Inverted Veggie Burgers?

Due to inferno summer temperatures, I prefer to run in the evening around 6:30 or 7:00 pm. However, recently I have attempted mid-morning runs. I noticed that instead of dinner on my mind, dreams of a hearty, satisfying lunch motivate me on my morning runs. On this day, I planned ahead a bit and decided BEFORE running that I was finally going to try my hand at homemade veggie burgers. I almost always keep a can of chickpeas in my pantry and I just so happened to have the remaining ingredients on hand. I could hardly wait to get out and complete my 2.5 mile run today. I have to admit, I ran quite a bit faster than usual this morning.

After cooling down (recovering) and stretching, I got right into the kitchen and started chopping, mixing, and frying. The recipe is simple to follow and virtually flawless. I used and adapted Heidi Swanson's recipe found on her blog 101 Cookbooks. The only additions I made were adding chopped arugula to the batter and of course a bit more seasoning (ie. Tony Chachere's creole seasoning and freshly ground black pepper).

Garbanzo Bean Burgers
. 1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
. 2 large eggs
. 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
. 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
. 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
. Zest of 1/2 lemon
. Several dashes of Tabasco
. 1/2 cup sprouts, such as arugula, alfalfa, broccoli,
. 1/2 cup toasted whole-grain bread crumbs (I used GF bread)
. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil for frying

Combine the drained garbanzo beans, eggs, and salt in a food processor and puree until mixture is the consistency of thick, chunky hummus. Pour into a mixing bowl and add the parsley, onion, lemon zest and Tabasco. Add the bread crumbs and stir until blended. Allow to rest for a couple of minutes while the pan is heating so the crumbs absorb some of the moisture. You should be able to easily form the mixture into patties after this time.

Preheat a large frying pan (I used a large cast iron skillet) with the olive oil over medium low heat. Add as many patties as you can without crowding. Cover the pan and cook them for 5-10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. If necessary, turn up the heat slightly if they are not browning. Flip the patties over and cook for another 7 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the patties from the skillet and cool on a wire rack and cook any remaining patties.

Carefully cut each patty in half with a long, serrated knife. Add your favorite fillings.The filling options for this inverted burger are endless. I used the remaining pesto sauce (recipe) I made earlier this week, sliced avocado, tomato, spinach and arugula. Other ideas would be cheese of any kind, sliced cucumbers, sprouts, sun-dried tomatoes, grilled veggies, and onions.

Spiced Peach and Carrot Bread (GF)

Although rare, Houston has experienced a bit of rain this week. We have been in an awful drought and desperately needed the rain. In lieu of the stormy weather, Charley and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to stay indoors and finally bake the Spiced Peach and Carrot Bread we had been talking about. We had seen this recipe in the July issue of Cooking Light magazine and ripped it out for a later date; this rainy day.

A day doesn't go by without my mind wondering about Charleston and what my friends are up to in my faraway second-home. I found this recipe even more appropriate since it won first place in the side-dish category in South Carolina's 2009 Annual Peach-Off contest.

Both my mom and I recently had to adjust our diets to gluten and wheat-free. We adjusted the recipe accordingly, using King Arthur's AP gluten-free flour and xanthan gum. The bread could not have come out more perfect! I totally forgot it was gluten-free and we gobbled up every morsel of the first loaf within 24 hours. Guilty.

Spiced Peach-Carrot Bread

. 3/4 cup chopped pecans
. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (*GF flour + 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
. 1 cup sugar
. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
. 1/2 teaspoon salt
. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
. 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped fresh, ripe peaches (buy local if you can!)
. 3/4 cup freshly grated carrots
. 2/3 cup vegetable oil
. 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
. 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool 15 minutes.
2. Stir together flour and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; add peaches, next 4 ingredients, and toasted pecans, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.
3. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
** We used 2 smaller loaf pans and baked for 50-55 minutes **

Summer Corn Salad

I've noticed a trend in my blog post titles recently, the word "Summer." I can't help but obsess over the abundance of delicious Summer vegetables and fruits. More fruit than vegetables actually. I have to admit I am not the hugest zucchini or squash fan, and both just so happen to be the most seasonal vegetable right now. But I do think it is important to try to eat right, in season, and buy local. The benefits are innumerable. Buying local and seasonal ingredients allows you to eat the most nutrient rich foods, support your local farmers and community while minimizing your carbon footprint.

If you want to find out what's in season near you check out Sustainable Table. Visit the website and select your state and season. The site does a great job of directing you to local farmer's markets and lists the food that is in season in your region of the country. My current list for "Texas" and "Late July" includes: Apples, Blueberries, Cabbage, Cantaloupes, Carrots, Cucumbers, Mushrooms, Nectarines, Onions, Peaches, Pears, Potatoes, Snap Peas, Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watermelon

Here are some recipes I have used to incorporate these local, seasonal ingredients:
1. Summer Fruit Salad - watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, apples, and peaches with fresh mint, lemon, and agave nectar.
2. Summer Corn Salad - sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, mint (any herb), olive oil, red wine vinegar, and toasted pine nuts. (recipe below)
3. Homemade Pizza - homemade basil pesto, caramelized onions and mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and arugula.
4. Spiced Peach and Carrot Bread - peaches, carrots, pecans, flour, oil, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk. (recipe coming soon!)
This recipe is great if you need to make use of leftover corn in your fridge. This past weekend we entertained a few guests and had corn on the cob with burgers one night. As a precautionary rule, we always have more than enough food to feed our guests. Of course, this resulted in tons of leftover corn just sitting in our fridge waiting to be put to use. I saw this recipe on The Kitchn and thought it was perfect. Nobody wants to waste, right?
Summer Corn Salad

(recipe adapted from
. 4 ears fresh corn, husked
. 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
. 4 tablespoons pine nuts
. 4 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I used sherry and white wine vinegar)
. 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
. Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 325 F and lay pinenuts out on a cookie sheet. Toast them for 8-10 minutes or until just fragrant and slightly brown.

In a medium-sized pot, boil the corn until kernels are just soft, about three minutes. Place in a bath of cold water to stop the cooking. Once cool, slice the kernels off the cob and pour into your favorite serving bowl. (Here is where I used my pre-cooked, leftover corn and simply cut the kernels off the cob.)

Toss in cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, fresh chopped mint, oil and vinegar and mix until just combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.

When life (your neighbor) gives you basil...

make pesto.

Basil Pesto Sauce
(recipe adapted from Vita-mix Whole Foods cookbook)
. 2 cups fresh basil, loosely packed
. 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
. 1/2 cup olive oil
. 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
. 3 tbsp pine nuts
. salt and pepper to taste
. freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Combine all ingredients, except salt and pepper, in a Vitamix blender or small food processor. Blend until smooth. Season to taste.

Refrigerate and store in an airtight container, or freeze for a later date.
*Use pesto as a spread/sauce on sandwiches, bruschetta, pasta or as an alternative pizza sauce (my favorite).

More Fresh Ideas for Summer

Pom-Berry Martini
. 2 oz vodka
. 2 oz 100% cranberry blueberry pomegranate juice
. fresh squeezed lime juice (about a 1/3 of one lime)
. agave nectar (about 1/2 tbsp)

Shake over ice and strain into cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with lime round.

Black Bean-Goat Cheese Dip
One of my favorite "go-to" appetizer dips
(recipe adapted from
. 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil, plus more for brushing (optional)
. 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
. 2 clove(s) garlic, minced
. 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) cumin (preferably whole seeds, freshly toasted and ground)
. 2 can(s) (15 1/2 to 19 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
. 1 cup(s) chicken stock
. Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
. 2 large poblano peppers
. 1 bunch(es) scallions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
. 1/2 cup(s) coarsely chopped cilantro
. 1 log(s) (11-ounce) fresh goat cheese
1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and cook 30 seconds. Add 1 can beans and lightly mash using a potato masher. Stir in chicken stock and remaining can of beans. Simmer until very thick (but not pasty), 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, place poblano peppers directly on a burner over a medium-low gas flame. Turn regularly with tongs to blacken skin, 10-15 minutes (if you don't have a gas stove, you can blacken peppers on a sheet pan under a broiler, turning regularly, about 15 minutes). Place peppers in a paper bag; seal and let sit (and steam) until cool enough to handle. Peel peppers, removing as much of the charred skin as possible without rinsing. Seed and coarsely chop. Transfer to a small bowl and toss with scallions and cilantro.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bottom of a 1- to 1 1/2-quart soufflé or baking dish, spread half of bean mixture. Top with half of cheese, crumbled, and half of pepper mixture. Repeat layering once more, ending on pepper mixture. Place dish on a sheet pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until top is bubbling. Serve hot with tortilla chips on the side.