Thursday, April 25, 2013

Zesty White Bean Burgers

In my never ending search for the perfect veggie burger I came across this one from The Sweets Life, and immediately put it on the menu. It can be hard to get a good texture when making a bean-only burger, but this one was crisp on the outside and full of flavor on the inside. The thick layer of cheese made it decadent, and the cool avocado toned down the heat. I topped it with a little chipotle ranch and served sweet potato wedges on the side. I will definitely be making a big batch to form and freeze for quick, weeknight dinners!

Zesty White Bean Burgers
slightly adapted from The Sweets Life

2 c. cooked great northern beans
1 4.5 oz. can chopped green chilies, undrained
1/4 large red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. old fashioned oats
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 c. cornmeal
2 tbsp. canola oil
Sliced pepper jack cheese
1 avocado, sliced
Toasted buns, if desired (we omitted)

Place beans in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until chunky and slightly mashed.
Transfer to a large bowl, add chilies, onion, oats, egg, salt, pepper and cumin.
Shape into 4 patties, then place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high, and preheat oven to 400*
Add oil, bring to temperatre, then add patties. 
Cook until golden brown on the first side, about 4-5 minutes, then flip.
Transfer to the oven and allow patties to cook for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
Top with cheese, turn the oven off and allow cheese to melt.
Remove from the oven, top with avocado and place in buns, serve. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Apple Passion Mango Champagne Punch

This past weekend I had the most wonderful time co-hosting a baby shower with two of my best friends for our friend Kate. She is due with a baby girl in early June, so we planned a springy yellow and gray themed shower. We spent some time together brainstorming and found that each one of us could take the lead on one thing, but we all worked so well together to execute it.  

I was finally able to do the dessert bar I've been wanting to do for a shower, and it was a big hit! I'll be posting some of the recipes in the future, but most are on the blog already. What I am going to post is the amazing punch recipe we kind of just made up as we went along. I've made plenty of champagne punches, and my general mix is a bottle of champagne, a concentrate, club soda and ginger ale. The other two co-hosts and I went grocery shopping the night before the shower and decided to just see what the store had. We were intrigued by an Apple Passion Mango concentrate, so we went with it. This was far and away the best punch I've ever had, refreshing, sweet, and full of flavor! It was simple to make, and makes a ton! 

Apple Passion Mango Champagne Punch
a Veggie by Season original

2 cans of Old Orchard Apple Passion Mango concentrate 
3 bottles of extra dry champagne (cheap stuff!)
1 2 liter of ginger ale
1 2 liter of club soda
1-2 packages of frozen mango chunks (may want to start with one, refresh with another later on)

Chill all liquid ingredients, mix together in a large punch bowl.
Float frozen mango chunks on top, serve over ice.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bulgur and Kale Casserole with Yogurt Topping

It's so hard to believe that next Thursday will be the last day of my CSA share. It's funny because I mentioned it to my mom, and it reminded her that theirs (in Ohio) starts in a few weeks! Although the CSA is ending, the Farmer's Market just opened, so don't you worry about me, I'll still have my fresh produce... and I hear Georgia peaches have made their way to the market!

Now that I've got one full CSA season under my belt, I feel like I can share some of my likes and dislikes. For the most part, I liked all of the vegetables, I'm not picky when it comes to veggies. However, it did get to be a bit monotonous. I could expect a hearty green like collards or kale (sometimes both!) every week. I did struggle to make recipes with them, there's only so much you can do with kale. However, through searching for kale recipes, I found quite a few keepers, like this casserole! I was forced out of my comfort zone a bit with ingredients, but also found some treasures (like Romesco Cauliflower and Watermelon Radishes). It also forced me to seek out new recipes using the ingredients, or put on my thinking cap and create some!

Vegetarian casseroles can be hard to come by, but this was both healthy and hearty, full of vegetables and protein. Since the photos never come out well, I did snap quite a few photos of the process. I actually made this dish twice recently, the photos in the initial attempt were awful. I made it exactly as written the first time with bulgur, the second time I only had quinoa, so I used that, but I have to say I MUCH preferred the bulgar (even though I love quinoa!)

It's another one of Joanne's Best of 2012 gems, and seriously, I can see why it was the best. The spices are delicious, it's warm and comforting, and was made with basic pantry staples!

Bulgur and Kale Casserole with Yogurt Topping
adapted from Eats Well With Others (originally from the NY Times)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
Salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 lb. kale, stemmed and washed
1 c. coarse bulgur
1/4 c. finely chopped dill (I used 1 tbsp. dried)
1/2 c. grated parmesan
2 eggs
1 c. plain Greek Yogurt

Make tomato sauce: heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onion and garlic, stir and cook until tender, add tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, cinnamon, paprika and cloves.
Turn heat to medium-high and cook until tomatoes are bubbling, bring down to low and simmer, partly covered until thick and fragrant, about 30 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
To cook bulgur: Bring 2 c. water (I added a vegetable stock cube) to a boil, add bulgur, when water comes back to a boil, turn to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Blanch kale in coiling water for 4 minutes, pour into a colander, rinse with cold water and squeeze dry, chop into thin strips.
Preheat oven to 350*
Oil a 3-quart baking dish, spoon tomato mixture into the bottom, add a layer of bulgur then a layer of kale, repeat.
Beat together eggs, yogurt and parmesan in a dish, spread over the casserole.
Bake for 35-40 minutes on a baking sheet (in case it bubbles over!)
Remove from oven, let casserole rest for 5 minutes, then serve.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Bundt Cake

This year Easter was a quiet one, my Popie was here visiting for the first time since Grandma passed away, my husband was out of town for most of the weekend working, and Violet had her first ear infection along with pink eye. I never had a chance to go buy Easter basket fillers, never made it to the grocery store for Easter dinner ingredients, and had a big birthday cake to finish up, it was a little stressful!

  But luckily, "dada!!!" was home Easter morning, the little sicky rallied, and we ended up having a really nice day. Violet participated in the Easter egg hunt at church, we skyped family all around the country, went out for a nice dinner at J Alexanders, and when Oma and Pops arrived the next day, we got our Easter baskets.

This cake was a last minute, what do I have in my pantry to make something type situation. I made it a month earlier for a friend, and when all I could find at home were apples, I made it again! I love bundt cakes because they are so easy to make, but look a little more special with minimal decoration. I had a small problem with the apples sticking to the bundt pan and sinking, so next time I'd dredge them in flour before mixing them into the batter. Other than that, I'd make this recipe as is for Martha Stewart's Apple Cinnamon Bundt Cake (sorry for just the link and no post, I'm short on time this morning!)