that's forking good

adventures in a culinary neophyte's kitchen

Posts Tagged ‘burgers’

how grating

Posted by culinaryneophyte on April 15, 2013

I need to invest in a nice grater. I recently set out to grate three beets with my craptastic grater, got 3/4 of the way through the first one and gave up. Luckily, that was more than enough to feed myself, but it lent itself pretty poorly to a 1/3 yield of the recipe I was making. Boy, were my arms sore. I think I know now how Robert Irvine got those guns.

Those beautiful beets made their way into some quinoa, beet and chickpea burgers — an awesome vegetarian dinner or leftover lunch to take the work. There are a lot of steps in making these, but the payoff is worth it. It’s a healthy, low-cal, vibrant meal. Just make sure you’re wearing old clothes whilst grating the beets because they spray and stain. Sounds like a personal problem.

beet quinoa burger

Adapted from Bojon Gourmet
Makes three large patties
♦1/3 can chickpeas, drained
1/4 c. raw quinoa 
1 beet, grated
1/2 tbs. olive oil
1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tbs. cider vinegar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 egg (eyeball it)
1/4 c. quick oats

For serving
Multigrain English muffins (or buns of your choice)
Alfalfa sprouts
Burger fixings (tomato, mustard, etc.)

The original recipe says to cook chickpeas, but recommended 30 minutes, which was too long for my lack of patience, so I went raw with the chickpeas. If you’d prefer they be cooked: Cover chickpeas in medium saucepan with 3 inches of water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender. Add 1/2 tsp salt. Simmer for 30 minutes and remove from heat. Allow to cool in water.

Rinse quinoa in mesh strainer. Add quinoa and 1/2 c. water to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until water has been absorbed (10-15 minutes). Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and cover until you’re ready to use.

Peel beet with potato peeler, then grate. Heat teaspoon of oil in saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender (5 minutes). Add garlic, pinch of salt and beets. Stir, then cover until beet is tender (5 minutes). Remove from heat and add vinegar.

In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, quinoa and beet mixture and mash until combined. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, egg, oats and 1/4 tsp. of salt. Divide the mixture into rounds (I got three out of it, but you might get more or less depending on the size of the bun you’re looking to match.) Heat oil over medium heat, add burgers and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden. If the burger browns too quickly, reduce heat. Serve on bread and with toppings.

Calories? 260 calories include multigrain English muffin
Total time?
 35 minutes simultaneous prep and cook
Cost? $1 beet, $1.25 chickpeas, $5 quinoa (use only a fraction), $2 English muffins, $1.50 avocado
Overall success relative to expectations? 8 out 10. My favorite part of this meal was the color (and the fact that it looked like raw meat on my burger – probably freaked out my coworkers). The flavor wasn’t as powerful as I hoped, so don’t skimp on the lemon. I added avocado and sprouts (not pictured) to mine, and it made for a filling, low-calorie meal. If you’re a meaty burger fan, I wouldn’t recommend these; but if you’re big on veggie burgers and clean eating, they can’t be beet. (Sorry.)


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I love you, sweet “potatoe”

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 25, 2013

NEW: I’m now including calorie counts [as best I can] for my recipes. 

As I’ve mentioned a few times in my last few months of sporadic posting, my housing situation had been quite a mess. Long story short, I ended my lease in anticipation of moving into my new home within two to three weeks. That fell through. Then the next thing fell through. Then the next one got delayed. Finally, three months later, I found myself in my new home. A new home with a much bigger kitchen than I had previously. Of course, the kitchen was the first thing I unpacked. (Made for some interesting outfit choices those first few days.) Now, I’m cranking out new dishes on the reg, and hoping to finally get back to posting at a consistent pace.

The first official meal (meaning one that wasn’t a Morningstar Chik’n Patty or a bowl of cereal) was this sweet potato tahini veggie burger. Coincidentally, in October, I got a strange text message from a number I didn’t recognize saying, “I love you, sweet potatoe.” The first time, I laughed it off (whilst cringing over the misspelling), but just before I closed on my new place, I started getting these “sweet potatoe” text messages more often. I even got a family Christmas photo text. (Precious!) The sender wasn’t bent out of shape I wasn’t responding — and presumably, if they were using that pleasantry to address a significant other, they would expect some sort of reciprocation — so I’m assuming it was just a text here and there that got bounced around in the mobilesphere and found its way to my phone. In any event, this post is dedicated to my new kitchen and my “sweet potatoe” lover, wherever you are.


(a little quinoa photobomb there)

I slightly modified this recipe from Healthy Happy Life. Tahini is fairly expensive and, quite honestly, I couldn’t find it in the supermarket, so decided to make my own (recipe below). And FYI for anyone interested in making the purchase, a week later, I discovered it in the peanut butter section (what?!).

Homemade Tahini – Yields slightly more than enough for this recipe
♦1/4 c. sesame seeds
♦1 tb. olive oil

Toast sesame seeds in a pot over low heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. In a food processor, combine seeds and olive oil. Pulse until thick paste forms. Add more olive oil as needed until desired consistency is reached. (Note: I used an immersion blender and made a huge mess. It works, but be sure the shield your eyes from airborne seeds.)

making tahini

Making your own tahini is easy and much cheaper than buying it at the store.

Sweet Potato Tahini Veggie Burgers With Avocado – Makes four large patties
♦1 can of cannellini white beans, drained
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and mashed (1 cup)
1 tb. tahini
1 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/8 c. flour
Dash cayenne pepper and black pepper
1/4-1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
Spoonful of oil
Burger buns

Bake the sweet potato. (I ran out of patience before the potato was cooked all the way through. You can also microwave the potato for three minutes to soften.) Mash potato into large bowl. Add beans and mash together. Add tahini, agave, flour and seasonings. Heat 1/2 tb. oil over high heat. Form either four large patties or eight smaller patties and coat with Panko crumbs. (The patties will be fairly mushy, but do your best to keep it together.) Brown patty on both sides — a minute or less) and drain on paper towel. Add to bun and top with avocado and/or other fixings.

Calories? 203 calories including bun and avocado.
Total time?
 30 minutes to prep, cook and assemble.
Cost? $1.99 hamburger buns, $1 beans, $1 sweet potato, $9.99 tahini (or minimal cost to make at home if you have sesame seeds), $1 avocado.
Overall success relative to expectations? 7 out 10. Based on the consistency going into the pan, I was a little worried this would be a mess, but they came out decently. The panko is a must, and I really preferred the burger with avocado. These things come out huge, so it might not be a bad idea to go the eight small patty route. (I ended up cutting each one in half and eating them for basically every meal throughout the week.)

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that’s how I ‘roll’

Posted by culinaryneophyte on April 8, 2012

I like to try new things, and often I’m met with “eww, that sounds gross” when my menu selection goes off the beaten path. Such was the case last Friday when I hit PYT with a few of my friends. I opted for their special “Philly Roll” burger with cream cheese, smoked salmon, fresh cucumbers and a pinch of seaweed. When it arrived at the table, everyone took a taste. When their disgust turned to jealousy, I retorted, “Fortune favors the bold.” That’s how I roll.


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shrimp ‘burger’

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 17, 2012

This photo ain’t too pretty, but I needed to share this recipe because it’s one I developed myself, and it was shockingly successful. I didn’t have a name for it, so I started referring to it as a “shrimp burger,” and that got me thinking about what actually constitutes a burger. I rocked a Wiki on that, and 25 minutes later, I had learned more about meat choppers and Upton Sinclair than I really wanted to know.  Anyway…

6 uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (ideally fresh, but frozen works)
2 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. sesame seeds
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
1 medium egg, slightly beaten
2 tsp. sweet chili sauce
1/4 c. flour for dredging
olive oil
Hamburger bun

1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 tbs. ketchup
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbs. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Butterfly each shrimp by slicing about 3/4-inch through, from top to tail, and opening it up flat. Toss with lemon juice and set aside. In a separate small bowl, mix slightly beaten egg with sweet chili sauce. In a flat dish or lined baking pan, toss bread crumbs and sesame seeds. In another dish (sorry, there’s going to be lots of cleanup!), lay out flour. Dredge each shrimp in flour, then egg-sauce mix and firmly press both sides in dry mix. Place coated shrimp in a dish and let rest in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust ingredients to taste.Spread on both sides of toasted hamburger bun. Heat oil on medium, and fry shrimp in small batches. Add shrimp to bun. This recipe makes one heaping sandwich, or two smaller sandwiches. (I topped with spare green onions I had in some Chinese food leftovers.)

Total time? 20 minutes prep, + 10 minutes fridge resting.
Cost? $5-ish shrimp, $3.29 sesame seeds (obviously using only a nominal amount), $1.50 panko, $1.99 buns, $2.99 sweet chili sauce.
Overall success relative to expectations? 9 out of 10. A quick, tasty weeknight meal. The Asian flavor is great, and you can adjust the proportions to your liking. The only point deduction comes from the immense cleanup that came from such a simple meal, but don’t let that stop you from trying it out.

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pretty young takeout

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 13, 2012

My friends and I had another fantastic meal at my favorite Philly burger place, PYT, this weekend. Check out Randi’s s’more milkshake and my Chinese Takeout Burger, a fried chicken patty in a sweet and sour chile sauce topped with cabbage, cucumber and scallions and finished with fried wonton strips. (It even came with a fortune cookie!) If you live within 50 miles of this place, you must go.

After our meal, we journeyed across the Piazza for gelato only to find — gasp! — Nana Petrillo’s is closed this month and next. I swore there was another place for us to find sweets, so we continued down a side street full of shops until we stumbled upon Sweet Spot Cafe. I fell in love with the place as soon as we entered — mostly because there was a list of at least 20 crazy-flavored lattes on the wall. I opted for red velvet (pictured below), and it did not disappoint. My coffee-loving friend, Laura, bit on the barista’s sales pitch about the “purest cup of coffee in the world,” and we sat in awe of the siphoned coffee science experiment that took place at the bar. Thought it took a bit for her to be able to drink (it comes out at 270 degrees, after all), she reported back that it was in fact the best cup of coffee she’s ever tasted.

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I heart hoisin

Posted by culinaryneophyte on June 9, 2011

Yes, it’s been two weeks since my last post. I’d love to tell you I’ve been hiding out on some tropical island, or — at the very least — consumed by my culinary adventures, but no such luck; instead, I’ve been spending what feels like every waking moment working on a local soccer league I run during the summer. Now that the season is underway, I’m hoping to get back to all my unmade recipes and unwritten kitchen experiences, and I swear on my brand-new KitchenAid mixer that I won’t let another two weeks go by without a post. (And you better believe I’ll stick by it, because I love that thing more than anything else I own.)

To kick off my summer posting, I’m sharing a turkey burger sure to kick up your boring old barbecue: Asian turkey burgers with hoisin mayonnaise (adapted from Sugar Cooking).

The last time I made turkey burgers, I addressed the lack of flavor and moisture ground turkey falls prey to if not properly dressed, but these burgers conquered that convention. Not only were they so moist I thought I did something wrong, but they packed an impressive amount of Asian flavor.

Adding the hoisin sauce (basically a thicker, sweeter version of soy sauce) to mayonnaise was pure brilliance, and the reformed condiment was the star of the show, in my opinion. I kept the leftover mayo in my fridge and put it on chicken, sandwiches, ice cream… (Psych.)

Makes three to four burgers, depending on size
1 pound ground turkey breast
1/4 c. plain bread crumbs
1 egg
2 tbs. hoisin sauce
2 scallions, sliced
1 tbs. ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Form into patties. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill outside or on Foreman Grill for about five minutes on each side. Serve on bun with loads of hoisin mayonnaise.

♦1/2 c. light mayonnaise
1 tbs. hoisin sauce
1/4 tsp. sesame oil

Combine all ingredients. Keep refrigerated after use.

Total time? 7 minutes prep, 10-12 minutes cook.
Cost? $2.50 ground turkey breast, $1 scallions, $1 bread crumbs, $2 hoisin sauce, $3 sesame oil, $1.50 burger buns.
Overall success relative to expectations? 9 out of 10. I always have tempered expectations when I’m working with ground turkey, but these blew me away. The flavor was great, especially that mayonnaise. The only point lost here was for leftover value. I had a spare burger at the end of the meal, and attempted to reheat it the next day for lunch. Not so good, but that’s all the more reason to invite over some friends and share the love; it’d be a [hoi]sin not to, ehh?

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