Turkey & Zucchini Burgers, Basmati & Wild RiceServe at room temperature. This is the phrase that makes any recipe appealing. This phrase takes away any of the stresses related to the “serve immediately” recipe, where your dining audience needs to be seated right beside the oven, with their forks ready.

I paired two recipes from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, both offering the soothing advice to serve at room temperature. And how lovely and delicious these recipes are…

First, the “Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion & Cumin.” Having already established the Burger Rule in my house, I was comfortable to call these burgers “meatballs” and to weigh each one(!) as a 1.5-oz. ball.

The sour cream sauce was easy to combine, tart and lemony. Sumac is a blast.

The meatballs were combined together simply, by hand. I shred my zucchini in the food processor. I was conservative with the amount of cayenne pepper, yet it was still noticeable in the final product. The balls, easily fried then baked, tasted moist (zucchini) and flavorful (mint, garlic, cumin). Fine at room temperature (hooray!), they were ideal with the “Basmati & Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Currants & Herbs” from the same book.

This rice combo is a great, win-win-win recipe, where the deliciousness is applied in layers. And again, we can eat it at room temperature! Allow the rices to cook in the background while you prep the chickpeas and the onions.

The herb combo of parsley, cilantro, and dill can be swapped for any herbs (I did it). The currants give a welcome bite of sweetness to the dish; the chickpeas give a hint of spice. Fried onions are so fun and fabulous. Enjoy them here. You’ll combine all these dry components, without fretting over a wet dressing. Room temperature: live the dream.

Brown Basmati Rice (.70 lb.) = $1.43
Wild Rice (.23 lb.) = $1.84
Onion = .53¢

PREP TIMES: rice dish can be prepped and cooked in less than an hour; meatballs need less time than that; serve at room temperature
TASTES: moist meatballs tasting of mint, garlic, and cumin, dressed with a tart, lemony dressing; fried onions, spicy chickpeas, sweet currants and plenty of herbs mix with hearty rices

Next time, I want to have fun with cornflakes. I’ll cook the “Cornflake-Crusted Pork Nuggets with Mojo Glaze” and the “Mashed Sweet Potato with Jalapeño Pepper,” from the May/June 2016 issue of Cuisine at Home (recipes below).

Cornflake-Crusted Pork Nuggets with Mojo Glaze
Cuisine at Home, May/June 2016
Makes 4 servings

For the pork, cut:
20 oz. pork tenderloin
salt, black pepper, granulated garlic
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, beaten
6 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the glaze, sauté:
4 Tbsp. minced red onion
2 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2-4 Tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. chives

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a baking sheet inside the oven.

For the pork, cut tenderloin in half lengthwise, then cut halves into ten 1-2-inch pieces. Pat pieces dry with a paper towel and season with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.

Place flour, eggs, and cornflakes in three separate shallow dishes. Toss pork pieces in flour to coat, dip into egg, then dredge in cornflakes; brush pieces with butter.

Transfer pork pieces to preheated baking sheet and bake until golden, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the pieces registers 145 degrees F, 7-9 minutes.

For the glaze, sauté onion and fresh garlic in oil until onion softens, 2 minutes. Stir in marmalade and lime juice and simmer until glaze thickens; remove from heat and stir in chives. Serve glaze over pork.

Mashed Sweet Potato with Jalapeño Pepper
Cuisine at Home, May/June 2016
Makes 4 servings

20-24 oz. sweet potato, peeled and cubed

Stir in:
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
salt and black pepper to taste

Boil sweet potato in salted water in a saucepan over high until tender, about 10 minutes.

Drain potato; return to the pan. Cook potato over medium, stirring, to remove excess moisture; mash to desired consistency.

Stir in butter and jalapeño and season potato with salt and pepper.