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Why a PINK chef's coat?

Simply put, I carry my Dad's legacy with me through my cookbook, cooking and everyday I am writing my food columns, he is always with me. I carry my Mom with me through a silent reminder of her struggle with breast cancer that took her life, as well as the lives of many other women who have dealt with, and are still dealing with, this horrible affliction. Besides, why not pink? It makes a man look good!

Sicilian 'Veggie' Burgers

Here is a great summertime burger I believe you will be making over and over again. Sicilian caponata is generally prepared with what every culinary experts call Sicilian aubergine. But being a Yankee, it is simply eggplant.

Sicilian preparation methods introduce a sweet and sour sauce as well, but I think that is just too much for a simple burger so I added just a subtle hint of sweetness from the grated apple while keeping this classic recipe true to form.

Although not truly a Veggie Burger, the addition of caponata as a topping promotes this juicy burger to a level that is both refreshing and different. Try it and see for yourself.

Ingredients

For 4 people

Recipe

  • 4 toasted English muffins
  • 1/2 lb(s) ground beef
  • 1/4 lb(s) ground pork
  • 1/4 ground pork
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 teaspoon(s) dried oregano
  • 1 dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon(s) dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon(s) celery seeds
  • 1 celery seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Veggie Caponata Topping, recipe below

Sicilian 'Veggie' Burgers Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, pork, grated apple, oregano, basil and celery seeds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Form into 4 patties and place in refrigerator while preparing Veggie Caponata Topping.
  2. When ready, cook burgers either outside on the grill or inside in a skillet to your liking. Add a patty to each toasted English muffin and top with your homemade Veggie Caponata. Serve and enjoy!
  3. Veggie Caponata Toppping:
  4. 1 small eggplant, peeled, cored and diced
  5. Salt
  6. 1/4 cup olive oil
  7. 2 teaspoons minced garlic in oil
  8. 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
  9. 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
  10. 1/2 pound fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped
  11. 2 ounces roasted red bell peppers, chopped
  12. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  13. 2 teaspoons capers
  14. Salt and black pepper to taste.
  15. Place the eggplant in a large bowl and liberally sprinkle salt over them, turning so that most of the dices are touched by the salt. This shouldn't take any more than 2-3 teaspoons. Let this set for 20 minutes. Rinse well under cold water, let drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  16. In a large skillet, add the olive oil and garlic over medium-high heat. When hot, add the carrot and celery, saute for 3-4 minutes, or until celery is starting to soften. Add the eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers.
  17. Cook, while frequently stirring, for 10-12 minutes, or until carrot is crisp tender. Reduce heat to medium-low and add vinegar, capers and celery seeds. Allow to simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat, season to taste with salt and pepper.
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