How do you get a two-and-a-half year old to eat his veggies, and not in the form of pasta – and no, this is not a trick or rhetorical question. I’m serious and at my wits end with my food snubbing son, who only seems to want to eat gnocchi with pesto sauce. Yet, I
think though I may have found the answer to that. . . maybe, or maybe I won’t place all my bets on it and take caution when needed, in other words, I enjoyed them, him not so much. However, the court is still out on that since I must have slipped him a sleeping pill in his lunch and he fell asleep with his mouth full, saying ‘no eat’ and ‘no bed’ – this kid is determined to be difficult sometimes. So the results are ‘inconclusive’ we could say, for now. But I will win this kid over with my cooking, eventually. . or God help me we may have a case of pasta-overuse and abuse soon, wait scratch that I live in Italy, everyone is guilty of the crime of loving the pasta a little too much!
But hey, enough about the kid already, and on to these burgers, right (he’s stealing the show here people)! These burgers came about as a way to satisfy my totally inner mom voice that screams you gotta eat your vegetables, or you can’t have any pudding (and the inner Pink Floyd voice says something similar too). They were also a way to put together some great every day flavors of Italian cooking – slap it between two slices of bread, and it’s now Amerikan, with a capital ‘K’.
These burgers are bursting with flavor – sun dried tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms and basil. They scream Mediterranean, Italy! The mushrooms give it a meaty flavor, while the tomato and basil keep it fresh on the palate. I will warn you thyme lovers out there and for the many confused souls on what Italian cooking is – there is no thyme and no oregano because thyme is not really used in Italian cooking (at least not in this area) and oregano is reserved more for marinara pizzas (i.e. pizza with no cheese). Another free lesson on Italian cooking here (which can be paid for in compliments in the comments below. . .
I kid) is that the base is made from a typical ‘sofritto’ which is the base for many Italian sauces and other dishes – this is onion, celery and carrot sauteed in olive oil. Enough about Italian cooking, this is Italo-American here, but if you do have any questions about Italian cooking, I would be happy to answer. Also, before we get on with the recipe, if ANYONE has ANY suggestions about how to get my son to eat veggies, please, please drop me a line below.
Yield: about 8-10 burgers
2 1/2 cups cooked buckwheat (or other preferred grain)
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
about 14 oz mushrooms, roughly chopped
olive oil (for sautéing)
1 Tbs tomato concentrate
4-5 sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup black olives
about 10-15 basil leaves
1 cup oats
1. Sautee your celery, onion, carrot and garlic together until the onion turns translucent, season with salt then add in your mushrooms. Cook until browned and tender.
2. Blend 1/2 cup of the buckwheat with the tomato concentrate, sun dried tomatoes, black olives, basil leaves and 1/2 cup of the mushroom mixture. You can add in the liquid that cooks off the mushrooms, this will help blend it all together.
3. Once all your ingredients have cooled toss them all together, adding in the oats last. Mix well with a spoon, or even better, your hands. Form into patties – I always make mine about 4.5 ounces (or about 120-130 grams).