I didn’t intentionally take a break from blogging; it just kind of happened. I would never dream of purposefully leaving you all out in the cold without a trace of my wit, humor, charm, and recipes. But alas, that’s what has happened over the past month or so. So I pledge, here and now, that I will make a real effort to blog at least once a week. I can’t guarantee that I will be able to stick with this schedule, but I think it’s a plan that will work.
Now for the hard part: which recipe or story to share for this first post back in the blogosphere? Although I’ve apparently been to busy to open my computer, I have not been too busy to cook and eat (shocker). I always get really jazzed when a new season rolls around, even though I’ve never really lived in a place that had “seasons.” But the Southern California climate has its own funny little way of changing with the passing months that makes me feel like I’m worlds away from the constant heat and humidity of Florida and that I’ve been thrust into some sort of seasonal wonderland. Sad, I know.
The feeling I get when I know that a new season is rounding the corner is invigorating. Oh, the possibilities of a new season! I like to cook with themes…nightly, weekly, monthly, or extending throughout the season, I appreciate a bit of cohesion with my cooking. Of course, this makes sense as I also really try to cook with seasonal ingredients. And living out here where the farmer’s markets abound and where some items are just plain unavailable depending on the season, I feel even more charged with my responsibility as environmentally conscious cook and connoisseur of all things yum.
So, as the summer exerts its presence more and more forcefully on my household, I decided that something should be done to honor this season in which I was born. First, we finally bought patio furniture. It is maybe one of my favorite purchases ever. It’s perfect for entertaining or just solo dining alfresco, and even has a lazy Susan so that nobody has to feel bad when saying “pass the mustard.” Secondly, I came up with our seasonal dish and I am way more than excited to share it with you: BURGERS!
I’ve always been a big burger fan. Nothing screams summer cookout to me like a nice, juicy burger with cheese. And although I will still occasionally indulge in one of these traditional meat fests (on weekends, of course), I have recently been opting for healthier, veggie and legume-loaded patties to fix my cravings. I was lucky enough to inherit with my relationship a book dedicated to veggie burgers. It is chock-full of recipes for meatless burgers that I never could have conceived of in a trillion years. There is such variation from recipe to recipe that I have had a really hard time deciding which to make each week. Time and “pantry ingredients” usually aid in the decision making process, and so far I have been extremely pleased with the results.
Our first burger was called the “Pub Grub Burger.” It was moist and hearty, and went really well with the traditional sides and toppings; this was a great intro to our summer of burgers.Pub Grub Burger (yields 8 four-inch burgers) 1 onion, chopped 3 eggs, or the equivalent of 3 eggs 1 1/2 c cooked black beans (I used canned) 1 1/2 c cooked garbanzo beans (I used dried that I boiled until tender) 1 tbsp salt 1 tbsp chili powder 1 tbsp dried parsley or 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped 1 1/2 c panko 1 c cheddar cheese, optional
Pulse the onions in a food processor until they are the consistency of a fine dice. Add the beans, egg replacer (I used this recipe to make chia egg replacer) and spices and pulse until the mixture comes together to form a chunky paste. Scoop out into a bowl and add the panko, parsley and cheese (if using). Let sit for about 5 minutes, so the panko can absorb the liquids. The patties will be much easier to form if you give the mixture some time to set up. Form into 8 patties and cook over medium heat in a neutral flavored oil. Serve with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle and enjoy!
I have to be honest and tell you all that I did include real cheese in my recipe, but as I didn’t use the full cup, I didn’t really notice it and probably wouldn’t include it again. The burger was moist and hearty, and though in the original recipe it suggests shallow frying, I found that I was okay with using less oil, adding more to the pan between batches if need be. The flavor of this burger was so much better than I could have anticipated. The onion and chili powder were the absolute keys here–so perfect! And while I forgot to take pictures, as the burgers were devoured too quickly, you can check out the original recipe (pictures included) here. Bon appetit!