Chef Toni Elkhouri of Cedar's Cafe - James Beard Blended Burger Recipe

Cedar's Cafe is our favorite hometown restaurant hands down. We have friends that drive over an hour to come have dinner here regularly. We have gotten to know Chef Toni Elkhouri really well over the past few years and were thrilled when we found out her Mushroom Blended Burger was in the top five of the James Beard Blended Burger Project challenge. No one has a more creative mind when it comes to food. Chef Toni calls it 'progressive Lebanese', we simply call it 'amazing'!

If you happen to be in Central Florida be sure to stop in, she has it all for everyone: meat eaters, vegans, those with food allergies, and more. We are so excited for her and can't wait until October 2016 when she goes to cook this delicious burger at the James Beard House in New York.

In the words of the James Beard Foundation... "The Blended Burger Project™ is a movement that strives to make burgers better by blending ground meat with chopped mushrooms, creating an incredibly delicious patty that’s healthier for your guests and more sustainable for the planet."

To learn more about the Blended Burger Project and the importance of this challenge, please visit https://www.jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject

 

Cedar’s Café

2016 Blended Burger Recipes (meat & vegan)

While coming up with this burger, we imagined a classic burger with our own Middle Eastern twist and had fun doing it! We took classic ketchup, mustard & mayo, reduced the processed sugar and fat, and made it a healthier option with twice the flavor.

PATTY INGREDIENTS

Feel free to change up the mushrooms to what you love the most, more is better in this case. You will not even taste them! Mushrooms add backbone to the patty itself and make it 'meatier'. 

2-3 pounds Portabella mushrooms, cleaned & chopped

1-2 pounds shiitake mushrooms, cleaned & chopped

1-2 pounds Cremini mushrooms, cleaned & chopped

1 pound ground chuck

1 pound ground short rib

¼ pound ground lamb fat

2 tablespoons granulated onion

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 table spoon salt

2-3 tablespoons butter

¼ cup red wine

DIRECTIONS

First in large pan melt butter & add all the mushroom a little at a time not crowding the pan, they will all are sautéed add in red wine to deglaze. Cook off till very little wine is left. Set side to cool. Then using a food processor, puree into a paste. 

Next in a large bowl mix chuck, short ribs & fat till they come together (do not over mix) add spices & mushroom paste. Then form into burgers and grill!

 

THE SAUCES

Pomegranate Ketchup

You can do this two ways: make homemade ketchup (we recommend it) or use a short cut if you have less time on your hands by adding Pomegranate molasses to your favorite store bought ketchup. While it may be a good time saver, you will be missing out on being able to control the sugar in your sauce. Below is the homemade one.

INGREDIENTS

note: If tomatoes are in season you can blanch and skin fresh tomatoes, instead of whole canned ones. 

1 can whole tomatoes in juice, Puree in blender 

½ onion chopped

3-4 garlic cloves chopped

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil 

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup light brown sugar

½ cup Vinegar

½ cup tomato paste

1/3 cup Pomegranate molasses 

DIRECTIONS

In a medium pot, on low sautee onion & garlic in oil, until golden then add spices, tomatoes & paste. Cook for few mins then add sugar & vinegar, cook uncovered on low till thicken. Cool, adjust salt & pepper then add pomegranate molasses. 

 

Banana Pepper Curried Mustard

This is a great sauce for not only burgers but almost anything really. It lends itself to the heat of the dish which goes perfectly with the tang of the pomegranate ketchup (above) and the earthiness of the tahini remoulade (below).

INGREDIENTS

jar of yellow banana peppers,  drained & chopped

½ yellow onion, chopped

½ bell pepper, chopped

2-3 tablespoons ginger

¼ cup vinegar

teaspoons agave

1 cup whole grain Dijon mustard

3-4 tablespoons curry powder

Salt to taste

Water to thin.

DIRECTIONS

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender and puree till smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.

 

Tahini Remoulade

I know what you’re thinking, 'tahini is no mayo, why didn’t they use taziki?'. Well its simple really, tahini is so underused in our humble opinion and when you combine it with low fat Greek yogurt, capers, pickles, cucumber, dill, banana peppers and garlic, you will stock jars of this nutty deliciousness In your pantry for other dishes.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup tahini paste

½ cup Greek yogurt plan low fat 

½ fresh lemon juiced

½ cup minced pickles

¼ cup chopped capers

¼ cup diced pepperoncini

4-5 minced garlic cloves

½ grated cucumber

1 bunch chopped dill

DIRECTIONS

Mix everything in large bowl, adjust seasoning and chill for 12 hours.

 

 

BURGER TOPPINGS

*note: for your bun, we suggest using Ciabatta buns

Balsamic Onions – yellow onions cooked on low heat for 30-45 mins in balsamic vinegar

Spinach

Pepper Bacon

Goat Cheese

Avocado

Fig jam 

Burger Assembly

Toasted Ciabatta buns, then lightly glaze the tops with fig jam.

Then top with pomegranate ketchup, Banana pepper curry mustard, spinach, balsamic onion& bacon.

Place cooked patty, top with tahini remoulade, goat cheese & avocado, top with bun.

Enjoy!

 

VEGAN BLENDED BURGER

PATTY INGREDIENTS

Feel free to change up the mushrooms to what you love the most, more is better in this case. You will not even taste them! Mushrooms add backbone to the patty itself and make it 'meatier'. 

2-3 pounds Portabella mushrooms, cleaned & chopped

1-2 pounds shiitake mushrooms, cleaned & chopped

pounds Cremini mushrooms, cleaned & chopped

Cups Cooked Lentils & Rice (See Recipe on bottom) Or 2 cups cooked rice or lentils of choice

1 cup panko bread crumbs (you can use corn flour, almond flour, chickpea flour or finely chopped nuts instead to make it gluten free)

2 tablespoons granulated onion

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 table spoon salt

2-3 tablespoons oil

¼ cup red wine

DIRECTIONS

First in large pan oil & add all the mushroom a little at a time not crowding the pan, they will all are sautéed add in red wine to deglaze. Cook off till very little wine is left. Set aside to cool. Then using a food processor, puree into a paste, add lentils & rice and pulse till it comes together. 

Place in larger bowl and mix in t till they come together (do not over mix) add spices & panko. Then form into burgers and grill!

 

LENTILS & RICE

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large white onion, julienned

1 pound bag of lentils, rinsed and sorted

1 cup basmati rice

Sea salt or regular salt

5 - 6 cups of water

DIRECTIONS

In a large pan, add olive oil and turn on medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of sea salt (regular salt is fine). Once onion is finished, set aside some of the caramelized onion to top your final dish. Pour 5 to 6 cups of water into your pan with the rest of the onion, the water should turn very brown in color.

Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender (about 40 minutes) and about 2 cups of water are remaining in the pan. Add uncooked basmati rice. Reduce heat and let simmer until water has almost completely absorbed. Turn off heat, cover pan, and let steep for about 10 minutes.

Your lentils and rice are ready to serve. 

CEDAR'S CAFE, 4100 N. Wickham Rd. #137, Melbourne, FL 32935, t. 321-751-0000, www.cedarscafe.com

Chef Toni Elkhouri

The Cedar's Cafe Crew - Brittney, Toni Elkhouri, and Marlene Elkhouri