Thursday, July 26, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

My friend Robin shared her version of this recipe, and it was universally applauded. Husbands declared that they did not miss the meat. Children asked for seconds. The burgers freeze well, and are filling.  I served them on whole wheat buns with a side of sweet potato fries, salad, and roasted peppers.  It's a great Meatless Monday option.

Black Bean Burgers
You can add additional veggies to these quite easily.  I added some microplaned carrots- they melt right in. Did I mention these freeze and reheat easily?  They are also baked, not fried.   I served them with a greek yogurt based dip, see recipe below. 

2 cans cooked black beans (should be about 2 1/4 c)
2 1/4 c cooked brown rice (1:1 ratio with beans)
1/3 c sauteed chopped mushrooms
1/2 microplaned or very finely grated carrot
2 T chopped basil
3 T tomato paste
red pepper flakes to taste
1/2- 1  tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process all ingredients briefly in the food processor.  Form into patties.  You may want to spray hands with cooking spray or rub a little olive oil to prevent the mixture from sticking.  Place on a coated cooking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Greek Yogurt Dip/Sauce
You can use this for your dip for sweet potato fries, too.  Sometimes I add a handful of spinach and blend it just for color, and because I like to add spinach to things.

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 clove garlic
1/4 tsp dried dill weed
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 grated cucumber (optional)

Blend all ingredients with a fork.

Sweet Potato Fries
I'm bringing this back from our original post. Here's what I said then:
I've been making these for years.  I clipped the original recipe out of some magazine, long since lost.  My husband is not a huge fan, but my kids love it.  They get to dip their fries in ketchup.  If they are not browning or crisping well, put them on the broiler on high and watch closely.  They're not going to be quite as crispy as fast food fries, but they're so much better for you....

2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled, cut lengthwise into 1/4- 1/2 inch wedges. (about 3-4)
Tossing sweet potatoes.
1 T olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1-2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika (smoked paprika if you have it)

Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Toss all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, then turn. Bake for 10 more minutes and broil if necessary to desired crispness, but they are generally done after about 20 minutes. 

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Lemongrass chicken

Our dinner plans were waylaid for 2 nights in a row after I planned this meal, resulting in a 36 hour marinating time by the time we finally got around to eating this chicken. It probably doesn't need 36 hours, but holy cow, er, holy chicken, was it tender and flavorful!  The fresh lemongrass is amazing.  The caramel was a little tricky in that you need to watch it. I over did it the first time and had to start over- but it was a fun lesson in the properties of sugar. Adapted slightly from a recipe in Food & Wine's Chef Recipes Made Easy from Eric and Sophie Banh, who own Monsoon in Seattle.
Can't. Stop. Adding. Kale. To. Things.

Lemongrass Chicken
Smirking delicious chicken.

4-6 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 T Asian fish sauce
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
6 T sugar
3 T canola oil
2 fresh lemongrass stalks, tender inner white part, minced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (may substitute a small red onion)
1 jalapeno, diced and seeded (may decrease or increase depending on taste)
1/3 c cilantro, chopped

Combine the fish sauce, garlic, curry powder, salt, and 2 T of sugar in a small bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat.  Let it marinate for up to 36 hours if you have time, although you can also cook it immediately.
In a small skillet, mix the remaining sugar or honey with 3 T water and cook over high heat until the sugar dissolves. Cook without stirring until a deep amber caramel forms, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 2 T water.  Transfer the caramel to a small heatproof bowl.  Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. Add the oil, and let it heat up. Add the lemongrass, shallot and jalapeno and stir-fry for a minute. Add the chicken and caramel and stir-fry over moderate heat until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is slightly thickened- about 6-8 minutes depending on your chicken. Toss with cilantro and serve over rice.

Steamed Jasmine Rice with Kale and Scallions
A quickie side dish that I threw together just so I could add kale to our meal.  

4 cups cooked jasmine rice
1 cup finely chopped kale with tough ribs removed
2 scallions
dash white pepper
1 tsp canola oil

Heat the canola oil in a large pan. Add the scallions and stir-fry for a minute. Add the kale and stir-fry for an additional minute, until it is a rich, dark green.  Toss the rice in and add a dash of white pepper. Toss until everything is mixed together. Serve.

Stir-fried Asparagus
My standard stir-fry that I make with just about any vegetable. Today it was asparagus.  Snap the tough ends off.  The asparagus will tell you where to snap it- it should be as close to the tough purple end as possible, but it should snap off easily. You really don't need to peel your asparagus. I have never understood why this is necessary- plus you lose all that fiber. Having grown up on an asparagus farm, I could think of about 50 more things to share about my absolute favorite vegetable.  For the haters who say it's too mushy, my response is that you are cooking it too long. Mushy asparagus is gross.  If you stir-fry it, it can still have a little texture. If you like it softer, just cook it a little longer.  And don't leave out the garlic. 

1 bunch of asparagus, about 1 lbs, with the ends snapped off, and cut on the diagonal
2-4 T water or chicken stock
1/2 tsp salt
2 small cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 T canola oil

Heat the canola oil in a pan until it sizzles when you add a drop of water. Add the garlic and stir, but don't let it burn.  Add the asparagus and stir-fry until it is tender, about 3-5 minutes. Midway through, when the pan is  starting to get dry, add the chicken stock or water.  Add salt to taste.  If you like your asparagus on the tender side, turn the heat off and cover the pan for a minute or two.  (If you let this step last too long, your vegetable can get overdone. Don't say I didn't warn you.) Serve.

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