Black Beluga Lentil and Mushroom Burgers

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These are delicious vegetarian burgers. I found the black Beluga lentils in the bulk bins at Whole Foods. Get creative with your toppings. I topped my burger with spicy mustard and freshly pickled cucumbers and onions. Some crumbled goat cheese would have been nice.

Black Beluga Lentil and Mushroom Burgers

1 cup dried black Beluga lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms (or your favorite mushroom), finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons brown mustard
1/4 to 1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
hamburger buns
desired condiments (cheese, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, etc….)

Place the Beluga lentils and 1 1/2 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to low. Let the lentils simmer on low, stirring occasionally, until tender but not mushy, about 25 – 35 minutes.  You may need to add more water to the lentils as they cook. Once the lentils are cooked, strain in a colander.

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic ands sauté until the onion is tender. Add the chopped mushrooms and continue to cook another 3 minutes or until the liquid the mushrooms release is cooked away. Turn off the heat.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked and drained lentils,  onion-mushroom mixture, egg, brown mustard, and 1/4 bread crumbs. Add more breadcrumbs as needed if the mixture is too wet. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and form each portion into a patty.

Serve patties on buns with desired condiments.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in large skillet. Add the patties and cook until browned, about 5 minutes on each side.


Spaghetti Squash with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Capers

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I recently got a spaghetti squash in my CSA box. I’ve only ever cooked a spaghetti squash once before many years ago. That must not have turned out well since I have not cooked another one until today. I’m happy I got to give spaghetti squash another go. One of the things I have enjoyed most about being a CSA member is being provided produce that I wouldn’t normally buy. It has expanded my culinary horizons and that is a good thing.

One of my favorite quick pasta meals is zucchini and tomatoes sautéed with garlic in olive oil and tossed with some pasta. Why not try it with spaghetti squash? I have been on a capers kick lately, so I tossed some into the mix. I was happy with the results. The spaghetti squash really is a lot like pasta (but without the gluten and simple carbohydrates). What a healthy and satisfying meal. Next time I might add a splash of balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice to the zucchini mixture to add a little more zip and make a bit of a sauce to get down in the spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti Squash with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Capers

1 spaghetti squash
3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for the squash
2 zucchini, quartered and sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup diced tomatoes (I like petite diced)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard them. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes until the squash is tender. Let the squash cool slightly while you prepare the zucchini mixture.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced zucchini and sauté for a minute or two. Add the minced garlic, capers, and diced tomatoes and continue to cook until the zucchini is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Scrape the squash meat out of the skin with a fork, separating the strands. Arrange on serving platter/dish and top with the zucchini mixture.


Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

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This is a dangerous recipe because I almost always have all the ingredients on hand to whip up some of these wonderful gluten-free peanut butter cookies. This recipe is also so easy and fairly quick to make. My boys love these cookies too.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup creamy peanut butter (about half a 16 ounce jar)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix the sugar, baking soda, and  peanut butter together by hand or with a mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and blend well.

Take 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place balls of dough on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart (I put 12 cookies on each baking sheet). Using the tines of a fork, press down lightly to make a crosshatch design on top of each cookie.

Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen.


Ratatouille II

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I had some zucchini, yellow squash and onion left over from last week’s CSA box from Pinckney’s Produce. As soon as I learned that we would be getting eggplant in this week’s box, I knew exactly what I was going to make…ratatouille. Ratatouille is the ultimate in comfort food. It’s easy to prepare, low in calories, flavorful, and packed with nutrients. I just love it. I especially like it topped with crumbled goat cheese and served with freshly baked crusty bread.

Ratatouille II

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small eggplant, cut into bite-size chunks (leave skin on)
1 zucchini, cut into bite-size chunks
1 yellow squash, cut into bite-size chunks
1 bell pepper, diced
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juices (or 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, and diced)
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large Dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until it starts to get soft, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium-low. Gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the capers and red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


Summer Squash Bread

Summer Squash Bread

For the past few weeks my CSA box has been overflowing with a variety of squash. Cue ball squash, one ball squash, eight ball squash, zucchini, pattypan, and yellow squash. I’m not a big fan of the ball squash.  They are too watery and lack flavor.  I love zucchini but am a little less fond of the yellow squash.

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Look at all that squash!

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I have actually been having nightmares about yellow squash. There is so much of it! I made a yellow squash casserole recipe a friend gave me and we didn’t like it. I ended up throwing most of it in the trash. That casserole was too sweet and had a texture that reminded us of bread pudding. It got me to thinking that I could probably get away with making my favorite zucchini bread recipe using the yellow squash instead of zucchini.

I did not set my expectations high for the summer squash bread.  I was pleasantly surprised with the results. The bread turned out fantastic! So good. My 3 year old LOVED it! He also enjoyed helping me mix up the ingredients. I’m so happy I have another delicious way to use yellow squash.

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Summer Squash Bread

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) unpeeled yellow squash, shredded – about 4 medium sized yellow squash.
1/2 cup pecans (optional)

Tip for shredding yellow squash: yellow squash have seeds in the middle, so I just grate the sides of the squash and discard the seedy middle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat a 9 X 5 X 3-inch loaf pan (or 3 mini loaf pans)  with cooking spray. Set aside.

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs and oil, then stir in shredded yellow squash (and pecans if using). Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix together by hand. The batter will be pretty stiff. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan(s) and bake for 50 minutes (30 – 35 minutes for mini loaves) or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.