Cuisine: American

Lean In! Quinoa Burgers

My Family and I have been doing Meatless Monday for a few years. In 2020, I want us to lean in more to vegetarian and vegan options. We’ve all read or heard on the news how important this is, not only for our health but, for our environment. I was actually at an event and heard a famous Breast Cancer doctor speak. Her advice was if you can’t make the switch to being vegan, can you be vegan for a meal? How hard could it be to have vegan cereal for breakfast or a huge vegan salad for lunch. She made it sound simple and I am embracing it.

I’ve made these Quinoa Burgers for my family before and frankly they love them. I originally made them with Sriracha sauce, in the mix. They were quite spicy. So while my husband and enjoyed them, my kids not so much.  I re-did the recipe and now I share with you where to add whatever flavoring you would like to customize for your family.

This is a fairly simple recipe and it comes together fast.  If you have all your ingredients ready to go, dinner can be on the table in under 30 minutes. I like to serve these as if I was serving a burger with coleslaw and fries.

By the way, save the liquid from your canned chickpeas. It is a fabulous vegan substitute for egg whites, where it calls for whipping them into tiff peaks.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. As always I want to hear from you. Send me your comments and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at @whiskinthesouthern.

Quinoa Burgers
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Servings
4-5 Burgers
Servings
4-5 Burgers
Quinoa Burgers
Print Recipe
Servings
4-5 Burgers
Servings
4-5 Burgers
Ingredients
Servings: Burgers
Instructions
  1. Over a medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon canola oil to a saucepan. Coat the pan and once hot, add onion, carrot and garlic. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until you start to really smell the aromatics and the veggies start to soften. Add broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Turn out quinoa onto a baking sheet, or plate, to cool for a few minutes.
  2. While your quinoa is cooling, add your chickpeas, panko bread crumbs, salt & pepper, egg and finally the cooled quinoa mix, to a food processor. Give it a few pulses. This is where you want to add your flavoring if you want. The "burgers" have plenty of flavor but here you can add some hot sauce, some ranch dressing mix, or even your favorite steak rub. If you don't want to add the flavor here, or if you want more flavor, you can mix your seasoning with the 2 tsp. of canola oil to drizzle over the burger. After you've added your flavoring, continue to pulse to a slightly chunky, but smooth texture. Carefully remove the blade from the processor and start making your burgers.
  3. I use a 1/2 cup ice cream scoop to make my burgers. It gives you a nice start to shape and your burgers are evenly sized. Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a skillet. Please make sure to use a non-stick skillet or get a stainless skillet searing hot and well oiled before putting your burgers in. The quinoa burgers are delicate so make sure they slide easily onto your spatula before your turn them. If they stick at all, they are not ready to be turned. Place burgers in and cook for 2-3 minutes on both sides.
  4. Serve immediately on buns or butter lettuce leaves with your favorite condiments
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New Year Biscuits!

So here we are the beginning of January 2020! As I think about resolutions, I’m trying tone way more mindful and intentional (which just happens to be my word for the year). So one of my resolutions is to eat breakfast more often. That also includes having quick and easy breakfast available for me and my family to grab.

The first thing I made in this new year is biscuits. Yes, I know they may not qualify as a healthy breakfast but I also believe that anything made at home with quality ingredients better than anything processed outside my kitchen. If combined with a healthy protein and some fruit or veggies, a biscuit breakfast can take you all the way to lunch, without temptation.

I started with my Great-Grandmother’s Biscuit recipe. It laid out most of the ingredients and these instructions:

“Work in enough flour to work out. Cut. Bake”

By the way flour was not listed as an ingredient. I was able to cull together some instructions and made some beautiful biscuits. I have given you a few more instructions. Enjoy!

Please go to Instagram and follow me: @whiskinthesouthern

New Year Biscuits!
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New Year Biscuits!
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 475° In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Grate butter, into flour mixture, on large hole side of grater box. Work in with hands. You want a coarse meal feel. Put butter/flour mixture in freezer for a few minutes, here. You want everything to be cold when you start to work it.
  2. Take bowl out of freezer and make a well in middle. Pour buttermilk into well and start to mix together with a wooden spoon or your hands. The dough will be sticky. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, gently, 15 times. Add more flour if you need and start to roll out dough to 1/2" thick. Then fold in half and repeat, 5 times. This step is important because you are forming layers.
  3. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Once dough is ready to cut, use a biscuit cutter and cut straight down. Do not twist when making biscuits. Twisting forms a seal and prevent steam which prevents lots of layers of flaky goodness. Place biscuits on parchment paper about 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake at 475° for 15 minutes. Watch your biscuits. Every oven is different and you want a nice golden brown biscuit. When biscuits come out of oven brush tops with melted butter, immediately. Let cool for just 5 minutes before serving warm biscuits.
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Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies

If you’re anything like me, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of baking and cooking. I’ve used a little of this and a lot of that. My pantry now has an overflow of half empty bags of chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, dried fruit and nuts. I have a little bit of caramel sauce left and just a few marshmallows. I made oatmeal cookies and don’t have enough left over for even a full bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.

That is where these cookies come in handy. You’ve probably seen similar recipes for Cowboy Cookies. To be honest that’s where these started. Then I realized  could throw any extra ingredients in and they’d be fantastic. Kitchen Sink Cookies were born.

So now that the year is in it’s final countdown, go through your pantry and pull out anything you have leftover and throw them in these cookies. Get creative and shout out to me what you do. You know I love other from you.

Oh and don’t forget to get social. Head over to Instagram and follow me @Diaryofalostchef. Thanks!!

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies

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The best cookies to make when using up leftover goodies.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies

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The best cookies to make when using up leftover goodies.

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Brownie Bark!

Brownie Bark!
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Brownie Bark!
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 325°. Generously butter an 18x13 rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Melt the butter in microwave or on stovetop.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, cocoa, vanilla and salt. Pour the melted butter over the mixture and stir until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously until batter is thick, shiny and smooth. I like to use a heavy wooden spoon. Stir in the flour until well blended then beat vigorously, another 30-40 strokes
  4. Spread batter evenly onto baking sheet in thin, even layer. Push it all the way to the corners. It will seem too thin but the batter will rise. Add your toppings, pressing in firmly. I used about 1/2 cup peanut butter and swirled it through the batter and then pressing lightly with wet hands. I also used mini marshmallows and walnuts for a rocky road as well as dried cherries and almonds. You can get as creative as you want. This is a great activity for a kids or teens party.
  5. Bake until firm to the touch and tester comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely then cut into pieces and serve. I did one batch and divided it into thirds to try different toppings. Have fun!
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Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot

There is nothing better on a cold night than good old-fashioned Chicken in a Pot. That is unless it’s Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot. I made this last weekend and it was delicious. It comes from her Everyday Dorie, the Way I cook, cookbook. Like any recipe I made a few adjustments as I was shopping and cooking. For the most part, though, I stayed true to the original.

This is not a “Lemon” chicken and the fennel does not taste like licorice. All the flavors meld together to make the perfect balance of sweet, tart and savory. Dorie does recommend and I concur to have good crusty bread for sopping up all the good juices. This recipe is going into my regular rotation and I hope you enjoy it too.

Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot
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I adapted this from Dorie Greenspan. Just as she says in her book, Everyday Dorie, this recipe comes together quickly and is delicious!
Servings
4
Servings
4
Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot
Print Recipe
I adapted this from Dorie Greenspan. Just as she says in her book, Everyday Dorie, this recipe comes together quickly and is delicious!
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Take chicken out of refrigerator and let sit out while preheating oven to 450° and preparing the other ingredients.
  2. Trim the stalks and fronds and cut off the bottom of the fennel bulb. Remove the outer layer leaves. They can be tough. Cut the remaining into 6 - 8 wedges. Toss into a Dutch oven.
  3. Cut one lemon in half and the other into 8 wedges. Reserve one half and toss the wedges and other half in the pot. Peel and trim the shallots and then cut in to wedges. Toss into pot. Put the garlic halves in the pot.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, honey, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and toss until everything is well coated.. Make a well in the center of the vegetables.
  5. Make sure the chicken is really dry with paper towels. Season the inside and outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice from the reserved half lemon all over the the outside of the chicken then put in the cavity. Put the reserved fronds and stalks and 2 of the thyme sprigs in the cavity, also. Rub the 2 Tbs. olive oil all over the outside of the chicken.
  6. Nestle the chicken down in the well of the vegetables. Pour the chicken broth over the chicken and vegetables and give a quick stir to get the broth all around the vegetables. Toss in the 2 other thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  7. Cover the pot and cook for 90 minutes. Do not peek. At 90 minutes you can take the lid off and place under broiler for maybe another 5 minutes to brown the top.
  8. You can serve this straight from the pot, but I like putting in a shallow bowl/platter. That way its cut and easy to grab and the vegetables and broth are right there for the dipping. Make sure you have good crusty bread. Either way, serve immediately, very hot.
  9. I wish I had a picture of the final product. Thats what happens when its that good. We all dove in and it was gone. Maybe next time. LOL
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Everything, Everything!

I remember when Everything Bagels first hit the scene. A New York bagel store employee was sweeping out the oven and instead of tossing the seeds and seasoning crumbs, he through them on top of a plain bagel. He thought he was being cute when he called it the “everything”.  They were amazing! All the bagel flavors you love were now in one bagel. Ahh, bliss! And if you toast them, forget it, HEAVEN! So imagine how excited I was when Trader Joes created Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. I love using this flavor blend and put it on, well, everything.

The blend is made up of sesame seeds, sea salt flakes, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, black sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Some of the great ways I’ve used this blend are: stir it into cream cheese, salad topping, stirred into scrambled eggs, a small shake on top of sour cream in soup or a baked potato.

My two favorite ways to use this blend are to stir about 1/4 cup into latke (potato pancake) batter right before frying them up. We like our latkes extra crispy and this seasoning brings out all the best flavors of the potato.  If you do this adjust your salt down, or even none. This seasoning has plenty of salt. The other great recipe is to use it as a chicken coating.

Chicken is the great blank canvas of food.  I mean it was just made for sauces and anything that adds flavor. The recipe below is simple and quick.  I make a dredge tray of seasoned flour, egg white and Everything but the Bagel seasoning.  You can use your own recipe for the seasoned flour. Remember to use little or no salt.

One other little tip. Some of you struggle on knowing when chicken is done when you bake it. The best way is to use a meat thermometer to 160°. However, 20 minutes per pound at preheated 325° oven is a great rule of thumb. You can cover the chicken foil half way through if it is getting too brown.

 

Everything Seasoned Chicken

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Juicy, baked chicken with all your favorite tastes of an everything bagel.
Servings
4

Servings
4

Everything Seasoned Chicken

Print Recipe

Juicy, baked chicken with all your favorite tastes of an everything bagel.
Servings
4

Servings
4

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.

    Combine flour and all spices, except Everything Bagel, together in a zipped plastic bag. Give it a good mix now and right before you use it. You don't want all the flavors to settle to the bottom.

  2. Set up your dredging station (I use shallow soup bowls). You want the first one to be the seasoned flour. The second should be your egg whites and the third is the Everything seasoning.

  3. I get my chicken good and dry with paper towels and then let it sit out about 20 minutes before starting the dredging process. I also keep one hand for dry and one for wet.

  4. Start with dipping chicken in flour. Give it an even coat and shake off excess so you don't have clumps. Then a quick dip in egg whites and let excess drip off, then right into the everything seasoning and into a butter baking dish.

  5. Into the preheated, hot oven and bake for 20 minutes per pound. You are probably at just about a pound with 4 chicken breasts so check at 20 minutes. It's okay to cut into one breast, if you don't have a thermometer. You want the juices to run clear.

  6. Serve with a green vegetable and rice or potato. Enjoy!

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CAKE!!!

CAKE!!!!

I’ve been making it, decorating it, giving it away and eating it. So much so that I almost forgot to write about it.

Seriously, I have this great calendar that tells me what “DAY” it is each day. Apparently, July 20th was Cake Day. As I have mentioned, a lot, I love cake. So why wouldn’t I bake and write about it? The 10thAnniversary of the Hadassah group I belong to and my daughter’s best friend’s birthday also happened to be around that date, so I baked the fabulous chocolate cake written about in April 2017 and I made a wonderful Carrot Cake.

Let me tell you, Carrot Cake comes with a lot of opinions. Do you used nuts? What kind of nuts? Do you do a cream cheese frosting, and do you put butter in yours? In my house you would NEVER put fruit in something baked. In other homes you might add pineapple chunks to your carrot cake. All this to say that even though I happen to love my recipe, make it your own.

Mine is “original” after years of adapting all the family recipes and magazine recipes I’ve tried. I used to buy the pre-shredded carrots, and they work fine. Now I like to make a really fine shred in my own processor. I like the taste of fresh carrot, but I don’t want a big piece to wander into my bite of cake. I do put a stick of butter in my frosting.  I think it adds a richness. If you want to add nuts, I’d go with pecans.  Walnuts are also a good addition, but almonds might be nice too.

See what I’m doing here? My recipe is a great base. If you make it as is, you will love it. But make it your own and start a new tradition. Most of all ENJOY!!!!


Carrot Cake
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Servings
12
Servings
12
Carrot Cake
Print Recipe
Servings
12
Servings
12
Ingredients
Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings:
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 3 9" round pans with butter and flour
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Add eggs and canola oil, use a hand mixer and blend until just combined.
  4. Add carrots. This is where you can add nuts or fruit.
  5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, until tester comes out just clean. Do not over bake.
  6. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Using the paddle attachment of a stand up mixer, blend cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar until combined. be sure to re-mix after scraping down sides.
  2. When cakes are completely cool, frost generously. I made white chocolate curls to decorate, you can also buy them.
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Old Friends (Cookbooks)

I am in a purging mood! We recently did some remodel work on our house. You know how that goes and how much packing and unpacking I was doing, almost, every day. It was a good opportunity to get rid or donate “stuff” we weren’t really using anymore.

A good friend pointed out to me that I have cookbooks, literally, in every room in my house. Some of you might put the old People Magazine in the bathroom, for light reading, I put cookbooks! So, when this same friend suggested I make a library of cookbooks, in my office, I was all in. Of course, that meant hours of deciding which would stay and which would go. It also meant getting reacquainted with some of my older “friends” and saying goodbye to the friends you didn’t really keep in touch with.

My new library!

So, my task began. The first things that went were the cookbooks, put together by my kids elementary or pre-schools. I asked myself were there any recipes in them that I couldn’t just pick up the phone and ask for if I really wanted them. I did go through those books just to make sure. The next group to go were the “souvenir” books. I bought cookbooks at restaurants as I traveled across the country and some were really good. Others, I bought because I loved the meal and really believed I would recreate it at home. Well, not so much. And so, the purging project went.

I finally had whittled it down to one pile of books that I really wanted to go through and spend some time with. I’m so glad I did. There were some great finds. One of the books I saved is “Raising the Salad Bar”, by  Catherine Walthers. I initially bought this book in 2010, after a friend used it more than once, during my week-long visit to her summer home. I admit I was skeptical when I heard it was a salad cookbook, but each salad was more memorable than the last.

Thumbing through this book was like reminiscing with an old friend.  The pictures were beautiful, and the recipes reminded me of a glorious summer on Cape Cod. I love the way Catherine has organized the recipes so that the reader learns to think about salads more openly. Each salad has a dressing attached that brilliantly balances the fat and acid with your fresh greens and grains. Additionally, she has a whole section on dressings.

It has been so hot here in L.A. that I made the Couscous Salad with Lemon-Soaked Grilled Chicken for dinner, last week.  It was perfect! Fresh and lemony with just the right amount of smoky grill flavor. My family loves lemon but with a little sweeter undertone than this recipe originally gave. I added a little brown sugar to the “marinade”. I also added a little bit of chopped mint at the end to add some brightness. And by the way, go for the asiago cheese. It has a similar flavor profile to Parmigiano but with an added smokiness.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and it reminds you to spend some time with old friends and even the new treasures.

Couscous Salad with Lemon-Soaked Grilled Chicken
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Adapted from Catherine Walthers Raising the Salad Bar.
Servings
6 main course
Servings
6 main course
Couscous Salad with Lemon-Soaked Grilled Chicken
Print Recipe
Adapted from Catherine Walthers Raising the Salad Bar.
Servings
6 main course
Servings
6 main course
Ingredients
Chicken
Couscous
Servings: main course
Instructions
Chicken
  1. In a large bowl (I use Ziploc bags) toss chicken with garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, lemon juice and reserved rinds.
  2. Let marinade for at least 2 hours in refrigerator, When ready to use remove from marinade and discard marinade and rinds.
  3. Preheat grill to high heat. Grill chicken for 7 minutes first side. Remember to not move chicken to get a nice caramelized crust. Turn chicken over and cook for 5 more minutes.
Couscous
  1. Cook couscous in chicken broth according to package instructions. Test a little early. You want the couscous to be al dente. Remove from heat and drain. Leave some of the liquid (broth) in the pan and immediately add onions. Cook onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add spinach to pan and toss, lightly, over heat. Add olive oil and toss together. Occasionally toss couscous to cool.
  2. When couscous is cooler, add garlic, parsley, lemon juice and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add salt if needed.
  3. To serve, plate spinach then couscous and top with chicken. Sprinkle asiago cheese over top and a sprinkling of more fresh parsley. Garnish with sliced lemons or lemon zest.
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Red Velvet Redux

Growth comes in so many forms and even when you are not looking. Recently, I overheard women talking about red velvet cake, at the farmer’s market. Okay let’s be honest, I was totally eavesdropping. Anyway, one of them was looking for beets because she wanted to make an authentic, old-fashioned red velvet cake.  I said that my recipe was the best (with food coloring) and we started laughing. She asked for my recipe and I quickly said, “It’s on my blog.”.

I was inspired to make my red velvet cake too. I was in the grocery store and wanted to just confirm that I had all the ingredients. I pulled up my blog, on my phone. Wait, what? All the ingredients are carefully listed and then no directions. Ugh! This was one of my first posts with a new recipe template, and I was learning how to input everything. How many of you came here and couldn’t figure out what the heck I was thinking?

So, in the interest of accuracy, I am reposting the red-velvet cake recipe. I’ve included, in the side notes, for making it with beets, instead of food coloring. In this day and age, it is super important to make the healthy choices that feel good for you and your family.  I hope you enjoy this recipe!


Red Velvet Redux
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Red Velvet Redux
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Ingredients
Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings:
Instructions
For Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 2 or 3 cake pans with butter, flour and parchment paper.
  2. Beat shortening, until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, then eggs. Stir in food coloring and vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, salt, and cocoa powder in medium bowl. In another bowl combine buttermilk, vinegar and baking soda. Don't be alarmed, it will bubble.
  4. Alternating with buttermilk mixture, add flour mixture to shortening mixture. Beat Well for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  5. Pour into prepared cake [ans and bake for 25 minutes or until tester comes out, almost, clean.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Beat all ingredients together until fluffy. It is easier to spread while still soft. Refrigerate before serving
Recipe Notes

Okay stay with me here this can get a little complicated. Using the ingredient changes noted, on the side, prepare as follows.:

1- Combine beet puree, buttermilk, vinegar, lemon juice and vanilla in food processor, until smooth.

2- Beat together, until fluffy, shortening and butter. Then add eggs, one at a time.

3- Sift dry ingredients together.

4- Alternating with beet mixture, fold flour mixture into butter mixture until all ingredients are well blended.

5- Pour into prepared pans, as above, and bake at 350° for 20 minutes, until tester comes out, almost, clean.

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Fourth of July Caprese Salads

I’m baaaaaack! I have been feverishly working on my first cookbook, Cake for Breakfast. It’s great and I know you are going to love it.  I thought maybe writing it was the hard part, but now I’m looking for an agent. This is hard. It’s a leap of faith that someone can really see who you are and hear your voice from a flat piece of paper. Once the right agent and I find each other, I will let you know when the book is coming out.

In the meantime, it’s almost July fourth and you’re probably looking for something “theme like” to serve or take to a party. I’m simply arranging a tray in the shape of an American flag using raspberries, white chocolate covered pretzels and a bowl of blueberries.  It’s super easy. Just cover it with some plastic wrap and it’s totally portable.

I know it’s kitschy, but I like the idea of doing a red, white and blue item. This year my head is in a farm to table place, so I started playing with the idea of a spiralized veggie pasta salad. I stumbled on the blue, so I just kept brainstorming. I think I have come up with a great idea… Red, White, and Blue Caprese Salad.

What I love is that you can do a lot of customization on this yourself. I’m doing burrata, tomatoes and a savory blueberry sauce. You could do strawberries, a vanilla meringue, and a sweet blueberry sauce or mix it up with the strawberries and a slice of mozzarella. You’ve got a lot of options.

For serving or taking, just stack them on a platter.  You can drizzle the sauce and then have some extra on the side. You can serve them on crostini or just as the stacks.

Have a safe and tasty Fourth of July!

Fourth of July Caprese Salads
Print Recipe
Servings
8 individuals
Servings
8 individuals
Fourth of July Caprese Salads
Print Recipe
Servings
8 individuals
Servings
8 individuals
Ingredients
Servings: individuals
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil. Cook the shallot until just transparent.
  2. Add the bluberries, vinegar, sugar and thyme. Stir together and add salt & pepper.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Mash the blueberries a little bit when stirring. Let cool.
  4. While the sauce is cooling slice the tomatoes in 1/8" slices. Take the burrata by 2 Tbs. pinches and stack on tomatoes. Sprinkle with a nice finishing salt like fleur de sel or maldon.
  5. Drizzle cooled sauce over stacks. I like to use a white platter.
  6. Serve as is or with toasted crostini. Enjoy!
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