In The Kitchen: Citrus Avocado Winter Salad, Spicy Turkey Burgers

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With frigid temperatures battering the D.C. region recently, the idea of staying inside and indulging in unhealthy foods could tempt many of us to stray from those New Year’s resolutions.

Chef Susan Delbert of The Fourth Estate Restaurant at the National Press Club, has some delicious, healthy meals that offer an alternative.

Citrus Avocado Winter Salad

1. Slice red or vidalia onion very fine. Salt in a strainer. When they begin to sweat, rinse off all the salt and hold.
2. Slice slightly underripe avocados into a bowl. Salt and pepper (coarse ground or red peppercorns, which is what I used)
3. Cut “supremes” from a variety of citrus: grapefruit, pink grapefruit, mandarins, navel oranges, etc. To cut supremes is to cut wedges between the membranes. As the juice drips, let it drip on the avocados to stop discoloration.
4. Tear up some lettuce. Bibb or baby bibb lettuce works best.
5. Pile on plate: citrus first because it is so heavy. Lettuce. Avocado.
6. Pour a little of the citrus juice on the avocados on the salad.
7. Drizzle some good, extra virgin olive oil on the top.
8. Optional: add some extra red peppercorns to sprinkle on top.

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Spicy Turkey Burgers
(about 4-6 servings)

Who wouldn’t want to eliminate a bit of saturated fat if it didn’t mean giving up taste? This recipe may seem daunting with 13 ingredients, but many will be in your pantry. Amounts used are small. Substitutions are easy: hate cilantro, use parsley or any herb; no fresh herbs, use dry; no dry mustard, use jarred; no ground turkey, use chicken or even fresh or canned tuna.

Folding the ingredients together is best done with your hands and a bit of care as ground turkey is fragile and if mixed too vigorously turns mushy. This is also better if made a few hours before use or the day before; the flavors meld. Have fun with this and make it your own!

2 pounds ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 inches minced peeled fresh ginger root
2 diced jalapenos (taste a bit of the tip, adjust more or less; they vary)
1 medium red onion, fine dice
½ cup (about ½ bunch) cilantro, chopped
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup paprika
¼ cup dry mustard (Colman’s)
2 tablespoons Cumin
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
½ cup (Japanese) Panko bread crumbs
Scant half cup vegetable oil

1. Mix all ingredients in large bowl, gently folding mix over itself. Don’t overwork.
2. Add bread crumbs and oil last.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or a few hours.
4. Form into 4-6 patties.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
6. Heat vegetable oil in skillet to shimmering: sear patties on one side, flip and transfer to parchment lined baking sheet
7. Finish in oven, about 10-15 minutes. You may add cheese the last five minutes or so. Let rest for 5 minutes; covered with foil
8. Carryover cooking will raise temp to 165 degrees.
9. Alternatively, heat grill medium high, grill about 10 minutes per side.

Chef Delbert says the burgers are great with grilled, toasted sesame rolls — somewhat soft rolls, not too hearty, lettuce, tomato and (optional) cheese and red onion. Adding mayonnaise with Cajun spices (or Tabasco) also adds some yummy flavor.

Susan Delbert joined The Fourth Estate Restaurant at the National Press Club as Executive Chef after working at The Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. as Sous Chef for several years. Delbert has worked in several Washington restaurants, including The Oval Room, BeDuCi in Dupont Circle and Gerard’s Place. She started her culinary career as a Front of the House Maitre d’ in Clyde’s of Chevy Chase. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., where she graduated at the top of her class. She was an invited participant in an Italian regional cooking program sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission.

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