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Pumpkin Pecan Patties with Maple Vinaigrette

July 9, 2013 Entrees, Menu No Comments

While doing research for this recipe, I found that there are actually a handful of pumpkin burger patty recipes available on various food websites, and they all use white beans as the key ingredient along with pumpkin puree. However, none of the recipes utilized traditional pumpkin spices. Instead, most rely on corn, peppers and other usual suspects found in a veggie patty. Because I wanted to stay true to the pumpkin taste, yet have it hold up as burger patty, I put together my own version, using pumpkin puree, chickpeas (any white bean would work well), traditional pumpkin spices, and some tarragon to add a little savory flavor. To keep with the pumpkin theme, I also cut back heavily on the recommended amount of breadcrumbs and compensated with ground pecans – which, of course, goes well with any pumpkin dish! I also substituted traditional condiments with a maple dressing…again, to compliment the spicy pumpkin taste.

Whether you are a fan of pumpkin, or just a lover of veggie burgers, I suggest you give this one a try. And while the upcoming autumn season is the optimal season, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy these any time of the year!

Pumpkin Pecan Patties with Maple Vinaigrette
Makes 4 to 6 burgers
1 15.5 oz can chick peas (or any type of white bean)
1-1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tspn allspice
1/2 tspn nutmeg
1/2 tspn ginger
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn tarragon
1 tbspn chives
1 egg
1-1/2 cups finely grounded pecans
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375˚. Combine beans, pumpkin, spices, tarragon, chives and egg in a food processor. Mix until well combined. Fold in pecans and breadcrumbs, season with salt and pepper. Place the mixture  in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. After you remove mixture from the fridge/freezer, gently scoop a generous handful and shape into a patty (makes a total of 4 to 6 patties).

Place the patties on a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping once halfway through baking.

Serving suggestions:
plated with a side of vegetables or rice, on a bun with a side of chips, or over a salad.

Drizzle with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 tbspn balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tspn dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper into a bowl, whisk together. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream with continuing to whisk.


Single Serve Italian Tuna Burger

March 19, 2013 Entrees, Menu No Comments

Looking for a new way to jazz up a plain old can of tuna? Mayonnaise-based salads, grilled melts and boxed ‘helpers’ just not cutting it for you anymore? Using one 5-oz can of oil-based tuna and some fresh chopped peppers and onions, you can put together a quick single-serving tuna burger. I put this recipe together one night recently, and within 10 minutes, I was chomping down on a delicious new variation on a classic sandwich! Normally, I would prefer to use canned tuna in water. For this recipe, I went with Cento canned tuna (tonno) in oil. The oil – even after straining the excess from the can – helps keep the ingredients packed together, so there is no need for an egg for binding. Cento brand has a distinct, flavorful taste that I enjoy, but you can use any brand of oil-based tuna. I’m not sure at this time if these burgers would hold up well on an open flame…but I’ll be sure to let you know as the weather gets warmer!



Single Serve Italian Tuna Burger

1 5-oz can oil-based tuna
2 tbspn chopped red bell pepper
1 tbspn chopped onion
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbspn olive oil
1 tbspn butter
crumbled feta for topping

Strain and discard excess oil from tuna can. Mix tuna, peppers, onion, and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Shape the mixture into a tight ball, then gently flatten to a burger shape. Try not to overwork it, otherwise the burger will fall apart.

Heat oil and butter in a frying pan. Cook the burger 3-5 minutes on each side, carefully flipping. The combination of butter and oil will help keep the burger from falling apart. Serve on a toasted bun topped with crumbled feta.


Burger-grilling Fun!

June 14, 2012 Entrees No Comments

When it comes to grilling hamburgers, I’ve become a bit of a purist. An 80/20 mix of ground chuck (80% lean for more flavor), some salt and pepper, well-oiled grill grates, flipped once, cooked to medium. If I’m making turkey burgers, I’ll use a 90/10 mix and may add a packet of onion soup mix for a little more flavor. I used to add all kinds of spices and seasonings (Italian salad dressing was the go-to for me), but as I developed more of an interest in grilling, I have learned that less can be more. Let the burger speak for itself.

Of course, I also like to experiment when I get the chance. This past weekend, when we were having a family grill-out, an interesting idea came to mind. Now if you have kids, you know that a staple at all grill-outs and picnics are cheese curls. If there is anything less than a half of a bowl on the table, there is a crisis brewing. Since we had the oversized tub of cheese curls on hand, I started to think what would happen if I added ground cheese curls to the burger mixture? Adding cheese to a burger is a given. You can also add breadcrumbs for texture. Why not combine the two?

I crushed up about a half cup of cheese curls in the food processor to get a breadcrumb-like consistency, and folded it into the mix with the salt and pepper. The verdict…thumbs up! A half cup of the crumbs for a pound of meat offered just enough of a zing without overpowering the burger itself. If you are trying to kick up the zing even more, maybe try using nacho chips instead. Sure, I wouldn’t make this part of my regular burger routine, but for a fun get together, and to have something to talk about over a beer or two while standing around the grill, I say go for it! Just remember….only flip the burgers once.


Cooking with Guinness on Saint Paddy’s Day!

March 13, 2011 Entrees, Menu No Comments
Guinness Burger

When my friend Alicia asked if I would be making something ‘deliciously green’ for Saint Paddy’s Day, I knew that I had to step up to the plate. Since Irish food is not my forté, my first thought was to put an Italian spin on a traditional dish. Instead of ham and cabbage, I was thinking broccoli rabe and pancetta. No doubt a delicious combination (and something that I could eat any day of the year), but I wanted it to be a bit more authentic for the occasion. I decided to go back to my St. Paddy’s day expertise… Guinness beer.

Like all other stout beers, Guinness can be put to many uses, far beyond the day’s toasting beverage of choice. Bernice Torregrossa, of The Galveston County Daily News, gives a perfect description of the many uses of stouts:  “Stout beer, made with darkly roasted barley and malt, is a versatile cooking ingredient. Its fermentation makes it a substitute for yeast in breads, the full-bodied taste adds depth to stews and soups, and the slightly bitter finish intensifies the flavor of chocolate in desserts.”

With this in mind, I started to search out Guinness recipes on the web, and with just a few clicks came across huggingthecoast.com, which offers 22 Guinness recipes! The first recipe listed, Gourmet Guinness Burgers with Guinness Barbecue Sauce (courtesy of inspiredtaste.net), jumped out at me immediately. Burgers, which are a standard pub item, married with the flavor of Guinness… perfect!

I followed the recipe, step by step. No doubt, this is a great dish to celebrate the day! The richness of the beer really plays well with the beef, and gives the perfect kick to the sauce. It’s the sauce that really blew me away with this burger. Even cooked at medium-well, this was one of the juiciest burgers that I’ve had in a long time. I would almost put this in a salisbury steak category, served on a toasty bun. … Continue Reading


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