Dec 18, 2011

Mung Bean, Beluga lentil and Cremini Mushroom Burger

I am going through a semi vegetarian phase. This phase will probably meet its death at the hands of bacon like my previous phases. All it takes is the smell of bacon sizzling #willpowerfail! My very carnivorous, but very supportive husband was in a mood for burgers and this is what we came up with, with ingredients we had at hand. 
My main grudge against 'vegetarian burgers' is their dryness. This one though, was moist and lovely with a very filling and earthy taste. The mushrooms did the trick. While most recipes call for soy sauce or garlic paste in some variations, we used harissa paste. Magic happens when lentils meet piri-piri peppers, coriander and garlic. And the saltiness from the capers...that deserves an ode to itself. You will have to agree that it is quite a good looking burger too.
Any kind of lentil or beans will do really. It may take a bit of planning with soaking and cooking of the beans and lentils, but if like me, you are the proud owner of a pressure cooker, it takes only 5 minutes for dried lentils and beans to become mush.

You will need ( Makes 8 patties)
1/2 cup of mung beans (washed, soaked and cooked)
1/2 cup of black belugua lentils (washed, soaked and cooked)
1 cup finely chopped brown cremini mushrooms. 
1 egg
1 tablespoon harissa paste.
2 tablespoons chopped capers. 
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic.
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup breadcrumbs/ rasp
Vegetable oil 

16 slices of whole wheat bread of rye bread cut into circles. Or go ahead and buy burger buns.

For garnish:
Sliced cucumbers
Onion sliced in rings
Tomato cut in rings

In a bowl mix mung beans, black beluga lentils, mushrooms, harissa paste, garlic, chopped capers and salt. give it a good mix with your hands. Add egg and mix again.
With slightly oiled hands, shape the mix into patties. 
Spread bread crumbs on a baking sheet. Gently and lightly coat patties with breadcrumbs.
Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat and put 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Cook patties on each side for 3-5 minutes until they are brown and slightly crisp on the outside. 

To serve, cut slices of bread into circles and toast them. Smear a slice with mustard/ ketchup.  Place a patty on top, garnish with onion, tomato, cucumber, more ketchup and mustard if you will and seal the deal by placing another slice of bread on top. 
The one with rye bread to the left and the one with whole wheat bread  to the right

Dec 11, 2011

Creamy Caramel with Pistachios/Flødekarameller med pistacie

Would you believe it! Norway is out of butter. Last I heard, Denmark sent some butter to Norway and now there is no butter in the supermarkets (at least in my Copenhagen neighbourhood) People are trekking from one supermarket to the other in search of butter. Oh Christmas season and the first world problems it brings!
I scored the last block of butter in my neighbourhood Netto. I felt like a grinch stealing someone else's Christmas baking merriment. But my bad conscience dissolved with the first bite of these creamy caramel squares I used the butter for. Mmmm ...
Without further ado, recipe for this caramel, buttery, melting goodness. I used a recipe from Mette Blomsterberg.

You will need:  ( Makes 60)
1/2 litre Cream 38%
250g Sugar
100g Honey (You can also use 100g glucose syrup)
60g Butter
40g Unsalted, whole pistachio kernels

You will also need:
A kitchen thermometer
An 18x18 container
2 tbsp, any neutral oil to oil a baking sheet.

Cook cream, sugar, honey, and butter a thick bottomed saucepan. Let it simmer till the caramel is golden in colour, and has a thick, creamy consistency. Stir occasionally, especially towards the end. Cook it long and slow over medium heat. (Mine took approx. 35 minutes)

The caramel is ready when the mix begins to leave the bottom and sides of the pan and has reached 124C. Use the kitchen thermometer to check temperature. (The 'when the mix leaves the bottom of the pan' sounds vague, but you will know what I mean when you are stirring)

Take pan off the stove, add pistachios.

Pour the caramel into the 18x18cm container lined with an oiled baking sheet. Cover with another oiled baking sheet on top.

Allow it to cool and set overnight. Cut into small bite sized squares once set.

I have been wrapping them in cellophane paper and packing them in little boxes as pre-Christmas visit gifts for friends and family. They love it! A very Merry Christmas to all of you!