All posts by solamardev

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Sumac Sauce

This recipe comes from one of the greatest cookbook ever…Jerusalem, written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. The whole book is incredible and this particular dish is another one of my favorites! The combination of flavors are spectacular and it is another very easy recipe to make and is great for making ahead as they are just as delicious the next day.

As usual I have altered the recipe slightly to suit my taste and desired quantity.

Definitely drop me a note after trying these would love to know what you think!


For the Turkey Zucchini Burgers:

1 1/2 pounds ground tureky breast
2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large free range egg
2-3 tablespoons chopped mint
2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For The Sumac Sauce:

1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

( I prefer the sauce on the thicker side, if you want it thinner you can add 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil)


First make the Sumac Sauce by combining all the ingredients in one bowl, stir well and chill.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients for the meatballs except the sunflower oil. Mix with your hands and shape into about 20 small burgers.

Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons into a large frying pan and heat over medium heat until hot, then sear the burgers in batches so they get golden brown on both sides.on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. then transfer the burgers to a baking sheet lined with either wax paper or parchment paper and transfer to the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the burgers are cooked through.

Divide the burgers evenly n plates and spoon the sauce over the top and then enjoy!

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Vegetable Crudite

This is one of my favorites! In general, I prefer serving vegetables as a starter or hors d’oeuvres rather than chips or bready things since it is usually less filling and guests will still be hungry for dinner or whatever else you may be serving. Additionally, this is so quick and easy to put together. You can really use anything you like, just be sure to try and choose things that are different colors for the best presentation and that the vegetables are cut evenly and placed neatly on the serving plate. I rarely have leftovers and if you do, it is a great snack for the following day.

I typically serve the platter with a multitude of different dips and dressings such as hummus (store bought is fine but I try to find ones that have nothing but chickpeas, garlic, lemon, oil and tahini listed as ingredients), spinach dip, artichoke dip, anchovy and oil dressing, blue cheese dressing,  etc. The possibilities are endless.

And if you are really feeling super ambitious, the recipes I use for all of the above are included in my website. Please try all of them and let  me know what you think!


Serves 4 to 6

1 Package Large White Mushrooms, sliced

1 Large Cucumber

1 Bunch Radishes

1 Orange Bell Pepper

1 Bunch Jicama

1 Bunch Celery

1 yellow Squash


**adjust the quantities according to how many people you are having.


Wash and slice all the vegetables and then place neatly on a serving platter.

Put your dips and dressings in separate small bowls and place around the platter with serving spoons for each.

Make sure to put out small appetizer plates so people can spoon the dressings onto their plates without everyone having to dip into the serving bowls.

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Grilled Artichokes With Aioli

I love eating something spectacular in a restaurant and then trying to make it at home. I had these grilled artichokes at Hillstone’s , which is a chain that is connected to Houston’s, and I have not stopped eating them since. They are great as a starter or even as a meal in the summer with a glass of wine. When I host a BBQ, I often prefer to serve a vegetable as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre instead of bread, chips or crackers since it is less filling and I  like when people are able to eat dinner. I tend to serve single items in courses, keeps it interesting and guests typically enjoy!



1 Whole Artichoke per person as a meal,  1/2 Artichoke per person as a starter

Olive Oil

1 whole lemon

Course Sea Salt

Black Pepper

2 garlic cloves per artichoke, chopped


For The Aioli:

2 cups Hellman’s mayonnaise

3 tablespoons green sweet relish

2 garlic cloves minced

2 teaspoons capers

1 tablespoon anchovy paste

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire

salt and pepper to taste



Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Five-Spice Turkey and Mushrooms

Wow! This one is so yummy. I took it straight from the Essential Weight Watchers Freestyle  Cookbook, and let me tell you; it is definitely essential! Other than doubling up on the original garlic, it is perfect just the way it is. I had never used Chinese 5 spice before and it is my new favorite flavor to cook with.

You can even add some steamed white rice as a side dish but it is just as satisfying without it.  It is an easy, quick and super light meal that can be cooked on Sunday for multiple meals during the week..if it lasts that long!





Serves 4

4 teaspoons canola oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced ( I used 4 because I love garlic, so feel free to adjust to your liking)
1 pound ground skinless turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms (baby bella) quartered or sliced
1 zucchini halved lengthwise and then sliced
1 1/2 cups loosely packed pea shoots or watercress
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)






Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add turkey, 5 spice powder, salt and pepper. Cook, breaking turkey apart with wooden spoon until no longer pink. Transfer turkey and onion mixture to a medium bowl.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in same skillet. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add zucchini slices and cook, stirring constantly until just crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in turkey mixture, pea shoots, water and soy sauce; cook, stirring constantly, just until pea shoots are wilted, about 2 minutes.

Divide evenly with or without the rice and sprinkle with the optional cilantro.



Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Salsa Guacomole Combo

This recipe is so simple, but so delicious and proves again that things don’t have to be complicated to taste good. I love the mixture of the flavors and by not blending them you can really taste all of the different flavors pop individually.
I love Mexican food but tend not to eat so often because its typically heavy, combine this with a homemade quesadilla and you have a light and delicious meal!


Serves 4

1 whole ripe avocado diced
1 whole ripe red tomato diced (or you can use a mixture of small heirloom tomatoes for a real burst of delicious flavor)
Cilantro (bunch of leaves removed from stems and then chopped)
2 slices red onion chopped
Juice of 1 whole lime
1 jalapeño pepper chopped (optional if you want to add some spice)
Salt and pepper to taste


Mix the avocado, tomato, cilantro, red onion, jalapeño if using, salt and pepper gently together in a bowl. Once mixed squeeze the juice of the lime over the top and gently toss again

Generously spread 1/4 of the mixture on top of your quesadilla and enjoy or use as a salsa dip for chips, either way you will love this!

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Royce’s Deviled Eggs

This recipe for deviled eggs is a huge crowd pleaser. People always comment on how amazing they are and I get requests whenever I am invited or have people over. There are NEVER any leftovers.


1 dozen eggs
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 Tablespoon Worsteshire Sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 dozen Cornichons, drained and chopped, plus 1 tablespoon of the pickle juice
2 tablespoons Hellman’s Real mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Chalula Hot Sauce


Hard boil a dozen eggs, I do this by boiling the water, then salting the water and putting the eggs in the water after the water has boiled. I leave the eggs for 15 minutes and then remove, drain the water and then add ice cold water, enough to cover the eggs and let sit another 15 minutes till the eggs cool enough to be handled.

Take one large mixing bowl and a plate for the deviled eggs and peel all of the eggs, cutting each egg in half the long way. Remove the egg yolk carefully so you don’t break or tear the white part and put the yolks in the mixing bowl. Put all of the white halves on your platter and set aside.

Add the chopped Cornichons, Pickle Juice, Mayonnaise, Worsteshire, Mustard, Chalula, salt and pepper to the egg yolks and mix together until you have a thick creamy consistency. Be careful not to add too much liquid because you do not want the yolks to get to thin and runny, it must be thick and on the dry side.

(If you find it too thick or dry you can add a bit more of either the Worsteshire, Mustard or pickle with the flavors you like being careful not to add too much.)

Once finished take a zip lock bag and cut a very small corner off the bag after putting all the yolk mixture in the bag and squeeze a dollup of the mixture into each half of the egg whites until there is none left. Sprinkle the tops with paprika and refrigerate covered for at least 6 hours or overnight for best flavor.

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Roasted Butterflied Chicken

Roasted Butterflied Chicken with Garlic, Fennel, Lemon and Potatoes! This is one of my favorite chicken recipes. It is great for entertaining and sharing with friends and family as it is super easy, quick and looks insanely delicious when presented on the table. (My mouth is watering just thinking about it) or on your own, you can cook it and have it for a few days. I always like to cook something on Sundays that I will have ready and prepared for the week when it gets hectic and I may not have the time to cook, this helps to save money and to ensure that I eat something healthy and wholesome.

(Serves 4 people)


You will need:

1 chicken around 4 pounds (organic always tastes better if you can find it)

(Spatchcock the chicken yourself or ask your butcher to remove the backbone for you, if you like you can ask the butcher to give you back the innards so you can make a stock later or discard them with the butcher)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus,

2 tablespoons additional set aside

1 teaspoon of crushed fennel

1 lemons, halved

1 lemon sliced with the skin on

4 heads of garlic, tops of heads cut off so the tops of the cloves are exposed and any loose flaky white paper is removed for roasting plus,

10 garlic cloves, peeled

2 fennel bulbs cut into quarters, stalks and green leafy parts removed

2 pounds of yellow potatoes, washed and cut into quarters

Coarse Sea Salt

Black Pepper


Mix together the crushed fennel seeds and the olive oil about 1 hour before you are ready to cook the chicken. The longer it sits the more the fennel flavor will permeate the oil and the more flavor the chicken will have.

In the meantime, in an extra large mixing bowl toss the potatoes, fennel quarters and garlic with the 2 tablespoons of oil salt and pepper and set aside

When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F

Lay the chicken skin side up in a roasting pan completely spread open and flat (butterflied). Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the chicken and add salt and pepper to season. Then pour the fennel oil over the top and with your hands rub all over chicken so all of the skin is generously covered.

Take the 10 garlic cloves and insert them all around the chicken and under the skin for the most flavor.

Roast the chicken for 20 minutes and remove from oven. Add the potatoes, fennel, garlic heads and lemon slices all around the chicken in the roasting pan. Make sure the garlic heads are facing up. Reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F and roast for another 45-50 minutes and the chicken is golden and browned.

You will know it is done if you insert a fork into the thickest part of the thigh and breast and the juices run clear or an instant read thermometer in the same area reads 165 degrees F.

When finished remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Lightly cover with foil so it stays warm. After resting for 10 minutes you can carve and cut the chicken into 10 pieces. 2 legs, 2 breasts (each breast cut in half), 2 wings and 2 thighs and arrange on a serving platter with the potatoes, fennel, garlic heads and lemon slices. Pour the pan juice over the chicken on the platter.

Voila! Dinner is served.

Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Potato Salad

Gahhhhhh… my favorite potato salad ever. This dish is super fun to bring to house parties as a dish to pass because everyone loves it.

This is not vegan 🙂 but dairy-free and gluten-free! Have fun with it and substitute your way through it if you want to!


4 Eggs
5 Potatoes
1 cup Mayo (I use ‘Just Mayo’ which is dairy free! You can read more about it here)
4 Large Pickles
5 Thick slices of Salami
1 Can of Peas

It’s equally delicious without the salami and eggs.


Boil your eggs and let them cool. Then, boil the potatoes and let them cool. Once both are cooled – chop them up as fine as you can get them. Place in a large bowl.

Next, chop up your pickles and salami and add to the bowl. Also, drain your peas and add the can of peas to your mixture as well.

Lastly, add your mayo. I always do just enough mayo to coat everything (but not too thick!).

If you’re feeling you want more or less of something – take note for next time.

BAM. Done!