Man-Approved Veggie Burgers

I love trying to cook new things – whether it’s a new recipe or a twist on an old classic. But I can’t say the same thing for my husband. I’ve made a variety of veggie burgers over the years, and many of them get a “mm it was okay” type of response. But last night I cooked up a delicious farro and black bean burger from Food & Wine that was a hit! It did come with a smoky red pepper spread (I think that helped if I’m being totally honest..) and it was a bit more prep than I was expecting, but it was worth the effort. The results were delicious and the patties stay moist when you eat them as leftovers, so you can easily make another burger the next day, or break them up over a salad or veggies for something a little different.

Time:  About an hour, but I took a few time-saving steps (all noted below).

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Photo: © Cedric Angeles

Black Bean Burgers with Smoky Red Pepper Spread

Ingredients

Burgers
  • 1 1/4 cups dried black beans, rinsed and picked over, then soaked for 4 hours and drained (or 2 cans of low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup farro
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (dried work well too)
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for sautéing
  • 8 toasted buns, lettuce, and red onion for serving
Spread
  • 1 small red bell pepper (If you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to roast your own as the directions say, or you can simply use a smoked red pepper of the jarred variety..they work quite well and are much easier to use!)
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)

Directions

Burgers
  1. In a saucepan, cover the beans with 2 inches of water. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 1 hour; add water as needed to keep the beans covered by 2 inches. When the beans are tender, season them with salt and let stand for 5 minutes; drain. If you choose to use canned beans, ignore this step.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the farro and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the grains are al dente, 30 minutes. Mine took a smidge longer – just keep an eye on them until most of the water is gone.
  3. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes.
  4. In a food processor, pulse all but 1/2 cup of the beans to a chunky puree; transfer to a bowl. Fold in the remaining 1/2 cup of beans, the farro, the onion mixture, eggs, bread crumbs, basil, cilantro, pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Form the mixture into 8 patties. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (We were hungry, so we skipped the fridge step. I assume things would have been slightly less sticky if we had followed this step, but from what I could tell, the outcome was just as delicious.)
  5. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat a few tablesppons of vegetable oil. Add the burgers and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and heated through, about 6 minutes. Transfer the burgers to the buns. Top with the Smoky Red Pepper Spread, lettuce and red onion slices, close the burgers and serve.
Spread
  1. Roast the pepper over a gas flame until charred and softened (or just pull one out of the jar…). Let the pepper cool; peel, seed and chop. In a food processor, puree the pepper with the feta and pimentón; transfer to a bowl and serve.

The original recipe can be found here.

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Banana Buttermilk Biscuits

I am a banana lover. I eat one every morning and we always have a few on our counter. But when they start turning brown, there’s inevitably the request that we either chuck it or bake it into something. And though I love a good banana bread, sometimes I have the hankering for something different. Like maybe a biscuit? Being a big biscuit fan, this seemed like a good place to start. And when I came across this recipe for banana buttermilk biscuits, I decided to give it a try. They sounded a bit odd, but then I remembered that we make delicious pumpkin biscuits during Thanksgiving, so the whole fruit (is a pumpkin a fruit??) and biscuit thing isn’t too crazy. They turned out to be quite a tasty change from banana bread, and since some of the banana replaces some of the butter and buttermilk, I’d like to believe that they’re slightly healthier than a traditional biscuit. And don’t forget the honey butter.

Banana Buttermilk Biscuit

Banana Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup banana mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly.
  3. Slowly add buttermilk, mashed banana and vanilla and stir to moisten.
  4. Pat out dough on a well floured bread board until approximately 1 inch thick. Do not overwork dough. If dough is too moist, slowly need in a bit more flour until workable.
  5. Using a floured biscuit cutter, cut out dough and place on a greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until a nice, light golden brown. Serve warm with butter and honey.

The original recipe can be found here on the adorable Dine & Dish blog.

Real Simple’s Chicken Curry in a Hurry

I love a good curry, but I’ve been a bit hesitant about cooking curries at home since they often require oodles of spices and even more time. The other week I was looking for a recipe that uses rotisserie chicken (a great shortcut for when you don’t feel like cooking!) and I came across this delicious recipe from Real Simple. It was super easy to make and was really tasty. Does it stand up to the authentic curry you’d find in a restaurant? Not really. But it’s certainly a great stand in when you’re craving a little spice. I substituted in coconut milk for the cream and used pre-cooked rice, and served it alongside garlic naan that we warmed in the oven.

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Using those delicious summer tomatoes

I grew up hating tomatoes. Flicking them across my plate, picking them out of my salads, anything I could to keep them away from my taste buds. But over the years I’ve come to appreciate a good tomato, and I’ve discovered that they can be quite tasty, especially when they’re eaten at the peak of the summer season. So when summer comes around and the tomato bins get full, I love discovering new ways to cook and eat these tasty treats.

tomatoes

So many tomatoes!

I still love a good main dish full of veggies like the tomatoes and polenta recipe, but when we’re looking for a good light appetizer, this Summer salad with tomatoes and watermelon can’t be beat. Plus, it’s incredibly easy and great for crowds since watermelon tend to be huge. This recipe is a riff on Sprouted Kitchen’s Stacked Watermelon with Feta and Balsamic – from her delicious cookbook. She doesn’t use tomatoes in her recipe, but I couldn’t resist throwing a few in, and I think it adds a nice little summery taste. Whenever I make this, I don’t usually pay too much attention to the amounts – it’s a great recipe that you can really play around with and customize to your liking.

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Summer Salad with Tomatoes and Watermelon

Serves 4-6 or more if you want

Ingredients:

  • 1 small watermelon, chilled
  • 5-6 heirloom tomatoes (or more if your watermelon isn’t so small)
  • 1/2 c. feta cheese
  • 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 c. white balsamic vinegar (white balsamic vinegar is a bit milder than its dark cousin)
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt, to taste

Preparation:

  1. Cut the watermelon into 1/2″ slices. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4″ slices.
  2. In a bowl, combine the feta, vinegar, olive oil, and pepper.
  3. Lay the watermelon and tomatoes out on a plate, alternating the slices. Sprinkle the red onion over the watermelon and tomatoes and drizzle with your dressing. Feel free to add a few sprinkles of salt if you’d like (taste it first as some feta cheese is saltier than others).
  4. Enjoy!

For more delicious recipes, you can check out the Sprouted Kitchen blog here.

Easy & Delicious Potato Side Dish

Potatoes are often difficult. They’re either too dry if you try to bake them, don’t crisp up properly when you try to turn them into french fries, or take too long when you try to mash them (plus I don’t always want that added butter!). I found a delicious recipe for what I call Smooshed Potatoes on the delightful blog The Pioneer Woman. She calls them Crash Hot Potatoes, but I needed something a little more descriptive in there.  Whatever you call them, they’re a super easy side that delivers delicious results. Most of their cooking time is either boiling or baking, so there isn’t a lot of hands-on work. You can easily make them in the background while you’re cooking/grilling something else. They end up crispy, full of flavor, and dangerously addicting. They’ll go perfect with a burger or a steak, and are even dainty enough to serve alongside a salad – mine went alongside a grilled steak salad (recipe coming soon). Enjoy!

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