Sunday, March 27, 2011

Black Bean Mini-Burgers

I have been going over my old blogs, reviving some of them, putting aside others, and I found a few things that I had forgotten about. One of them is my Black Bean Mini Burgers. Those little guys are great for dinner, but even more for packed lunches!

I made up the recipe by mixing up a few recipes that I had found on different food blogs. I didn't want to put in bread crumbs, so somebody suggested to use cornmeal instead. Later on I would a little bits and pieces of roasted red pepper to it but not too much, so it doesn't start falling apart.

Here's what I did:

Black Bean Mini-Burgers
9-10 servings 1P+/serving

1 can of black bean, rinsed drained
1/2 carrots grated (very mushy, but that's ok)
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup red bell pepper minced,
1 whole egg lightly beaten
4 tsp (more or less) fine cornmeal
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 Indian red chili powder
Pinch garam masala
Salt, pepper

I mashed the beans with a fork, it makes a coarser texture than processing it. Then I added all the ingredients and mixed until combined. The mixture was pretty wet, but I managed to make 18 tiny patties that I put on a rimmed baking sheet (I covered it with aluminum foil and used cooking spray, less cleaning).

I pre-heated the broiler, sprayed garlic olive oil on the patties and then put them about 4-5 inch under the broiler for 3 minutes. Then I took them out, flipped them gently (use a flat spatula to keep half the patties from staying on the sheet) and cooked them another 3 minutes.

Finally I flipped them again and cooked them about 1 minute. Don't overcook them cause they'll get dry. Keep an eye on them!

For dinner I'd serve 4 patties (2 P+) in my bento I put 2 for 1 P+.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Grains Power!

I get a lot of questions about grains. I use grains a lot, and often people tell me that they would like to experiment, but aren't sure how. I thought it might be helpful to give a little "How to" of my favorite grains.

I cook grains with very little fat if any. Some will say that you need to add oil (or butter) to this, see what you like and go from there. This is how "I" like to cook them.

(also bulghur or burghul) is a cereal food made from several different wheat species, most often from durum wheat. Its use is most common in Middle Eastern cuisine, Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. Bulgur is easier to find than ever, but best bet is health food stores, specialized groceries etc.

Uses: I use instead of rice (in anything) or in tabbouleh.

I put 1 cup of bulgur in a tupperware along with salt, pepper and whatever spices I want (I like a little cumin, but since I make it in batches, I try not to over spice so it will go with anything).Add 1 1/2 cup of boiling broth (generally veg. but chicken will do). I set it aside, covered for 40-45 minutes. Fluff, serve what you want, put the rest in the fridge for further use. It makes about 4 cups (depending on how big the grain is, how old it is, etc).

is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds it is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. It can be a little hard to find sometimes, Whole foods or Rainbow Groceries are your best bet. There is red and white Quinoa.

Uses: Quinoa is loaded with proteins, so it's very filling. I like to use Quinoa as a side dish with vegetables, but also as the main staple in my lunches. I now use red Quinoa almost exclusively because it looks cooler. There is no significant difference in nutritional value. ;o)

Rinse the grain thoroughly for a minute or two. That removes saponins that can still be on the grain and makes digestion a little difficult.On the stovetop, bring 2 cups of broth to a boil, put in the rinsed Quinoa and lower flame to a simmer. Let cook for 14-18 minutes. You will see the germ separating from the seed when it's ready (little circles).

Note: Quinoa can be a little tricky at first, but it's delicious and very filling!

couscous granules are usually made by rolling moistened coarsely ground semolina wheat into small balls, which are then coated with finely ground wheat flour.You can find is pretty much anywhere. There is whole wheat, and regular. I use whole wheat myself as it is much more tasty.

Uses: Couscous is fabulous to eat along with stew because it absorbs the juices and the flavor so easily.

You can't get easier than couscous. Add 1 1/2 cup of boiling broth to 1 cup of couscous, cover and let sit 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp of olive oil (and a little lemon juice is good too) salt and pepper and fluff with a fork. Et voila! People usually put butter in couscous, I don't. Your call!

Steel Cut Oats
Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces by steel rather than being rolled. They are golden in color and resemble small rice pieces.

Uses: I start a batch of SCO on Sunday everything to give me breakfast for the week. I'll put in a dollop of Greek yogurt and different toppings.. Favorites: slices of apples, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg; pureed pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices; Banana, raisins, caramel (shhhhh!). The possibilities are endless really!

Cooking (several days worth)
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and a stick of cinnamon. Add 1 cup of Steel cut oats and boil for about 1 minutes. Turn off the fire, cover the pot with the lid, let sit on the stove overnight.
The following morning, take what you need, mix with toppings, and put the rest in a sealed tupperware in the fridge for future use.

Note about grains:
It's sort of difficult to give you the PointsPlus value of grains because amount varies so much. The way I count it, I find the PointsPlus value of my start amount, dry, and then divide that by the number of portions I make. Use E-tools on that one, much easier!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Scarlet Barley

Feeling a little creative? I like interesting looking food. I feel that how my food looks impact strongly on how satisfied I really am with what I eat. That can sometimes mean long complicated preparation, and sometimes not!

This is a recipe I tried recently and I really enjoyed, both for its simple taste and its funky look! It will come out brightly colored by the beets, it's supposed to! I served that with white fish which I steamed in a bamboo steamer with broccoli and zucchini.

Note about the source: This recipe is from Isa Chandra Mosowitz's cookbook "Appetite for Reduction". I have 3 of her cookbooks now: Veganomicon, Vegan with a Vengeance and Appetite for Reduction and I love every single one of them.

All of her recipes are Vegan (which I'm not really, but I do eat vegan meals quite regularly now) but far from the usual "fake meat eater food" you find in many vegan cookbooks, her recipes tend to be very inventive, tasty, and often very simple and frugal (cheap! I love it!).

If you like to cook and are feeling adventurous, give her a peek, you might just love it!

Scarlet Barley
6 servings, 3P+/serving

1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
2 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 tsp salt
1 beet (about 3/4 pound), grated
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Fresh dill, for garnish (optional)

Preheat a 2 quart pot over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the olive oil for about 30 seconds. Add several pinches of pepper and the bay lead. Add the barley, broth, and salt; cover and bring to a boil. Once boilingm stir and lower the heat to low. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When most of the water has absorbed, mix in the grated beet. Cook for about 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, mix in the lemon juice, and taste for salt. Cover and let sit for about 10 more minutes. Remove the bay lead and serve topped with fresh dill.

Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz 2011, p. 69

Monday, March 7, 2011

Turkey Mulligatawny

I cannot believe that I haven't shared this recipe already! This has been a favorite of mine for years, and for some reason is sort of slipped off my list. It is delicious, easy to make, and reheat perfectly. Love it!

Turkey Mulligatawny
4 servings

2 teaspoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup long grain white rice (I use bulgur instead)
2 teaspoon Madras curry powder (2 to 3)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small apple, unpealed and diced
1 pound bonless, skinless turkey breast cubed (3/4 inches)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until golden. 7-10 miuntes. Add the rice, curry powder, turmeric and cloves. Cook stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the broth, bell pepper, and apple; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the turkey and salt; return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered. until the turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season with the pepper, then sprinkle with the tomatoe and cilantro just before serving.

Weight watchers "In one pot" cookbook, p. 21