Friday, September 30, 2011

Pesto Chicken Burger Sliders with Roasted Red Pepper and Pesto-Hummus

Alright, I'm going be blunt. I'm pretty proud of this one. This was another instance of some weird culinary vision that I created in my head and couldn't seem to shake until I saw it executed. My first thought was to make chicken burgers, since I'm steering clear from red meat for a while but really love burgers. (This? And this?! I've made my case.) Then immediately I thought, "You know what I love more than burgers? Burger sliders!" I don't know what it is, but they're just so damn cute! And juicy. And you're eating less, even if you have four of them, right?

Anyway, Dylan and I made these last Friday before going out, and when I say they were amazing, that's an understatement. The pesto and lemon hummus spread is the perfect melt-in-your-mouth topping for these succulent chicken burgers, and the slightly warmed, soft ciabatta rolls made the whole burger literally melt with each bite. The best way to sum up these burgers is to quote Dylan's reaction. He's fairly honest with my cooking, and he never gushes unless I really hit the jackpot. So when he said, "I don't even want to go out anymore because this is already the best part of my night," I knew I found a recipe (and a boy) worth keeping.

Pesto Chicken Burger Sliders with Roasted Red Pepper and Pesto-Hummus
Makes: 5 sliders  Prep: 15 minutes  Total: 30 minutes

1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup pesto
3 tbs egg whites
Salt and pepper
6 tbs lemon hummus
5 large roasted red peppers
5 mini ciabatta rolls

Combine ground chicken, egg whites, and 2 tablespoons of pesto into a medium bowl and mix with hands. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once incorporated, form the meat into 5 mini burger patties. In a large skillet, fry the burgers for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked and the juices run clear.
For the pesto and lemon hummus spread, combine the remaining pesto (6 tsp) with the lemon hummus. Before serving, briefly warm the ciabatta rolls in the oven and layer a generous amount of the hummus spread on the top bun. Assemble the burgers and serve with sweet potato fries.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Citrus Veggie Quinoa Salad

I suppose you can't really have a food blog these days and not have at least one post about quinoa, right? If you've never had quinoa, there are a few things you need to know:

1) It's pronounced "KEEN-wah", not "ki-NO-wah" or "qui-NO-wah" or any other easily mistakable pronunciation.
2) Quinoa became very popular because of influential food bloggers like Heidi Swanson, who turned an unusual grain into a multi-functional health food staple.
3) Quinoa is kind of a grain, but kind of not. It's like a seed, but more like a grain? Whatever it is, it's surprisingly really good.

So, I made a huge batch of quinoa salad to use as a grab-and-go snack, lunch and dinner this past week. Somehow I've managed to eat the same thing all week and not get sick of it, meaning I'll definitely be experimenting with more quinoa recipes in the near future.

Citrus Veggie Quinoa Salad
Serves: 10-12  Prep: 25  Total: 40 minutes

1 pound boxed quinoa
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
1 small eggplant
2 Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
lemon juice
olive oil
garlic salt

Prepare quinoa on the stove as directed.
In the meantime, chop eggplant, pepper, tomato and green onion. Cook eggplant in a medium skillet until slightly softened, or about 5 minutes. Add the pepper into the skillet and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Lastly, add the green onion and tomato and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat.
When the quinoa is full cooked, add in mixed vegetables and toss with citrus dressing (1 part lemon juice, 1 part olive oil, garlic salt and pepper).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pumpkin Blueberry Scones with Blueberry Glaze

I'm finally getting settled into my brand new apartment in Boston. I've hardly had time to buy groceries, let alone cook, which makes me very sad. My new kitchen is very tiny but my roommates and I are making good use of it. Cooking is such a great stress reliever for me, so after this busy week is over I'm hoping to whip up some new creations.

On that note, tomorrow marks the first official day of fall! Fall always makes me a little nostalgic because it reminds me of home. There's nothing like apple picking in New York and watching the beautiful rolling hills change to vibrant shades of orange and red at the peak of the leaves. As an adieu to summer and welcoming for fall, I created this recipe for pumpkin blueberry scones.

Cooking in between seasons is great because you combine produce that's on it's way out with new seasonal flavors. If you're having a hard time letting go of summer cooking, these scones are the perfect in between recipe to bring you around and get you excited for warm, fall comfort foods. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Blueberry Scones with Blueberry Glaze
Makes: 8 scones  Prep: 20 minutes  Total: 40 minutes

Pumpkin Blueberry Scones:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup 100% pure pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup blueberries

Blueberry Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbs milk
1/4 cup crushed blueberries

Pumpkin Blueberry Scones:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until it is in pea-sized pieces. Mix in buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla. Carefully fold blueberries into the dough, trying not to break them.
On a floured surface, knead the dough for 1 minute until semi-firm and moist. Roll the dough into a long rectangle. Cut in half width-wise so the dough is in two squares. Cut each square twice from corner to corner to make 8 triangular scones. Place scones on papered baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Blueberry Glaze:
While the scones are baking, measure out 1/4 cup of blueberries and juice or push them through a strainer to separate the blueberry juice from the skin. Try to remove as much skin as possible in the process. (A little is okay - you want the glaze to be thick.) Combine the blueberry juice with the powdered sugar and milk. Wait until scones are completely cooled before drizzling the glaze on top.
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