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Black Bean Burgers
11

Black Bean Burgers

Thanks to my Aunt Marie’s irresistible cooking, I fell off my meatless mission last weekend.  How could I pass up her homemade Korean spare ribs?  Her baked pork fried rice knocked my socks off during my last visit and since I only see her once a year (she’ll tell you I need to visit more, which is not untrue), I can’t possibly sit there and eat a plate of roasted vegetables, however excellent, feeling like I was missing out on something extraordinary.

Black Bean Burgers

But I got right back on track with continuing to eat meatless for the rest of the month and even though my lunch on Monday was a shameful carb fest, we’ve not been without a bounty of ideas for healthy vegetarian meals.  These black bean burgers was one such meal and it was really something special.  I seriously had these burgers on the menu for weeks before I made them and when I finally got Kyle to agree to eat them, he was just as blown away as I was.  In fact, after I broke up a couple of the burgers during the week and stuffed them inside baked potatoes for lunches, we fought over the last burger.  Full of protein and set atop of some fresh baby spinach on a whole wheat bun, this black bean burger is a meal in itself but I think they would also be spectacular with some oven fries, zucchini fries, or a toss salad on the side.

And since January is slowly dwindling to an end the operative question becomes, what will be my first “official” non-meatless meal in February?

Black Bean Burgers

Yield: 6 burgers

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced

Instructions

  1. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Mix the breadcrumbs and 2 teaspoons of the oil in a medium bowl with a fork until the breadcrumbs are evenly coated. Add the breadcrumbs to the skillet and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally at first then more frequently as they begin to brown. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
  2. Add 2 ½ cups of the black beans to a large bowl and lightly mash them with a fork or potato masher until they are almost smooth. In a separate small bowl, beat the eggs, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper together. Stir the egg mixture, bread crumbs, remaining beans, red peppers, cilantro, and shallots into the mashed beans until well-combined. Chill the mixture for 30 minutes.
  3. Once chilled, shape the mixture into 6 patties (about ½ cup each). (At this point the patties can be refrigerated on a plate covered tightly with plastic wrap for 24 hours.) Chill the shaped patties until you’re ready to cook them.
  4. Wipe out the original skillet, add 1 ½ tablespoons of oil and heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Working in two batches, carefully transfer 3 of the patties to the skillet. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, very carefully flipping halfway through (they will be slightly fragile), until both sides of the burgers are nicely browned. Repeat with the second batch of patties. Serve hot.

Source

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2013/01/black-bean-burgers/

Browned Butter Sweet Potatoes with Maple Sour Cream
6

browned butter sweet potatoes with maple sour cream

In spite of the serious lack of sweet potato recipes on this blog, I actually am a pretty huge fan of them.  I bake them up frequently in the fall and winter to take for lunch or to have as a healthier alternative to a regular white potato with dinner.  And when Thanksgiving rolls around, hold me back from the sweet potato casserole!  So this recipe, while pretty basic, is also right up my alley.

browned butter sweet potatoes with maple sour cream

There’s nothing complicated about it – you just bake a few sweet potatoes, overcook brown some butter, and mix a little maple syrup into sour cream.  With a little nuttiness from the browned butter alongside the sweet and tangy maple sour cream, you’ve got the makings of quite the perfect cool weather side dish.  Or lunch served with a little salad or bowl of soup, perhaps?

Browned Butter Sweet Potatoes with Maple Sour Cream

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 3 tbsp salted butter
  • ½ cup sour cream (light works fine)
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Poke each sweet potato several times with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until soft and cooked through, 50-60 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven to cool for a few minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together sour cream and maple syrup; set aside.
  3. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until brown bits start to form on the bottom of the pan and the butter turns golden brown in color, about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on the butter - it can burn quickly.
  4. Slice the sweet potatoes open lengthwise and lightly mash up the potato inside the skin with a fork. Divide the browned butter between the potatoes and dollop the top of each with some of the maple sour cream. Serve hot.

Source

maple sour cream adapted from Everyday Food

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2012/09/browned-butter-sweet-potatoes-with-maple-sour-cream/

Tomato Cobbler
6

tomato cobbler

It’s August and local tomatoes here in CT are everywhere, including our backyard.  As I mentioned yesterday, we’ll likely be overrun with cherries by the end of the week, and the first heirloom we cut into last night was summer tomato perfection.  My parents attempted to grow tomatoes a few times when I was a kid but the freaking squirrels usually got the best of them so it was either up to my mom’s friends to drop a few by every couple of weeks in ever-hazy August or my mom would hit up some local farm stands.  And by local, I mean the little old Italian lady around the corner selling the vegetables she grew on her available 1/16 acre of property.  But those homegrown tomatoes…man, I could eat them like an apple and to this day, it’s the first thing I think of when August comes to mind.

tomato cobbler

So this meal…admittedly, I was a little skeptical about this one.  Cobbler biscuits over roasted tomatoes?  Really?  But you must trust me here.  This is one fine summer meal.  In fact, it’s pretty darn spectacular (except for having to use the oven and all but really…totally worth it, people).  You’ll caramelize some onions, throw in the freshest cherry tomatoes that you can find, and whip up a super quick Gruyère-thyme biscuit batter that you’ll dollop on top of the tomatoes and onions.  The only tough part about this meal is waiting for it to bake.  But the end result is truly magical: slow-roasted tomatoes that juice out into a thick and almost-sweet sauce with deeply flavored caramelized onions and fluffy savory biscuits that soak up the sauce and add a little nuttiness to whole meal.  I urge you to try to find some local cherry tomatoes if you’re not already growing them because this really is what summer eating is about!

Tomato Cobbler

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

    For the tomato filling:
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, stemmed and minced
  • 3 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the biscuit topping:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, stemmed and minced
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese (2 1/4 ounces), plus 2 tablespoons, for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Instructions

  1. To make the filling: Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the onions and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme, and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set the mixture aside to cool for 10 minutes. While the onions cool, preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the onion mixture with the tomatoes, flour, and red-pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and about 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  3. To make the biscuit topping: Whisk the flour, baking powder, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt together in a bowl until well-combined. Gently toss in the butter pieces and coat them with the flour mixture. Rub the butter in with your fingers (use your thumbs and first two fingers) until the mixture becomes a little crumbly and the butter forms small clumps - you'll need to use a little pressure to get the cold butter to break up so don't be afraid to "get dirty". Stir in the cheese then pour in the cream. Stir the cheese and cream in with a fork to combine just until a dough forms and no flour remains - the dough should be wet and sticky.
  4. Transfer the tomato mixture to a 2-quart baking dish or 9x13 inch baking dish. Using a large ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup drop clumps of biscuit dough (about 1/2 cup each) over the top of the tomatoes on the outside edge of the dish, leaving the center open. Sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese. Bake until the tomatoes are bubbling in the center and biscuits are golden brown, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer the dish to a wire rack. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Source

source: adapted from Martha Stewart Living July 2011, via Pink Parsley

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2012/08/tomato-cobbler/

The Ultimate Veggie Burger
3

The Ultimate Veggie Burger

Sometime around 1999, I tried a veggie burger for the first time.  It was frozen, from the grocery store, and not as horrific as my little brother proclaimed it was.  Actually, I kind of liked it but then proceeded not to eat another one ever again.  And for no specific reason, just that beef [or chicken or turkey] burgers made more sense to me.  Flash forward to 2012 where about 50% of our meals each week are vegetarian.  This time, I have specific reasons: increasing the number of [oftentimes] lower caloric and nutrient-rich veggie-packed meals we eat, lowering our carbon footprint, saving a few bucks on meat that seems to be ever-so expensive these days, and do I even have to mention pink slime?  (Whole Foods in Danbury, CT, please hurry up and get built!!!)

IMG_0594

For at least a year now, I’ve been wanting to make veggie burgers at home and I’m so, so glad I finally did because I totally fell in love with them.  Earthy and deeply, almost roasted flavored from sautéed vegetables and mushrooms, these burgers are a meal by themselves.  Primarily held together by a mixture of lentils, black beans, bulger, and panko breadcrumbs, the texture is decent – definitely not cardboard-esque like those which hail from the freezer section but more like that of a crab cake: light, soft, and a little messy (though not messy to cook, just a little messy to eat).  Grilled or pan-fried, served atop some homemade buns with your choice of toppings and a little garlic aioli, and you’ve got yourself a hearty and completely satisfying meatless burger.  The only downfall to this recipe is that it isn’t a quick one.  I felt like I used every pan and bowl in my kitchen that night last week and from start to finish, these burgers took me about an hour to make.  The good thing is that the recipe yields 12 large burgers (there’s no harm in even making them a little smaller) and you can freeze the uncooked remaining veggie burger patties.  For this I’m ecstatic because now I’ve got an instant and fabulous dinner ready for when we’re ready to fire up our new grill!

Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust
20

Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust

Sometimes choosing new recipes to make in the summer is a completely overbearing experience.  Hundreds of thousands of recipes using the freshest of ingredients – what’s a blogger to do?  In the case of this Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust, it was a no-brainer.  I’ve been hanging onto the recipe for 2 years and made it as the local tomatoes were on their way out last Summer with the full intention of sharing it with you…and it totally flopped.  Gummy crust, watery filling, and generally a turn-off of a meal.

But I vowed to avenge myself this summer.  I knew it wasn’t the recipe.  I knew it had partly to do with the fresh mozzarella that I foolishly used – obvious note to you: don’t use fresh mozzarella in this tart.  So I made a special stop this weekend at a local farm stand and picked up a few gorgeous ripe local tomatoes, plucked some basil from my pots on the deck, and pulled this tart together in virtually no time.  Now that I was actually able to eat this tart, I fell head over heels for the ever simple tomato-basil-mozzarella combination all over again.  The basil garlic crust was crispy and amazing, the perfect complement to the fresh [now] roasted, sweet, and earthy tomatoes, and gooey mozzarella.  A sprinkle of basil over the top of the baked tart is the last piece of this puzzle that no longer confounds me.  We served this tart alongside some grilled shrimp but a small salad or some grilled chicken would be great options as well.  I don’t know about you, but I’m itching to make this again as the summer rolls on and the tomatoes really come into their own later this month.

Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

    For the tart dough:
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8 to 10 pieces
  • 4-5 tablespoons ice water
  • For the filling:
  • 8 ounces sliced mozzarella
  • 1-2 large, ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and cut crosswise into thin slices
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. To make the tart dough: Place the basil and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely chopped. Add flour and salt; pulse to combine.
  2. Add butter. Pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.
  3. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing several times after each addition. After 4 tablespoons water have been added, process the dough for several seconds to see if the mixture forms a ball. If not, add remaining water. Process until dough forms into a ball. Remove dough from processor.
  4. Flatten the dough into a 5-inch disk. Wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The dough can be placed in a zipper-lock plastic bag and refrigerated for several days or frozen for 1 month. If frozen, defrost the dough in the refrigerator.)
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Lay the dough over the tart pan, and press it into the pan. Trim the dough, and proceed with the recipe as directed.
  6. To make the filling and assemble:
  7. Prepare the dough, and press it into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. A 9-inch pan works as well - you'll just have some leftover dough which you could use to make a small galette with any leftover ingredients.
  8. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line the bottom of the tart shell with mozzarella. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in a ring around the edge of the tart and a second ring in the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
  9. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has started to brown in spots, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes before slicing. (The tart may be covered and kept at room temperature for 6 hours.)

Source

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2011/08/fresh-tomato-mozzarella-tart-with-basil-garlic-crust/