Hummus…fritters

I was in the mood for hummus the other day, and my husband asked if I wanted anything from Costco when he was making a trip. This is a bad combination. I should have simply made my own in a smaller quantity, but instead I ended up with the giant container.

Not that I’m complaining–I love hummus (don’t we all?). However, someone subsequently advised me that it says on the container to consume within 7 days of opening. I already weighed in about the news that “Best By” dates are subjective and unregulated, as reported by the NRDC. I’m sure that hummus tastes a bit better when freshly opened, but I’ve eaten from plenty of containers of hummus over much longer periods of time.
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It was great timing to receive the latest Cooking Light magazine and find a recipe that uses hummus in a different way, to make a composed entrée.

Hummus Rice Fritters with Mediterranean Accompaniments
From Cooking Light magazine
Makes at least 8 fritters

Fritters:
1 1/2 Cups leftover cooked brown rice
(could be from a pre-cooked packaged, made immediately before, or made a previous day!)
1 Cup prepared hummus (feel free to vary with flavored hummuses if that is what you have)
3 Tablespoons flour, all-purpose or cake
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large egg white
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Salad/Pita Accompaniments:
2 Cups baby arugula
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Cup cherry tomatoes
, halved
1 Cup cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 Cup thinly sliced red onion (optional; I did not use)
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled-about 1/4 Cup (optional–not as necessary if using the yogurt sauce)

I used a "brown rice medley"

I used a “brown rice medley”


Place first 5 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
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Does anyone have ideas, in general, for putting one egg yolk to good use, so I don't have to toss it?

Does anyone have ideas, in general, for putting one egg yolk to good use, so I don’t have to toss it?


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 4 (1/4-cup) batter mounds to pan, pressing each with the back of a spatula to flatten slightly (you may want to spray the spatula with oil or cooking spray so it doesn’t stick).
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Cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden and thoroughly cooked.
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Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with 2 teaspoons oil and remaining batter. Sprinkle fritters with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
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Combine 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, and black pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and onion; toss gently to coat.

The reviews suggested a sauce, like one might have for falafel, and using pita. Turns out I had everything on hand. Feel free to adjust this to taste, of course, if you hate cilantro or find the lemon a little strong like I did. Greek yogurt is already tangy so I knocked the quantity down a bit. Otherwise, I find that garlic or garlic powder helps balance it out 🙂

Yogurt Sauce
from Food Network/Guy Fieri

1/2 Cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
, freshly squeezed
2 teaspoons cilantro leaves, freshly chopped
1 teaspoons parsley leaves, freshly chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt
, as needed

Serve salad, yogurt sauce, cheese (if using), fritters and pita halves on a platter. Stuff filling into pita halves as desired and consume immediately.

Sad arugula. Still delicious!

Sad arugula. Still delicious!

It’s Burger Season!

Who doesn’t love a burger?

I may be misleading you with the title of this post, because what I will be featuring is a veggie burger. But this veggie burger is one of the best I have ever tasted.

I found the burger on Pinterest, drawn to this picture:

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The author described the original burger, which was discovered at a well-known vegetarian restaurant, as quite burger-like, vegetarian or not!

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I’m particularly proud of how my version turned out because I truly improvised on this one. The recipe called for approximately one onion. We all know that onions vary widely in size, so that kind of recipe instruction bothers me. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, but a lot of times new or hesitant cooks would appreciate more precision. To represent that onion in this recipe, I used about 3/4 of a cup of “stuff”: a little bit of yellow onion, a little bit of leftover chopped red onion I had (from a recipe that actually stipulated the number of tablespoons), and—-chopped swiss chard stems! Swiss chard came in my share last week and I had yet to fully utilize it. I used a few leaves as a substitute for spinach in a blue cheese, sundried tomato, and greens sourdough bread I made in the bread maker the day before, and I saved the stems.
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If you’re not familiar with swiss chard, I would say that it has more of an earthy flavor than other greens. I’m sure it has some similarities with beet greens (which could also be used here, if you have beets with the full tops!).
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Beet and Bean Burgers
Adapted from theKitchn’s recipe inspired by the veggie burgers at Northstar Cafe in Columbus, Ohio
makes about 4 medium burgers

1/4 cup brown rice (doubled if you like more rice-they say it makes a crispier burger)
3/4 cup of some combination of onion (red, yellow, white, or even green) and swiss chard stem, diced small
About 8 ounces of beets, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced (to taste…at least 2 tsp for me)
1 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 can black beans (about 3/4 cup), drained and rinsed
1/2 juice from 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
, minced
2+ Tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste

cheese (optional) – provolone, monterey jack, or cheddar

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add a handful of salt and the rice, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the rice until it is no longer al dente. You want it a little over-cooked. This will take at least 40 minutes, depending on your rice. Drain the rice and set it aside.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and swiss chard mixture, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the onions are translucent and softened.

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So pretty!

Stir in the beets. Cover the pot and cook until the beets are completely tender, stirring occasionally. Give it at least five minutes and then taste for tenderness.
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Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan using the cider vinegar.

Empty the black beans into a large bowl and use a fork to mash them up a bit. Add the cooked rice, the beet and onion mixture, the lemon juice, the olive oil, and all the spices. Stir to combine.
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Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the flour and stir. I needed to add a little extra flour for keeping the mix together, and it still fell apart a bit. Reviewers on the recipe’s webpage mentioned using rolled oats as a binder as well.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over the highest heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat until it flows easily and shimmers.

Using your hands, form about a cup of the burger mixture into a patty between your palms. (Get ready to have horror-flick gory hands). Set it in the hot pan. Continue shaping and adding as many patties are you are making at one time and add to pan as they fit. Reduce heat.

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What’s wrong with this picture? Answer: not enough oil in the pan.

Note: the recipe says that the burgers are best eaten immediately. The mix can be kept in the fridge for a few days if you want to save it and make additional burgers at another time. I formed a few burgers and stuck them in the freezer–I’ll let you know if they hold up.

Cook the patties for 2 minutes, working to get a nice crust, then flip to the other side. If you’re adding cheese, lay a slice over the burgers now. Cook the second side for another 2 minutes.

Serve the veggie burgers on a toasted english muffin, burger buns or sandwich bread.

Seriously, this was so delicious.

Seriously, this was so delicious.

OK, OK, I know you want to see some meat. Here’s the burger I consumed at a friend’s house a few days later, made by our own Chef Chris Davila:

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The picture is blurry, but I’m sure you can see how it was cooked wonderfully medium rare.

He ground his own beef and used a combination of short ribs, sirloin, and flank steak. The recipe was from Saveur magazine’s June/July 2013 issue: Ultimate Grilled Cheeseburger. Special sauce and all.

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Happy burger season!

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