Tag Archives: thyme

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.

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Turkish White Bean Dip

20 Feb

turkish white bean dip

Having healthy snacks on hand is probably the most important piece of eating well. I definitely have those moments when I need to eat something and now, and that’s when it’s easiest to turn to something that’s not so good for me. Bean dips are one of my favorites to keep around. They require very little preparation, yet are tasty enough to serve to unexpected guests. I don’t have anything to puree with, and I was still able to make this – I just threw everything in a pot and cooked it down a bit, while mashing, which worked pretty well. Of course, using a food processor or blender makes the process even easier. I used Turkish flavors here, an old favorite of mine, and the mint, Turkish red pepper, thyme, and cumin easily complemented plain white beans. I thought the flavor went really well with fresh bell pepper and carrot sticks, for even more of a healthy kick.

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Spanish Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

19 Oct

spanish red lentil and vegetable soup

I love walking down the streets here and seeing lots of little verdulerias and fruterias with colorful produce piled high. Most people here don’t buy their produce in chain grocery stores, but instead stop by these neighborhood vegetable and fruit markets on a regular basis. It’s been a bit of adventure adjusting to this mindset, thinking ahead to what I need for an upcoming recipe (at these places, you tell the shopkeeper what you’re looking for and how much, which, with my limited but expanding Spanish, takes a little preparation) and trying out the multiple places near my apartment to find the best quality (and the place most willing to put up with my bad accent). I think I found my go-to verduleria though – an especially friendly place where the quality is great, and the prices unbelievably low. It was a cold, rainy day when I went to buy the vegetables for this Spanish red lentil and vegetable soup, but I came away feeling excited to prepare this bright, colorful recipe. Packed with roasted red bell peppers, bright orange carrots, fresh diced tomatoes, and green spinach, this soup is a visual treat compared to the often drab-looking (although tasty) bean and lentil soups I like to make. Not to mention the intense flavor packed in here, with the vegetables adding a lot of sweetness (really!), complemented by the spiciness of cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Red lentils add some extra heft (I like to cook them until they’re falling apart), making this recipe perfect for a hearty meal, especially on a rainy day.

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Mushroom and Black Garlic Pasta

8 Oct

mushroom and black garlic pasta

While there are some ingredients I’ve had difficulty finding here in Buenos Aires (like canned beans), there are others that I’ve been surprised to see in abundance. Black garlic, which I’ve never once seen on a grocery store shelf back in DC, is mysteriously present in multiple stores here. The vendor at the vegetable stall I bought it from warned me that it was not intended for cooking but rather meant to be eaten medicinally, but I’d heard of black garlic before and knew better. If you taste a clove plain, it’s hard to believe this is garlic at all – the fermented ebony-colored cloves are sticky-sweet, with flavor reminiscent of a balsamic reduction or tamarind paste, but there’s still a hint of mellow garlic flavor in the background. Definitely worth grabbing if you happen to see some around. I wanted to cook something simple but special with this, so I picked up some fresh pasta from the grocery store (another ingredient that can be easily found here in abundance – and is often cheaper than the dried stuff too!) – spinach pasta, hence the green hue in the photos – and combined the two with the earthy flavor of mushrooms and thyme (and some fresh garlic too, of course). The unique taste of black garlic permeates the dish, well-complemented by the other ingredients.

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Mushroom Apple Gouda Hash

17 Sep

mushroom apple gouda hash

Apples are starting to crop up at the farmers markets and grocery stores now that we’re transitioning into fall, in gorgeous shades of mottled reds, yellows, and greens. Since I’ll be missing out on fall (as it is currently spring in Buenos Aires and my move is fast approaching), I wanted to take advantage of these apples while I still can. This great simple hash recipe contrasts crisp diced apples (I used tart apples but sweet ones should also work, if that’s your preference) with sauteed cabbage and mushrooms while gouda cheese also plays an important role, adding richness to the dish. The mix of textures feels perfect for the transitional nature of the season. This hash can be served as a side, as a main dish, or inside a sandwich or wrap.

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Cauliflower Blue Cheese Soup

15 Aug

cauliflower blue cheese soup

I’m going to let you in on a secret – most places where people use potatoes, I use cauliflower, and it tastes even better. Cauliflower has lots of edges to get nice and browned when roasting or frying, and it also tastes much sweeter and more flavorful than potatoes to me. Of course, cauliflower is also significantly healthier than potatoes. By contrast to potatoes (the food with the highest correlation to weight gain in a recent longitudinal study), cauliflower is high in vitamin C and fiber and a wonderfully filling and nutritious ingredient. And, really, it tastes delicious. Like in this cauliflower blue cheese soup where it’s pureed with caramelized onions and then mixed with blue cheese and creme fraiche. An easily customizable recipe – use cheddar or gruyere for a more traditional “baked potato” type of soup, or change up the toppings with what you have around. I topped mine with parsley, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper (I used my usual favorite, Turkish red pepper, but any should do), but crumbled bacon, diced apples or pears, or candied nuts would all also work wonderfully.

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Mushroom Bourguignon

13 Aug

mushroom bourguignon

I think mushrooms are one of those ingredients that can be pretty polarizing. Some people love mushrooms, and others can’t stand them. Personally, I’m a big mushroom fan – they’re just packed with umami! For any other fungi aficionados out there, here’s a great recipe that showcases the meaty, earthy flavor of mushrooms as the main star of a French-inspired stew. As I’m not a vegetarian, I used bacon fat and beef stock to add extra meatiness, but you’ll be just fine with olive oil and mushroom or vegetable stock. I found this bourguignon very satisfying on a rainy day, and it’s sure to make for great comfort food for other mushroom lovers out there.

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Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

9 Jul

roasted vegetable quinoa salad

This quinoa salad feels just perfect for summer so long as you can brave turning your oven on (although the vegetables can also be grilled). Not only does it take advantage of the overflowing summer vegetables, but it’s delicious served at room temperature or cold, so it makes for a refreshing side or meal on a steamy summer day. You can use whatever herbs you have around (either basil and mint, both so notoriously prolific, would work here, and I used a combination of thyme and oregano), and feel free to add a little goat cheese, feta, or parmesan, too. Easily adaptable and full of flavor, this is a versatile recipe that’s definitely worth having up your sleeve.

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Turkish Bean and Vegetable Soup

11 Jun

turkish bean and vegetable soup

I recently visited Istanbul, and once there, I quickly fell in love with Turkish food. I booked myself a food tour (through Istanbul Eats who I can wholeheartedly recommend) and spent a good six hours traipsing through the Beyo─člu neighborhood and trying some amazing food. A lot of dishes hinted at the Middle-Eastern food I already know and love, but there were also some completely new flavors. After the tour, I made my way to the spice bazaar, and when I returned home, laden with Turkish spices and nuts (and Turkish delights, of course), I was ready to incorporate Turkish flavors into my everyday cooking. I devised this soup to try out a mixture of dried vegetables I’d purchased at the spice bazaar as well as the spices, and I ended up quite happy with my little experiment.

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Vegetarian Feijoada (Brazilian Black Bean Stew)

25 Apr

vegetarian feijoada

If you are Brazilian or have been to Brazil and eaten authentic feijoada, let me apologize right now. Traditionally, feijoada is a stew of black beans with a variety of cuts of meat, so I’m sure I am being completely blasphemous by creating this vegetarian version. In place of the meat, I’ve used mushrooms and quinoa (a new favorite of mine) to add a variety of textures and flavors. If you’re like me and not totally vegetarian (I eat mostly vegetarian for health and cost reasons), feel free to use beef broth in place of vegetable broth and bacon fat in place of olive oil to add a little extra heartiness and smokiness, but you should also fare just fine without it. I’m always looking for tasty and filling dishes to have on hand for weekday lunches, so this was a nice change of my pace from my usual while still using ingredients I had on hand.

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