Tag Archives: lemon

Quinoa, Beet, and Black Bean Burgers

25 Feb

quinoa, beet, and black bean burgers

Once again, I’m playing host here in Buenos Aires (this time, to Andrew’s parents instead of mine). And, although it’s easy for people to eat out for every meal when on vacation, I think there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal after a long plane ride or a day of sight-seeing. These quinoa, beet, and black bean burgers are more complicated than many bean burgers, but the different components can be cooked ahead of time, and the mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week before being formed into patties. This makes them ideal for serving to guests – I did all the legwork ahead of time and just had to fry up some patties and toast some buns to have dinner on the table. Of course, they’re not just convenient – they also have amazing color, flavor, and texture, and I have to give most of the credit to the beets. I would never have guessed that finely diced beets would make such a great base for a veggie burger, but their earthy flavor and firm texture are perfect here. I always like to add chia seeds to my cooked quinoa, so I went ahead and did it here, too, with the added benefit of the chia seeds helping to bind the burger, eliminating the need for an egg (though if you’re having trouble keeping your patties together, you can always still add in an egg to help). I balanced everything with some rehydrated dates, for sweetness, and lemon juice, for tartness, and couldn’t help tossing in some smoked paprika as well (you can use a chopped chipotle pepper in adobo instead for similar smokiness with a spicy kick). These burgers (which can also be formed into balls and used in place of meatballs or on top of a salad) are so flavorful that they barely need any toppings – but I went ahead and added halved cherry tomatoes and pickled red onions for a little fresh crispness.

[…]

Related Posts:

Chana Masala

23 Jan

chana masala

Despite the lengthy ingredient list, this North Indian chickpea stew comes together quickly and easily. It’s more of a tart curry, rather than some of the creamy ones with lots of warming spices (cinnamon, cloves, etc). Here, acidic tomatoes, tart amchoor powder, and citric lemon juice are strong components, alongside a hefty quantity of spices, of course. But it still manages to feel balanced, especially when served over rice (or quinoa, as I served it). I added cauliflower florets to my version (I think that actually makes this gobi chana masala), which I think are great alongside the creamy chickpeas. A sprinkle of cilantro at the end proved surprisingly crucial in rounding out the flavors (I wouldn’t omit it), and a little yogurt on top helps to quench the heat of hot peppers and ground cayenne pepper. I also topped mine with pickled red onions and thought their crispness was a great complementary texture. This curry, by the way, only improves with a couple of days in the refrigerator, so don’t hesitate to make this large batch even if you’re only cooking for one or two.

[…]

Related Posts:

Roasted Cauliflower with Olive Vinaigrette

28 Nov

roasted cauliflower with olive vinaigrette

When I cook, I turn into a bit of a mad scientist. I can’t help but tweak nearly every recipe I come across, adding or subtracting ingredients, adapting the technique, and mumbling to myself about what the perfect end dish will taste like. Inevitably this makes the whole process take at least twice as long as it should. But this recipe was different – the combination of flavors and basic techniques used intrigued me. I love roasted cauliflower, but I’d never tried roasting thick slices before, and the Mediterranean feel of the olive vinaigrette seemed an interesting match. The recipe came together quickly, and I’m glad I restrained myself on making changes because the result was outstanding. The strong flavors of the olive, lemon, and garlic in the vinaigrette are well-balanced with the crispy caramelized cauliflower. And since this can be prepared in half an hour (with plenty of downtime), it’s great for a quick snack or side that wouldn’t feel out of place on a tapas menu.

[…]

Related Posts:

Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade

26 Nov

strawberry bourbon lemonade

Strawberries are starting to show up here, reminding me why I chose to move to the Southern hemisphere just in time for spring. I couldn’t resist buying some up and concocting this cocktail for the increasingly hot days. Nothing like sitting on the balcony, sipping on this dangerously tasty drink, and wishing the pool below was for this apartment building instead of the next one over. I’ve been feeling nostalgic for bourbon, so that’s what I used, even though the bottle of Jack Daniels was pricey. Selection’s limited around here (the Argentine imitations are, frankly, not even close). But this recipe can be adapted to whatever liquor you have on hand, and cheap liquor works just fine, so save your high quality stuff for drinking straight. Ginger mint simple syrup was ready and waiting in my refrigerator, and the flavors are great in here, but, again, feel free to adapt – plain simple syrup will do just fine, or if you have another fancy infused one around, use that. If winter’s approaching where you are and strawberries aren’t in season, the drink’s tasty without them, and it’s a great prop for pretending you’re someplace warm, to boot.

[…]

Related Posts:

Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup

24 Oct

egyptian yellow lentil soup

I stumbled across some yellow lentils (while exploring Buenos Aires’ Barrio Chino (Chinatown), a subject for another post), and as I often cook with the quite similar red lentils, I immediately bought them. Like red lentils (which you can substitute here), yellow lentils cook quickly and fall apart when cooked which makes for hearty soups that taste thick and creamy without the need to add extra fat. Confusingly, yellow split peas are also sometimes referred to as yellow lentils (and look quite similar) even though they’re actually distinct – but they should also work as a substitute here. I decided to make this Egyptian soup with simple flavors to focus on the lentils themselves. I added turmeric to boost the color (and, as a side note, turmeric actually has lots of health benefits as well) and cayenne pepper because I like my food spicy. I’m sadly lacking one of my favorite kitchen tools – my immersion blender – so I couldn’t puree the soup, as I would have liked, but cooking the soup just a few minutes longer so that the lentils fell nearly completely apart worked out just fine for me.

[…]

Related Posts:

Anchovy Chimichurri

12 Sep

anchovy chimichurri

Today, I have an exciting announcement. I’m moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina! While I’m certainly going to be sad to leave my hometown of DC, it was time for a little change of scenery. Last week was my last one at my full-time job (yes, I do more than just write this blog), and a week from now, I’ll be on a plane heading to South America. I’m looking forward to new culinary experiences (in between learning Spanish and taking online classes towards my masters) and have big plans for improving and expanding this very blog, so the next year or so should be an exciting time!

In honor of the occasion, here’s a recipe for the classic Argentinean sauce, chimichurri. A pureed combination of herbs and spices, chimichurri is usually used to top grilled meats in traditional Argentinean asado (barbecue). But, although I’ve shown it over a pan seared rib eye here (made with this Alton Brown recipe, by the by), it’s also well-matched to roasted or grilled vegetables or as a spread on sandwiches. Of course, in my usual way, I couldn’t just make a typical chimichurri recipe. So this one has a twist – the inclusion of anchovies. The flavor isn’t overtly fishy, but the anchovies provide extra umami for an intensely savory and rich version of this sauce. Of course, any anchovy haters (probably the group I’m least likely to convert on here) can feel free to simply omit the anchovies.

[…]

Related Posts:

Harissa

29 Aug

harissa

This recipe for harissa, a Tunisian chile sauce, is seriously spicy. Okay, I’ll admit, my spice tolerance is not quite unbeatable, but it’s pretty high, certainly higher than most people I’ve met. I lap up the spiciest Indian and Thai curries like nobody’s business, toss chili peppers in everything, and liberally sprinkle my food with hot sauce. I’ve never once used gloves when chopping hot peppers. Jalapenos (barely spicy to my palate!), bird’s eye chiles, habaneros, I’ve practically rubbed them all over my hands with no ill effect (okay, the occasional burning eye, admittedly).

Well, that all changed when chopping up the rehydrated chiles for this particular recipe. Despite washing my hands after doing so, I was soon struck by an intense and slowly worsening burning on the sensitive skin between my fingers – repeated washings, lime juice, and painkillers provided only momentary relief. In the end, I was left to wait for that solver of most problems – time. By the next day, my hands were (mostly) back to normal. But consider yourself warned. The resulting spice paste, however, is amazing. Perfect in small doses as a meat rub, on sandwiches, stirred into soups, or even added to salads. For those less spice inclined, cut back on (or omit) the arbol chiles, and use more guajillos and anchos instead. And I’ll certainly be wearing gloves the next time I make this.

[…]

Related Posts:

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

3 Aug

lemon olive oil cake

I’m a big fan of olive oil. Extra-virgin, of course. It’s my go-to for roasting vegetables, the first thing I reach for when sauteing onions, and the natural base for homemade salad dressings. I even add it to my soap (it’s a moisturizer!). So here is my ode to olive oil, in the form of a cake. Paired with lemon and rosemary, two among many flavors that sing alongside its fruitiness, the olive oil somehow yields a cake richer than if it had been made with butter. This cake is similar to a sponge cake, fluffed up with beaten egg whites and topped with turbinado sugar, and although I found it deflated after leaving the oven, the texture still seemed spot on to me. I intended to try a couple slices with fresh fruit and whipped cream, but to be honest, it was gone before I had a chance and tasted just perfect as is.

[…]

Related Posts:

Shaved Squash Salad

23 Jul

shaved squash salad

Yet another simple summer recipe – only a few ingredients, but it still feels exciting. This was my first time eating raw squash, and I was pleasantly surprised by the taste, crisp and nutty. Combined with a tart lemon dressing, salty cheese, and the crunch of pistachios, the resulting salad is amazingly flavorful. But it’s still light enough to leave you feeling good afterwards. Great for a quick lunch or to bring along on a picnic.

[…]

Related Posts:

Lemon Basil Chickpea Salad

18 Jun

lemon basil chickpea salad

In the past, I’ve often found myself diving enthusiastically into projects and then quickly abandoning them. But I’m trying my best to change that, and it’s amazing what I’ve been able to accomplish. In past years, for instance, I bought seeds and seedlings and got really excited about the possibility of having a great garden, but when it came down to it, I didn’t have the energy for all the upkeep. But this year, I’ve been taking really good care of my garden (with a lot of help from one of my roommates), and it’s really gratifying to see my plants steadily grow. I recently pruned my basil plant and suddenly found myself with a lot of fresh basil to use. I wanted to do something a little different from a traditional pesto and found myself loving this lemon basil chickpea salad. The herbaceous basil plays well with lemon juice, honey, and mustard in an exceedingly flavorful dressing (which, by the way, can be used on all kinds of different salads), and I really enjoyed it over a basic mix of chickpeas and sauteed greens. Great served at room temperature or cold for a little something refreshing on especially hot summer days (and a good option for bringing along to a picnic!). I can’t wait to find more creative uses for all the herbs (and vegetables) I’m growing in my garden this year.

[…]

Related Posts: