Well Dined

21Aug/162

Vegetarian Beet Burgers

Well Dined | Vegetarian Beet Burgers

A month ago, Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) asked for my help coming up with toppings for these gorgeous beet, quinoa, and black bean burgers. How could I refuse?!  Before I tell you what we decided on, let me tell you about the burgers themselves.

Well Dined | Vegetarian Beet Burgers

The are firm, full of flavor, have great texture, and are a little bit smoky.  Everyone always says this, but they do taste very meaty.  I swear.

Well Dined | Vegetarian Beet Burgers

Veggie burgers rely on many ingredients to make a good product.  They can be notoriously mushy and fall apart.  This recipe seems to hit all the right notes to make a great burger.  Mushrooms, onions, and beets give moisture and flavor; quinoa gives texture; and black beans and ground nuts hold it all together.

14Nov/130

Sea Pearl Pt 2

Earlier this year I wrote about a restaurant called Sea Pearl, mostly in regards to their brunch.  That review was pretty positive.  I've been back a few more times for lunch with more mediocre results.

Well Dined | Sea Pearl

This lobster roll was pretty decent, but not my favorite in the area.  It's very herby, which isn't bad - I just don't prefer it personally.  I would say that Coastal Flats has better.  Also, though the garlic rosemary fries were good, I wasn't a fan of the boring side salad that came with.

Well Dined | Sea Pearl

This burger was pretty good with the caramelized and pickled onions.  But the foie gras was unnecessary.  I can't believe I'm saying that because it was the main reason I ordered the burger, but it just felt like it didn't belong (unlike the stellar version at Mockingbird Bistro in Houston, TX).

Well Dined | Sea Pearl

Lastly, the Hudson Valley roll was a huge flop.  Seared foie gras, raw tuna, and green apple with a balsamic plum wine reduction.  This just didn't work, and the foie had a weird bitter taste.  I noticed it on the burger, too, so however they are cooking their foie here is no good.

I think I'm going to be sticking to brunch for awhile.

26Jul/132

Homemade Veggie Burgers

Well Dined | Homemade Veggie Burgers

Oddly enough, Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) and I both ended up with no plans for the 4th of July this year.  So we decided to go about our weekly vegetarian lunch as usual and, in spirit of the typical holiday food, decided to try making veggie burgers.  Based on her memory of a particularly delicious restaurant version and a couple of online recipes, we came up with our ingredients.

Well Dined | Homemade Veggie Burgers

Mushrooms and lentils were to be the base; with the help of carrots, onion, garlic, and cheddar cheese.

Well Dined | Homemade Veggie Burgers

We seasoned with salt and pepper, thyme, and dry mustard, then bound it together with breadcrumbs and egg.  We saved the "fancy" breadcrumbs (panko) to form a bit of a crust on the outside of the patties.  We learned the hard way that you definitely want to let the mixture chill in the fridge for about 30 min before you form the patties, or you will have a hard time.

22Jul/130

Caprese Stuffed Burgers

Well Dined | Caprese Stuffed Burgers

Hello, Summer!  Juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fresh basil, all stuffed inside a hearty burger - oh yeah, baby!

Well Dined | Caprese Stuffed Burgers

This is a fairly straightforward recipe, the key is in the setup - have all of your ingredients close by and ready to go.  Season your beef however you like (I put bacon in mine!) and form into thin patties; make an indentation in the center.

Well Dined | Caprese Stuffed Burgers

Load up with halved grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella bits, and ribbons of basil.

Well Dined | Caprese Stuffed Burgers

Place another thin patty on top and seal the edges to encase the filling.

Well Dined | Caprese Stuffed Burgers

Then grill as you normally would!

Inspired by Menu Musings of a Modern American Mom

20Dec/120

International Burgers

Just because it's cold outside, doesn't mean you can't still make burgers.  And they don't have to be the standard plain burgers, either.  Here are two recipes that put a bit of a twist on the classic burger.

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First up - a Middle Eastern inspired spiced lamb burger with a creamy yogurt sauce.

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To make the patties, combine bread crumbs, lamb, turkey, onion, an egg, parsley, garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper.  Use a grill pan, griddle, or electric grill to cook the burgers.

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Make a sauce with yogurt, scallions, parsley, mint, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, sugar, and pepper.

Place the burgers inside pitas and stuff with fresh tomatoes and the yogurt sauce.

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For a Southwestern twist, we have Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers with Avocado Mayonnaise.

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To form the burgers, simply combine ground turkey, jarred salsa verde, breadcrumbs, and an egg.  Combine avocado, mayonnaise, and garlic to make a sauce.  Cook the burgers on a griddle (turkey falls apart too much to grill) and top with Pepperjack cheese and the sauce.  If they are in season - green tomatoes are also an excellent topper.

24Aug/120

Summer Seafood

I don't normally cook a lot of seafood other than my usual seared salmon, but in the summer I do get cravings for it.  The reason is unknown - maybe because it is light and refreshing, maybe because I wish I was at the beach.  Either way, I have a couple of light and healthy Summer seafood recipes to share with you.

These shrimp tacos are filled out with a slaw of cabbage, corn, fresh squeezed orange and lime juice, and a dab of sour cream.  A great balance between warm tortillas, hot shrimp fresh out of the pan, and cool, crunchy slaw - they are healthy, filling, and super tasty.

This next recipe combines two superfoods into one awesome meal for Salmon Burgers with Tangy Avocado Sauce.

18Jul/121

4th of July

It's a little late, I know.  But I did some cool things for the holiday that I thought would be worth sharing.

First up, burgers:

I thought that mixing shredded cheddar and diced bacon into the burgers themselves instead of using them as a topping would be pretty tasty, and I was right!  I also added in pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, and paprika (no salt b/c I figured the bacon would be enough).  I didn't really measure, but you can get an idea for the proportions here.

Next up - jello shots!

I am kind of obsessed with jello shots right now.  Not the kind you made in college in the little cups that tasted like Everclear, but the fun, creative, tasty kinds found on Jelly Shot Test Kitchen.  These are solid enough to stand on their own in little cubes (or whatever shape you cut them into).  I haven't gotten too fancy with cutouts and shapes yet, but I am getting pretty good at doing layers.

12Jul/120

Turkey Apple Burgers with Avocado, Tomato, and Corn Salad

Ah, summer - hot weather, cool drinks, fresh produce, grilling.  For me, summer is mostly about air conditioning and trying not to get sunburned; but there are times when I get excited about it - beach trips, BBQ's, long days.  On one of these bouts of enthusiasm I decided that I wanted legit summer food, so here it is.

17Apr/120

Mockingbird Bistro, Houston TX

We recently went on a trip to Houston, TX to attend an alumni event at my alma mater - Rice University.  The trip happened to fall around the time of our 2nd Wedding Anniversary, so we wanted to have a nice dinner in Houston to celebrate.  We chose the Mockingbird Bistro as our location and had a wonderful evening.

We were impressed as soon as we entered by the hostess's greeting: "Are we holding a table for you?"  I thought that it was much more polite than the usual "Do you have a reservation?"  The manager brought us complimentary Cava in honor of our Anniversary, and they also knew our favorite (and hard to find) cocktail, Pisco sour, so we were quite pleased from the beginning.  Once we were seated, we had a chance to look at the decor and layout.  The main room is pretty small and divided into a bar/lounge area and a dining area, but there is another large room (which doubles as wine storage), and stairs to a balcony room (both of which are available for private events).  The style was very cool - hip, old Paris feel with a bit of a gothic edge - I was instantly in love with it.  The cool vibe, old-fashioned cocktails, and stellar wine list (one of the best in the city) makes this a place that I would definitely hang out at - if only I had known about it when I lived there!