Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Black Bean Veggie BurgersConfessions of a Burger Junkie
I have a mental block when it comes to veggie burgers. It’s not that I have a problem with them per se, it’s just that I haven’t found one that I like. When I am craving a burger, I’m going for a legit burger. But, there are times when my family is on the burger train but I’m just not feeling it. Those are the times I go for something “other” and I am usually disappointed.

True, it’s easy to just have a turkey burger or a mushroom burger and I have been known to go that route with quite a bit of success. But, there is a part of me that wants to find a true veggie burger that I like. My issue is that in my mind I can’t get past the fact that I am not eating a ground beef burger. Eating a veggie burger, so far, hasn’t given me that same cheesy, juicy, fatty flavor that I love. And, yes, I get that it’s the cheesy fatty part that I should try to avoid for health reasons. Hence the search for a veggie burger.

I have tried the Beyond and Impossible products with great results but because of the amount of sodium in those options (it’s crazy) I don’t see them as a healthy alternative to the occasional classic burger.

My friends are very aware of my burger quest so I get a lot of recipes handed to me to try. Some are better than others. I am always on the lookout. So, if you are reading this and have a recipe you want to share, please post it in the Facebook comments and I will give it a shot.

In the meantime, the recipe below is the latest submission. I am planning to give it a shot this weekend as I have been told they are really flavorful and good. We’ll see…

Black Bean Veggie Burgers
Adapted from Sarah Britton and My New Roots 
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Roasted Tomato Ketchup

Roasted Tomato KetchupWe Should Ketchup
So, it’s now the second full week of September. And, although the weather is still hot, I have decided it’s time to pull my tomato plants. The heat is starting to take its toll. And, frankly, it’s just time. There are actually quite a few tomatoes still on the vine, so I’m going to have to do something with all that fruit. Sure, the easy answer is to make a big batch of pasta sauce, and I am planning to make at least a small batch to put in the freezer. But, now that football season has started up, my mind is in tailgating mode. In my mind, tailgating and extra tomatoes mean one thing. Ketchup.

While there is nothing wrong with the tried and true Heinz that we all grew up on, homemade ketchup can take your sausage or burger to a whole new level. Making your own ketchup isn’t complicated and it can be fun to mess around with different flavors. I add cayenne to my ketchup because I like a little kick. But, you can leave it out if you aren’t a fan of spicy. A hefty shot of Tabasco works well, too. Curry can be a great addition as can fish sauce for a little southeast Asian flair. You can experiment with the different kinds of vinegar you choose as well. Apple Cider vinegar is classic, but you can do basic distilled white or even try some balsamic for a sweeter result.

The recipe below is adapted from grill king Bobby Flay and is a good basic starting recipe. Strangely, his original version does not have any spice to it—which is his signature. I added it in. I would recommend trying the basic version first so you know what the flavors are before you go messing with it. Read more…

Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs

Grilled Zucchini Ribbon KebobsMutiny Because of the Bounty
Come with me and let me take you on a little journey to see if this is something you can relate to. It’s February and you’re sitting at the kitchen table, a stack of the latest seed catalogs in front of you. (Ahhhh…that new catalog smell!) The excitement and anticipation of the fresh bounty to come are impossible to contain. And, you are convinced that you actually need every variety of those heirloom tomatoes and squash because who doesn’t like tomatoes and squash? And of course, the best part is sharing with others. So, having too much shouldn’t be a problem. And, you never know when Better Homes and Gardens will call to ask if they can come to do a photoshoot in your garden because it’s Just. That. Awesome.

Fast forward to the end of July. It’s been hot and some of your plants are showing the damage. You’ve battled a round of blossom end rot on your tomatoes. The ants are taking over your bell peppers and your squash “cup” runneth over.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to pawn a lot of my produce off on my sister which, frankly, is one of the reasons I plant a garden. (She loves the produce but her yard is too shady.) But there is still a lot of produce on the vine.

Planting and taking care of a garden is a lot of work but it’s worth it for the fresh produce. There will never be anything that can hold a candle to a homegrown, vine-ripened tomato. But, during the peak months, you will find yourself scrambling to come up with ways to use everything so it doesn’t get wasted. And, in doing so, you might find that you never want to see another pepper in your lifetime. Zucchini is notorious for this.

I love squashes of all kinds. But, even I will get tired of them day after day—especially if they are prepared the same way each time. That being said, I like them cooked simply so you can actually taste the flavors of the squash. Grilling them is my favorite but can be tricky. Cook them a heartbeat too long and they will be mushy.

I saw this recipe for Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs in the New York Times and wanted to try it because it looked like a great way to avoid soggy squash and the ribbons seemed fun. Play around with the seasonings you use. You don’t have to go with BBQ. Salt, pepper, and olive oil are always fantastic as is your favorite Mediterranean blend. Za’atar would also work really well…

Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs Recipe
Adapted from Stephen Raichlen and New York Times Cooking
Yields 6 servings

To keep the zucchini crisp during grilling, slice it thinly and cook over a hot fire. The edges char and get crisp like the burnt ends of a rib.

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Moroccan Kefta Kebobs

Moroccan Kefta KabobsSandwich on a Stick
I spend most of my Summer evenings at the grill. On the weekends I will do the things that take time like ribs or even a smoked brisket. But, during the week, it’s all about getting dinner on the table quickly.

Lately, I have become a little obsessed with anything that can be grilled and put in a pita—as has the rest of my family. I’ve done lamb shoulder, as well as chicken, and at least a couple of times, we went with salmon. My favorite is these Moroccan Kefta Kebobs. Keftas are essentially spiced meatballs that have been pressed onto a skewer and are then grilled.

They can be eaten right off the skewer alongside a cucumber salad and some hummus or some couscous but I like them in a soft pita with sliced tomatoes, a smear of hummus, and some tangy tzatziki.

Grilled Moroccan Kefta Kebobs Recipe
Adapted from The Spruce Eats

You can use ground beef, ground lamb, or a combination of the two for this recipe. This is not a good time to choose lean ground meat. The higher fat content results in more moisture when the kebobs are grilled. Read more…