Saturday, July 31, 2010

Vegan Bean Burger

It’s been a really lovely, restorative weekend for us. We’ve gotten some nice time to ourselves and cooler, cloudy weather to go with it. To top it off Andy’s all time favorite movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (and actress) is showing at The Carolina Theatre this week and I had a couple free vouchers to the theatre…so we had the perfect date. We purchased a couple local beers and sat up in the balcony, which we had all to ourselves. I discovered I’m pretty fond of George Peppard.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Lunch was a new burger recipe that I’ve been wanting to try, I was highly pleased with them. Since I didn’t have black beans on hand I used pinto beans, they were quite good, and also threw in a handful of fresh parsley to the mix. I served them on a whole wheat English muffin topped with local cheese and a couple garden tomato slices. I couldn’t put the sandwich down, delish!

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Makes 6 burgers

  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup dry rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Add the oats and pepitas to your food processor and grind until coarsely chopped (they will still be a little chunky). Let it run for roughly 10 seconds. Grate the carrots, and then add to your mixture in the food processor. Add 3/4 of the beans, all spices, and the olive oil. Once all of this is in the food processor, give it a whir and mix it all together.

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Spoon mixture into a mixing bowl and then fold in the rest of the whole, reserved beans. Wet your hands and then form into 6 medium sized patties. Place patties on a non-stick baking sheet or into a baking pan, and bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes, turning once in the middle. If you want to grill these, pre-bake them for 30 minutes at 300, and then throw them on the grill to reheat and get a little extra browning.

Recipe courtesy of The Front Burner

Breakfast was a version of this Grilled Portobello Benedict, all scrambled up with sliced mushrooms, basil, and parmesan plus fruit on the side.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Fearrington Village

As you've probably seen from the lack of week night meals and postings, I've been quite busy this month. I was in desperate need of a slow, relaxed night out with friends. Thankfully, we had an evening planned with E & L to do just that...and boy did it feel nice to be at Fearrington Village. The evening was (I'll be bold to say) magical - lot's of laughing, great food and drinks.

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We arrived early for a cocktail, I ordered a Kir Royale and enjoyed the light snacks we were presented with: sugared mixed nuts, baked cheese crackers and olives.

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We were served an amuse bouche, marinated asparagus with fennel jam.

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First course: Better Boy Tomato Gazpacho Soup with Herb Goat Cheese, Red Pepper, Cucumber, Olive Oil, Crouton

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Main Course: Seared Skate with Local Crushed Fingerling Potatoes & Crab Remoulade, Spinach, Summer Squash, Baby Roma Tomatoes

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Dessert: Hot Chocolate Soufflé: Hot Chocolate Sauce, Whipped Cream

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Andy's cheese plate: Selection of Local and Regional Artisan Cheeses & Chutney

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The meal was concluded with a sweet little cookie tray.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Week of July 26

Monday: Summer Pasta Salad (Everyday Food, Issue 74)

Tuesday: leftovers, Yoga @ Duke

Wednesday: leftovers, Massage Night

Thursday: Dinner @ Fearrington Village

Friday: Vegan Bean Burgers and Roasted Green Beans

Saturday: Homemade Pizza

Sunday: Lunch @ Alivia’s Bistro

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork w/ Mango Barbeque Sauce

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  • 2 mangos
  • 1 (4 pound) pork shoulder roast
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 (12 ounce) bottles barbeque sauce

Peel the mangos and remove the pits. Place the pits into a slow cooker, then roughly chop the mango and set aside. Place the pork shoulder into the slow cooker, and season with the black pepper, kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon chipotle powder; pour in the balsamic vinegar and water.  

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Cover, and cook on Low 5 to 8 hours until the meat is very tender. Once done, drain the pork, discarding the cooking liquid and mango pits, and shred with two forks.

While the pork is cooking, puree the chopped mango in a blender until smooth, then pour into a saucepan along with the honey, 1 teaspoon chipotle powder. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring frequently until the mango has reduced and darkened slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in the barbeque sauce, and remove from the heat.

Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir in the mango barbeque sauce. Cover, and cook on High 1 to 2 hours until the pork absorbs the barbeque sauce.

Recipe courtesy of All Recipes

Zucchini Fritters

5 tablespoons Bisquick
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Pepper
2 Eggs, Beaten
2 tablespoons Butter
2 cups Zucchini, Grated

Blend the Bisquick, parmesan, salt, pepper. Add eggs. Mix zucchini into batter. Grease hot pan or griddle with butter. Pour batter into pan and fry 3 minutes on each side. Serve warm, a delicious way of serving zucchini.

Recipe courtesy of CDKitchen

I’m also sneaking in a few pictures of our pizza night…

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Blueberry Sauce

This sauce went so nicely with our cheesecake.

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  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (added zest too)
  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until blueberries have broken down and juice has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.

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Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

I had the best little chef in the making around to help me all weekend :)

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Family Weekend

It is scalding HOT in the Triangle this weekend!! The thermometer below reads 100.1 degrees this afternoon and the weather channel is reporting that it currently feels like 111 degrees outside. Whoa!!!!

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Friday morning, we enjoyed my homemade cranberry cinnamon rolls, which were everything I hoped they would be.

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Then we headed out mid morning (with semi pleasant weather, partly sunny with a slight breeze) to pick blueberries. We drove just 3 miles down the road to a nice patch and picked 4 lbs (at just $2.00 lb)!! This was our first time and we were all happy to learn how easy they are to harvest (no thorns, back bending, or stained hands).

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We all enjoyed a small taste to ensure their quality ;p and wow they sweet. (Aaron, 8 yrs and Colton, 6 yrs)


Mid afternoon, after a Grilled Cheese, Bacon Avocado Sandwich and Gazpacho we stopped into some cute shops on 9th St and then headed out to a Durham Bulls Baseball Club game.

Sara and me

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Andy handled the heat very well and kept us laughing all night :D

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Colton enjoyed the play area, while Aaron didn’t miss a minute of the game.

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Beautiful, but way too hot of a night at about 8 PM we started to get some relief.

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Today, Saturday, was the Durham Farmers' Market, The Scrap Exchange, Local Yogurt, and Wine Authorities :D

But first we enjoyed a nice morning pajama chat and

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Brown Butter Banana Muffins for breakfast with homemade Strawberry Marmalade and Apricot Preserves.

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After our shopping fun, we came back to a cheese plate (with peppers, tomatoes, hummus, and blueberries too).

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Sara and Mom

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Andy and me

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We’re working on Mango BBQ Shredded Pork and Zucchini Fritters now and plan to take a late evening walk around the WaDu Trail...and a bit late there will be cheesecake with blueberry sauce.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wonderful Rain

The Bull City just got her second thunderstorm of the weekend, so nice to have these late afternoon storms coming through to cool things down and nourish the ground.


Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Dinner @ Beyu Caffe

Tuesday: Yoga @ Duke

Wednesday: Jury Duty…a first for me

Thursday: Gazpacho and Grilled Sharp Cheddar & Avocado Sandwich

Mom, Sara, Aaron, and Colton arrive!!

Friday: Work Family Fun Night @ the Durham Bulls

Saturday: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork w/ Mango Barbeque Sauce and Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce

Sunday: Southern Eggs, Sausage, & Grits

We finally got a nice rain yesterday, the boys and I sat the front door and watched it pour.

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Homemade Yogurt

While I was home, my mom shared a yogurt starter with me. A co-worker of hers, from India, had given it to her and told her how simple it was to make. It really is quite amazing and makes me wander why more of us in America aren’t making this for ourselves verses purchasing it.

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Instructions to make 1 quart

  • 1 quart of milk (any kind, even soy milk) I use local 1% milk
  • 1-2 Tbsp natural plain yogurt, live/active cultures, to use as starter (Since I was given a starter I haven’t tried using a small amount of good quality store-bought yogurt, but I’ve read several recipes that say this works, so if you want to make your own give this a try.)
  1. Bring milk to a boil or foamy stage (180 degrees). foodblog 059
  2. Pour into bowl and let cool to 110 degrees (can use ice bath). foodblog 062
  3. While cooling remove yogurt starter from refrigerator and sit on counter.
  4. When milk has reached 110 degrees, stir in the yogurt starter. foodblog 064
  5. Cover and set away from drafts in warm place for 7-8 hours.

Note: Save 1/4 cup as a starter and repeat recipe every 4-5 days. Once starter has been removed for your next batch, you can strain the yogurt in a paper towel layered colander to obtain a thicker consistency.