Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Houston's Veggie Burgers

I swear I never intended to orphan the blog...and yet...So, here we go with renewed vigor!

One of the best veggie burgers I've ever had is at Houston's (unless you're in Newport Beach, where it's Gulf Stream, and in NY where it's been renamed Hillstone--they're all the same company). It's black beans, something else yummy and just a little zing.

I found this recipe online, and it worked out pretty well. Then I read this article and figured out what would make it even better. So, I follow the recipe with the following modifications:
  • I brown the onions
  • I up the oat bran to 1/4 cup as one of the comments recommends
  • I add 3 chopped prunes to the whole mix before the egg
A couple of tips:

  • Start the rice very first thing (unless you have enough leftover in your fridge). I often forget & then the mix sits for 20 minutes while the rice finishes. In my experience, if you get the rice going and then start assembling/chopping, it's finished right after you've gotten everything else done.
  • I use a spoon to mash the beans. It's because I don't have a dishwasher and don't want to have to clean the food processor. By the time I'd get it out of its tucked away corner of the cabinet, put it together, process the stuff and clean it, I could have mashed them with a big spoon and worked out my triceps.
  • I find the beets and jalapenos to be problematic--neither is an ingredient I really use anywhere else, and it's wasteful to me to buy a whole can of beets for 1 T. So, I've made beet & jalapeno ice cubes (not together, though next time...): Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap (neatly...if you can...) and pre-measure your chopped stuff in it. Freeze it up & then thaw what you need batch by batch. If you're not neat with the plastic wrap, the creases will freeze into the cubes & you'll have to let them thaw on their own (instead of microwaving) to make sure you don't accidentally mix some plastic into your burgers.
  • I make 6 burgers from this recipe, even though it says 4. It's a perfectly satisfying size, and the recipe goes a lot further. To make sure they are similarly sized, I flatten the mix in the bowl & score it.
  • The barbecue/honey mixture is the key to a nice crusty outside to the burgers. Don't be skimpy (in fact, I often end up making a little bit more so there's enough to go around). On that note, make sure your griddle/grill is HOT, otherwise the burgers won't get firm enough to flip without disintegrating.
  • If you're vegan, you could probably do without the egg, I'm just not sure if it would impact the binding of the burgers. They are a little delicate if you don't let them cook long enough.
  • I love these sandwich thin buns. Lots of different companies make them--we get ours at Trader Joe's. About 100 calories, and just enough to hold the burger together.
Dress it any way you like (pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, ketchup, mayo, whatever strikes your fancy) and enjoy!
With kale chips...recipe coming soon!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I know summer is dying down, but this is a great recipe, and easy to make. Do a quick batch now, and save it for next summer when the pineapples are back in season.

The original recipe is from Martha Stewart. Because my spice shelf is crowded, I don't have things I won't use often, so no cloves for me. It's delicious all the same.

A couple of apartment hints for this recipe:
  • Wash the pineapple first. 
  • You can twist off the green stuff at the top & then whatever you won't eat gets put in the pitcher.
  • Sometimes my pineapple has mold in the bottom. It happens. I just cut around it.
  • I freeze my ginger, so it doesn't spoil in the fridge. I use the microwave to defrost it just enough to grate.
  • I know everyone says you should move the grater over the food. I don't do that. I hold the grater steady on the container where the food goes & move the food. It just feels more secure.
  • You know the trick to use a teaspoon to peel the fresh ginger, right?
  • I dissolve the sugar in 2 cups of water in my Pyrex measuring cup. I've found if you just toss it all in the pitcher, the sugar doesn't dissolve as well
  • You can add what you like to this recipe: I've made pineapple lemonade by adding lemon juice (because I had a bunch of bald lemons from zesting for another recipe). It's delish.
  • When I strain it, I use 2 measuring cups to hold the finished product while I wash the pitcher. This works great especially because I only have a tiny strainer.
After I've made the pineappleade, I like to mix it with sparkling water (1/3 pineappleade, 2/3 sparkling water).

It also makes a great cocktail with tequila. That recipe is: 2 shots pineappleade, 1 shot fresh lime juice, 1 shot tequila, 1 shot triple sec. Shake it with some ice, pour into a glass with fresh ice & garnish with some lemon or lime.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Welcome to 7 by 9!

For months I've been talking about creating a site where I explore how to live well in an apartment. What does that mean?
  • There are no fancy gadgets. I just don't have room to store them, so if it's not a workhorse (with a few exceptions), I won't have it.
  • I don't have a ton of money to burn on ingredients or supplies.
  • I like to try new recipes and make great food, but I don't honestly have an appetite to be overly precious about it.
  • Sometimes I'll venture out of the kitchen. We have a whole apartment after all, and we like for it to be a nice, cozy, arty place.

So, stay tuned, and I hope you enjoy the journey!