Friday, February 22, 2008

Burger boogie.

Black-Bean Burgers.

So Jen(one of my ladies) is a vegetarian. Since I started PCing she has persisted in requesting homemade veggie burgers. Almost everyday. Frankly, I was a tad intimidated and always got out of it by making something else.

This week I caved. And folks it was beyond easy and frightfully delicious.

The initial recipe was for a Lentil Walnut burger from The Moosewood Cookbook. But I was already making a lentil dish--and I often worry about Jen and Jayne's enormous lentil consumption--so I subbed black beans for lentils and pecans for walnuts.

Lemme break it down.

~Black beans 1 cup (From a can is totally cool-- I don't judge the can.)

~Apple Cider vinegar (Splash, splash--just splash it.)

With a fork mash up the beans with the vinegar (in a bowl, preferably).

In a pan saute the ingredients below in some EVOO:

~1 cup minced onion( I love onions!)

~4 large cloves garlic, minced (If you have a garlic press awesome--it does all the work)

~10 large mushrooms, minced(Any kind will do. I used baby bellas. Chop em' reeeal good)

~1/2 cup smashed pecans or walnuts( put em in a baggie and smash with a hammer! It's fun.)

~Salt and Peppa(Enough. Use your judgement. I trust you.)

~1/2 pound spinach, finely minced (Spinach can be confusing-- especially when its fresh rather then frozen. You'll put it is the pan and think "Whoa that's a heck of a lot of spinach!!"--BUT it cooks down. You might need to add a bit of water to help it along--splash splash. The 1/2 pound will cook down to just a smidgen.)

~1 teaspoon mustard(add it after the spinach cooks down.)

Now combine the beans and veggies! And mix!

1/2 cup bread crumbs.(Any type will do--you could also use wheat germ or oatmeal.)

Mix some more!

Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

While you are waiting make some sweet potato fries!

~A sweet potato.

~Olive Oil.


~Random spices(cayenne, fennel,oregano, curry--whateva tickles your fancy)

~A 425 oven.

Chop, toss, bake(30-45min), eat.
*Sweet potato fries are far superior to regular fries. Just like golden raisins are superior to the ugly brown ones and stove-top popcorn kicks the tacky microwave kind in the tush!
Form the burgers into patties. You should get 4-6.

Heat some oil in a pan, and saute the patties on both sides until heated through and crispy. You can also just broil them in the oven for 5 to 8 minutes on each side.

*The sauce in the picture is just roasted red peppers(from a jar) pureed in a mini-food processor.

Wham bam. Do it up ya'll.

...Roman, this would make a fine breakfast.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Toast your lover.

rwcipeOh Avocado Toast.

Where do I begin. Mmm? The quickest way to my heart is through avocado toast. No really. If you love avocado toast I shall love you. Most people love avocado toast and those of you who have yet to experience it--well you are in for a treat.

Cooking is easy. Example? Avocado toast! It is simple yet divine. You can eat it for breakfast(There ya go my darling Roman!) or with soup/salad. Serve it as an app. Heck, I'd eat it for dessert.

I first discovered avocado toast at Cafe Gitane in SoHo. I discovered this little place a few years ago and EVERYTIME I've gone into the city since I found a way to go--even if I was nowhere near Mott St.

Everyone I have ever taken to Cafe Gitane says "Ugh, Dani this is so you." I suppose I doooo have gitane like qualities--gypsy, gypsy. So if you ever wanted to see me personified in restaurant form. Go to Cafe Gitane. They have watermelon juice!

The first time I went to this little gem everyone was ordering a lovely looking bright green thing. So I got it too. It was perfect. I had to know what it was! It seemed complex and nuanced. So I watched them make it. And... it was literally avocado on some toast--with a few accouterments of course.

I shall now tell you how to experience the splendor.
What you'll need:

Bread--OK, but not just any bread. No presliced stuff. You need a thick hearty 7-grain or multi-grain loaf. Cut into slices(on the thick side.)
Avocado--Make sure it's ripe. If it's too hard, you won't be able to do the ole' mush n' spread. If you need to ripen an avocado fast, stick it in a paper bag and let it hang on a window sill overnight. Magic.

Red Pepper Flakes--these are a must in your kitchen. Get on the red-pepper flake bandwagon will ya?
Olive Oil--actually avocado oil would be preferred, but who has avocado oil? If you do, well then, you are MUCH cooler then me.
Sea Salt--NOT table salt. None of that little umbrella girl nonsense. You need sea salt. Be big girls and boys and buy some real salt.
Black Pepper--Again...fresh ground would be preferred.

I'm not being snobby. You can make avocado toast with whatever you have hanging about, but if you want to experience it truly, please oh please, take my advice.

1. Toast the bread.Good an crispy.
2. Cut the avocado in half--scoop out the goods, mush it with a fork and spread on the toast. I use one avocado for 3 slices.
4. Salt an Pepper.
5. Drizzle with Olive Oil.

The end.

I love this stuff to the moon. I hope you do too. Make it for your lover on Valentine's Day.

Avocados are super sexy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dani's favorite foods?

So I'm writing this bloggy in the dining room of 'my ladies' house. They are in Mexico-- So I am doing very little cooking this week. Just for me...

...and for Joe and Shushy(the cats). They like fish, but not salmon. Joe is an old country gentleman and Shushy is a crazy hermit cat who stays in the closet and only comes out to silently judge me.

So, I'm keeping them company, and answering the occasional business call/e-mail.

I just made the most disgusting looking/sounding dish --of course, it tasted fantastic!

~Refried Black Beans
~Collard Greens
~Random spices--Ginger, Cumin, S & P.
~Topped with tomatillo salsa.

I eat some weird stuff guys. Hence the subject of this post.

I had the first rehearsal for my show on Monday and we did several "Getting to know you" games--like we do. One game in particular sent me into a panic. This game shall be called the "What is your favorite food?" game. Seems simple enough right? Um NO!!!

My brain: "Ah! MMMmmm Onions?No you can't say onions. They are all saying pizza. Say sauteed peppers, mushrooms, AND onions--sounds less weird. Nope still weird. Frozen grapes? What is wrong with you? Be, eh, I'm next--popcorn?hummus?..."

My mouth: "Lentils?!!!?"

Yeah, I said lentils. Lentils are not my favorite food. I enjoy them, yes.But for some reason lentils seemed like the 'normal' answer at the time.

It got me thinkin'. Brit says I eat really odd things and maybe I do. I thought I'd highlight a few of my favs and perhaps inspire you to put down the cheetos and embrace the yeast--yep, yeast.


If we are speaking in turkey talk. Tofu is the white meat and Tempeh is the dark meat. Make sense? By itself tempeh is bland as all heck--BUT when I make it. Whoooooa nelly.

In a hot hot pan saute my holy trinity( peppers, onions, and mushrooms), then add chunks of tempeh. Get it going--real hot. Then cover it in soy sauce-- as the liquid evaporates the tempeh and veggies get all caramelized and wonderful. Give it a whirl.


Hey you! Did you know that there are other grain-like side dishes besides rice and pasta? I swear it's true. No lie.

Quinoa is fancy becuase it's ancient! One of the oldest grains ever. My Mom likes it because the Incas and Mayans ate it. She's reeeeally into being Mayan these days.

Just make it how is says on the box. And then gussy it up. It's good savory, but also sweet. You could eat it like oatmeal! Add fruit,honey, anything and everything.

If you are feelin' wild and crazy try Tempeh WITH Quinoa. Oh man. Get back Jack.

~Nutritional Yeast(stay with me!)

A sad story. It's short. Don't worry.

Once upon a time I went to a hippy dippy acupuncturist. He said I'm mildly allergic to dairy and should probably give it up. It effects my "chakra". The end.

...I know. Cheese. Darling wonderful cheese. How could I live without cheese? Soy cheese is fine and dandy, but it doesn't really hit the spot. Nothing ever will and so I give into the cheese occasionally.

But Nutritional Yeast--it tastes like freakin' cheese! No lie. It's weird. Mix it into sauces, sprinkle on popcorn. It's good for you-- full of Vitamin B--which we all know is the best Vitamin ever.


It's magic. Gives you a healthy liver. Detoxifies yo body and makes ya feel gooooood.

It's fermented tea. Kombucha has a distinct taste and takes some getting use to. But it's the bees knees. Buy it at Whole Foods or Wild Oats. It comes in lots of juicy flavors(I like the gingery one). Kombucha can be addictive. It has small amounts of alcohol, so bring it to parties,play kings or beastie boys and get wasted on fermented tea!

That's all she wrote.

*this post is full of fermented ancient foods full of yeast. I did not do this on purpose. Therefore, Brittany Anne Hoskins, you are correct-- I do eat really weird food.

**I couldn't get spell check to work. Oops.How'd I do?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Arabian Squash Casserole

This recipe is from the Moosewood Cookbook--I'm a tad obsessed with it...

This dish is super duper easy and super duper fanfreakintastic. Make it. Do it. Now.

Arabian Squash Casserole
4 cups cooked squash(butternut/acorn) or pumpkin mashed or puréed(2 or 3 whole squash)

1 Tbs. olive oil

1-1/2 cups chopped onion

1 tsp. salt

2 small bell peppers (one red and one green, if possible) minced

4 or 5 medium cloves garlic, minced

Black pepper and cayenne, to taste

1/2 cup firm yogurt(greek yogurt)

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Sunflower seeds and/or minced walnuts, for the top

So roasting squash is easy peasy. It's cutting the thing in half that is beastly. So be careful.
Cut it--scoop out the seeds. Drizzle EVOO and S&P--then roast it around 375 till it's mushy.
45 minutes or so.
Let it cool enough so you can easily scoop out the yumminess into a bowl.

side note:You can eat butternut skin, but not really acorn or pumpkin skin. Do as you wish.

Chop up the veggies. You can add more varity if you like. Mushrooms would be nice...
Saute in EVOO till caramelized and lovely.
Season with the cayenne and S & P.
Use the cayenne to taste...I like it spicy.
Feel free to play with other spices as well. Curry would be yum.

Combine Squash, Veggies, Yogurt and Feta in a bowl.
Mix well.
A word about Greek Yogurt...
Fage(fay-yay) is my favorite. It is thick and creamy and kinda makes regular yogurt look wimpy. Try it. It's fab.

Put the mixture is some sort of dish--whatever kind you got. Smush it in and sprinkle with the nuts...use a lot of nuts. Mmm nuts.

Stick in the oven at 375 for about half an hour. Or until bubbly...
Again, if it doesn't look that the picture, you have failed me.
Make it for SuperBowl? It's classy.