Showing posts with label burgers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label burgers. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts From The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi {#Cookbook Spotlight}

Stop! Before you turn into that fast food drive-thru, there is a better way to eat a hearty breakfast at home or on the go. These belly-filling Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts from The New Southwest: Classic Flavors With a Modern Twist by Meagan Micozzi. As part of the Cookbook Spotlight event I am participating in (see last week's fabulous Mushroom & Leek Migas here), each of the 15 bloggers participating gets to select a recipe from the book to cook and post about.

Although I was tempted by many recipes in the book, the one I kept turning back to was for these morning bean burgers. Not that you are limited to eating them in the morning--I made the full batch and these patties will end up as lunch, dinner and snacks too. Fabulously fiber-packed, they are a healthier alternative to a sausage muffin but just as satisfying. 

No time in the morning? Assembling them ahead and cooking them up fresh is always best for that crispy outside but, if that won't work for you, cooking them up the night before and getting them ready to go also works well. Put a cooked and cooled patty on a toasted muffin with a slice of cheese and any thing else you want on them (I suggest baby spinach, guacamole and maybe a dash of hot sauce), then wrap it in wax-paper and pop in the microwave for about a minute. You are out the door with a tasty & filling healthy meal!

Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts
Very Slightly Adapted from The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi
(Yield: 7 Patty Melt Sandwiches)

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided + more for frying
3/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup grated zucchini
2 jalapenos, stemmed and minced
2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
3 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans (either canned or freshly prepared)
3/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper* (I used about 2 tsps--see Notes/Results below)
1 tsp ground coriander
7 slices Monterey Jack cheese
7 English muffins, sliced and toasted (I used whole wheat)
(I added baby spinach & guacamole) 

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until golden, translucent, and fragrant, approximately 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, jalapenos, and garlic and saute for just 2 more minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Meanwhile, place the beans in a large, heat-proof bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. (Meagan notes: "I prefer to use a fork here for a chunky, uneven consistency.") Stir in the breadcrumbs, eggs, cumin, black pepper, coriander and salt. Fold in the cooked onion mixture. Using a half cup measure, portion off and form seven 'burgers'. Refrigerate if not using right away.*

Once ready to cook and assemble your melts, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy-bottomed, lidded skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, applying pressure to the top of the patties to flatten once you have a cooked side facing up. Note that you may need to work in batches so as not to overcrowd your pan, so you may need to refresh your oil between batches.

Once patties are crisp on the outside and cooked through, top each with a slice of cheese, place the lid on the pan and steam just 30 to 60 seconds to melt the cheese. Remove each patty melt to a toasted English muffin bun and serve immediately.

*Note: Meagan says, "These patties can be made in advance. I will often make the patty mixture on a Sunday and then fry them up for breakfasts throughout the week. If you form the patties in advance, you simple need to separate them with parchment paper so that they don't stick to each other. Store in the refrigerator until ready to cook and serve". 

Notes/Results: These are excellent bean patties--crispy on the outside, perfectly tender and creamy on the inside and full of flavor. Speaking of that flavor, I was concerned about the amount of black pepper listed in the recipes--2 tablespoons. I am a black pepper fan but that seems like a massive amount to me. I emailed Meagan just to be sure and she was wonderful enough to send me a quick reply saying that she likes to season her patties pretty aggressively due to the lack of flavor in pinto beans but, she always encourages everyone to season food to their own palates. My little asthma lungs that cough at really strong black pepper ;-) led me to start with 1 teaspoon and tasting the mix as I went, I ended up with 2 teaspoons total of black pepper, keeping all the other spices as written. I really liked the flavor--they are cumin forward--with 2 tablespoons of it in the mix but, I loves me some cumin so it worked for me. Between the garlic, onion, kick of jalapeno and the spices these were well-seasoned in my book--but of course you should adapt them to your own taste buds. In order to boost them even more nutritionally, I chose to put them on whole wheat English muffins and add a layer of baby spinach. I also topped my plated one with a bit of guacamole--extra yum. (I thought it might be too messy for the "portable" ones.) Easy to prepare, satisfying and oh-so-good, this is definitely a keeper recipe for me.   

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef.

Come back next week for a final recipe, my review and a chance to win your own copy of The New Southwest!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Reviews & Burgers: Spiced Beef Patties in Pita Pockets with Sweet Potato Fries & Tzatziki for Two Great Mystery / Thrillers

I am still working on reading and reducing the stack of review books by my nightstand and I am a bit delinquent on getting some of them posted. Here are two great reads--especially for anyone interested in mystery/thrillers with strong female lead characters. Although the characters and settings are different ... a cop and a lawyer, Nashville and Nova Scotia ..., both books are the kind of absorbing reads that once you start, you will want to keep reading until you are done--even if it means missing a little sleep along the way! With the reviews, a tasty dinner (somewhat) inspired by the books.

"So Close the Hand of Death" by J.T. Ellison, is the sixth book in the Taylor Jackson series, following the Nashville homicide lieutenant as her nemesis, "The Pretender" draws closer, threatening Taylor and those she loves. Meanwhile killings are going on in different locations of the country, copying infamous serial killers--Son of Sam, the Zodiac Killer and the Boston Strangler. With murders in so many places, it obviously not the work of one person and Taylor, fiance FBI profiler John Baldwin, and her team are working frantically to find the killers. The action is non-stop throughout the book and author Ellison makes it feel very real and authentic. J.T.
Ellison used to work both in the White House and for The Department of Commerce and was a financial analyst and marketing director for defense and aerospace contractors in the private sector before quitting and moving to Nashville. There she followed her passions for writing, forensics and crime--researching her books with the Nashville police and the FBI.

Although the book is part of a series, it does stand just fine on its own--although it will leave you wanting more Taylor Jackson. I started with the fifth book in the series, "The Imortals" (my review is here), but I got so caught up with the characters that I bought the first four books and read those too. A good stay-up-late-until-you-finish-it-and-then-desperately-wish-there-was-more kind of read.


The second book, "Indefensible" by Pamela Callow is the second book in a series, with a third coming out soon. In this mystery/thriller, attorney Kate Lange defends her boss and senior partner of her law firm for the murder of his ex-wife, when everyone, including his partners and even his children thinks he did it. The book is suspenseful, although most of the action really gets going in the second half of the book. It can stand alone, but references to the earlier book and the things that happened made me wish I had read the first book ("Damaged"), before starting this one. No matter, I loaded it onto my Kindle right after finishing this one and it is equally as good.

Author Pamela Callow, grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the setting of her books. A degree in English Literature, then law school and acceptance to the Nova Scotia Bar lead to an interest in public policy and a Master's Degree in Public Administration, followed by a stint as a strategy consultant before staying at home to raise her family and starting a career in writing. Right now there are planned to be four books in the Kate Lange series, and I intend to read my way through all of these well-written, legal thrillers.

I always cook alongside my book reviews and it was a bit difficult coming up with a dish inspired by both books for this post. Although Taylor Jackson does seem to enjoy food and several meals were eaten in the book, the only real food Kate Lange ate was takeout Indian at the beginning of the book. Since Taylor seems to love a good burger, I decided to fancy one up. I was going to make an Indian-spiced burger, but tastes of a "chakchouka" (a mixture of red bell pepper, tomato, garlic and harissa popular in North Africa and the Middle East), and tzatziki from the farmers market made me decide on a more global burger. It might be a little fancy for Taylor's burger tastes but it should be multi-cultural enough to please Kate. These Spiced Beef Patties in Pita Pockets tasted great with some Alexia Crinkle Cut Sweet Potato Fries with Sea Salt and Pepper (which I received from the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program) and Tzatziki.

Spiced Beef Patties
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 3 full sandwiches)

1 lb lean ground beef, preferably local (I used Maui beef)
1/2 cup sweet onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp chopped mint
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil

4 whole wheat pitas, cut in half
8 slices of tomato
lettuce, shredded
red pepper or prepared chakchouka

Mix all ingredients through pepper together. Make into 6 oval shaped patties that will fir into pita pockets. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add burgers and cook until done to your liking.

Open pita pocket halves and place shredded lettuce and a spiced beef patty in each half. Add 2 tomato slices and 1 tablespoon of chakchouka spread. Serve warm.

Notes/Results: These turned out very well--moist and tender burgers with good flavor from the onion, garlic and spices. The sweet and spicy taste of the chakchouka spread was delicious on them. I bought mine at the farmers market but I plan to play around with making my own sometime--it's great on burgers, sandwiches, crackers, pita bread, etc. The Alexia Sweet Potato Fries taste great but texturally I like my fries crispier than these--they were a little soft for my taste, even pre-heating the pan and cooking them a bit longer at a higher temperature. I am a bigger fan of the brand's Oven Fries and Oven Reds but wanted to try something new with my coupon for a free Alexia product from the Tastemakers program. I did like dipping the sweet fries into the cooling tzatziki. All in all, a delicious dinner that I think either of our heroines would have enjoyed--I know I did.

Obligatory Disclosure Statement: Copies of these two books were provided by the PTA Reviewer Rewards Program for me to review if I chose to do so. I also received a coupon for a free Alexia product from the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program. There was no monetary compensation involved with any of the items and as always, my thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Spectacular Side Dish Turkey Sliders" for the Thanksgiving Dinner Burger Challenge

When my good friend Kim from Stirring the Pot announced her Thanksgiving Dinner Burger Challenge, I knew immediately I had to join in and I knew my burgers had to include my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal, stuffing! I like my Mom's version which uses turkey sausage, bread, celery, onions and sage. I wanted to incorporate the sausage ingredients and flavors into the turkey burger itself, and since I was using turkey breast, I wanted to make sure it was plenty moist by cooking down the stuffing mixture and adding some grated apple.

Also adding to the moisture is a drool-worthy Lemon-Sage Mayo, I mixed together using sage from my herb garden. To get even more spectacular sides into the mix, I added homemade cranberry sauce, leftover Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Lemon & Poppy Seeds, and served these sliders (mini burgers are always more fun) on potato rolls for a nod to mashed potatoes. And so there you have them, my Spectacular Side Dish Turkey Sliders. Juicy, messy and full of flavor.

Spectacular Side Dish Turkey Sliders
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 12 sliders)

Turkey Stuffing Slider Patties:
1 Tbsp butter or olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 leaves fresh sage, minced
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
dash of red chili pepper flakes
1/2 cup whole wheat panko or bread crumbs
1 lb ground turkey breast
1/2 tart apple, grated (I used a Honeycrisp)
1 Tbsp olive oil

In a medium pan, heat pan over medium-high heat. Add butter and when melted add onion, celery, and garlic and saute until vegetables start to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, fennel, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Mix well and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add bread crumbs and stir well, cooking until breadcrumbs start to lightly brown, about another 5 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, place ground turkey and grated apple. Add cooled vegetable mixture to bowl and mix together gently but thoroughly without over-mixing. (Hands work best). Form into 12 small slider patties and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Cook sliders about 3-4 minutes per side until the sides are lightly browned and the burgers cooked through.

To assemble the sliders:
Prepare potato roll slider buns by slicing in half and toasting in a lightly oiled pan until browned and toasted. Spread bottom buns with Lemon-Sage Mayo (recipe below), and top with a small scoop of shredded lettuce or warmed Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Lemon & Poppy Seeds (recipe here). Place a Turkey Stuffing Slider Patty on top of shredded sprouts, and garnish with a dollop of fresh cranberry sauce and the top bun. Serve warm with lots of napkins and enjoy!

Lemon-Sage Mayo
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp whole grain mustard
5 sage leaves, minced
zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
salt & black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Notes/Results: Yes, there is a lot going on in these sliders but it actually all works together--like eating a plate of the best side dishes of Thanksgiving. The burgers turned out to be very moist--I just don't make turkey breast burgers anymore without grating an apple or some zucchini into them, and I liked the texture that the little pieces of cooked onion and celery added. (BTW--if you think the burgers look pink in spots, that is from the apple--I left the skin on when I grated them and the burgers are fully cooked!) These are 2-napkin burgers--I am unable to make a tiny, flat slider, but messy can be fun. ;-) The Lemon-Sage Mayo is really good if you are a sage fan and would work well on a turkey sandwich too. For the cranberry sauce, I just did a basic version--sugar, water, cranberries, fresh orange juice and orange zest, simmered and cooked down on the stove. The Brussels sprouts were a bit of an afterthought but I really liked them, slightly warm on the burger. The potato buns were store bought and tasted great toasted. I was very happy with how these turned out from top to bottom and would make them again.

If you have a Thanksgiving Dinner Burger Challenge inspiration, check out Kim's blog post here for all of the details and you must go take a look at her decadent Sausage-Stuffing Inspired Burgers topped with Baked Creamed Pearl Onions. Yum! Kim will be rounding up the burgers on her blog on December 1st.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ile De France Camembert Stuffed Sliders

Once again my two favorite words just might be "Free Cheese"--especially when that cheese comes from Ile De France and it is their new recipe Normandie Camembert. Since I enjoyed their original recipe Camembert so much, (evidence of that enjoyment here), I was excited to try the new recipe which is made from the milk of herds that graze exclusively in the Normandy region of France. I wasn't disappointed, the new cheese is very smooth and creamy with a slight nuttiness and some earthy notes.

It was delicious just spread on some fresh bread, but I wanted to do something different and preferably "melty" with it. I had some grass-fed Maui ground beef and some little French rolls both from the farmers market, so I whipped up some Camembert Stuffed Sliders.

With chunks of Camembert inside the burgers (plus a little more spread on the toasted rolls), these sliders were full of oozy, cheesy goodness. Because it is a soft cheese, the Camembert sort of melts into the center of the burger and infuses the cheese flavor throughout. With so much flavor these burgers didn't need much else so I just added some local spinach and tomatoes--also from the farmers market. Very tall mini burgers, very juicy and messy but oh so good.

Thanks Ile De France! ;-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mark Bittman's Lamb & Bulgur Burgers with Garlicky Avocado-Yogurt Sauce

It's Potluck time again at I Heart Cooking Clubs and I was craving a burger. Since I had Mark Bittman's recipe for Lamb & Bulgur Patties tagged and waiting to be made, I decided to make them into larger patties and turn them into Middle-Eastern-style lamb burgers. Wanting a fun sauce to go with it, I chose Bittman's Simplest Yogurt Sauce recipe and made the avocado-yogurt variation. I slathered the yogurt sauce onto 100% Whole Wheat Buns (part of a "bun" package sent to me from Nature's Pride as part of the FoodBuzz Tastemaker Program), and added local lettuce, red onion and cucumber slices for a hearty, healthy, delicious burger.

I pulled both recipes up on my "How to Cook Everything" iPhone application.

Lamb and Bulgur Patties
"How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman
(Makes 4-6 Servings)

1 lb boneless lamb, preferably from the shoulder, excess fat removed (I used already ground)
1 medium onion, quartered
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled (I used 3 cloves)
pinch cayenne (I used a large pinch)
1 tsp ground cumin (I used 1 Tbsp)
(I added the zest of 1 lemon)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups soaked bulgur, drained until dry
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves (I used 1/3 cup parsley & 1/3 cup mint)
2 Tbsp neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn if panfrying

Cut the lamb into large chunks and put in a food processor with the onion, a large pinch of salt, some pepper, the garlic, cayenne, cumin, and egg. Process until smooth, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides if necessary. Mix in the bulgur and parsley by hand.

To panfry: Shape the kofte into 8 small patties. (I made 3 larger, burger-sized patties and 5 small patties.) Put the oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. When hot, add the patties, rotating as necessary and turning once or twice, until crisp and golden on each side, about 10 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.


Simplest Yogurt Sauce (Avocado-Yogurt Sauce Variation)
"How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman
(Makes a bit over 1 cup)

1 cup yogurt, preferably whole milk (I used Greek 2%)
1 tsp minced garlic (I used 1 very large clove)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 1/2 lemon)

Combine the yogurt with the garlic, a pinch of salt, and a grinding or two of pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding some lemon juice if necessary.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a few hours; bring back to near room temperature before serving.

For the Avocado-Yogurt Sauce:Variation: Stir in (or puree in a food processor 1/2 ripe avocado or more along with a little extra lemon juice)

Notes/Results: Very tasty, with a good texture, especially the crispy-golden outside. I added a lot of extra spice to these--lots more garlic and cumin, a good pinch of cayenne and also chopped mint and lemon zest and thought they tasted great--I think they may have been a bit too mild for me the way the recipe was written. Since I bought ground lamb rather than doing it myself, I put the onion and garlic in the food processor to get it finely minced and added it to the lamb, along with the egg and spices before stirring in the bulgur and herbs. This was great as a burger but also good as just the patties with the yogurt sauce over salad the next day. The sauce was delicious--I added more garlic and lots of lemon which was perfect with the patties. I would make both of these recipes again.

Nature's Pride Buns: I received a large box the other day from Nature's Pride and the FoodBuzz Tastemaker's Program, and inside it were three packages of Nature's Pride new Premium Harvest Buns and Rolls. There were the 100% Whole Wheat Bakery Buns, the Country White Bakery Buns and the Country White Deli Rolls. Since I don't eat a lot of "white" flour breads and products, I tried one of the deli rolls and gave the rest of them and the white bakery buns to a friend who was having a barbecue, and kept the whole wheat buns for myself. Both the white rolls and wheat buns were soft, held together well and tasted good. With 4 grams of Fiber and 9 grams of protein, no trans fats or artificial colors or preservatives, they are a pretty good option for a commercial burger bun.

You can see what the other IHCC participants made for their Potluck selections by going to the site and following the links here.

BTW: Although the burgers and sauce are quite lovable, my semi-regular Tuesday feature "Things I Am Loving This Week" is taking a short break and will be back next Tuesday.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Caesar Salad and Flank Steak Burgers with Garlic Crostini for the Blogger Burger Club

After several posts of vegetarian and fish dishes, it seems high time to bring in some beef--and in what better form than a burger?! Especially when that burger is a delectable Caesar Salad and Flank Steak Burgers with Garlic Crostini, this month's pick for the Blogger Burger Club. Started by my friend Reeni of Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice, a couple of months ago, I had been meaning to join in the burger making and rating event. When this month's host turned out to be my friend Kim from Stirring the Pot, and then she picked a burger featuring Caesar salad as a key ingredient, I knew it was time to take action.

This burger is made from ground flank steak--new for me as I usually use grass-fed beef or bison for my burgers. It is served on a thick garlic toast or crostini and topped with Caesar salad and freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese. The only change I made to the recipe was to use a bakery loaf of Artisan Asiago Cheese Bread in place of the sourdough.

Caesar Salad and Flank Steak Burgers with Garlic Crostini
Adapted from "Build a Better Burger"
(Makes 4 large meal-sized burgers)
Estimated Time: 30-40 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 flat anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1-1/2 pounds ground flank steak
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Zinfandel (or other red wine or beef broth)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for brushing the grill rack

Garlic Crostini:
8 (1/2 inch-thick) sourdough bread slices
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing on the bread
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

You will also need:
1-1/2 cups washed, dried, and shredded romaine lettuce
Shredded, freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese to taste

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.

To make the dressing, combine the olive oils, vinegars, and salt in a small jar with a lid and shake until well blended. Mash the anchovy fillets and garlic together on a cutting board until they form a paste; transfer to a bowl. Add the oil and vinegar mixture, lemon juice, and parsley and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

To make the patties, combine the steak, parsley, shallots, garlic, Zinfandel, salt, lemon pepper seasoning, and pepper in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the bread slices.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with olive oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference 5-7 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, to make the crostini, brush the bread slices to taste with olive oil on both sides. Place the bread slices on the outer edges of the rack, turning once to toast lightly. Remove and rub each side of the toast with 1/2 garlic clove.

To assemble the burgers, combine the lettuce and the dressing in a large bowl and toss lightly. On 4 of the bread slices, place an equal portion of the salad, a patty and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining slices and serve.

Notes/Results: Yum! This is an excellent burger--very juicy and a ton of flavor. Have plenty of napkins and maybe a set of silverware at the ready when enjoying it. I liked the tenderness of the ground flank, although for the cost here to buy it and have it ground, I will probably stick to my favorite ground bison because the ground flank was almost twice the price at Whole Foods. (The only (nearby) store willing and able to grind it for me.) The cost did make the burger a bit of an indulgence--but it was worth it. The bread was really good--I wanted it to be on the softer side when it was toasted and it was--plus the asiago cheese flavor was a nice extra. The salad had a nice garlicky level in the dressing and it and the Parmesan, grated on my microplane for maximum volume and "fluff" made the burger extra-special.

This was one of the best burgers I have made lately, so I am going to give it a rating of 3 1/2 stars. (Out of 4 possible stars.) It is something I will likely make again. For the Blogger Burger Club event Kim will be averaging out the ratings and rounding up the burgers after the 20th on her site (here), so go by and check it out.

Thanks to Kim for hosting this month (and for picking such a great burger!) and to Reeni for coming up with this fun event.

BTW: If you are as crazy for Caesar salads as I am, another wonderful salad-inspired sandwich is this BLT with Caesar Mayo that I made last year. Making this burger got me craving these delicious sandwiches again! ;-)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lentil Veggie Burger Sliders: A Little Bite of Mark Bittman

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs starts our six months of cooking with the always fabulous Mark Bittman. I love the man and his style of cooking--simple, delicious and with plenty of room and encouragement to adapt his recipes however you like. I also like his food philosophy--limiting (not eliminating) the amount of meat consumed, as well as reducing consumption of dairy, over-processed carbohydrates, and junk food. (Good for the planet and good for the body too). This week's IHCC theme is "Bites of Bittman" meaning appetizers, small plates, pupus, or whatever you like to call them. Since I always enjoy a mini-burger or slider, I thought some veggie sliders would be a fun little bite to enjoy.

I have been meaning to make some sort of veggie burgers from the more than ten pages on the subject in Bittman's comprehensive "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food." As is his style, Bittman offers tips and tricks for crafting the perfect veggie burger, some base recipes for different types of veggie burgers (bean burgers, nut burgers, vegetable burgers and tofu/soy burgers), and then gives suggestions for building on the base recipes to create varied and unique burgers. I decided to start with Bittman's The Simplest Bean Burgers recipe, choosing canned lentils as my base, and adding a bunch of additional ingredients--listed in red below.

The base recipe can be found in "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" on pages 660-661 or from Mark Bittman's "The Minimalist" column at the New York Times website here.

Lentil Veggie Burger Sliders
Adapted from Mark Bittman
Time: 20 minutes, with cooked beans
(Makes 4-6 Servings)

2 cups well-cooked white, black or red beans, or chickpeas or lentils, or 1 14-ounce can, drained (I used 1 14-oz canned organic. low-sodium lentils)
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup rolled oats (preferably not instant)
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder, or the spice mix of your choice (I used 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 2 tsp chipotle chili powder and 1 tsp ground coriander)
1 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 Tbsp cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
Bean-cooking liquid, stock or other liquid (wine, cream, milk, water or ketchup) if necessary
Extra virgin olive oil or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn.

Combine all ingredients except liquid and oil (and sunflower seeds) in food processor and pulse until chunky but not puréed. (Add sunflower seeds and pulse another couple of times to break up seeds and mix them in) If necessary, add a little liquid for a mixture that is moist but not wet. Let mixture rest for a few minutes.

With wet hands, shape into patties and let rest again for a few minutes. (Burger mixture or shaped burgers can be covered tightly and refrigerated for up to a day. Bring back to room temperature before cooking.) Film bottom of a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet with oil and turn heat to medium. When hot, add patties. Cook undisturbed until browned, about 5 minutes; turn carefully with spatula and cook 3 or 4 minutes until firm and browned. (I made mine into about 2 & 1/2 to 3-inch patties)

Serve on buns with mustard, ketchup, chutney or other toppings. (I served mine on sandwich thins cut to fit, and topped them with lettuce, guacamole, carrot and cucumber slivers.)

Notes/Results: Yum! Why do miniature foods always taste some much better?! I was in the mood for something Mexican-inspired and had some guacamole to use up, so those were the flavors I played up in my spice mix. I liked Bittman's suggestions for add-ins and tried a few different ones--sunflower seeds for texture, fresh herbs and tomato paste for color and complexity, and garlic (do I really need to tell you why?) ;-) The result was perfect--crispy outside, soft and moist inside and a little texture and crunch from the sunflower seeds. The burgers held together well--easier with the smaller slider size of course, and they browned nicely at about 4 minutes per side over medium heat.

I ended up making 6 sliders with half of the mixture and saved the rest because a side bar in the book on using veggie burger mix as ground "meat" caught my eye. I cooked the remaining burger mix off, making crisp brown crumbles that I am planning to use in some veggie tacos this week.

Since it was a winner--quick, easy, and delicious, I will use the base recipe again--probably trying it with different beans and playing with the spices, trying some Indian and Thai flavors. I like making my own veggie burgers so much more than buying them--they are cheaper, fresher and I get control over the ingredients. Bittman gives enough suggestions and ideas for different burgers and combinations to keep me in veggie burger heaven for quite some time.

You can see what bites the other IHCC members cooked from Mark Bittman by going to the website here and following the links.


Don't forget to read my cookbook review and enter my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of a wonderful new cookbook: "The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook" by Amy Riolo. Filled with delicious recipes, this book is for everyone who loves good, healthy food.

You can get the details for how to enter here. (There are three different ways to enter for three chances to win!)

This giveaway is open to everyone and the deadline for entering is Monday, April 12th.