Monthly Archives: May 2010

Hiking

Posted by Katie on May 03, 2010
Life / No Comments

Dave and I took the time this weekend to go on a date and get out of the city.  I’ve been itching to go hiking recently, so we drove 90 minutes west of the city to Starved Rock State Park.

I highly recommend it as a day trip for Chicago folks who need a breath of fresh air.  The drive is easy and the hike is lots of fun.

Plus it’s good for Dave and me to schedule things to do together on the weekends.  Otherwise we just end up sleeping until noon (neighbor permitting, of course), doing our own things, and then complaining about not doing anything fun or together over the weekend.

Um, we might be over the “newlywed” phase.

And after several hours of hiking, we spent some time at the park lodge, watched the eagles fly around from the lodge terrace and enjoyed appetizers and a bit of wine.

Not so bad for a Saturday date.

Ultimate veggie burger

Posted by Katie on May 02, 2010
101 in 1001, Cooking / No Comments

New recipes, week 4.

I let my suppressed inner vegetarian select this week’s new recipe.  And after searching the internet for a veggie burger recipe, I found myself interested in this.  The recipe solves the dry veggie burger problem by eliminating the bread.  Basically you make a veggie sandwich, with the burger as the bread, and whatever you want as the stuffing.  Weird, I know, but give it a chance!

I increased the recipe by 50%, which yielded 13 mini burgers.  I cooked 9 of the burgers (3 per person) for dinner on Friday night, and filled each burger with a different stuffing.  One with sauteed mushrooms, one with fresh avocado and one with brie.

I was mentally prepared for grumbling from Dave and Michael about the lack of meat, and my feelings would not have been hurt if they wanted to order take-out, but the recipe was actually really good.

The burgers have a hearty veggie flavor to them, which is very much complemented by the fresh cilantro and the fresh lemon zest.  They were surprisingly filling, and not dry at all.  The brie veggie burgers were the favorite, because the cheese melted very nicely between the warm burger and bound the two pieces together.

The consensus was that while this is not the best thing ever (Dave and Michael are still talking about the shrimp from a couple weeks ago), the burgers had a good flavor and consistency, and the recipe was one to keep.  I have to say that it is a healthy meal, and the ingredients are fairly cheap.  And I finally know what to make when vegetarian friends come over.

Oh, and the 4 leftover mini burgers saved perfectly in the fridge.  I cooked them up for lunch today.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups sprouted garbanzo beans (chickpeas) OR canned garbanzos, drained and rinsed
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 onion, chopped
Grated zest of one large lemon
1 cup micro sprouts, chopped (try broccoli, onion, or alfalfa sprouts – optional)
1 cup toasted (whole-grain) bread crumbs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or clarified butter)

Directions

If you are using sprouted garbanzos, steam them until just tender, about 10 minutes.  Most of you will be using canned beans, so jump right in and combine the garbanzos, eggs, and salt in a food processor.  Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a very thick, slightly chunky hummus.  Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, onion, zest, and sprouts.  Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture.  At this point, you should have a moist mixture that you can easily form into twelve 1 1/2-inch-thick patties.  I err on the moist side here, because it makes for a nicely textured burger.  You can always add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if need be.  Conversely, a bit of water or more egg can be used to moisten the batter.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown.  Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes.  Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden.  Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.  Carefully cut each patty in half, insert your favorite fillings, and enjoy immediately.