CRAVINGS: Homemade Buns for a Burger

Burger, bun, homemade bun, pickle, lunch, green beans
If you are craving a burger, may I highly recommend you bake your own burger buns? Trust me, it's really not that hard. 

After my friend Jazmin brought burger buns for our social distance picnic last month, I thought I should try baking them too.

The recipe from Love & Lemons is ridiculously easy. I used all white flour and was so happy I did not freak out when the dough did not come together immediately. Have faith!

Jazmin told me to only glaze a few buns at a time with the egg wash so that the egg wash doesn't dry out on the piping hot buns, which will stop the toppings from sticking.

Speaking of toppings, why use 1 when you can use 4? From top to bottom: black and white sesame seeds, everything but the bagel, togarashi, and za'atar.

I had two of these and froze the rest sliced in half. Next time I'll do a better job at making the buns more uniform. 

And what about that burger above? I used ground beef, raw red onion, salt, pepper, and a bit of cumin. Mayo on both sides of the bun, plus thinly sliced red onions, and Dubliner cheese. A side of green beans and pickles.
buns, bread, baking, zaatar, rolls


Garlic Lemon Green Beans From Hemsley Hemsley

green beans, garlic, lemon, side dish, vegetables

Last week I received a surprise cookbook in my latest produce order from Washington's Green Grocer! After being a trusted customer for over 6 years, this was such a sweet gesture.

Looking through Hemsley Hemsley cookbook, I immediately flagged a recipe for Garlic Lemon Green Beans and made it over the weekend.

You basically steam the green beans while heating ghee (I used olive oil) with chopped garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice, and fresh parsley. Once the beans are tender, drain and add them to the "bath" and seasons with salt and pepper. Top with parsley. 

I highly recommend doubling the recipe because it's great reheated in a skillet the next day.

cabbage, peaches, cookbook, hemsley hemsley, produce, corn, green beans


Sumac Marinated Tomatoes, Tahini & Pine Nuts Hummus Bowl

I've been dreaming about Sumac Marinated Tomatoes, Tahini & Pine Nuts Hummus Bowl ever since I saw Little Sesame post about it on their instagram. Finally today I ordered it!

They had me at tomatoes ;) The hummus is one of the best I've ever had: smooth, with the perfect amount of tahini, and not screaming of garlic or lemon.

I added a side of crushed cucumbers and am mad at myself for not adding an extra pita to my order.

hummus bowl, pita, cucumber, hummus, lunch, harissa


Meatless Monday: Patty Pan Squash & Corn With Feta Dip

Ready or not, it's another Monday!! If you are swimming in summer corn and squash, I have a super fast and flavorful recipe for you: Patty Pan Squash & Corn with Feta Dip.

Earlier last week I saw Ellie Krieger's instagram post about feta dip: basically feta, yogurt, herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic, and magically happened to have all the necessary ingredients!

I also had a few patty pan squashes and fresh corn, and thought the dip would be awesome on top of patty pan squash and corn pancakes.

But my pancakes UTTERLY fell apart. Such is life sometimes.

Instead, I sauteed everything together: grated patty pan squash, kernels of corn, minced garlic, chopped parsley, a bit of cayenne powder, one egg, a bit of bread crumbs, and salt. 

I then topped this mixture with Ellie's feta dip and extra parsley on top.

This was a lovely lunch and I had leftovers for breakfast with an egg.

If you don't have patty pan squash, use zucchini or summer squash.

BONUS: here's a recipe for summer squash and corn fritters that actually works.  


Beef Meatballs With Zhoug & Patty Pan Squash

If you love meatballs but are tired of the same old recipes, you need to make my Beef Meatballs With Zhoug & Patty Pan Squash.

Earlier this week I wrote about my love of zhoug and shared a recipe for Warm Potato & Crispy Chickpea Tacos With Zhoug.

Today, I'd like to share a recipe for meatballs that uses zhoug as a flavor bomb and patty pan squash to stretch the meat further and to make the meatballs tender.

If you can't find zhoug, use pesto. If you can't find patty pan squash, use regular summer squash or zucchini or even carrots or onions!

Beef Meatballs With Zhoug & Patty Pan Squash
Makes 17 meatballs

1 pound ground beef (I used 80/20)
1/4 cup zhoug
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup grated patty pan squash loosely packed
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. 
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients until well mixed.
4. Using a scoop, make 17 meatballs and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet with space in between.
5. Bake the meatballs for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165.
6. Turn the broiler on and move the oven rack to a higher position and broil the meatballs for about 5 minutes or until they are golden brown.

These were so flavorful and tender! They reheat well and can also be frozen.

To serve, I made a simple salad of chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, and cilantro.


Warm Potato & Crispy Chickpea Tacos with Feta & Zhoug

It's Taco Tuesday! Not that I need a reason or an excuse to make tacos. These Warm Potato & Crispy Chickpea Tacos with Feta & Zhoug were inspired by a container of zhoug I picked up at Trader Joe's yesterday:

"Zhoug (pronounced ZOOg) likely originated in Yemen, and is now popular throughout the Middle East. It’s a cilantro-based sauce/condiment that’s been likened to “Middle Eastern pesto,” but we think that description shortchanges the originality of this spicy, fragrant, fabulously flavorful culinary creation.
It’s a sauce that’s taking the internet by storm – from food blogs to social media feeds, Zhoug is having its moment in the digital sun. And it's about to have its moment in our stores!
Trader Joe’s Zhoug Sauce comes to us from a California vendor well-versed in the art and science of Middle Eastern foods. Here, they’ve put together a very straightforward collection of ingredients – cilantro, canola oil, jalapeƱo peppers, chile flakes, garlic, cardamom, sea salt, and cumin seeds – to create a sauce/dip/spread/condiment that bursts with vibrant flavor and color."
I've used zhoug as salad dressing, mixed with mayo for sandwiches, as an added flavor in cooked lentils, etc. 
Warm Potato & Crispy Chickpea Tacos with Feta & Zhoug
corn tortillas, heated on direct flame, until blustered
red potatoes, cubed, cooked until tender in salted water, kept warm
olive oil
cooked chickpeas
feta, crumbled
kalamata olives, pitted, chopped
avocado, diced
lime juice
1. Heat olive oil in a skillet, add chickpeas and saute until crispy. Add arugula and saute until it wilts.
2. Place warm potatoes on the bottom of corn tortillas and top with the chickpea/arugula mixture, crumbled feta, olives, and diced avocado. Season with salt.
3. Spoon zhoug sauce over tacos and add a bit of lime juice. 


Crystallized Ginger, Dried Cherries & Tangerine Zest Buttermilk Scones

What can you do with crystallized ginger? That's the question my friend Sylvie asked me when we hung out this past Monday. SCONES was my answer.

Alas, her daughter did not feel like baking scones, so we made friendship bracelets, went on a walk to see turtles, had a dance party, watched episodes of Bluey, and made lasagna.

But the idea of scones lingered in my mind. I found a recipe for basic buttermilk scones on Wild Wild Whisk blog and added chopped crystallized ginger, dried cherries, and zest from 3 tiny tangerines.

The recipe could not be easier to follow. I wish I would have refrigerated the dough before cutting it into scones and also that I would have made them smaller. The scones turned out the size of my head (maybe a slight exaggeration!), and I'm planning on cutting them in half and freezing most of them.

These are slightly sweet with great crumbly texture, and a great flavor coming from the add ins. I'm looking forward to eating one of them Saturday morning with iced tea!


No-Knead Sandwich Bread & Ricotta Toasts

I've been baking no-knead bread for years, but this is the first time I baked it in a loaf pan instead of a large Dutch oven. This happened because my twin sister told me she found a recipe for no-knead sandwich bread and was going to bake it. After she did so successfully, I decided to make a loaf as well.

This recipe was even easier than the one I typically use. AND it comes from my friend Carey!

First, I combined all the ingredients (I halved the recipe) in a bowl with a wooden spoon: no need for a stand mixer.

Second, although the recipe requires the dough to rise for 5 hours, that's not really a negative. I have plenty of time. The dough bubbled up amazingly well.

Third, you can then put the dough into the refrigerator for days!!! This develops the flavors and gives you a bit of a breather.

The final product was lovely: salty, slightly yeasty, with soft texture. I liked the bread both as is dipped in olive oil, and also toasted. 

It's also awesome as toast! I slathered both slices with home made ricotta from my friend Sylvie, and topped one with tomatoes, basil, and salt, and the other with grapes and chocolate halva.

This recipe will definitely go into rotation.


Weekend Inspirations: Farmgirl Flowers

When it's another weekend at home, you may as well spend it with gorgeous flowers. Super grateful to my friend Jenny for sending these beauties to me after I told her about one of my emotional meltdowns. 

What are your plans for this 4th of July weekend? I'm going to continue sewing masks, writing VOTE post cards, and exercising.

Special projects will include dusting, laundry, perhaps baking bread, and maybe food takeout or delivery!


Pistachio Gelato with Chocolate Halva and Cherries

Hi, there Monday. How I've not missed you. Luckily, I have a scoop of delicious Pistachio Gelato with Chocolate Halva and Cherries in the freezer to brighten my mood.

This dessert was inspired by a chocolate halva my friends at Hebel & Co sent me a few weeks ago.

Originally, I thought about mixing chunks of halva into vanilla ice cream, but Whole Foods was out of their 365 brand, and I just did not feel like paying $6 for ice cream. And so I picked up a small container of pistachio gelato instead!

This impressive looking, and more importantly, delicious dessert could not be easier to put together. It bursts with color, texture, and flavor and is easily made days in advance.

Pistachio Gelato with Chocolate Halva and Cherries

1 pint pistachio gelato, softened for 20 minutes in the refrigerator
4 ounces chocolate halva, cut into large pieces, or crumbled
12 cherries, pitted, and chopped
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

In a large bowl, mix together gelato, halva, and cherries. Be careful not to smash the ingredients together: you still want to see the chunks of halva and pieces of cherries.

Freeze the mixture overnight.

Serve topped with dark chocolate.

That's all!

Because you've added several ingredients to the gelato, the final mixture will not fit into its original container: snack on the remainder :)

Disclosure: I received a sample of halva free of charge and was not paid for this post. All opinions are my own.