnuts to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Drain the flax seeds and add the the ground walnuts, pulse to break up and combine. Add all remaining ingredients and blend to combine, leaving a few lentils intact for texture. Set the dough in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 F / 200 C and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then lightly brush the paper with olive oil. Form the dough into 4 large patties of 6 smaller slider size ones, and place on prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the burgers with a little more olive oil and bake until firm and slightly crisping, about 30-35 mins. Let cool + enjoy, or refrigerate/freeze for a later date. Burgers will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
For the aioli, drain the soaked sunflower seeds and place in a small blender with garlic, lemon juice + zest, salt and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Blend until smooth, adding more olive oil as needed or a splash of water to help thin. Mix with fresh parsley and capers, garnish with lots of pepper. Set in the fridge until ready to serve. Can be made 1 day ahead.
Brush bread of choice with a little olive oil, then toast until just crisp. Assemble the burger by placing a warm beet burger on top of toasty bread, then top with quickled fennel, fresh greens, and top it all of with toasty bread slathered in aioli. Best of luck friends, keep napkins handy.
* 2/3 cup uncooked beluga lentils will yield 1 1/2 cups cooked. If possible soak lentils before cooking to help in digestion and reduce cooking time. Place soaked, rinsed lentils in a pot and add 1 1/3 cup water or stock, bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes, until just tender. You want al-dente here and not mushy. Alternatively you can use pre-cooked canned lentils here too, just drain and rinse before using.
Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!