Sunday, October 16, 2011

So many recipes! Plus the Farmers' Market

Lazy Sunday for Scout

Today, Terry helped me come up with the name for the blog: A Better Life...with Burgers. I was struggling with a name, so Terry helped me brainstorm my favorite foods to eat and cook, and here we are! What do you think of it?

Today came with plenty of new recipes, two farmers' market trips, and a few Halloween decorations. We love to keep our weekends busy, though at the end we find ourselves wishing we had relaxed a bit more. Still, we felt productive today, and I'm excited to share some new recipes with you.

As I mentioned in my first post, Terry and I try to cook a new recipe every Sunday. Today, we finished by 10 am! Breakfast was inspired entirely by the spinach-feta bread we bought yesterday. This bread is so delicious that we both wanted to enjoy some for breakfast, but I like to make something a little more exciting on Sunday mornings. So today I scrounged up some fresh spinach in the fridge and pulled a block of feta out of the freezer to make spinach-feta scrambled eggs!

Spinach-Feta Scrambled Eggs
Serves 2
Sunday mornings make me hungry.
  • 1 1/2 C. fresh spinach
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Spinach-feta bread from Great Harvest (optional, but delicious!)
In an omelet pan, cook down the spinach over medium heat until it's wilted. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and milk together. Remove the spinach from the pan and spray the pan with cooking spray (butter is fine, if you prefer). Reduce the heat to medium and pour the egg mixture into the pan. Add the spinach again and scrape the bottom of the pan continuously with a rubber spatula. Add the feta and continue scraping until the eggs are done to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste, toast up the bread, and serve hot.

After breakfast we headed out to two farmers' markets near our apartment. The first we went to is only three blocks away, so we grabbed our bags and walked down to check out the goods. It was bigger than we expected, but the variety was lacking. We only bought a few items that look decent and then headed back to our place so we could drive up to the other nearby market. This one is huge and apparently the place to be for celebrities, according to my mom, but we've never seen anyone. But the selection was excellent, and we planned out our recipes for the week after seeing all our options for vegetables. There was even a local, grass-fed beef distributor!

The sign didn't lie.

Delicious greens!

Some funky peppers Terry found. Maybe next week...

Our second new recipe of the day is actually a new food for me. In our CSA box, we received a delicata squash. Have you ever had it? I had to do some research and learn a little about how to cook it. After studying a few recipes through Eating Well, I created what I hoped would be a yummy side dish for our Caprese burgers.

Dinner tonight: Caprese burgers, Delicata squash with walnuts and pears, and grilled asparagus.

Close-up of the caprese burger. Yum.

Delicata Squash with Pears and Walnuts
  • 1 large delicata squash (other winter squash varieties will likely do)
  • 2 pears, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 C. chopped walnuts
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. (The seeds remind me of pumpkin seeds - are they similar?) Then slice the halves crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Then mix all ingredients in a large bowl or simply mix everything on the baking sheet. Throw it all in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Serve warm.

This recipe came out deliciously! The tender squash and sweet pears mixed wonderfully with the crunchy walnuts, and the sweetness of the maple syrup balanced perfectly with the chili powder. Normally with a recipe like this one I might have used cinnamon instead of chili powder, which would have been fine I'm sure, but I'm glad Eating Well gave me the idea for something different. It made the recipe far more dynamic and delicious.

Our last new recipe tonight, caprese burgers, was not a new one but certainly is a favorite. And given that this blog has "burgers" in its title, I promise to provide many varieties of burger ideas!

Caprese Burgers
Serves 4
  • 4 slices whole-wheat sourdough bread, halved
  • 1 lb. ground meat (we have used turkey or beef, but lamb would also be yummy)
  • 4 oz. freshly sliced mozzarella
  • 1 medium tomato (we used heirloom)
  • Freshly chopped basil
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar
Heat the olive oil in a grill pan over medium-high heat. Mix the meat, pepper, and salt in a small bowl and form into patties, then add to the grill pan. Cook for 4 minutes on each side (more for well-done). Meanwhile, toast the bread, slice the tomatoes and mozzarella, and chop the basil. When the burgers are almost done, top with the mozzarella and cover with foil to melt the cheese a little. To assemble, stack the patty, cheese, tomato, and basil, then pour the balsamic over the toppings before adding the top bread. The flavors come together just like a caprese salad!

And for dessert...Mom's famous chocolate chip cookies! This recipe deserves its own post, not just for the deliciousness but also for the memories I have with my mom, our big brown bowl, and the smell of chocolate chips melting in the oven. Right now, we're off to enjoy the end of Invictus (which is, so far, a tremendous movie!) and a few of these chocolate-chip delights. Here goes another big week!

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