Somewhere in the blog world I came across Viana La Place, and I was inspired to buy two of her cookbooks! She’s quite delightful and her cookbooks are actually a pleasure to read…somehow they capture the mood of a lazy summer afternoon when a simple tomato salad would do the trick. A blend of California and Italian images runs through the books and the recipes are so simple that they’re often not even like recipes–more like just making some food. They rely on having the perfect seasonal and ripe ingredients–not the kind of thing that you can pull off any old day. But they remind you of what you’re striving for, a nice garden that allows you to put together a simple meal that is delicious! Great reads really, you should check them out!
I get the urge to invest in new cookbooks every now and again. Which is a bit odd since I usually just type ingredients into google and see what comes back. But I do like to look at a nice cookbook and this is a nice one.
From the Herbfarm guy. Beautiful looking and some interesting recipes in there too. So far I have only tried one. But it prompted me to plant more anise hyssop!
2 quarts water
1 large bunch anise hyssop sprigs (2 oz)
1 large bunch lemon verbena or lemon geranium leaves (2 oz)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp mild honey
Bring water to boil in large saucepan. Stir in the herb sprigs. Remove from heat and cover. Steep for 15 minutes. Strain into large pitcher and stir in honey and lemon. Refrigerate until cold. Yum!
There are a fair number of meat dishes in the book, but the book makes up for it with garden and use info. Still to try, chervil avgolemono (minus chicken stock), and lentil goat cheese mint strudel and some desserts with lavender and rosemary.
Yep we do love the black bean burger. Known to have frequented certain locations to find a good one. Ray’s Marlin Grill in Lawrenceville had a good one. Then it changed hands and we don’t go there anymore. Current local fav. is Kaya. It’s a bit extreme–egg bun, black bean burger, special sauce, avocado, fried egg!!! Wow! You need to be in the right frame of stomach for that one. It’s good though.
Experiments at home have resulted in a variation on the Rebar version. They suggest a lot of ingredients that I don’t usually have on hand so here’s how i do it.
Black Bean Burgers
Makes more than six
1 red onion chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup cooked brown rice (I make a bunch ahead and freeze it in the right amount)
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp each cumin and coriander seed
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp chipotle (blend and freeze up a can, then chip out the amount you need–more is ok!)
1 small can anaheim chilies (Huh? well i mince up a few jalapenos)
1/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 15 oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
Heat oil in skillet and saute onion 5 min. Add garlic and spices and saute.
This usually gets the response from the girl–hey are you making it spicy? (whine) i don’t like spicy. No worries–end result is not spicy. So add more stuff if you want spicy.
Add half of beans, rice, and onion spice mix to food processor and blend coarsely. Turn out into a bowl and mix rest of ingredients in. Season with salt and pepper.
Shape into patties. They’re pretty dense and filling so I don’t make them huge. Dredge in some cornmeal and fry in a skillet.
They take a while to cook through, and they’re not the hockey pucks you get commercially, so a nice soft bun is helpful. These are real good.
Someday maybe I’ll try the recipe as written. But til then, this is the daily driver.
This cookbook comes from a cool little place in Victoria BC. It’s not a new cookbook, but it has been such a favorite! I make lots of things from this book, including everyone’s favorite Chocolate Zucchini Cake. I also make the Bhangra Burrito, and Lone Star Minestrone.
Here’s the recipe for the Cake. Originally it was for cupcakes, but I only make it as a two layer cake. It’s not low fat or healthy but it is GOOD. The kids would not believe it had zucchini in it until they saw me make it.
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups grated zucchini (use large holes on the grater)
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour cake pans 8 inch.
In a medium bowl mix together the sugar, butter and oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well Incorporated. Stir in vanilla, buttermilk, zucchini and chocolate chips.
Add in all of the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Spoon batter into pans. Bake in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Fill and top with a cream cheese frosting.