Toasted Cumin Dressing

Updated Hamburger Salad

Updated Hamburger Salad

Removing so many things from my diet at one time was a challenge. It still can be some days. I cooked very simply for the first month. Salt and olive oil were my best friends in the kitchen that month with the help of a few other spices and herbs. Once I got used to what I could have and couldn’t have, my creativity took over.

I decided to make my Hamburger Salad with some tweaks to make it yeast-free and egg-free. Instead of mixing egg and the seasoning into the ground beef, I formed plain patties and seasoned the outside with salt and ground cumin. I omitted the mushrooms and sprouts, just using caramelized onions on top. I added diced jicama and a shredded carrot to the romaine heart and tossed. I garnished with the diced tomato and a diced avocado.

The dressing really made the salad for me. I played on my used of cumin for the hamburger and toasted cumin seeds for the dressing. Instead of using a vinegar as my acid, I used fresh lemon juice. I use mostly lemon juice because between the adrenal fatigue and everything else going on in the last few months, lemon seems to be what I can tolerate in small doses. I do use the occasional lime. I used an orange last week for the first time in months.

Dressings are based on a foundation of ratios between acids and oils. Once you have the basics down you can add anything to it to make it interesting and fun. This is one of those times where you absolutely should be playing with your food.Cumin Dressing

Toasted Cumin Dressing

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

juice of half a lemon (approximately 2 tablespoons)

olive oil


Heat a small dry pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and dry toast until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, add to a spice/coffee grinder and grind the seeds coarsely. Juice the lemon into a glass measuring cup and remove the seeds. Add olive oil to the 1/2 cup line. Add toasted cumin and salt (to taste) and whisk until it emulsifies.

This post is linked to Whole Food Fridays at Allergy-Free Alaska. 

Leisurely Wandering With Purpose

Teas & spices

I’m usually up early when I’m visiting my bestie.  Not only is “early” really “late” for me considering time zone differences, but Little Obi-Wan tends to get up early.  There were a few mornings I was actually able to sleep in, but for the most part I was up between 6:30 and 7 am.  That makes for a lot of time to sit around, drink coffee, have early morning conversations with the bestie, goof off with Little Obi-Wan, and reading.  Lots and lots of reading.

Sunday morning, the bestie and I left the males at home and went off to the Studio City Farmers Market.  You know what’s cool about the farmers market that I knew before we even went?  They have pony rides for the kids.  I read about it in Jim Beaver’s memoir, Life’s That Way.  He lives within walking distance and will take his daughter there for the pony rides sometimes.

An assortment of berries

Anyway.  It was my first time at a farmers market.  Sort of.  I would sometimes go to the one in the parking lot of the Whole Foods in Louisville when we were still living there, but by the time I would get there after work, there wasn’t much left or many vendors left.  I always left empty-handed.

Beautiful bouquets

We strolled up and down both sides of the market.  I was tempted by the teas and spices, but I told myself, “You have enough at home.”  I checked out the figs to replace the ones that got trashed in the cooler while tailgating the day before, but wasn’t quite thrilled with what I found.

I did spend a few minutes talking to a gluten-free baker.  I can’t remember the company name or her name and I seem to have lost her business card.  She had some gluten-free, dairy-free cookies and bread.  I tasted several of the cookies and the bread and liked what I tried.  I wound up buying a small bag of cookies and a loaf of bread.  When I got them home later the taste was much different and I got an aftertaste that I didn’t get when I was tasting them at the market.  The cookies were not as soft and the bread didn’t taste the same.  I think the bread had to do with the slice.  She gave me a small piece sliced super thin to try.  The actual slices of bread in the loaf were about half an inch.  At least.  It was probably a good thing that I discovered two days later that eggs were causing a problem.  I hope the raccoons liked the bread.

GF DF bread and cookies

It was nice just walking around enjoying all the colorful produce and flowers while people watching.  I thought it rather funny that the woman working for the probiotic vendor (they had kombucha and other fermented foods) was sipping on a Starbucks cup.  She could have had nothing but green tea in that venti sized cup, but usually you think coffee when you see a Starbucks cup.  Or is that just me?  Either way, I had a good snicker.

Someone should have used spell check.

We got home, put things away, then headed back out again.  This time with Chaz.

To the garment district!

When he realized where we were going and what we intended to do, he regretted he joined us.

I wanted some Hawaiian print materials without having to have it shipped from Hawai`i.  So Bestie took me to where she gets her Hawaiian prints in the garment district.  She gets some pretty good prints.  I admit I salivate over some of them.  

We did a lot of looking.  Rummaging through the remnants bin.  Rummaging through the pre-cut stacks at the front of the store.  Checking out the walls of hanging bolts.  It was almost like being home again.

Gastro pub!

I left feeling like I scored.  Other than the 5+ yards of the University of Hawai`i print that I paid the full price for, everything else I got was $1.50 per yard.  It was a good thing I didn’t let myself go overboard.  I had to be able to fit it all into my suitcase or my carry-on.

We decided we were hungry by the time we got back to the car.  Sausages were calling our name for some reason.  We decided on a gastro pub, Wurstküche, that Bestie had told us about.

I should have taken a picture of the line.  We were outside for a bit (read: in the blazing sun forever) before we could even get in the door.  The line snake around inside before you could even get to the counter.  The bright side was they had free spa water sitting out that was iced.  Did I mention the dry heat? They operate like a fast casual place.  You order at the counter, they give you a number, and then they bring you your food.

Filipino Maharlisa with caramelized onions, and sauerkraut

The nice part of the place is you don’t have a million things to choose from.  That’s my downfall.  I can’t decide if I have too much to choose from.  Add pictures to a menu and it’s impossible to decide.  However, as soon as I saw Filipino Maharlisa on the menu, I knew what I was getting.  I didn’t even see what was on the menu after it.  The sausage was slightly sweet like longanisa.  A popular Filipino sausage.  Okay, popular with Filipinos.

Where have you been? I better get a good neck scratch, woman!

Anyway.  Between the sweetness of the onions, the meatiness of the sausage, the tartness of the kraut, bitterness of the mustard, and the saltiness of the fries, it was an umami experience.  You better believe I had a little bit of everything on my fork.  Just because I can’t have the bun, doesn’t mean I can’t eat it all together.

Bestie did a check in on Facebook while we were there to let the Old Man know where we were and that we were eating awesome sausages without him.  He’s such a good sport.

It was a great place to have sausage, sausage, or sausage with my fries or sausage with my fries, fries, or fries.  That’s all they do.  Nothing else is fried in the fryer.  Did I mention they double fry their fries?