Posts Tagged ‘brownies’

More Cooking Fun: Baguettes, Brownies and Homemade Pizza

I’ve still been on my cooking kick, baking bread and trying out new recipes. Last week, I decided to bake baguettes again, and this time they came out looking perfect, though slightly undercooked for my taste — they were cooked all the way through, but I would have liked a thicker crust.

4 perfect looking baguettes

4 perfect looking baguettes

As for dinner with the baguettes, I decided to try out some recipes from my new Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. I made a very tasty grapefruit, avocado and endive salad, as well as a summer squash and corn pasta, which tasted sweet and fresh (unfortunately I didn’t take photos). I really enjoyed both recipes and would make them both again. They were really simple but had a lot of flavor, and I love that the cookbook gives really free-form instructions in the recipes, which makes it hard to go wrong.

These are the brownies Maryn made, but mine looked pretty similar!

These are the brownies Maryn made, but mine looked pretty similar!

For dessert, I made the Tartine brownies that we first tried when Maryn and Brian came over for dinner. I found the recipe on the No Special Effects blog, and they turned out really tasty and rich, though somehow not exactly like the ones Maryn baked (maybe I baked them a little longer than I should?), though I don’t think anyone was complaining. They were really decadent and rich, and had a flaky top and moist, soft interior.

Putting the pizzas into the oven

Putting the pizzas into the oven

This week, I decided my dough of the week — I have been making some sort of bread at least once a week for a little while now — would be pizza dough, and I had a few people over for an impromptu pizza-making party. I found a recipe for whole wheat dough in The New Basics Cookbook (I would have likely referred to How to Cook Everything again, but I didn’t have it handy because we’re housesitting), and made up a batch with enough to make four individual-size pizzas. The dough was easy enough, and I just pressed it out by hand. I made a simple tomato sauce by doctoring up a canned sauce (also a recipe froms The New Basics Cookbook), shredded up some mozzarella cheese, and sliced mushrooms, tomatoes and red peppers. We also had garlic, olives, basil and carmelized onions to put on the pizzas. All the combinations were delicious — especially the ones with the caramelized onions. I only wish we had more leftovers… I’ll definitely be making pizzas again soon, and trying out some different crust recipes. The whole wheat crust was good, but it doesn’t have that classic pizza taste.

Our pizza leftovers -- boy were they delicious the next day

Our pizza leftovers -- caramelized onion and mushroom, and red pepper, tomato and basil -- boy were they delicious the next day

What should be on the menu for next week?

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


  • 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


  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.)