30 December 2009

Delicious (and Easy) Bean Burgers

We have a restaurant in Columbus, Northstar Cafe, that makes the most amazing vegetarian burgers. The burgers are meaty without having meat, full of rich smoky undertones and delicious umami flavor. I have absolutely no idea how Northstar manages to create such an amazing vegetarian alternative to a hamburger. I still haven't figured out how to recreate it at home, but I do like to play around with other vegetarian burgers. Most recently, I noticed a recipe that Joe posted on his blog, Culinary in the Country, for Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole. I was intrigued by the addition of cornmeal to the bean mixture. I wondered if this could be part of the solution to the Northstar Cafe recipe mystery. Alas, I don't think it is the missing ingredient, but these burgers were delicious nonetheless.

The patties were very easy to throw together. I didn't have any avocados so there was no spicy guacamole on my burgers. I do think that the guacamole would be a perfect accompaniment to these bean patties. My burgers were spicy because I cooked my pinto beans with lots of dried jalapenos, coriander and dried onion.

I ate it on a toasted English muffin with pepper-jack cheese and salsa. My burger did fall apart once I bit into the bun, but it still tasted great. I served the burgers with a lime juice based slaw, similar to the recipe I posted here. The recipe was very easy to cut in half, and I was able to make a few simple adjustments based on what I had on hand. I will definitely make these burgers again.

Bean Burgers
adapted from Culinary in the Country

1/4 cup cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 cups cooked pinto beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, ground
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup cornmeal, divided (I used blue cornmeal!)
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 burger buns

To prepare the burgers

In a medium non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic - cook until until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in beans, paprika and cumin - cook for 1 minute, stirring. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the beans to a coarse paste.

Scoop the mixture out into a bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in cooked brown rice, cilantro and 1 1/2 tablespoons cornmeal - season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Evenly divide the mixture into 2 portions, forming each into a patty. Coat both sides of the patties with the remaining cornmeal, then place each onto a plate. Place into the refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add burgers to skillet and cook about 3-4 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Serve with pepper-jack cheese and salsa.

Makes 2 servings.

28 December 2009

Belated Christmas Wishes!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I know I am arriving late to the party, but I really want to post these pictures before the magic of Christmas is gone :) (I will post recipes soon, I promise!) The past 3 weeks have been a whirlwind for me. I have spent a ton of time in the kitchen with my Mom baking (and my Dad lurking around to sample) and a ton of time with my entire family. I got to see my Aunt and Uncle from New York, my Great Aunt from West Virginia and her family, all of my siblings and their families, and lots of time with my parents. Of course, in the midst of it all I caught a horrible cold but it is much better than the flu that took me out for over 2 weeks last Christmas. I have had many ups and downs over the past year, but I am comforted and reassured knowing that I have so many people who love me and worry about me. I hope your holidays were filled with just as much chaos, love, joy and food as mine were!

Almond Chocolate Toffee Motzoh

Cashew Chocolate Toffee Motzoh

Santa bringing the window-pane candy

Window-Pane Candy

Window-Pane Candy cooling (with pizelles)

Cashew Brittle with Fleur de Sel

Mom breaking up window-pane candy

Window-Pane Candy
(I couldn't decide which picture I liked best!)

27 December 2009

I have a Reputation.

Apparently my love of food is so obvious that people who know me for entirely non-food-related-reasons still know me as a food lover. Most recently, a friend, who I know only through the internet for fantasy football reasons, offered to share a family recipe with me. He said that I would be amazed at how a simple marinade could transform a cut of meat.

It just so happened that in the next week or so after this conversation, I noticed bison flank steak on sale at Whole Foods. I happen to love bison, and flank steak is a wonderfully healthful, flavorful cut, so I decided to try it out. As luck would have it, the recent marinade conversation popped into my head, and I whipped it up in no time with mostly pantry ingredients.

I let my steak marinate in the delicious salty-sweet mixture for about 18 hours. The bison was delightfully tender and kissed with flavor throughout each bite. I cooked my steak to medium-rare (I probably should have cooked it even a tiny bit rarer).

Can you identify this green?
No idea what it is called, but it tastes delicious!

As the steak rested, I sauteed up a big pile of mushrooms, green onions and some type of tasty green from the farmers' market. I sliced the steak against the grain and piled it atop the mushroom-greens saute. It was the perfect healthy, quick meal.

I am sending this post along to Lynda of Lynda's Recipe Box who is hosting December's Family Recipes Event since it is a family recipe that was passed on to me by a friend. This event has been hosted by The Spiced Life and The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch in the past. I highly recommend checking out Lynda's site so you can catch the round up of recipes at the end of the month. I am sure there will be lots of holiday recipes to tempt you (and me!).

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and whatever else you celebrate!

Paul's Aunt's Steak Marinade

1 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons vinegar (I used cider)
3 tablespoons oil (vegetable or olive)
Mix all ingredients in a large resealable bag; add flank steak and marinate for several hours.