Burger and Fries

Ok, so this isn’t your typical burger and fries.  This is a home made veggie burger and sweet potato fries.  And they are delicious.  Now I’ve made veggie burgers before and its really great how adaptable they are.  Throw some veggies together, mash up some beans and then add some sort of binding agent – usually crushed up crackers and an egg.  These are in the same vein – but they use beets – which I can never get enough of.

I love beets.  I love how they stain your hands.  I love how they smell like dirt (in a good way).  And the color!  You don’t often get a chance to eat magenta food!  They are the prime ingredient in these burgers.  Now if you don’t like beets you could use a variety of different vegetables – peppers or corn or really anything that you have laying around.

The spices are what really make this burger shine.  When I made veggie burgers before I usually just let the vegetables do the talking and use very few spices.  But now, those burgers look bland in comparison.  The coriander really takes these up a notch.  If you don’t use beets, you may want to think about changing up the spices.  You could do an Indian inspired veggies burger with peas, potatoes, curry and turmeric for instance.  I just don’t know how well the coriander would meld with all different sorts of veggies.

This recipe made 6 good sized patties.  But with only 2 people in the house that is way more than we actually need.  Luckily veggie burgers freeze very well.  So I cooked 2 for dinner tonight, 1 for lunch tomorrow and then I made the other 3 patties, wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer.  And when I take them out, I don’t even have to defrost them, just put them in a pan of hot olive oil.  They’ll take a bit longer to cook, but they will be just as delicious as the fresh ones!

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Mushroom Bourguignon

I have been a vegetarian for 17 years.  Most of the time I don’t really miss meat, primarily because I don’t remember when I did eat meat!  But come winter I do lust after pot roast and stews.  I remember my mom’s pot roast – I might have only been 10 when I ate it, but it left a lasting impression.  And stew has been one thing that I have not been able to recreate.  But this recipe – this recipe! is the recipe I have been waiting 17 years for.  17 long years.    Now I just need large vats of this stuff so that I can eat it at every meal.  It is thick, it looks meaty and the smell is amazing.  It almost makes me wish I could turn back the clock a couple of months so that I could make this all winter long.  But alas it is almost spring.  And I have a feeling this will stay in my mind until next winter.

The sauce is rich, the portobellos are meaty, the pearl onions are slightly crunchy and the sour cream makes it just a bit creamy.  This is the kind of dish you want to eat when its snowing out and you have a fire roaring.  It would be perfect for after a long day of skiing.

This dish makes me happy to be a vegetarian.  Who knows what recipe I could find on my 18th year of being a veggie?!  Perhaps I can solve the mystery of vegetarian chicken noodle soup?!  But for now I am content with my new favorite winter meal.  I don’t think I will be yearning for my mom’s pot roast any more.

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Cocoa Brownies

I love chocolate.  Some people might consider it a problem but I consider it a blessing.  Chocolate is wonderful.  I love all types of chocolate – even white chocolate, the ugly step sister in the chocolate family.  It was 4 pm on Friday and I had a hankering for some chocolate, but there was none in the office.  So when I got home, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Cocoa brownies.  These are the fast track to getting you chocolate fix.

These are fudge-y brownies.  If you are more of a cake brownie type of person, you’ll want to go else where.  They are super dense and very moist.  Just a bit of a warning – these are really rich.  But that is a good thing too – you can cut them into smaller squares and get the same chocolate intake as a “normal” brownie.

I think I have found a new favorite brownie!

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Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche

Quiche.  It’s not as scary as it sounds.  At least the version that I make – its easy, there is no crust, and its endlessly adaptable.  It’s one of those recipes where you can use up whatever you have in the fridge.  And you may think that quiche is not something you can eat for dinner.  But I disagree – although I do love having breakfast for dinner.  But eggs are a great source of protein and you can add all sorts of veggies which really adds up to dinner in my books.

I try to eat seasonally, but I am cheating tonight.  Spinach, definitely not in season here in NM.  But I just had a hankering for something green – and not just green, but tender and green.  So although I could have eaten chard, I just really wanted something different.  I am just itching for spring to come, then I can eat all of those tender greens and  not feel guilty about it!

I definitely kept it simple with this quiche.  Just spinach and goat cheese.  Simple, but still satisfyingly delicious.  And who doesn’t want to have leftover quiche ready to go in the morning??

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Blood Orange Galette

I am a sucker for a good pie crust.  A little flour, a little sugar an a fair share of butter….yes, please!  A couple of summers ago I decided I was going to learn how to bake a pie.  It was a great summer.  I tried out a couple of different crust recipes – different fillings and I got to eat a lot of pie.  Anytime a pie came out less than perfect I blamed it on the altitude – it was definitely not because I had never baked a pie before.  No, definitely not.

Last weekend I made the savory version.  And this past weekend I had a hankering for a sweet version.  So I went searching on my favorite blogs to see what I could find.  I wanted to do something that I hadn’t done before.  I was looking all over and nothing really caught my eye.  And then – I found it.  I always get swept away with Smitten Kitchen’s pictures, but this was like nothing I had seen before.  I had to try it.

Luckily I was able to find blood oranges.  My whole plan would have been shattered if I hadn’t found them.  Luckily I found them – and I got a couple extra so I could eat fresh ones throughout the week.  Now the preparation of the oranges took a bit of practice.

But once I got the hang of it, it was fairly simple.

Deb’s recipe called to use a food processor for the crust.  I didn’t.  In my summer of pie making, I found that I got a better result from using a pastry cutter.  It really doesn’t take that much time and you have more control over the outcome – and less dishes to wash is always a good thing!  The pie crust is a little different from what I normally use – but the results were just as good – if not better than my normal dough.  I don’t know if it was the mutliple chilling/freezing of the dough – but it almost turned pastry-like.  It was delicious.

Citrus in a pie?!? you may ask.  I was equally skeptical.  It is definitely not your typical pie.  But its light and refreshing.  I think it is better suited for a brunch rather than desert.  Although the caramel sauce (amazing caramel sauce!) did push it into the desert realm.  And the left overs was perfect for breakfast this morning!

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Butternut Squash and Carmelized Onion Tart

My mom came to visit last weekend!   My good friends had never met my mom so I decided to have everyone over for dinner on Saturday night to meet her and eat some good food.  And eat good food we did.

Mom got in on Saturday morning and we immediately went to the Farmer’s Market.  The Santa Fe Farmer’s Market is a wonderful place – there is always an abundance of beautiful, fresh and locally grown produce.  In the winter, it gets a bit smaller – but we were able to find 2 of the most perfect onions you can imagine, eggs, and carrots this time around.  The farmer’s market is always a festive outing, everyone is so jovial and you can always count on at least 1 band playing, usually involving a banjo.  Starting your day with fresh produce, banjo music, and lots of friendly faces is a pretty nice way to welcome the weekend.

So with my mom here, I wanted to make something special.  And I had just the thing in mind – a butternut squash tart with caramelized onions.  I made this one other time in the fall and it was so good.  So. Good.  I was a bit worried about the time it would take to prepare because we spent all day walking around Santa Fe and didn’t start cooking until 4.  And then I remembered that the tart dough had to rest for an hour!  But we had plenty of wine and cheese to hold us over!

Butternut squash can be a pain to prepare.  The slicing, the dicing, the pealing – blech.  It’s not fun.  But I found a shortcut that really works well.  Before cutting the squash at all, peal it with a sharp vegetable peeler.  You have to go over it twice, but it really seems to cut down on the prep time.  Which is a good thing when you are rushing (ahem)!

I love the small of onions cooking in butter.  You really can’t get much better.  The smell is so homey and comforting.  And then add roasted squash?!  Yes please.  And this crust!  It turned out so flaky and delicate.  Much better than the first time I made it.  Instead of sour cream as the recipe calls for, I used some homemade yogurt.  I don’t know if that is what made the crust so super flaky – but I am not complaining!

Dinner turned out delicious and I had such a great time with my mom.  Hopefully she’ll come back and visit again soon (and this time we’ll invite Dad as well)!

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Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

We have so many apples in our house!  This weekend I bought a bag of apples at the grocery store.  And Dan didn’t realize that we had them and bought more when he went to the store the next day.  Whoops.  So now I need to find ways to eat all of these apples.  Yes, I’ll take one to work each day – but I have over 5 weeks worth of apples!  So I needed to do some baking.  STAT.

So I found this recipe on one of my favorite sites.  And its prefect, I had everything on hand.  Dan was really tired from skiing that day – I’m not jealous, I swear…  And being so tired he wanted something cozy and comforting to eat.  So we had these muffins for dinner.  Maybe not the most nutritiously round meal I’ve ever had, but these are some darn good muffins.

Now if only I could teach Ella and Franklin to bake – we might be able to get through all of these apples.  But instead, they are busy trying to stay warm and pretending like they don’t like to cuddle (and yes, I think that is drool on the couch!)

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