Makes 6-8 burgers (using 2 1/2 cups of nuts before grinding)
The former Greta's Cafe at 19th Street and Capitol Avenue was the first restaurant employer for Mike Thiemann, now the executive chef for Ella Dining Room & Bar.
This is his homage to Greta's beloved veggie burger, which he recently added to Ella's menu.
"I remembered this recipe not by specific measurement, but by ratio," said Thiemann.
"For the home there are many different food-processor sizes, so this ratio-based recipe works with any situation. Feel free to add and subtract seasoning to make it your own.
"You will need a variety of mixed, unsalted nuts with equal amounts of each. I like walnuts, pistachio, cashew, almond and peanuts all toasted lightly ahead of time. Also in your pantry you will need ground cumin and ground fennel.
"I prefer to have the seeds whole and lightly toast them to bring out the natural oils and grind in a coffee grinder.
"You will need large carrots peeled and garlic peeled. Last you will need a food processor with a standard blade. Of course, salt is always required."
"The ratio to remember is equal parts ground nuts to ground carrots with garlic, cumin and fennel."
Here are Mike Thiemann's instructions:
Grind equal parts nuts, 1/2 cup of each, with 3 tablespoons ground cumin and fennel seed. This is when I like to add the salt as well. With this amount 2 teaspoons should do. When you grind the nuts you will see it turn into a fine grit and start to climb the walls of the food processor. You will need to grind them for around 1-2 minutes to get them all evenly ground, and periodically you will need to stop the processor and scrape the walls down. When it's perfect, it will look finely ground with a little paste on the bottom. Remove ground nuts into a mixing bowl. Don't bother washing the processor.
Grind in the same fashion 4 to 5 large carrots, peeled and cut in small, even-sized pieces, with 3 to 4 cloves of peeled garlic. The amount of ground carrot should equal the amount of ground nuts. When completed, transfer carrots into the mixing bowl with the nuts.
Mix thoroughly with your hands until the two are completely incorporated.
Make the patties and cook. I believe a smaller, thinner patty is better with this style of veggie burger. When you do cook them, unfortunately they don't work really well on a grill and I believe a good nonstick pan is the best tool for this. Use a little olive oil in a hot pan and cook the burgers until a nice crust forms. This won't take long, but the crust is necessary because it holds the burger fairly well together and it tastes good. The rest is up to you.