Monthly Archives: May 2015

Make Room for Mushrooms . . . Burgers, That Is

Mushroom BurgerMove over beef and make room for MUSHROOMS. Last week, we picked up an assortment of mushrooms to bring to our friends in New Jersey. Well, with all the other stuff we had to pack up, we forgot to bring the mushrooms. Damn! So now, I’m on a mushroom mission and decided to start off with some type of burger. One of my pet peeves with veggie burgers is that they don’t stick together and squish out of the bun. Since mushrooms contain a lot of water, I decided to saute them with onions, garlic and herbs before adding to the other binding ingredients. Potatoes go nicely with mushrooms, so I microwaved and mashed a few. Then, I threw in a brown rice-quinoa-wild rice blend and toasted walnuts for some contrast in texture.  I opted to cook them outside by using a grill pan on the barbeque. As long as I was out there, I might as well grill some onions. Topped off with a squirt of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, these burgers were tasty . . .  and they behaved nicely on the bun! I served them with a side of sauteed greens from Kranz Hill CSA (the recipe is from the Clean Start cookbook). Buy the book, try my Mushroom Burgers and make it a Vegi-curious day!


Mushroom Burgers

Makes 8 burgers

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 pound mushrooms, chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon fennel seeds, ground

¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 cup cooked potato, mashed

1 cup cooked brown rice/quinoa blend

½ cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of water to non-stick skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute until softened and lightly browned, adding more water to prevent sticking. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until browned, about 5 minutes. Add thyme and ground fennel and cook about 30 seconds. Stir in soy sauce and remove from heat.

In large mixing bowl combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Form into eight burgers, about 1/3 cup each. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning once, until brown on both sides.

Alternate cooking methods:

Lightly coat a non-stick skillet with oil and heat on medium-high. Brown burgers on both sides, about 5 minutes each side.

Lightly coat a non-stick grill pan with oil and place on grill. Pre-heat grill on medium-high. Brown burgers on both sides about 5 minutes each side.



28 May 2015

Salad With An Attitude

Kranz Hill GreensPower SaladBruce and I joined a new CSA this year and made our first pick up today. What I like about being a shareholder in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is that I get to try vegetables I typically wouldn’t buy. Today, we came home with arugula, mustard greens, arugula flowers (who would have thought?) and radishes. While I know that greens are loaded with antioxidants, I’ve always felt that they’re not too full of flavor . . . until today. I used them in a salad and tried to cut down on the “heat” of the arugula and mustard greens by adding some candied pecans, dried cherries and a honey-citrus dressing. Well, let me tell you this salad’s talkin’ back. You might want to temper the spiciness by mixing in some leafy lettuces. While at the farm, I ran into a former co-worker who commented that she’d like to find a way to enjoy eating radishes. Never a big radish fan myself, I’ve resorted to using a vegetable peeler to shave radishes into thin slices. Below are two of my favorite “sweet” dressings. Feel free to add a little more sweetness to offset spicy salad greens. This is another one of those recipes that’s not a recipe at all. You can mix it up by using different juices, vinegars, mustards and, of course, different greens. Just mix it up and make it a Vegi-curious day!

Garlic-Lemon-Pepper Dressing

2 teaspoons lemon zest (or orange)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or orange)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey or agave
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients in small bowl.

Dijon Dressing

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey, agave or maple syrup
Combine all ingredients in glass jar and whisk or shake to emulsify.

22 May 2015

Gigante Bean Salad – Big on Taste, Big on Health

Gigante Bean SaladGigante Beans are BIG; not only in size, but in taste and nutrients. They are a delicious source of protein, fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, antioxidants, and are low in fat.  Since Gigante Beans are found in many Greek dishes, I decided to make a Mediterranean-style salad with oven roasted tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olives and basil. The salad can be served hot or at room temperature. Enjoy it as a side dish or entree for a summer dinner on the patio. You can also toss in some orecchiette (little ears) pasta or toasted pignoli nuts to switch it up.  I think a nice glass of Prosecco or Pinot Grigio is in order tonight! Any leftovers will make a great lunch for later in the week. Make it a Vegi-curious day.

Gigante Bean Salad

1 pound dried Gigante beans (large lima beans)
2 cloves of garlic, left whole

8 plum tomatoes, sliced in half
Fresh thyme sprigs
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
Salt, pepper

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup Kalamata olives
4 basil leaves, chopped

Soak beans overnight by placing beans in a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water. Drain and rinse beans, then cover with more water. Add whole garlic cloves to pot. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes until beans are soft, but not mushy. When done, drain well and place in large, shallow bowl.

Preheat oven to 325F. Coat a glass baking dish very lightly with olive oil (you can opt to omit the oil). Place the tomatoes in the baking dish cut side down, add garlic, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until tomatoes are soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally. Remove tomatoes from oven and let cool enough to chop. Add tomatoes, vinegar, olives and basil and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes about 4 to 6 servings.


21 May 2015

Grilled Vegetable & Farro Salad

Farro & Grilled Vegetables 003Farro (the whole grain), much like the Pharoahs of Egypt, is King. Why? It tastes great and is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C, and E. With summer upon us, I was looking for a summer salad with a little substance. This salad has grilled fennel, mini bell peppers, red onions and a garlic-lemon-pepper dressing tossed with the farro. Some grilled asparagus would make a nice addition to the vegetables. While you’re at it, why not make a double recipe of the dressing to drizzle on mixed greens to enjoy right now or later in the week? The salad can be served warm or at room temperature, making it perfect for a barbeque or an outdoor concert. Have a little taste of summer tonight and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

P.S. I made this again tonight. I visited my favorite Amish farm stand this week and picked up some large scallions and asparagus.  I sliced them 1/2″ thick on a diagonal and grilled them with the fennel and peppers. I also did a mixture of lemon and orange juice. The sweet O.J. was a nice balance to the tartness of the lemon. Hope you enjoy!

Farro and Grilled Vegetable Salad

1 cup uncooked farro
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon No Chicken base (or 1 teaspoon salt)

1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
10 mini bell peppers, seeded and quartered (or 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced)

½ cup parsley
½ cup almonds, toasted and chopped coarse

Lemon dressing (below)

Cook farro according to package directions, adding garlic and bouillon or salt. Drain any excess liquid and place farro in serving bowl.

Pre-heat grill. Lightly coat grill pan with non-stick spray and place on grill. Place vegetables on grill pan and grill with lid closed for 10 – 12 minutes until vegetables start to char and soften. Add vegetables to farro, add parsley, salt, pepper and lemon dressing; toss to coat.

Garlic-Lemon-Pepper Dressing

2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey or agave
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients in small bowl. Refrigerate up to one week.


13 May 2015

Egg-less Salad Sandwich

Eggless Salad 006I’ve been on a sandwich kick this week and worked up a chickpea sandwich that has an “essence” of egg salad. The trick to getting a hard-cooked egg taste is to use Indian Black Salt. (I get Indian Black Salt, of course, at an Indian grocery store. You can also purchase it online.) It has that “sulphery” aroma and taste that you get when you crack open a hard-cooked egg. The other trick is to use avocado in place of mayonnaise for some creaminess. It also helps to keep the salad ingredients together. The rest is just a basic egg salad recipe I’ve been making for years; onions, celery and mustard.  If I had some fresh dill on hand, I would have tossed that in as well. Toast up some multigrain or pumpernickel bread then stack it up with tomato, lettuce and pickles for a tasty (and filling) sandwich.  Hope you enjoy and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Vegi-curious Egg-less Sandwich

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ small onion, chopped fine
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
2 teaspoons mustard of your choice
½ to ¾ teaspoons Indian Black Salt
Fresh dill, to taste (optional)
Avocado, smashed (use only what you plan to use for your sandwich)

Lettuce, tomato, pickles

In a medium bowl, smash chickpeas using a fork or potato masher. Mix in onion, celery, mustard, black salt and dill.

To assemble sandwich, spread a layer of mashed chickpea on bread. Spread on a layer of smashed avocado, then layer on tomato, lettuce and pickles.

Makes 3 to 4 sandwiches.

06 May 2015

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