September 13, 2004

Black Bean Burgers (NOT veggie burgers)

I am guessing the exact amounts here so you'll have to improvise:

1 onion (vidalia or red, whichever you like), chopped
1 large poblano pepper, chopped
1-3 cloves garlic (depends how garlicky you want it), chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat olive oil in 10" frying pan. Sautee onions in medium heat until soft. Add pepper and garlic and sautee until they brown a little. Remove from pan and let cool.

1/3-1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (DO NOT use the crap you buy on a cardboard container, you're gonna eat this stuff!)
1.5-2 lb ground beef (I use 93% which is really too low in fat so I recommend using 85% if you don't care about fat or adding some olive oil if you want those monosaturated fats instead ;))
1/2-3/4 cup canned black beans (I use Goya), drained
1 egg
caramelized onion/pepper/garlic blend from above
1 tsp ground cumin
bunch cilantro, chopped (1/3 cup, maybe?)
1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl by hand or using the paddle attachment in your mixer. Mix until it just comes together. Don't overmix!

Form into flat patties of your favorite size and stack between double layers of wax paper (a single layer between patties will make it impossible to separate if frozen). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to develop flavors. Use of freeze for later use.

September 10, 2004

Japanese Mustard Pickled Eggplant
3 or 4 small Japanese or Italian eggplants
1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
3 tablespoons shoyu
3 tablespoons mirin or a dry sherry
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon accent or ajinomoto (optional)

Slice the eggplants crosswise ito 1/8-inch slices and salt, allowing to
for a couple of hours. Rinse and squeeze gently and allow to drain.

Mix the other ingredients together and add the drained eggplant and
allow to
marinate for several hours, mixing occasionally.

Pickled Cauliflower

Bring ½ cup vinegar (white wine) to boil with: 1 tablespoon sugar; 1
pinch salt; 12 fenugreek seeds; 12 coriander seeds; 1 stalk of fresh
tarragon. After boiling, set aside and allow to cool.
Cut the small florets from one head of cauliflower. Toss with a large
handful of kosher or sea salt and allow to rest in a colander or sieve
to drain (place colander in bowl to catch excess water). After some
time (15 minutes - 1.5 hours) rinse very well and allow to drain once
more. Toss together with strained vinegar.

From Chez Sophie Bistro.

September 8, 2004

Tomatoes and Burgundy

September is the best month for local tomatoes. Do yourself a favor and roast as many as you can - right now!

The process is easy and you'll find that after roasting, the acid softens and the flesh becomes sweeter. Once roasted, use them to make these sauces, all of which pair beautifully with the wines of Burgundy. (Pop the remainder into a ziplock baggie and freeze)

Roasted Tomatoes

Line a cookie sheet (with sides) with aluminum foil.
Spread with olive oil to cover.
Cut tomatoes in half (lengthwise for Roma tomatoes, crosswise for Beefsteak)
Place cut side down on foiled, oiled pan.
Roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until skin is blistered and slightly charred.
Cool and remove skin.

Base for Sauces

Start by sauteeing chopped shallots in olive oil until lightly browned.
Add tomatoes and simmer (adding water if necessary) until they can be crushed easily with a wooden spoon.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Burgundy and Tomato Based Sauces

To serve with:

Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc
Add fresh lemon thyme to simmering tomatoes.
Finish with grated lemon zest and a dash of lemon oil.
Serve with striped or black sea bass.

Add cream and some Dijon mustard. Reduce until thickened.
Add shrimp. Simmer until shrimp turn pink.
Finish with chopped chives and parsley.

Brown quartered mushrooms with shallots.
Continue with tomatoes, add veal stock and reduce.
Finish with fresh basil.
Serve with veal.

Add chopped fresh rosemary and garlic to shallots.
Deglaze with wine.
Continue with tomatoes, add veal stock, reduce.
Serve with lamb

Copyright 1998-2004 The Burgundy Wine Company Ltd.

September 1, 2004

The Best Baba Ghanoush

Scorching eggplant on the grill produces a smoky, creamy dish far superior to the wan, tasteless fare that is the bane of many dinner parties.

Baba ghanoush often appears on the appetizer table as a gray, bitter, watery, mass of eggplant puree.

A dip that has realized it's potential—full of redolent, smoky eggplant flavor and brightened with garlic and lemon juice.

For the best flavor, purchase firm, shiny, and unblemished eggplants. To achieve a deep smoky flavor, grill the eggplants directly over a hot charcoal fire until wrinkled and soft. To avoid watery texture and any bitterness, drain the flesh of excess fluid, process with enhancing ingredients, and serve with a light chill.


Makes 2 cups

When buying eggplant, select those with shiny, taut, and unbruised skins and an even shape (eggplant with a bulbous shape won’t cook evenly). We prefer to serve baba ghanoush only lightly chilled. If yours is cold, let it stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. Baba ghanoush does not keep well, so plan to make it the day you want to serve it. Pita bread, black olives, tomato wedges, and cucumber slices are nice accompaniments.

  • 2 pounds eggplant (about 2 large globe eggplants, 5 medium Italian eggplants,
    or 12 medium Japanese eggplants), each eggplant poked uniformly over entire
    surface with fork to prevent it from bursting
  • 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  1. Ignite about 6 quarts (1 large chimney, or 6 pounds) charcoal briquettes and burn until completely covered with thin coating of light gray ash, 20 to 30 minutes. Spread coals evenly over grill bottom, then spread additional 6 quarts unlit briquettes over lit coals. Position grill rack and heat until very hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grill grate for only 2 seconds), about 20 minutes.
  2. Following illustration 1, "Preparing The Eggplant," below, set eggplants on grill rack. Grill until skins darken and wrinkle on all sides and eggplants are uniformly soft when pressed with tongs (illustration 2, "Preparing The Eggplant," below), about 25 minutes for large globe eggplants, 20 minutes for Italian eggplants, and 15 minutes for Japanese eggplants, turning every 5 minutes and reversing direction
    of eggplants on grill with each turn. Transfer eggplants to rimmed baking sheet and cool 5 minutes.
  3. Set small colander over bowl or in sink. Trim top and bottom off each eggplant. Following illustration 3, "Preparing The Eggplant," below, slit eggplants lengthwise and use spoon to scoop hot pulp from skins and place pulp in colander (you should have about 2 cups packed pulp); discard skins. Let pulp drain 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer pulp to workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini,
    1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; process until mixture has coarse, choppy texture, about eight 1-second pulses. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; transfer to serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap flush with surface of dip, and refrigerate 45 to 60 minutes. To serve, use spoon to make trough in center of dip and spoon olive oil into it; sprinkle with parsley and serve.


Turn all burners on gas grill to high, close lid, and heat grill until hot, 10 to 15 minutes. Follow recipe for Baba Ghanoush, Charcoal-Grill Method, from step 2.


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil, set eggplants on baking sheet and roast, turning every 15 minutes, until eggplants are uniformly soft when pressed with tongs, about 60 minutes for large globe eggplants, 50 minutes for Italian eggplants, and 40 minutes for Japanese eggplants. Cool eggplants on baking sheet 5 minutes, then follow recipe for Baba Ghanoush, Charcoal-Grill Method, from step 3.


Sautéed onion gives the baba ghanoush a sweet, rich flavor.

Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in small skillet over low heat until shimmering; add 1 small onion, chopped fine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Follow recipe for Baba Ghanoush, Charcoal-Grill, Gas-Grill, or Oven Method, stirring onion into dip after processing.


Replacing the sesame paste with mayonnaise makes this baba ghanoush pleasantly light and brings out the smoky flavor of charcoal-grilled eggplant.

Follow recipe for Baba Ghanoush, Charcoal-Grill, Gas-Grill, or Oven Method, substituting an equal amount of mayonnaise for tahini.

Copyright Cooks Illustrated