Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers

These veggie burgers didn't quite come out the way I wanted them to. Taste got a 10. Texture got a 3. Something went wrong somewhere (I have a few ideas), or it's one of those recipes you have to fiddle around with. But again, as far as taste goes, these knocked it out of the park so I feel they are worth another try.

To make up for them being less than stellar, I'm including a brussel sprout-and-radish slaw that I shamelessly stole/copied from Mezon in Danbury, where we went with friends the other night for Tapas. I just made a little, thinking that only Jeeps and I would eat it.  But go figure, Panda kept dipping her spoon in and so did her friend who was over for dinner. These dang kids, you can never figure their tastes out.

Go Figure Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers

  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (I think I screwed up here because instead of measuring 3 cups of raw, cubed sweet potato and then steaming that amount, I measured 3 cups of steamed mashed sweet potato)
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I didn’t screw up here; cook the quinoa first, then measure 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Heaping 1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour, or finely ground rolled oats, or almond flour (I had none of these things but I did have almond meal.  Maybe it contributed to the mushy texture, maybe it didn’t)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce

Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil on the stove.  Add the sweet potatoes and lower the heat to simmering.  Let the potatoes cook for about 20-30 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.  (You can also steam the potatoes in the microwave.)

While your potatoes are cooling preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or non stick foil.

Once your potatoes have cooled use a fork to mash them.  You want them mashed but not creamy.

In a large mixing bowl add half of the black beans and mash them with a fork.

Add the rest of the beans and the remaining ingredients.  Stir until just combined.  Form the mixture into 10 balls.  Each burger should be about 1/2″ thick.  Place each patty on your prepared baking sheet and place in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping the burgers over once halfway through baking.

Remove from the oven and serve.

I made the slaw by running 8 brussels sprouts and 4 radishes through the shredding disk on the food processor. Then I dressed it with lime juice, mayonnaise, and chopped cilantro. Raw brussies are bitter, so after combining all that, I started adding squeezes of honey and tasting until it was the perfect blend of sweet and sour. You'll know when you get it right.

Truffled Brussels Sprouts

Sprout haters, I am never giving up! I will have my way with you! You will come to love the sprouts!

Couple weeks ago we met friends at Croton Creek which is the greatest little steakhouse, right here in Croton Falls. They have this amazing salad of tomatoes, golden beets, arugula and gorgonzola cheese: I've tried to replicate it at home many times and it comes out OK, but never as good as the restaurant, naturally.  

CC also does the best skirt steak, which I always get with horseradish cream sauce and grilled asparagus.  

On this particular night, Jeeps ordered a side of the truffled brussels sprouts and holy cow, how have I missed these for all this time?! They were AMAZING.

I wanted to try recreating those, but that meant procuring either truffles, or truffle oil. DeCicco's came up trumps with the oil, but let me warn you, I don't know what truffles are fetching in your neck of the woods but this little 8.45 oz bottle was $16.00. It's right up there with vanilla beans and saffron threads. Guard it well. And if you are one of my local followers, I will lend you some. 

I found a recipe that seemed to match up with what I remembered of Croton Creek's version.  I couldn't roast the sprouts because the oven was occupied by a chicken at the time, so I decided to pan-sear them in my cast iron skillet.  While not as rapturously good as the ones at Croton Creek, they certainly didn't suck.

Truffled Brussels Sprouts à la Croton Creek

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved
  • 1 clove garlic, minced fine
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsps truffle oil
  • Olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange sprouts cut-side down in the skillet and leave them there until caramelized golden-brown. Sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper, toss well in the skillet, cover, and lower heat.

Cook on stovetop, shaking pan occasionally, until sprouts are tender. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, stir to coat, cover and let sit another 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, slide sprouts into serving bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and truffle oil, toss to combine. Serve immediately.  

Be converted.

Brussels Sprouts: a last stand.

I got this recipe out of Prevention magazine years ago, in one of those shaming articles called something like "10 Super Foods You Need to Eat More Of Right Now or Die." In addition to the fear-mongering title, this particular recipe was hard to ignore because it called for butter and maple syrup.

Butter and maple syrup?

"Yes," admitted the article, "we admit butter and maple syrup are hardly comme il faut for Prevention magazine." (OK, I may be paraphrasing here but it was over a decade ago.) "However," they went on, "we will do whatever it takes to get you to eat Brussels Sprouts." 

(Trust me, the tone of the article was very funny).

I made them. They were knock-you-on-your butt amazing. I now make them by rote and can't remember the exact proportions of the Prevention recipe. So I searched around and found Mrs. Stewart's very-similar version.

I really must insist that you try them this way. If you don't like them, I will never bother you again about Brussels Sprouts. I will just, in the silence of my heart, feel very sorry for you.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange-Maple-Butter Sauce

  • 2 pounds small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt. Arrange in an even layer on prepared baking sheet, cut side down.

Transfer to oven and roast until brown and tender, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, mix together vinegar, maple syrup, orange juice, and orange zest over medium heat until heated through but not simmering. Remove from heat and whisk in cold butter, a few pieces at a time, until smooth and creamy. Pour vinegar mixture over Brussels sprouts and gently stir until liquid is absorbed and mixture is well combined. Serve immediately.


Brussels Sprouts (Abandon all hope, ye who enter here)

For those of you who hate Brussels sprouts with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, I am not going to try to sell you on them. I realize this is a loathing that is deep and instinctive and I thoroughly respect your right to eschew these small cabbages. Go in peace. (Wuss-bags)

Sorry. For those of you who love the Brussies, welcome. For those of you who are not crazy about them but suspect you could like them if prepared in some palatable way, I hope you'll stick around.

I have one surefire recipe for "Conversion Sprouts" that has won over many doubters but I'm not going to unveil that just yet. Instead let's talk about roasting sprouts. Brussels have a strong and bitter bite which I think is the reason most people are averse to them. Roasting, however, caramelizes them and gives a sweeter edge.

They are simple to prepare: slice the end off, halve the sprouts, toss with olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roastez-vous.

Brussies cozy up nicely to other vegetables. Tonight I paired them up with small yellow potatoes and onions to go alongside the skirt steak.

I roasted them at 400 for about 25 minutes, shaking the tray a few times. All the little loose leaves that fell off the the sprouts got all crisped up like chips and they were great together with the roasted onions. A terrific addition to this dish would be red grapes. Roasting vegetables with red grapes is something Stacey turned me on to and I highly recommend trying it, click here for details.