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 
Read more…

Southern Shrimp Burgers

Southern Shrimp BurgersOn The Run With A Burger And A Bun
I have never met a burger I didn’t like, and I’ve had a lot of them. Not all of them have been good. But, in my book even a bad burger is better than no burger.

However, you can’t eat burgers all the time. Well, you can but you better have a cardiologist on standby. As I have gotten older, I have noticed that I am eating fewer beef burgers and instead opting for something different but still burger-like.

If you are looking for alternatives to the classic beef burger the good news is that there are plenty of options from turkey, to salmon, to black bean. And you could even try the meatless versions that are currently popular—just be aware of the sodium content. (Yikes!) One of my favorites is this shrimp burger. It is great when I want something burger-ish but also a little different.

This recipe is adapted from the Lee Brothers Southern Cooking cookbook. This was a book we explored in my cookbook club many moons ago and it still remains a favorite. Since the weather outside says it’s summer even though the calendar doesn’t, put off putting your grill in storage and give these a try this weekend.

Southern Shrimp Burgers
Adapted from Lee Brothers Southern Cooking
Yields 4 servings Read more…

Chicken with 40 Cloves Of Garlic

Chicken with 40 Cloves Of GarlicFall, Fires, and Garlic
September is a weird time in California. While the rest of the country is thinking about colored leaves, pumpkin spice, and has started pulling out their light sweaters, we here on the west coast are still battling 90-degree heat and, sadly, forest fires. What’s happening in Tahoe is heartbreaking. What would normally be a gorgeous Labor Day weekend to celebrate the last days of summer (at least according to the calendar) is now an ash-filled hazy orange nightmare. Makes talking about food trivial but, we still gotta eat…

There are a lot of reasons I chose this week’s recipe. First, this dish is the very essence of comfort food. French comfort food. With everything that is going on locally as well as across the globe, we could all use a little comfort right now. And, I think Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic will do just the trick. There are multiple versions of this classic dish, the most obvious being from Julia Child. I personally like my modified version of the James Beard’s classic.

Rosh Hashana starts Monday at sundown and for those who celebrate, this recipe is a tasty and flexible melt-in-your-mouth way to feed a small family or a large crowd depending on the size of your Jewish New Year feast. This is the second reason I chose this recipe.

The third reason is because you put it in a pot, throw it in the oven, and walk away for over an hour. (Preferably with a lovely, very cold glass of white wine). Since my daughter has practice that runs fairly late in the evening, a recipe like this is a great way to have a hot meal ready when she gets home and is ravenous.

Paired with crusty bread and your favorite salad on the side, this is a classic satisfying meal no matter what your reasons for choosing to make it.

That being said, thank you and Godspeed to our firefighters! L’shana Tovah to all who are celebrating. And, Go Falcons!

Chicken with 40 Cloves Of Garlic Recipe
Adapted from James Beard
Serves 8 Read more…

Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos With Watermelon SalsaWatermelon Sugar High
I have a melon patch that I planted with cantaloupes and mini watermelons. Both varieties have apparently been enjoying the warm weather as the number of melons on the vine has tripled in recent weeks. One of those watermelons looks like it’s ready to be picked. But, I am hesitating.

Just like knowing which watermelon to choose at the store is difficult, knowing when to pick a watermelon from the vine presents its own challenges. I have an unfortunate tendency to pick a number of the things I grow too early—much to the detriment of my crop yield as well as my family, who tries to eat said crop yield. Nothing worse than an unripe melon when you are expecting the taste of sweet ambrosia.

Since this is the first time in a few years that my melon growing venture has been successful, I don’t want to screw it up. So, I have been looking everywhere on the internet to get tips on how to know when your watermelons are ripe for the picking. And, I have found some interesting suggestions.

The first is the same thing they tell you when picking out a melon in the store. Look for the yellow spot on the bottom of the melon. This sounds easy enough. But, I have chosen too many yellow-spotted melons that weren’t great to trust that trick of the trade too much.

Another tip is to look for the tendril on the vine closest to the melon stem. If it is dried up and brown, the melon is ripe. If it’s not, you need to be patient. Patience is not one of my virtues. The tendril next to my melon isn’t quite dried out yet. So, now I’m on tendril watch. Hopefully, my tendril dries up and the melon is sweet ‘cause I’m looking forward to this recipe for Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Salsa.

Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Salsa Recipe
Adapted from Eric Kim and Food 52
Yields 8 tacos Read more…