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Archive for the ‘Grill’ Category

Gluten-Free Lentil Burgers

I absolutely love veggie burgers, but finding good ones that aren’t overly processed and loaded with chemicals, fillers, preservatives and other junk, is really hard on its own, but then add in the additional challenge of finding them gluten-free, it’s damn near impossible. Since I have cut processed foods out of my diet, whenever I want a veggie burger, I have been enjoying organic garden herb burgers from Sunshine Burgers that are not only gluten-free, but they only have 5 ingredients, sunflower seeds, brown rice, carrots, herbs and salt, that’s it. I am quite impressed with how delicious they are, but as with everything, I get bored and I want to figure out how to make my own, since, I really hate buying packaged foods.

I decided I wanted to experiment with making homemade lentil burgers. I had seen quite a few recipes in different cookbooks and online, and I was excited to see if using lentils as opposed to brown rice or other grain-based fillers, would hold up better and not fall apart. In my experience, that seems to be the biggest challenge with homemade veggie burgers. I was also excited to finally have a good reason to use the delicious toasted gluten-free breadcrumbs that I picked up when I was in Colorado earlier this year. The company that makes them is called, Outside the Breadbox and I found them by visiting Granny’s Gluten Free Zone in Loveland. I need to email them about having them shipped to me, they are THAT good. Finally I decided this is the recipe where I would use the beautiful dried Greek green lentils that I picked up a few weekends ago at the Greek Festival here in Buffalo. By the way, a little side note about me, most people buy souvenirs like t-shirts or key chains to remember certain events or trips, not me, I buy food, ingredients, cooking tools, etc. What better way to remember a place or a day then by remembering and recreating the food or cuisine. If a taste or a smell can’t take you back somewhere, I don’t know what can. I have actually been stopped at security in an airport before trying to take olive oil in my carry-on. (oops)

Now that I have played around with this recipe, I am excited to make it again and again, there are so many variations you could take on the recipe. You could play around with different lentils, change-up the fresh herbs, add in some crumbled feta or other cheeses. Maybe try adding in some sunflower seeds or gluten-free rolled oats or shredded vegetables like zucchini or carrots. I think as long as you adjust your moisture content and breadcrumb content to account for the different ingredients, the sky is the limit with this recipe. Obviously if you aren’t gluten-free you can use your favorite gluten-containing, toasted breadcrumbs.

I served mine on a Rudi’s gluten-free whole grain hamburger bun. This is definitely the best packaged gluten-free roll I have found, yet. I am sure I can make a better gluten-free hamburger roll at home, but I have yet to experiment with a recipe. That is on my to-do list for this summer. If you have a recipe to share, send me a link.

** Vegans – if you don’t want to mess with packaged egg replacers, do some looking around online, there are ways to use even more ground flax-seeds mixed with water to create a paste that acts as an egg replacer. I have done something similar with a pizza crust recipe, so I know it works. The general ratio is 1 tablespoon of ground flax-seed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water = 1 egg, but do some looking around for recipes and do some experimenting. It’s pretty incredible.

Enjoy.

Gluten-Free Lentil Burgers
Makes 8 burgers

3 1/4 cups cooked green lentils (follow package directions to cook)
4 large local farm fresh brown eggs (**to make vegan, use your favorite egg replacer or make a flax-seed egg substitute, see above)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium onion, grated with box grater or diced very small
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground flax-seed (you can skip this if you don’t have any on hand, it isn’t necessary to the recipe, just a nice way to add in some Omega-3 essential fatty acids and even more fiber)
1 cup toasted gluten-free bread crumbs
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Cook your dried lentils according to package directions and allow to cool slightly. Combine 3 cups of the cooked lentils, eggs and salt in a food processor or sturdy blender. Puree until well blended and mostly smooth. Put the mixture in a large mixing bowl and add remaining whole lentils, onion, garlic, fresh herbs and black pepper. Stir to combine. Add in the ground flax-seed and then begin adding in the breadcrumbs slowly, a little at a time and stir to combine. You may not need all the breadcrumbs and you may need more, so go slowly so you can get the consistency right.

You should have a moist mixture that you can easily form into patties. If you need more moisture, you can add more egg or a bit of water. If it needs to be drier you can add more breadcrumbs. Form eight – 3-1/2 to 4-inch patties and set on a plate.

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add two patties at a time and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the face down side begins to brown and get a crispy crust on the outside. Flip the burgers and allow to cook on the second side for another 8 to 10 minutes until browned and crisp, add more oil as you cook the additional burgers, if you need to. Remove the finished burgers from the skillet and serve, or if cooking the remaining patties allow the cooked patties to cool on a wire rack while you finish. You can store the uncooked patties in the refrigerator for up to a week, so pull them out whenever you are ready for a quick bite.

Place the cooked lentil burger on your favorite gluten-free roll and top with your favorite toppings. We kept it simple and just went with lettuce from our garden, tomato slices and a slice of organic swiss cheese. These burgers are so good, you could also just skip the roll and serve on their own, topped with your favorite things or served over a bed of baby greens.

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Grilled Potato and Arugula Salad with Fresh Herbs

There is nothing better than a backyard cookout when the weather finally warms up. This spring has been a bit brutal and chilly so now that we have finally been blessed with some warmer temps and lovely sunshine, I see a lot of grilling out in our near future.

We had to work on Memorial day, but we took a break in the late afternoon so I could finally plant some veggies and herbs in my gardens and Mark could mow the lawn. It was insanely hot on Monday so after working hard outside we decided it would be the perfect day for this summer’s inaugural grilling session. We desperately need to get to the grocery store and farmers market after all of this traveling so I decided to make do with what we had on hand. We pulled out two delicious smoked pork chops, from Sojourner Farm, out of our freezer and I realized I could whip together a quick potato salad. I had a beautiful bunch of arugula that I grabbed from the Farmers Market in Brooklyn last weekend so decided to improvise and create this salad. I make so many variations of this grilled potato salad throughout the summer since it is so easy to toss together and it’s so full of wonderful flavors. You can play around with different herbs, substitute baby spinach or other lettuces for the arugula and even play with different vinaigrettes, like mustard based, etc.

This salad has so many great fresh, summer flavors from the herbs and arugula and the potatoes get a beautiful brown crispiness. I promise after the first time you make a grilled potato salad, you will see all the possibilities and be hooked on it throughout the summer, as we are. Additionally, it is a  naturally gluten-free and vegan side dish.

Grilled Potato and Arugula Salad with Fresh Herbs

Grilled Potato and Arugula Salad with Fresh Herbs
serves 4

4-5 medium organic russet potatoes (approx 1 – 1.5 lbs), skin left on, cleaned and sliced 1/4″ thick on the short side
1 bunch of fresh arugula, roughly chopped
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 large bunch of fresh chives, chopped thinly
1 bunch of fresh oregano, roughly chopped (any other fresh herb you prefer can be used here)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste

Using a mandoline slicer, evenly slice the potatoes into 1/4″ slices. If you do not have a mandoline slicer, you can cut them by hand, just be sure they are all similar thickness so they cook evenly. Place the potato slices in a medium saucepan and cover with water, add a dash of salt. Bring them to a boil over a high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer potatoes until just fork tender, about 5-8 minutes. Drain the potatoes and rinse in cold water to stop them from cooking. Once cooled and drained, gently toss with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (you need just enough to coat all the potatoes, but you don’t want too much or it’ll cause a flare up on the grill), and a dash each of salt and pepper, so they are all evenly coated. You can also add a small amount of the fresh herbs in at this time, if you want to get some extra flavor.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Add the potatoes to a nonstick grill pan, basket or wok (I have one like this, that I love), and place on the grill over the flames. Since the potatoes will not be in a single layer, you will want to toss them gently and often so some don’t burn while others don’t get browned. It will take approximately 20 minutes to cook all of the potatoes thoroughly and for them to be nicely browned. If any get caught in a hot spot and cook too quickly or begin to burn a bit, I just remove them early. If you don’t want to mess with a grill basket or pan, you can cut the potatoes the long way and cook them directly on your grill in a single layer, this takes only about 5 minutes per side. (Our grill’s grates are a bit too wide and we lose too many this way, so to avoid frustration we go with the pan).

While the potatoes are cooking, in a small bowl add the rice wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, mix well to combine.

Once the potatoes are cooked, place them in a large serving bowl, add the arugula and dressing, gently toss to combine everything. The arugula will begin to wilt a bit with the heat from the potatoes but will keep that nice crunch. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

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Southwest Rice Salad

I came across this recipe a week or so ago while browsing on the Epicurious iPhone app (which I am obsessed with) and couldn’t wait to try out my version of it. I changed a few things around like using brown rice instead of white and I added some things that weren’t in the original recipe (the beans, banana pepper, green zucchini, etc). Also, considering the corn that we got at the farmers market this week was still very small and a bit early in the season, we didn’t have a lot of it in the dish. Later in the season, that part of the dish will be even better, so we will for sure have to make this again when the corn is tastier. I was very excited though, that we did get to include the first banana pepper of the season from our garden to add a little heat on top of the poblano that was already in there. I made a bit larger of a serving that what the recipe called for, so we could eat it for lunches throughout the week. For a side dish at one meal, you could probably get away with just making 1 cup of rice.

We decided to cook up the corn and other veggies on the grill, which we were already heating up, so we could get some of that lovely smokey grill taste in the dish. You could easily cook the veggies in a non-stick skillet over a medium heat on the stove top if that is easier. This dish was light and refreshing and was the perfect side to the pork steaks from Sojourner Farms that we were cooking up. It had a very subtle spicy kick from the peppers and a great bright flavor from the lime.

Southwest Rice Salad

Southwest Rice Salad
serves at least 8 as a side dish, less if you are serving it as your main entree
adapted from Bon Appétit

2 cups long-grain organic brown rice
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 2 or ears) or frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 large fresh poblano pepper, diced
1 seeded spicy banana pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, cubed
1 medium yellow squash, cubed
1 avocado, halved, peeled, diced
1 cup of canned organic black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cook rice until just tender, follow directions on the package. Ours cooked for 50 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again. Meanwhile, whisk lime juice, garlic and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in small bowl. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Start your grill and get it to a medium-high temperature. Wrap the ears of corn in foil and place them on the grill. Toss the peppers, squash and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add to a grill pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the grill pan on the medium-high grill. Cook the corn until it is done, approximately 10-15 minutes, cut off the cob once done and slightly cooled. Sauté the vegetables until they are just tender and starting to brown up a little, 15-20 minutes; scrape into a large serving bowl. Add rice, beans, green onions, cilantro, and dressing; toss to coat, top with avocado. Season with salt and pepper.

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Since we’ve found Sojourner Farms and have bought a bunch of fresh pasture raised whole chickens direct from the farm, we have really been enjoying butterflied grilled chickens. This is such an effortless and delicious summer meal, perfect for those warm summer nights where you just want to relax on the patio with a cocktail and grill out. By butterflying the chicken, it takes less time to cook and you certainly don’t have to worry about it rolling off the grill or falling off of that sticky beer can. We usually get at least two meals from each chicken and once you’ve done the simple work of butterflying you can just sit back and enjoy the evening while it cooks.

I know I have already said this before about everything we have bought from Sojourner, but nothing can describe the taste of the food we are buying from them. Their chickens taste better than any chicken we have ever eaten before. It is unreal. I really cannot recommend enough buying your meats directly from a farm that raises their animals on pasture and without all the chemicals, hormones and antibiotics. You really can taste the extra love and care.

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Start with a whole broiler/fryer chicken weighing approximately 4 pounds. Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Remove the neck and giblets from the body cavity, then trim away any excess fat from around the cavity opening. Position the chicken so the breast side is down and the drumsticks are pointing towards you.

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Using a pair of kitchen shears (you can use a sharp knife, but I really recommend the shears), cut all the way down one side of the backbone from the tail to the neck. You’re just cutting through the small rib bones, not through the center of the backbone itself. Cut close to the backbone so you don’t lose too much meat.

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Next, cut all the way down the other side of the backbone, removing it completely.

I have read that some people like to cut down only one side of the backbone, leaving it intact. We remove the backbone completely, since we aren’t going to eat it. Reserve the backbone for making stock, if you’re so inclined.

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Flip the chicken over, breast side up and simply press firmly to full open the carcass, break the breastbone and flatten out the chicken. We prefer to leave the breastbone intact for less fuss and less steps. We could probably get ours even flatter, but it cooked wonderfully so we have no complaints.

Many people prefer to actually cut the breastbone out for better presentation, we don’t mess with the extra steps. If you wish to do that, after you remove the backbone, keep the chicken breast side down, position it with drumsticks pointing away from you (turned 180 degrees from where you started). Use a paring knife make a small cut in the white cartilage that conceals the top of the breastbone. Bend both halves of the carcass backward at the cut to expose the breastbone. It should pop right up through the cut.

Run your thumbs or index fingers down both sides of the breastbone to separate it from the meat, then pull the bone out. If the breastbone breaks into two pieces when you are removing it, it could just mean you haven’t separated it well enough from the meat, just remove both pieces and you are good.

Now you are ready to grill!!

Preheat your grill by turning both sides all the way to high. Pull the hood down and allow the grill to get to a very high heat, this takes about 5-10 minutes, or use your temperature gauge if you have one on your grill.

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Brush both sides of the chicken with olive oil and season generously with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. You can definitely use other seasonings, add lemon or use butter instead of olive oil, we just prefer to keep it simple and not overwhelm it with tons of different flavors. You could also add chips to your grill to get a smoked flavor. Feel free to experiment with different things.

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Once your grill gets to a high heat, turn one side off and leave the other on high. Place the chicken breast side up on the off heat side. Allow it to cook for 45 minutes, leave the hood down, don’t play around with it.

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After 45 minutes, as long as you kept the hood down and the heat of the grill stayed at high, your skin should have already started to brown and crisp up. Turn the direct heat side down to a low flame and move the chicken over to the flame side, breast side down. Close the hood and continue to grill about 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 160°F. Transfer chicken, skin side up, to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Carve the chicken by removing the wings, legs, thighs and breasts from the bird. If it is a bigger bird, you can cut each breast in half.

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All done. YUM!

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There she is again, Derby was especially loving this photo session.

Dinner. Grilled chicken, pasta salad, grilled veggies
Dinner is served.

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This is one of my favorite meals, so light and so fresh.  The perfect summer-time meal and it was the best thing for our first patio dinner of the season. We were able to do all the cooking outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. I love the sneak up heat from the chipotle cream and the freshness from the grilled corn and the fresh pico de gallo, these three ingredients should not be skipped, they set these tacos apart from most that I have had. We served this with a small dollop of organic refried black beans and a few fresh corn chips from the farmer’s market on the side.

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Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream
serves 4

Chipotle Cream
via Ellie Krieger, Food Network

6oz of lowfat greek yogurt (if you cannot find greek yogurt, drain regular yogurt using a strainer and a paper towel)
2 tablespoons of mayo
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce (use just sauce if you want it less spicy, include a chopped pepper or two if you like the spice)

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Fish
1 pound white flaky fish, such as cod, tilapia or halibut
1 tablespoon of olive oil
freshly squeezed juice, from 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

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For the tacos
8-12 fresh homemade corn tortillas
chipotle cream (see recipe above)
shredded lettuce or cabbage
freshly grilled ear of corn, taken off the cob after it cools
cilantro, chopped
green onions, thinly sliced
avocado, diced
pico de gallo (I usually make by own from scratch, but we found some delicious homemade fresh pico de gallo at the Farmer’s Market)
lime wedges

To make the chipotle cream, add the yogurt, mayo and chipotles into small bowl and stir to combine. This can be made ahead of time and chilled until you are ready to eat.

Lay the fish flat in a glass baking pan, cover in olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Let marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Start your grill and after it reaches a medium-high heat add the corn and cook until done, about 15-20 minutes. We put the corn right on the grill in the husk after we soaked it a bit, you can also take it out of the husk and cook it in foil.

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Meanwhile, chop and prep all of your ingredients for the tacos and place in bowls for serving.

Make the dough for your corn tortillas, press and cook them, store in a warm oven or in a tortilla warmer until you are ready to eat.

Remove the fish and add it to a foil lined grill pan on your hot grill, cook for approximately 3-5 minutes per side until cooked through, opaque and flaky. Set fish aside for 5 minutes. Flake the fish with a fork.

Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of chipotle cream. Top with fish, lettuce, corn, cilantro, green onions, pico de gallo, avocado and/or any other items that you would like. Serve with lime wedges.

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Last night after we left the studio, we had planned on throwing together something quick and heading to the grocery store to grab what we needed for the next week. By the time we got home, the sun was still shining and neither of us felt like grocery shopping, so instead I decided we could make do with what we had at home and put the grocery store off one more night. I am glad we did.

We had a bag of baby potatoes and some delicious handmade veggie burgers from the Farmers Market, so I decided we would be able to do something amazing with these plus some frozen organic peas.  Both my oregano and chives came up on their own from last season and they are growing out of control, taking over my herb box, so I have been trying to take advantage and use them in almost everything I make. Since we were firing up the grill for the brown rice and spinach burgers, this sounded like the perfect way to make a side dish with the potatoes. They really turned out great. There was so much flavor from the fresh herbs and the crispy smoke flavor from the grill was perfect. I think we will be making this a lot this summer.

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Grilled Herb Potato Salad
serves 4

30 baby potatoes, halved
coarse kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, halve two of the cloves, mince the third
olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 bunch of fresh oregano, chopped
1 bunch of fresh chives, chopped
1/4 cup of pine nuts
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Start by precooking the potatoes. Add the halved baby potatoes, a tablespoon of course salt, two cloves of garlic (halved) and enough water to cover the potatoes by 1-inch to a medium-sized pot over high heat. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender.

Drain potatoes in a colander and rinse with cold water to cool quickly and stop the potatoes from cooking.

Start your grill, preheat with the cover on for about 10 minutes on high. Lightly spray a grill pan with cooking spray to keep the potatoes from sticking (if you do not have a grill pan, you can also thread the potatoes onto skewers).

Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the diced shallot, minced garlic, the chopped fresh herbs, plus 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix the mixture to combine the ingredients and then remove half of the mixture to a small bowl, set aside. Add the potatoes to the large mixing bowl, and toss to coat the potatoes with the oil and herb mixture.

Pour the potatoes into the grill pan and set onto your hot grill, we got a bit of smoke because of the little bit of oil dripping, but it gave the potatoes a great smokey flavor. Give the potatoes a stir every few minutes to make sure they aren’t sticking. Once you are sure they aren’t sticking, you can stir them last which will allow them to get crispier. Cook them over a high heat for approximately 15-20 minutes until they are fully cooked and starting to brown and crisp up a bit. (This time will depend on how hot your grill is, we couldn’t get our grill super hot so it took a bit longer, it may only take about 10-15 minutes on a very hot grill). Remove the grill pan from the heat, and add the potatoes back to your large mixing bowl, add the remainder of the oil and herb mixture, the pine nuts, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to combine. Enjoy.

(This can also easily be made by roasting or broiling the potatoes in shallow baking pan in your oven. The potatoes can also be boiled 1 day ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Bring them to room temperature before boiling)

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Yesterday was the first day of our big Farmers Market at Elmwood and Bidwell and I knew all week that the weather was doomed for it’s opening day. We decided to meet my parents there right at 9 am to possibly beat the rain and wind. It actually wasn’t too bad, though it felt more like a very cool Autumn Day, not Spring. We walked around, looked at everything, ran into friends and began to make a plan for what we wanted to buy. The sun even peaked out a time or two. Eventually dark clouds made their way overhead, the wind picked up and we knew we should probably make our purchases soon.

We got so much great stuff, apples, leeks, spinach, asparagus, baby potatoes, veggie burgers, yogurt leek sauce, homemade strawberry jam, fresh from the farm eggs, sausage, bacon, and a beautiful, whole, fresh Heritage chicken. I decided this would be dinner. A roast chicken. It was the perfect day for it, it was cold, rainy and windy and I just wanted to stay in. So, I took a look at everything else we bought and made a plan.

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Roast Chicken, Apples, Leeks and Baby Potatoes

Serves 2 with leftover veggies

2 medium apples (I used Crispin) chopped
1 leek (white and light green parts), chopped
1 pound of baby potatoes, halved
4 small sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 3 pound whole chicken – we had a farm raised, all natural, heritage chicken from Painted Meadows Farms in Franklinville, NY

Preheat your oven to 350° F

Rinse the bird, inside and out and pat dry. Place the potatoes, leeks and apples in the roasting tray of a large roasting pan, place the chicken in the center (breast side up). Drizzle olive oil over everything, making sure to get a good light coating over the whole bird to give you a crispy, perfectly browned skin. Sprinkle everything with rosemary, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. You can also sprinkle the inside of the bird with your spices as well, I did that plus I stuffed a couple of chopped leeks in there, as well as a whole sprig of rosemary. Toss the vegetables gently to make sure they are coated.

Roast the chicken until it is cooked through and the apples, potatoes and leeks are tender. I took the chicken out around 2 hours and the veggies could still use more time, so I took the chicken out to rest, took the vegetables out of the roasting tray so they could cook in the juices from the chicken and turned the oven up to 400° F. I wanted to get them really brown and crispy, the way we like them. Taste the veggies as they are done and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Allow the chicken to rest 10-15 minutes before cutting into it, this will allow the juices to redistribute. Serve with a nice helping of the apples, leeks and potatoes.

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We found that the Heritage Chicken was much different from any other chicken we had ever roasted before, it had an incredible scent when it came out of the oven and it tasted so amazing, a much more rich chicken flavor than from the grocery store chickens. We found the dark meat to be very dark and slightly tougher (almost gamier), a bit more like a cornish hen. However, the breast meat was impeccable, what chicken should taste like, the best I have ever had. The skin, though I don’t typically eat it any way, was thicker than usual and tough to eat. Mark usually eats as much as he can before I start nagging him about the fat, but this time he couldn’t eat much. I’ll have to ask the women we bought the chicken from next week if there is a trick for cooking the Heritage birds, from what I had read it is best to cook these birds low and slow so as not to dry them out and toughen the meat. The legs on this bird seemed longer than I have ever seen and they were sticking straight up (!), but I didn’t have any kitchen twine to truss them, so I went without. I am curious if that could have been why the leg meat seemed tougher, maybe it was overcooked.

We ate dinner a bit later than normal last night, so by the time it was ready it was fairly dark and the pictures of the finished bird are not that great. Still working on a way around the night-time photos.

All in all, this was the perfect start to the farmers market season, I cannot wait to make more meals this week with the goodies we bought and of course to go back next week.

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