Monday, July 25, 2016

Mushroom and Farro Veggie Burgers with Homemade Cheesy Burger Buns


We've been in the market to try a new veggie burger for a while now, so when the kids said they'd be up for "burgers" I jumped at the chance. After some searching for a perfect recipe, I settled upon this Bon Appetit gem for Veggie Burgers. I couldn't find any wheat berries at the local markets, so I settled on Farro, which is another hearty and delicious grain. The bonus on the Farro is that I know we'll use it more often than wheat berries, and we discovered that Ms. L loves it. Farro is full of great fiber, some iron, protein, and just really really chewy, nutty, and tasty. But, I digress from the burgers...

Let me start by saying that these burgers are not for the faint of heart! They are full of meaty-umami flavors, and are very filling. I loved the richness of the mushroom combo, and the flecks of orange carrots peaking through. These burgers held together really well during cookies, and had a nice little crust on the outside, but they are fairy soft when you bite into them, and J's was beginning to fall apart a bit during his meal. We topped ours with a few slices of sharp cheddar, melted, and I loaded mine up with avocado, farm share bibb lettuce, tomato, and alfalfa sprouts. I also added a bit of ketchup for good measure!

I served these delicious creations on top of no-knead cheesy burger buns from the old standby King Arthur Flour. I used grated sharp cheddar in our buns, but it was barely detectable in the taste. These were really simple to make, took literally no time, seemed super luxurious, but I cannot figure out how King Arthur got them to look so browned and perfect in their blog! No matter, this meal was totally worth every minute!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pistachio and Chocolate Yogurt Bark

2 c Greek yogurt
3 tbs honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c mini chocolate chips
1/4 c shelled pistachios

Place the yogurt, honey, salt and vanilla in a bowl and whisk together until uniform. Fold in the chocolate chips and pistachios. Spread yogurt mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat, and place into the freezer for a few hours. Remove from the freezer, break into large chunks and enjoy!

We are always in the market for healthy snacks. And, now that it's HOT, we're equally as happy to find something cold to snack on! I had read about yogurt bark a few times, but for some reason I had never gone out and actually tried it out. I'm not sure what I was thinking because this stuff is truly amazing!

Somewhere between ice cream, candy, yogurt, and something heavenly this stuff lies! The flavor is sweet and tangy at the same time, and oh so refreshing! The kids couldn't agree more, and I already have another flavor (dried apricot chocolate swirl) in the fridge. I can tell this is going to be a great post-camp snack!

Use the basic yogurt, honey, vanilla and salt recipe as your spring board. Add maple, cocoa, cacao, jam, fresh berries, other nuts or dried fruits, fruit butters, coconut, etc, etc, etc. Can you tell I'm excited???

Swiss Chard Pancakes

We have gotten a couple of bundles of Swiss chard in our farm share lately. I love it, but the rest of the family isn't always so enamored. I was going to make a red lentil stew with the chard, but thought I'd peruse my old stand-by the Smitten Kitchen before delving into the lentil dish.

I found this recipe for Swiss chard pancakes, and was delighted! Everyone loves pancakes, especially when they are electric green! Plus, I liked the versatility of the aromatic and herbs that the recipe provided.

I used a few bunches of scallions (whites and greens), and small white farm share onion, a couple of garlic cloves, and I threw in a healthy 1/2c or so of grated zucchini. I also subbed about 3/4 c of the flour out with white whole wheat flour (next time I'm up it a bit more).

The result was full of perfectly fried little green thin pancakes. Complete with a savory flavor and a bit of a crunchy edge. We topped ours with a Greek yogurt sauce (made simply with the yogurt, lemon zest and juice from a small lemon, a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper). And, served the pancakes along side farm share salad and a poached egg! What a summery meal, and a really great way to use up a bunch of chard.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sun-dried Tomato and Chicken Pasta

1 tbs olive oil
1 lb chicken tenders
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c scallions, chopped
1 c mixed mushrooms (shitake, portobello, oyster)
small head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 c chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
3/4 c cream
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 c shredded parmesan cheese
1 c fresh basil, chopped
8 oz pasta, cooked and drained
salt and pepper to taste

Place the oil into a large skillet and heat. Add the chicken and sauté, browning on each side. Cook until just cooked-through.
Remove chicken from the pan, cut the tenders into small chunks and set aside for the moment.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta (whatever shape you choose), and cook to the directions on the package.
Place the garlic and scallions into the pan and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the garlic just begins in to brown. Add the mushrooms and broccoli, and cook until they both begin to soften. Add the cream, sun-dried tomatoes, and the pepper flakes.
Cook until the sauce begins to thicken just slightly. Add the chicken pack into the pan until it's heated through.
Add half the basil, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Once the cheese is just melted, serve the sun-dried tomato sauce mixture on top of freshly cooked and drained pasta. Enjoy!

We are all settled into our summer abode, and D took the week off to spend it with us as a true vacation. But, of course since we have a full working kitchen, we have been doing way more cooking that eating-out. For some reason this just happens in our household!

Tonight the kids requested that I make "the good kind of mac and cheese". Basically that means I make a fancy cheese sauce, beginning with a roux and ending with a healthy dose of fontina and very sharp cheddar cheese. It's quite delicious, but D and I had been discussing making a sun-dried tomato pasta for a few days now, so it seemed like a good excuse to go full-bore and do it all!

While the pasta was cooking, I literally threw together the kid's cheese sauce, and somewhere in the midst of that I made the sun-dried tomato mixture. This was fabulous. Full of complex flavors, with not a complex amount of actual cooking. The kids enjoyed the broccoli and J liked the chicken.

I served the pasta along side a gorgeous salad with lettuce, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, and cucumber all picked up from a local famers market and farm stand today. And, I made a homemade buttermilk ranch salad dressing to go on top. The salad just tasted like summer!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

"Nutella"

In the wake of my amazing cookie butter, I decided to go all out and make a homemade nutella as well! I mean, seriously, why not?

I stuck fairly close to Chocolate Covered Katie's nutella recipe, but actually cut down on the maple syrup a bit (taste as you go!), and added some almonds to the base for extra sweetness. I also skipped the extra tbs of sugar, and subbed the remaining 1/2 tsp of vanilla with vanilla powder. This was enjoyed with strawberries and bananas for dessert tonight. Yum!

Cookie Butter

1 1/2 c cashews, warmed in a 350F oven for a few minutes
1 tbs coconut oil
1/4 c maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vanilla powder

Place the ingredients into a powerful blender, and blend until a butter is formed. It will take some time, and some scraping down of the sides, but it is SO worth it!

Enjoy this sweet, and amazingly tasting butter on warm toast, apple or banana slices, or straight off the spoon. "It really tastes like a cookie" could be heard in these parts tonight;)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

BBQ Chicken, Roasted Veggies, and Cauliflower Couscous

Cauliflower is all the rage these days. You've got cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower steaks, and now cauliflower rice and couscous.

I had searched a variety of blogs to identify the best possible method for making cauliflower couscous (or rice, it's the same thing here!), and I settled on the method described by the BBC food blog. Since the baked version scored highest for taste and texture, I went with that method.

This meal was super easy to make. I simply roasted the cauliflower, after adding some olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence. When the cauliflower was done (I couldn't stop nibbling!), I broiled the veggies and chicken chunks coated in BBQ sauce. We served the couscous topped with freshly chopped basil, rosemary, and scallion, and I drizzled mine with sriracha. Totally addictively delicious!