Well, hello there, friends! It’s a beautiful Thursday afternoon, and I am thankful to be back in flip flops and tank tops! That cold snap was scary- for my body and my mind. I was concerned that all the vegetables in the ground, trying to grow into something wonderful, would be squashed by dropping temperatures. Happily, we avoided a freeze, and the fruits and veggies in Georgia are safe! Beyond safe, they are about to get in my belly!!!!!!!! This week is the opening of the East Atlanta Farmers Market and its sister market, my love, the Grant Park Farmers Market. Life as I’ve been knowing it is about to change for the better.
For the third year in a row, I will gladly embrace the responsibilities of writing recipes for Turtle Bend Farm- which has a new name this year- Jackson Lowe Vegetable Farm.
As Mecca and Adam have grown their farming business, they’ve made many upgrades and expansions to yield more crops, with increased diversity, to share with their CSA members and the Farmers Market communities. My job is to provide their CSA members with creative ideas and recipes spotlighting each week’s naturally grown offerings. I cannot wait to get my hands on the first big, brown bag of goodies. I know there will be fresh Georgia strawberry juice dripping down my face and hands in the very near future! And I can almost taste the tender kale and sweet spinach that will be coming my way soon. I am beyond thrilled about this opportunity, and you can expect to see exciting brainstorms and new recipes weekly.
So, what have I been doing in the meantime? Oh, just lollygagging around- ignoring you and my writing. Nope. I’ve been thinking about you often, cooking like it’s my job (haha), taking loads of photos, and dreaming of having the time to tell you the stories and recipes that go along with the food. I’ve got so many photos and dishes to share, it’s hard for me to know where to begin…I’ll start with yesterday.
Yesterday was Veggie Wednesday, and my client requested Mini Veggie Burger Bites. They are so stinkin’ cute- and completely delicious. Here’s what I did:
Mini Veggie Burger Bites
2 large shallots, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
1 Anaheim pepper, diced small
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 Cup rolled oats
1/2 Cup cooked Jasmine rice
1/2 Cup flour
Juice of a lemon
handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 scallions, chopped finely
1 t paprika
couple good hearty pinches of salt and fresh cracked pepper
splash of veggie broth (if necessary)
Heat a medium skillet with a good drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to medium heat. Add your shallots and cook about 2 minutes. Add the peppers and a good pinch of salt. Saute just another 2 minutes or so, letting the veggies soften. Add the garlic and cook one minute more. Remove the skillet from heat.
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients that aren’t in your skillet (except the veggie broth). Use a masher, or a spoon to mash the majority of your garbanzo beans, melding them to the other ingredients. Leaving some larger chunks is a-okay. Then, add your veggies to the bowl and use your hands to incorporate all of the goodies, squeezing the veggies into the beans, rice, et. al, until well combined. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for about 20 or 30 minutes.
Heat a large skillet with a nice layer of canola oil in the bottom to medium heat. Make a golf-ball-sized round from your veggie burger mixture and flatten it out a bit to make your patty. This is a tester.
Be patient. Cook your tester patty until golden brown on both sides- it only takes a few minutes per side. Remove it to a paper towel, let it cool down a sec, and taste it! If you are happy with the flavor and consistency, you are ready to roll! Go ahead and make the rest of your patties and cook ’em off until your heart is content. Don’t crowd your pan, as that will make turning your patties tricky. If you find they are browning too quickly, turn your heat back a bit.
When I tried my tester, I thought it needed a touch more moisture, so I added a splash of veggie broth and a pinch or two more salt. My mixture was pretty sticky. But half the fun is getting your hands all gooey! After I cooked each batch, I added a bit more canola oil to the pan and allowed it to heat up before placing more patties in the pan.
You could serve these guys as appetizers with a fun dipping sauce or munch on them for lunch with a fresh salad. OR- you could do what I wanted to do- fry up an over-easy egg and let the yolk ooze all over a couple of those little beauties for breakfast.
Of course you could change up the ingredients based on what you have on hand- use onions instead of shallots, change the peppers or herbs. You could leave out the rice or use brown rice instead. You could make them into Mexican sliders by adding cumin, chili powder, and oregano and subbing cilantro for the parsley. Black beans would work just as well. Definitely cook up a “tester” so you can tweak your creative mixture to get it just right. That’s the beauty of cooking, I think- making it your very own.
Hope you enjoy that bit of veggie goodness…guess it’s not often that I share a meatless meal. : )
I’ve got lots more tasty treats heading your way!
Happy cooking and eating to you!