This weekend I had the immense pleasure of escaping to NYC for my friend Stephanie’s baby shower for two glorious nights and three full days. From sunning on their rooftop deck in Hoboken overlooking the musky Manhattan skyline, to prancing around Times Square searching for overpriced NYPD-themed stuffed animals for my boys back home, to spending $11 on the smallest glass of wine in the world during intermission at the powerful performance of “All The Way” at the Niel Simon Theatre, I loved every minute of the energy, power, and thrill of the big city. But more importantly, I loved being present to welcome my friends into the wonderful world of parenthood … and to wish them luck with her 5-floor walk-up.
On Saturday evening we had a little BBQ and I experimented with a new recipe for black bean burgers from Skinny Taste which featured a kind of pureed salsa in the base. I have always struggled with keeping black bean burgers from falling apart, and after a little research I learned that freezing the patties for 2 hours prior to cooking actually keeps them intact. So I had to impart this little nugget of knowledge on my blog! Not sure Frank Sinatra would approve of these Hoboken Black Bean Burgers, but I sure do.
HOBOKEN BLACK BEAN BURGERS
16 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped scallions
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 jumbo egg
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 cup quick oats
In a medium bowl, mash beans with a fork until thick and pasty. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, cilantro, onion, and garlic. Mix in add oats, eggs and spices. Then stir into mashed beans. Divide mixture into four patties and place them onto a flat surface covered with wax paper. I did add a few tablespoons additional oats to help keep the mixture firm. Freeze at least 2 hours before cooking or keep frozen until ready to cook. Bake at 375 degrees or pan fry 7 minutes per side. I served with a nice dollop of guacamole.
Once a year we get professional family photos taken so that we can have photos of my kids with pants ON and me wearing make-up. Inevitably the day starts with screaming, bribes of lollipops, white truths about going to a “play date” and hurriedly packing dry snacks that can’t ruin the clothes that I painstakingly scoured at Target to find that match in size 3T and 12 months. I get exactly 3 minutes to apply makeup and tell my husband to tuck in his shirt, and then I pack a bag of back-up clothes in case things go horribly wrong. Upon arrival, the kids promptly run rampant and immediately need snacks. We gather them up in arms, and after each group photo the photographer probes “Do ALL of you need to be looking at the camera?” Yes. Snap. “OK, but do ALL of you need to be smiling???” Thanks to the magic of Renee Gooch and Gooch Too Photography in Chicago, none of these behind the scene shenanigans affect the staggering images that are produced. It’s too easy to forget as parents to take pictures of yourselves WITH your kids, and not just a million photos OF your kids.
So why not share a messy recipe to pair with the clinically clean beauty of the photography studio?! This week I made vegan BBQ Lentil Mushroom Quinoa Burgers, once again found on Veg Kitchen with Nava Atlas. Served on a whole-grain bun, these make for a healthy lunch and actually hold together better the day AFTER you make them.
BBQ LENTIL MUSHROOM QUINOA BURGERS
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
2/3 cup quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons grilling seasonings
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425º F. Heat the oil in a medium skillet and sauté garlic and onion over medium heat until translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute another 4 minutes or until wilted, then transfer the mixture to a food processor, followed by the cooked lentils. Pulse on and off until the mixture is finely chopped, but not pureed.
In a large mixing bowl combing the remaining ingredients, then add the food processor mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Line a baking sheet with a reusable liner or parchment paper. Use 1/2-cup measuring cup to make a level scoop of the mixture then invert onto the baking pan, and then flatten into a 1/2-inch patty with the bottom of the measuring cup. Repeat with the remaining mixture. This should make 8 – 10 burgers. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip each burger, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.