Sunday, May 27, 2012

Love is in the Air

Ah, love is in the air here in Jersey.

Besides all the kitty love we got going on....

Yes, that is our cats, arm and arm.
...there's another kind of love in this apartment. A sweet love that only grows stronger with each passing day. A love that, I am certain, will last a lifetime.

That would be the love of my new kitchen! It. Is. Awesome.

I always knew that Jerry had a superior kitchen to my large but limited kitchen back in Astoria. For starters, his has a dishwasher! A dishwasher! I've never actually owned a dishwasher before! Plus, there is a lot of nice counter space and a set-up for an easy work flow. I can wash something in the sink, chop it on my cutting board, and drop it in the frying pan all without moving more then two steps to the left or right.

Since moving in, it feels like I have been non-stop in the kitchen. Having a dishwasher is certainly encouragement to cook more! A combined pantry of two fat kids doesn't hurt either!

Inspired by the love of my new kitchen, I thought I'd share a few more things with you that I'm currently obsessing over. Don't worry, there's a recipe at the end of this post. 
From L to R: Parchment paper, PB2 Peanut Flour, Smoked Paprika,
Golden Roasted Flax Seeds, Pressure Cooker
  1. Smoked paprika - Have you ever used this before? Because if you haven't, you need to go out and buy some this instant! Really. Go now. I can wait.
  2. PB2 Peanut Flour - For someone like me, who eats spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar, this product is awesome! It has 85% less fat then regular peanut butter but still adds great PB flavor to many dishes. I'm diggin' it.
  3. Trader Joe's Golden Roasted Flax Seed -  So good. Just opening the package, you can immediately smell what makes them so good. I've been using these bad boys in everything from granola to salads. 
  4. Parchment paper - I've been using parchment paper like crazy, mostly for all my baking.
  5. Pressure Cooker - It's taken me a while to start using my pressure cooker, but now, I'm addicted. In household where we literally have 25 pounds of grain dominating our cabinet space, it's definitely coming in handy. 
My last obsession is of the food blog variety. Oh She Glows is a healthy vegan blog with really awesome recipes. Even though I'm not vegan, I like to pretend I am. Despite my affinity for diary and the occasional plate of BBQ, I eat a mostly plant- and grain-based diet in my day-to-day life. Angela's blog actually makes me consider turning full vegan. She makes it look that good and easy. 

So easy, in fact, I made an adapted version of her "Perfect Veggie Burger," non-vegan style.

Nutty Veggie Burger
Makes 7 to 8 burgers

½ c onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 eggs
1 c oats, processed into flour
1 ½ bread crumbs (I processed 3 pieces of TJ’s sprouted grain bread until fine crumb)
1 c grated carrots
1 c cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and roughly pureed
½ c sunflower seeds
½ c golden flax seeds
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350.  
2. Process each ingredient separately in a food processor, adding each ingredient into a large mixing bowl as you go, stopping at the sunflower seeds. Those don’t go through the food processor.
3. Mix all of the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
4. With slightly wet hands, shape dough into patties. Pack dough tightly as this will help it stick together. 5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 mins (15-17 minutes on each side) until golden and crisp.

For alternate cooking methods, you can pan-fry or place on the grill. For grilling, pre-bake the burgers for about 15 minutes in oven before placing on a pre-heated grill until golden and crisp on each side. These would be great to feed a vegetarian for a Memorial Day BBQ.

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