Tag Archives: veggie burgers

Weekly Menus: Springtime Edition, Week of 3/10/2013

Gentle Readers, there is so much to love about spring: the weather, the additional vegetables in season, the flowers in bloom. However, the time change, not so much. Spring forward is the time equivalent of faceplanting for me–I do it unwillingly and inelegantly. Thus the hour of the post today.

Hello my glazed pretties. This was my reward for a hard-fought week.

Hello my glazed pretties. This was my reward for a hard-fought week.

This week’s menus feature some reprises from last week and a lesson learned. A schedule change meant I missed one dinner with the Jrs, one where we had planned for pork chops and gnocchi. They informed me that was a meal we would eat together as a family, not to be jobbed out to someone else. Way to go Jrs, I appreciate your feedback.

So, without further adieu and heading into a big week of party planning, we have the Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 3/10/2013

Weekly Menus: 3/10/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 3/10/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 3/10/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 3/10/2013

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner
A natural choice for a relaxed weekend.

Monday: Soup and Salad
An attempt at health! Let’s see how that goes.

Tuesday: Pasta and Salad
Cheese tortellini for the win. Also a meal that can be shifted around, as the week may demand some changes.

Wednesday: Pork Chops and Gnocchi
This will require more advanced planning for the thawing of the chops. But there will be fried sage, and all will be right with the universe.

Veggie burger toppings: bacon, avocado, cheese

Veggie burger toppings: bacon, avocado, cheese

Thursday: Veggie Burgers
A huge hit from last week, we added bacon and avocados. They were fantastic.

Friday: Leftover Day
Because this week is going to have some complications, I’m building in a day to consume whatever is leftover.

Saturday: Dine Out!
It’s time for the Eldest to choose, her pre-Birthday Dinner!

Do you have meals you only eat as a core family? What are they? Post your comments below!

Comments, queries, quips, and quotations can be sent to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Wednesday, An Ode to Belgian Chocolate.

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Portobello Burger Recipe: Vegetarian Meat

Gentle Readers, there is nothing like a lifestyle change to sharply correct eating choices. Such is the road to mushroom love for Team Practical Cook. I have always been a fan. The Juniors, not so much. Then the Eldest became a vegetarian. Now the Youngest is following her sister’s able footsteps.

Portobello Mushroom Burger with Red Onions and Goat Cheese

Portobello Mushroom Burger with Red Onions and Goat Cheese

And they love portobello mushrooms. They like them straight up, they like them sliced, they like them roasted. My favorite thing about them? We can buy them from a local source in the grocery store. I’m teaching TPC’s Junior how to identify fresh ones (unblemished, not wet, gills intact).

Baby Bellas: Cremini mushrooms sliced fine.

Baby Bellas: Cremini mushrooms sliced fine.

I recommend scraping the gills off for most preparations, just because they’ll turn everything black. That’s personal preference though. The consistency is such they’ve both asked me if it’s meat, in disbelief that something they like so much could be on the approved list. We call it vegetarian meat at our house.

Portobello Burger Recipe

3 or 4 large portobello caps, gills scraped
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium-sized red onion, sliced thin
sugar to taste
balsamic vinegar
good quality goat cheese
hamburger buns
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. When it’s hot, place prepped portobellos on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Drizzle some more oil on the mushrooms and rub them. I won’t tell. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast, turning the caps over halfway, until tender, about 30 minutes total, depending on the size of the portobellos.

Meanwhile, in a medium size skillet, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, a sprinkling of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute onions, lowering heat to keep them from burning, until they’ve caramelized slightly and are very soft. Finish with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Taste them and adjust seasoning accordingly.

To assemble, split one hamburger bun, schmear it with good goat cheese (don’t get me started, the Juniors can school you on goat cheese), add a portobello cap, then top with onions.

Enjoy. There wasn’t a single bite left. Onions are sweet in this preparation, so don’t leave them out, and don’t fear serving them to the young. A spoonful of sugar does make most things go down.

Where do you stand on mushrooms? Are you a hater or a fan? Vote today. The comments section beckons you.

Send your sprouts, witty rejoinders, and spare turkeys to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Friday, Turkeyless Thanksgiving for the Junior Pilgrims.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 4/1/2012

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is currently in a state of shock that it is now really, really time to complete her taxes. Where has the time flown? Another favorite eating holiday is just around the corner (hello Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs, I love your seasonality), and spring carrots are coming soon. In preparation for my re-dedication to the art of eating local and my CSA, I continue to work through my pantry stores.

We are fully prepared for Laura Ingalls Wilder to show up for dinner.

We are fully prepared for Laura Ingalls Wilder to show up for dinner.

Seriously, it’s like Little House up in this joint, you’ll note I’ve just been buying fresh goods for weeks now. There was a significant inventory issue, and I will confess that there has been some wonderful field research to be done. Look for some upcoming reviews.

Very respectable fried pickles to be found at Carolina Ale House.

Very respectable fried pickles to be found at Carolina Ale House.

But I digress, here’s what we’re eating this week. It’s Spring Break, so there will be a lot of lunching happening as well. The problem with raising very polite and thoughtful eaters? They’ll tell you clearly and firmly what they do and don’t like. Le sigh. Undone by my own teachable moments.

Pork Belly with Tamarind. Like Bacon, only better. Yeah, I said it.

Pork Belly with Tamarind. Like Bacon, only better. Yeah, I said it.

Weekly Menus for this week:

Weekly Menus: 4/1/2012

Weekly Menus: 4/1/2012

Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/1/2012

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/1/2012

Which translates to:

Sunday: Veggie Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries
I have a lot of sweet potatoes, as in many pounds. I made the last batch too spicy, as sweetly told to me by The Youngest Practical Cook Junior. Leftover buns from last week’s burgers, new swing at the fries, done.

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner OR Beans and Rice
Depends on time and the potential guests. I plan to actually have the beans in the house to cook this time. Bonus.

Tuesday: Dine Out!
The Juniors and I are going to be rolling on some research. I hope this will be a joint review, we shall see.

Wednesday: Sausage, greens, pierogies
One day I hope to make my own pierogies, or source them locally in a way that hearkens back to my time in NYC. Any and all suggestions welcome here. Until then, freezer case for all of this.

Thursday: Tuna Salad
Because I need to eat more fish. And because I want to perfect tuna salad, which I’m quite fond of. I just don’t love cat food, if you know what I mean.

Friday: Leftover Surprise/Risotto
Depends on energy level and circumstance. I’m craving mushroom/asparagus risotto, and I just made stock.

Saturday: Dine Out!
This could potentially be a remote location opportunity. I have some BBQ scouting to do to quiet a certain cantankerous critic. You know who you are.

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On Wednesday, Easter Brunch/Lunch Ideas!

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Filed under Fried, Weekly Menus

Indian Veggie Burger: Product Review

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is on a mission to find the best veggie burger in the land. All contestants welcome. I’ll be trying them in restaurants, from the freezer case, and from scratch recipes. Today’s entry is a most delightful twist on the theme: Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burger

Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burger

Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burger

These frozen gems are a bit on the spicy side, and remind me of samosa filling or loosely packed pakora. Either way, that adds up to delicious in my book. I fully intend to use them as a cheating chaat the next time I serve Indian food.

Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burgers contain lots of visible veggies.

Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burgers contain lots of visible veggies.

They are a bit luscious (aka, greasy), which I also dig. The Practical Cook abhors a dry veggie burger. For our taste test, I served them in pita with lettuce, with yogurt on the side for cooling.

Half a masala burger fit nicely into the mini pita.

Half a masala burger fit nicely into the mini pita.

The Practical Cooks Junior liked the flavor, but found them to be too spicy. I basically ate the whole box, and then bought some more to try with the Mom’s Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls featured earlier. Wow, I love them.

Vegetable Masala Burgers in Pita with Lettuce

Vegetable Masala Burgers in Pita with Lettuce

For the vegetarians looking for something new, give these a shot.

Have you made veggie burgers from scratch? If you’ve got a recipe, send it my way. Post a comment below to nominate a veggie burger for the taste test!

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For the love of Fried Pickles, up next.

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Filed under On the Table, One Ingredient Three Ways, Snacks

This Week’s Top 3 Questions

Gentle readers, the Practical Cook is looking forward to addressing your questions, and tackling the controversial issues of the day. She has discovered in weeks upon weeks of working on recipes, that the public is most interested in the Fry Wars or Burger Preference. Yes, statistics don’t lie (fine, they tell fibs all the time), but popularity demands the questions be answered.

Most Asked Question: What was wrong with the fries at In-N-Out Burger?

The Practical Cook: Nothing was wrong with them per se, I just didn’t love them. Perhaps they got cold too fast, lacked salt, weren’t as crunchy as my heart desired. I love fries (though I may love tater tots and sweet potato fries more), but I only love PERFECT fries. I like them fairly well-done, as in crisp, pretty salty, and as a “sauce vector” (handily borrowing that phrase from a comrade I hope to go on a fry hunt with soon!).

Geer Street Garden Fries with Garlic Aioli and Srirachanaise

Geer Street Garden Fries with Garlic Aioli and Srirachanaise

Whose fries do I love most this week? Geer Street Garden. That Andy McGowan knows fries. I haven’t been able to go and eat the infamous “Pile” (check the menu). Once I do, I’ll do a full review. Anyone brave enough to join me? These are crunchy, salty, full of fabulous fries, and I just won’t eat a pile of anything less.

Second Most Asked Question: How will you try all the burgers in America?

Pimento Cheese Burger at Bull City Burger

Pimento Cheese Burger at Bull City Burger

The Practical Cook: Fine, I ask myself that question. But the real answer, Gentle Readers, is I need your help. Be it indie-chain or local shop, I’ll be looking to you all for some assistance in sampling food across America. Believe you me, I’ll show up and help when I can, camera in hand. So go out and eat thoughtfully, the bean burgers, hamburgers, whateverburgers, take a picture, and let us all know what is most delicious.

Last, But Not Least Asked Question: How do you eat all of that food? (or some derivation thereof)

The Practical Cook: Since I make no bones about eating a vast variety of things, including plenty in the fried category (and I am not anti-mayo for the record, check out the dips with the fries above), I am often asked how I do this and not keel over. Rewind the tape to my Love of Grapefruit.

The Practical Salad

The Practical Salad

I don’t eat fries every day. I don’t eat meat every day. And the above picture is 1/2 of my lunch most days. Soup and salad for lunch unless I’m traveling, doing field research, or dragging one of my Gentle Readers out to some place “they just have to try.”

If you had to choose, would you pick fries, tater tots, or sweet potato fries with that? Post your comments today!

Send your queries and compliments to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook gospel. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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On deck, Weekly Menus, Summer Style (aka, Punt!fest 2011).

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