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Christopher Columbus "Lost In America" Indian Spiced Burger

My inspiration for this burger came from my friendship with Farhana, a woman who lived in Oklahoma but grew up in Bangladesh. She and her husband owned a local market in our town. We had become acquaintances during visits to their market but after the events of 9/11, our two families became close. My husband lost his job as an aircraft engineer because of the attacks. A few unfortunate episodes of unkindness and intolerance by a few customers at their store left their family a bit worried. So although this event affected both families, my husband made sure Farhana and her husband knew where to reach us and he became good friends with Farhana's husband Mohammad. We shared the traditional recipes for foods we grew up loving with each others families. She was fascinated by my Indian tacos (Native American not India), Oklahoma chili, pumpkin pie, and grilled burgers (she is Muslim so beef is okay). My family learned to love the taste of the spices and sauces she used in her stews, rice dishes, and curries. It was interesting that we both had similar ingredients on hand in our pantries but we just used them in different ways. As Americans, we tend to think of cinnamon, ginger, coconut and lime as "dessert" fair, while Farhana made use of those Ingredients in her main course dishes. She used Naan, I used bread or tortillas. I had lots of pasta, she kept rice on hand. We both found common ground with this Indian spiced American turkey burger. After all, Christopher Columbus was also fascinated by the spices of India and just because his sense of direction was horrible doesn't mean the America he found has to have bland burgers! So why not enjoy the tradition of this great Oklahoman local burger that has fresh vegetables, grown locally, complimented with the flavors of the Indian spices Christopher longed to find?
America is, after all, a blend of the best things people from all over the world have to offer each other: Friendship, family and food!!!

Hope you enjoy the unique flavors of this burger as much as my family does.

Kathy Lonsinger
Ponca City Ok


For Garlic spread *

2 Whole heads of garlic
1 Tbs. Colavita Olive oil to brush over garlic

For Cilantro Mint Sauce*

1Tbsp. Mint jelly
½ tsp prepared horseradish
3 green (spring) onions chopped
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp fresh shredded ginger
1 Tbsp. Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp Spicy Brown Mustard
2 green chilies
2 Tbsp plain yogurt

For Grilled vegetables

24 grape tomatoes
1 cup sugar snap peas whole with tip cut off
1 Tbsp.Colavita Olive Oil to coat grill pan

For Patties*
2 lbs. ground turkey
¼ Cup Sutter Home White Zinfandel
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp crushed rep pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. Tabasco Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
¼ cup fresh chopped mint leaves
½ tsp Jalapeño salt
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup Colavita Olive Oil (You will also need extra Olive oil on hand to brush the grill rack)
1 tsp cracked pepper (use grinder mill)
6 oz. Treasure Cave Feta Cheese (crumbled)

For Tortillas*

12 thick flour tortillas (soft taco size)
1 Tbsp. Colavita Olive Oil
½ tsp ground cumin
1 fresh lime

Fresh vegetables for burger*

1 bunch fresh spinach leaves - at least 4-5 leaves per burger
½ cup thinly sliced red radishes


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

Wrap the heads of garlic (top cut off and cut side up) in foil and place on top rack of grill and roast 15 minutes then turn every few minutes and roast until garlic cloves are soft- about 30-40 minutes total time.
* This step can be done ahead of time and garlic kept warm.

To make the cilantro-mint sauce, combine all the ingredients listed for sauce in a small food processor and mix thoroughly. Cover and keep cool until serving the burgers.

Heat a heavy, large non-stick fire proof skillet on the grill. Drizzle the skillet with one Tbsp. Olive oil. Put the grape tomatoes and sugar snap peas in the skillet Roll the tomatoes around to coat in oil. Close the grill lid and grill the tomatoes and peas until the tomatoes "pop" open (about 7 minutes). Remove from the grill and wrap vegetables in foil to keep warm until assembly of burgers.

To make the patties, combine the turkey, Sutter Home White Zinfandel, turmeric, pumpkin pie spice, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon, Tabasco Jalapeño Pepper jelly, chopped mint leaves, jalapeño salt and kosher salt in a large bowl. Mix well handling meat as little as possible. Divide the meat mixture into 6 equal portions. Form the portions into patties. Brush the patties with the Colavita Olive oil, and then sprinkle with the cracked pepper.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with Colavita Olive Oil. Place the patties on the rack (pepper side down), cover and cook, turning once, until done but still juicy, about 5-7 minutes depending on your preference. You will top each patty with an equal amount of the Treasure Cave Feta Cheese 2 minutes before burgers are done.

To lightly toast the tortillas, (also just a couple minutes before patties are done) pour 1 Tbsp. of the Colavita Olive Oil onto an oblong fire proof griddle that you can place on the grill. You can use the same skillet used for the tomatoes but this will take longer as you can only prepare one tortilla at a time. Sprinkle the cumin over the tortillas and squeeze a few drops of lime juice over cumin. Place the tortillas on the hot griddle lightly toasting. Turn once toasting other side. This takes about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

To assemble the burgers, cut the tortillas to fit the size patties you have prepared. Squeeze an equal amount of the roasted garlic on one side of bottom tortillas and spread evenly. Place about 3-4 spinach leaves, a few snap peas and a few sliced radishes over the garlic (this step replaces the nice crunch that lettuce, onion, and pickle provide on a traditional burger). Add a burger patty over the radishes.
Place an equal portion of the roasted tomatoes on each burger. Spread the cilantro-mint sauce on one side of the top tortilla and place the tortilla (sauce side down) on to the burger.

Makes 6 burgers.


Although this recipe has several steps each step is easy to prepare. Measuring the ingredients ahead of time and lining them up makes this recipe a snap!
Let your family and friends help with the sauce or vegetable preparation and this burger becomes even more fun!