Last week, I found myself suddenly craving outdoor barbeque food. I guess it's because we have the Fourth of July coming up soon, and all over the place I am seeing recipes for burgers and salads. Still, I have been cooking so many meat-free dishes lately, I thought it would be fun to make an entire picnic-style meal without any meat involved. Plus, I had just found out that Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook included a recipe for a supposedly delicious veggie burger, and I was just intrigued enough to want to test it out.
I first made a Malt Vinegar Potato Salad to go along with my meal. I just love that special tang that malt vinegar has; it's the perfect pairing with those soft potatoes. It reminds me of summer evenings on the boardwalk in New Jersey when I was growing up. My mom would order a huge bucket of fresh-cut french fries, and we would eat the fries dipped in malt vinegar. Huge yum! In fact, it has been way too long since I've been to the Jersey Shore; now I'm craving boardwalk fries!
I made up this recipe for the potato salad on the fly; it really couldn't be simpler. If you like German-style potato salads, which are quite tart, you should like this a lot. If I'd had some grainy mustard on hand, I would have added that in, too. Feel free to do that if you have some!
The coleslaw is an interpretation of a Cooking Light recipe I found recently. I only had lemons on hand, but the original recipe was actually a Jalapeno-Lime Coleslaw. However, I just made a few simple tweaks, and came up with this Jalapeno-Lemon Coleslaw. It was great, but I can't wait to make it again with the lime. I do love the jalapeno/lime pairing.
Finally, I made Gwyneth's Veggie Burgers, and they were every bit as delicious as I'd hoped (but secretly doubted) they would be. The black beans and rice give the burgers a nice firm texture, and there's a generous addition of cumin that I thought gave it a nice Mexican flair. Onion and garlic keep things zesty, and the whole meal can be whipped up fairly quickly. There is a period where you can rest the burgers in the fridge before cooking them up, but I don't think you absolutely have to do that if you're strapped for time. One small note about this recipe: she says to dust the burgers in flour before frying them up, and I understand that this probably helps bind everything together better and gives the burger a nice, crispy crust. However, I believe that the instructions indicate more flour than is actually needed, so I put the amount I think is sufficient down below.
Gwyneth's Veggie Burgers
adapted from Savor Flavor Dining
makes 4 burger patties
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 (14-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2-1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Oil or nonstick cooking spray, for cooking the patties
Burger buns, condiments, etc.
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and cumin and cook until softened and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, beans, and rice; cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the cilantro and mash the mixture with a potato masher; you want to make the mixture cohesive and combined, but don't mash completely. You still want some texture.
2. Allow the mixture to cool until it is easy to handle. Form the mixture into 4 patties. You can now allow the burgers to rest in the fridge for several hours before cooking.
3. When you are ready to cook the burgers, preheat a nonstick skillet, griddle, or grill pan to medium-high. Dust both sides of each burger patty lightly with the flour. Add the oil or nonstick cooking spray to your pan or griddle to heat it up. Cook the burgers until browned on both sides; it should take about 3-4 minutes per side. Top burgers with whatever you like, and serve on the bun of your choice.
adapted from Cooking Light
makes about 5-6 cups
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
4-5 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1 (10 ounce) package angel hair coleslaw
3 jalapeno peppers, halved crosswise
1. Combine the lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Slowly stream in the olive oil, continually stirring with the whisk. Add scallion and coleslaw.
2. Thinly slice 1 jalapeno half crosswise (keeping seeds), and remove seeds from remaining jalapeno halves. Cut the remaining halves into thin crosswise slices. Add the jalapenos to scallion mixture and toss well to coat. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.
Malt Vinegar Potato Salad
recipe by Bri
makes about 2 pounds
2 lbs. small red potatoes, quartered
4-5 scallions, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp. malt vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1. Place the quartered potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Set the pot on the stove, allow it to come up to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer the potatoes for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender but still hold their shape. Drain the potatoes when they are finished cooking.
2. While the potatoes cook, combine the scallions in a large bowl with the malt vinegar, salt, pepper, and rosemary, stirring with a whisk. Slowly stream in the olive oil, continually whisking the mixture. Dump in the hot potatoes and combine well with a large spoon, allowing the dressing the absorb into the potatoes. Cover loosely and chill potato salad for several hours before serving.