Archive for March, 2009

Cutest Donut Ever?

Last week, we had our friend Ceres over for dinner and she was dog-sitting for another friend’s dog, Donut, who also came over. Evan took some nice shots of the 8-year-old rescue beagle our friends just adopted, and it was wonderful to have a dog around, even if just for a little while.

Dinner was also quite a success — not as involved as the veggie burgers, but a delicious eggplant and olive salad, and a butternut squash and spinach pasta. Both were quite quick and easy and very tasty. And Ceres brought some cupcakes from Dots for dessert. Yum!

All the photos were of donut, not the food, but if you’d like recipes without the pretty pictures, let me know.

The Vegetarian Feta Club Burger… mmmm

I’ve wanted to make veggie burgers for a long time now, and Evan even has a great-looking book that has a bunch of recipes, but I just hadn’t done it. But tonight we were having some friends over for dinner and veggie burgers seemed like the perfect Sunday-night meal. I pulled out Burgers by Paul Gayler and agonized over which of the delicious looking recipes to choose.

I settled on the Vegetarian Feta Club Burger, a relatively simple recipe. I also made some cilantro-avocado, slow-roasted tomatoes, olive mayo, baked fries and salad — it was quite a feast! I was surprised that making this veggie burger and all its trimmings was relatively simple and quick, and it turned out amazingly well. I couldn’t have wished for a tastier recipe. This might supplant Gourmet Burger Kitchen’s puy lentil burger as my new favorite veggie burger, though it’s so different, there’s plenty of room to love them both.

Here’s how to make it, adapted from Burgers

Ingredients for the burger

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 cups white bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp chickpea flour (also called gram flour or garbanzo flour)
  • 1 egg

Garnishes

  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • Arugula
  • 8 Slow-dried tomatoes (halve them and season with some sugar, thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil, then bake at 400 degrees until they’re very soft and flavorful)
  • Olive mayo (basic mayo with some garlic, chopped olives and capers)
  • Cilantro-avocado pesto (cilantro, garlic, avocado, parmesan cheese and olive oil blended together)
  • Rye or sourdough bread

Instructions

  1. Put all the burger ingredients in a bowl and blend together with your hands
  2. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes
  3. Form 8 patties from the mixture
  4. Cook them in a nonstick pan with a small amount of vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes on each side
  5. Serve sandwiched on the bread with the mayo and arugula on below the burger and 2 tomatoes, a few slices of egg and the cilantro pesto above.

The book recommended doing a double-decker sandwich, like a club would normally be, but they were already so tall with just one layer, I left them as singles, and the single versions were more than enough food (though the boys did have seconds). Also, since the bread was pretty thin, we all ended up eating the burgers with forks and knives. A bun would have held up a bit better, I think.

I served an arugula, tomato and cucumber salad with a balsamic vinaigrette on the side, and also made some cheesy oven-baked fries on the side. To drink, we had a bottle of some very delicious Irony pinot noir, and I also made some fresh blood-orange, ginger and mint lemonade.

I also had my first mayo-making experience. The first batch didn’t turn out since I added the oil all at once, but on my second try I drizzled it in as I was whisking and added the additional ingredients (olives, capers and garlic) once it was nice a whipped up. It turned out really well. Even Evan and Brian, who don’t normally like mayo, enjoyed it on their burgers.

For dessert, Maryn baked an incredible batch of brownies from a recipe from Tartine bakery. They were wonderfully rich, moist and delicious. (You can check out more of her baking adventures on her blog, Le Cupcakerie.)

I can’t wait to try more of the delicious recipes from Burgers. They’re so far from basic ketchup, mustard and relish burgers that it’s quite refreshing, and the veggie burgers really stand on their own as complete meals rather than trying to be meat replacements. Maybe I’ll even try making my own ketchup next time…

Check out more photos of dinner in Evan’s Facebook gallery. (Thanks for taking photos, Ev. Much better than my iPhone pancake photos.)

East Hollywood ArtCycle

Yesterday, Evan and I headed over the East Hollywood ArtCycle to check out the scene and see some art. While it wasn’t quite as large an event as we’d imagined, it was still quite nice. There were bands and other groups performing — our favorite that we saw was a band called Confessions of a Corn Silo.

There was plenty of food, from bake sale type stands with delicious looking vegan cupcakes, cookies and brownies (I’m pretty sure there were some non-vegan varieties as well), to local cafes and gelato shops. We had some really delicious Guinness Chocolate gelato, and were intrigued by the other very inventive flavors.

There were also, of course, various artists showing off their work, and there were bike tours that would take you around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, neither Evan nor I have a bicycle at the moment, so we couldn’t partake in the cycling fun. A lot of people did bike over to the event, and there was a great hipster-cyclist vibe, with people on double-decker and other tricked-out bikes.

Local galleries were also open, so we could look at some more art. We didn’t get to too many galleries, but we really enjoyed the Fake Gallery, which had a rather funny exhibition by “fake” artists, complete with placards giving great personal bios of artists like Roy G. Biv, the color-blind paint tester. The centerpiece of the fair was a large, undulating wooden sculpture (a small portion of which is photographed with Evan, above.

Another neat part of the fair was that they had the guys from Grinding Gears custom screen printing making t-shirts on the fly. I actually brought my own shirt to be printed on, and was able to choose from about 5 designs. I chose a design that had lyrics from Tom Waits’ song, “Broken Bicycles.”

I also got a very cute necklace from Kiki Designs. It was hard to choose just one from the creative and beautiful array of jewelry. I bought the necklace directly from Kiki herself, who was really nice, and it came in a takeout box!

Check out more photos from the event in my Flickr gallery.