Super Burger-y Bean Burgers

As you  may remember, sometimes, I cook! And right now, I’m pretty obsessed with these awesome bean burgers…

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Portobello Mushrooms with Pasta

My version of a recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. This is a great main course after Challison Salad, is incredibly easy and looks beautiful.

  • 8 oz pasta of your choice (I went with farfalle, because it’s sassy)
  • 1lb portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or more, depending on how much onion/mushroom you use)
  • 1 small to medium onion, finely diced (I like onion. Use a big ol’ onion.)
  • Salt and freshly milled pepper to taste
  • 2 (or more) cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed (Come on. Use more.)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Alamos Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tsp minced rosemary
  • 2 tbsp toasted bread crumbs
  • Freshly grated Parmesan

Remove the stems and gills from the portobellos and slice the caps into 1/2-inch strips. Cut the larger pieces in half.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onion, and cook over medium heat until lightly colored. Raise the heat, add the mushrooms, and saute until they begin to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add half the garlic. Mix the tomato paste and win and add it to the mushrooms. Lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes more.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, then drain and add it to the mushrooms along with the cream, herbs, and remaining garlic. Toss, correct the seasonings, and divide among warm serving plates. Scatter the bread crumbs and a very light dusting of freshly grated cheese over each serving.

Challison Salad

The long-awaited peach & blueberry salad recipe. Use your best judgement on how much salad to make. First, the dressing.

Lime-Mint-Chili Vinaigrette
(I doubled this for when we had company for dinner and made it the day before–if the olive oil solidifies, just let it sit out and warm up a little while before you need to use it. This is a modified version of Deborah Madison’s lime and fresh mint vinaigrette recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

  • 1 tsp grated/minced lime zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 to 6 tbsp olive oil (I wouldn’t use anything heavier than that; if you want less flavor, use light olive oil or sunflower oil)
  • 2 green onions, including an inch of the greens, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 of a Serrano chili, sliced into thin rounds, including seeds (you want it hot! Also, don’t hesitate to add more if you want it zingier)

Combine the lime zest and the juice with the salt, then whisk in the oil. Stir in the onions, mint, and chili.

Challison Salad

  • Greens (we used spinach and romaine; arugula would be perfect but we couldn’t find it readily)
  • 1 medium peach, diced (or more, depending on how much salad you’re making)
  • Handful of blueberries (try to be even about the peach to blueberry ratio)
  • Lime-mint-chili vinaigrette to taste
  • 1/4 to a 1/3 o f a cup sliced almonds
  • Crumbled fresh goat cheese to taste

Chop or tear the desired amount of greens to serve everybody. Dice the peach(es) and add to the salad, along with the blueberries. Pour lime-mint-chili vinaigrette over salad and toss in order to coat everything. Add almonds and goat cheese, then serve.

A particular summer memory

I hate “favorite” questions. Instead I’ll respond with a presently relevant memory, one that has been on my mind over the last few weeks.

Each summer when I was young, my dad would take my brother and I to visit my grandmother. He would drop us off with her, head home so that he could finish out the work week, and then come up on Friday so we could spend the weekend together.

Summertime is the time for fireflies, so I would spend the evenings running around my grandmother’s yard and her garden plot next door trying to catch a few. She gave me a glass jar with a rubber band, some plastic wrap, and the screw-on portion of a canning lid, and I would carefully coax a few fireflies off my hand into the jar before securing the plastic wrap over the opening with the rubber band, followed by the lid. To make sure they had enough air, I poked tiny holes in the taut plastic wrap with a toothpick and carted them off to my bedroom for the night, where they sat on the bedside table next to me. Always an early riser, my grandmother would wake me up so that I could let the fireflies free into the dew-tipped grass the next morning.

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