As of today, we’ve officially kept Christopher alive for two months, which surpasses our record for potted plants by about three weeks. I can’t believe we’re allowed to take care of him, that some basic health and safety regulations don’t bar us from being his parents. It reminds me of the way I felt during intermission at a rodeo in Wyoming once: As a hundred elementary schoolers streamed onto the dirt, I thought THIS MIGHT NOT BE A GOOD IDEA. And when they started chasing a 200-pound calf around with zero supervision while the audience headed to the concession stands for beer, I thought OKAY THIS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL BUT I GUESS WE’RE TOO DEEP INTO IT NOW.
We have the basics down, of course. We know we’re not supposed to draw a mustache on him while he’s asleep. And so far we’ve restrained ourselves from feeding him little cubes of our favorite cheeses. But the finer points elude us. Is there something in particular we should shout when he poops? Because for some reason my go-to exclamation is a hearty HEYO! LOOK WHAT HAVE WE HERE! like I’m shilling t-shirts in Times Square.
Our family and friends are really coming through for us. My friend Kate flew in last week even though she’s eight months pregnant and has a toddler at home. She took took a night shift, and she took Christopher for walks and did the laundry and the dishes and the grocery shopping and cooked pasta and–bless her–got us on a nap schedule. She even organized our refrigerator, which required asking things like “Can I throw out this yogurt? Because it’s dated October 2014. And it looks like the lid is. . . . punctured.”
I cried when she left. I also cried when I read what Shannon over at A Periodic Table wrote for me here because it made me feel lucky and loved and like we just might get through this. Your comments last week made me feel that way, too. Thanks.
On Kate’s recommendation, I made Yotam Ottolenghi’s zucchini and turkey burgers the other day and they were a huge hit. And by “huge hit” I mean that Scott and I nodded at each other while we scarfed them down at five p.m., which is our new dinnertime now that we go to bed at eight.
Ingredients for the burgers
1 lb. ground turkey (I prefer 93% lean over leaner choices)
1 large zucchini, grated
3 scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped mint
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro (you can omit this if you hate cilantro)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (this gives them a kick, so leave it out if you don’t want that)
a few Tbsp. oil for cooking (I used olive oil)
Ingredients for the sour cream sauce
scant 1/2 c. sour cream (light sour cream is fine)
scant 2/3 c. Greek yogurt (I use 2%)
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. sumac (I omitted since I didn’t have any and it was still great. But sumac is awesome.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Make the sour cream sauce by putting all the ingredients in a small bowl and stirring. Refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you have it.)
In a large bowl, combine all the burger ingredients except for the oil. Mix together with your hands until just evenly combined. Shape into very small burgers (I made 13 burgers, but the recipe says you can make them even smaller and get 18) and put the raw burgers on a plate or tray.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, pour enough oil to easily coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, transfer as many burgers as will comfortably fit, leaving a little space between burgers so that you can flip them easily. Sear the burgers so that they are golden brown on one side, then flip them and sear the other side. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Add some more oil to the pan and sear any remaining burgers and add them to the baking sheet.
Bake the burgers in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until they’re just cooked through. Serve with the sauce and a half head of Boston lettuce if desired.