Lentil & Chickpea Patties

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Well we made it to Friday, yay! I hope that where ever you’re reading this post from, the weather is better than 14 degrees! Sometimes the frigid temps are okay, it keeps me indoors and allows me to catch up on cleaning and organizing the mess I’ve been putting off all year, plus I get to play with this blog some more :). I have no interest in even going outside  on an adventure – at least not when the wind chill is in the negatives. I’ve been staying productive inside, not sure if it’s because that’s my way of keeping my mind off being bored or because it’s my way of keeping my body moving so I don’t put on too much of a winter coat LOL. 

As I mentioned in my previous post in the winter were all looking for comfort food. Something hearty to keep warm when the weather outside is being weather. While I do enjoy an occasional heavy dish, I tend to find more comfort in healthier, protein packed fare. Normally I wouldn’t share a recipe that wasn’t on my must make again list, but these lentil “burgers” may interest someone else more than me. This recipe was borrowed from “Essential Vegetarian” Cookbook. I found the texture to be grainy and the inside dry. However, the flavor was good! I recommend if you do prepare these, to have some kind of a sauce with them to add moisture. I topped these with hummus which helped a lot in the mouthfeel as well. This recipe suggested a coriander garlic cream as a sauce, I didn’t like that at all with these burgers. I think there is a better alternative to this recipe with the ingredients than in patty form such as a coconut curry or soup. 

Lentils are high in protein and fiber, a versatile and nutritious ingredient. A mini version of a bean and part of the legume family, lentils grow in pods and come in a variety of colors such as red, brown and green. They are quick to prepare, and their low cost makes them an accessible form of high quality protein for many people around the world. If you’re looking to take on another version of a veggie burger, these Lentil patties are right up your alley!

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Mise en Place:

  • (1) Cup Red Lentils, cooked
  • (2) Yellow Onions, Julienne
  • (1) Tablespoon Tandoori Mix Powder
  • (1) Can Chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • (1) Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, grated
  • (1) Egg
  • (3) Tablespoons Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
  • (2) Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
  • (2) Cups Breadcumbs
  • Flour, for dusting
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • In a large frying pan, heat up a tablespoon of oil. Add onion cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the tandoori powder and stir until fragrant, allow to cool.
  • Place the chickpeas, half the lentils, ginger, egg and the onion mixture in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining lentils, parsley, cilantro and breadcrumbs. Refrigerate mixture for 10 minutes.
  • Shape into round patties. lightly toss in flour to coat.
  • Over medium heat, add in some oil to a pan and cook patties 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Serve with choice of sauce.
  • Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Piccata

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Winter has officially arrived- all in one weekend might I add- here in Northeast Ohio. We got pounded with over 4 feet of snow, some areas up to 12 feet along the snow belt. Cars were trapped in between mounds of heavy snow, roads became icy where even the snow plows had a hard time keeping up with clearing the roads. The temperature dropped down to 9 degrees with a wind chill of negative 13.  I did recently read that spring is 50 some days away though, good news! Its hard to prepare for a snowpocalypse in Ohio because the weather always tends to be the opposite of what is foretasted. This time however, they were right- it’s a good thing I did my grocery shopping earlier in the week because the grocery stores and gas stations were madness on Friday. 

In the winter, everyone turns to satisfying comfort food, something to warm the soul. Commonly soups, stews, chili, pastas- anything hot and heavy, a kind of amenity to fill you with contentment during this cold and dark time of the year. A favored dish among many-Picatta may not be the first choice for something hearty on a frigid evening, I personally always find comfort in anything with butter, lemons, pasta and everything with a brine.

Piccata is a preparation typically with meat (Chicken or Fish) that is lightly dusted with flour, seared and served with a sauce of butter, lemons and capers.  My recipe is far from the classic as I am substituting a vegetable for the protein and I chose not to do the traditional Beurre Blanc (White wine butter sauce). Not going to lie my sauce doesn’t look the best and I kept it simple as I just melted butter with some aromatics and added in the capers and lemon juice.  If you prefer to keep the sauce conventional, here is a great butter sauce recipe. I found cauliflower to be wonderful alternative as the silky texture from the sauce and pop of acid readily absorbs and gives a great compliment to the produce.

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Mise En Place:

  • (1) Head Cauliflower
  • (2) Sticks Butter, cut into cubes
  • (1/2) Yellow Onion, Julienne
  • (1) Small Jar Capers-in brine
  • (2) Lemons-Juiced, seeds removed
  • (2) Cloves Garlic, sliced
  • Angel Hair Pasta
  • S&P, TT

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Method of Prep:

  • Heat oven to 400 Degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Prepare the Cauliflower steaks by cutting the head in half vertical, then slicing those halves in half again. The steaks will tend to break apart, it happens. Try and keep them together best you can. Drizzle steaks with olive oil, S&P. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes-turning over after 10 minutes to allow even cooking on both sides. If you want to go classic Piccata-try lightly coating the Cauliflower in a dusting of AP Flour and searing on both sides until golden. 
  • Fill a sauce pot with water, bring to a boil and cook off Angel hair pasta. I always add salt to the water for flavor and a little oil to keep the noodles from sticking together. Drain water from the pasta and set aside.
  • Prepare the sauce by first sauteing the aromatics (garlic and onion) until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Begin to slowly add in butter cubes and continuing to whisk until melted over low heat. If butter begins to break remove from the heat. 
  • Whisk in Lemon juice and Capers (drain from brine first). Strain sauce from the aromatics, optional. (I kept the aromatics with the sauce to add to the pasta for a little something extra in the dish). Season with S&P, TT.
  • Place a decent serving of Pasta on a plate, top with Cauliflower and coat in Butter sauce mixture. (Optional-toss pasta in butter sauce upon serving).
  • Enjoy!

**Note: Eat immediately to keep the butter sauce from solidifying or breaking upon sitting**

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BBQ Jackfruit Tacos

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Happy New Year to you & yours! 2019 marks 7 years having this blog. Woah, it seems like only yesterday I was sitting in a new apartment in sunny West Palm Beach, FL in front of my 2010 HP Laptop trying to figure out how to start a blog with the vision of capturing an audience who give a damn to read my words and feel inspired to want to cook my food. This blog just like the food world, has changed a lot over the course of time. I began this website because food blogs were trending. As a writer and food buff, I considered this a way to spend my down time where I can start a personal food journal of recipes that I can share with others in hopes they would embark on the same journey as me. I was uncertain of the direction for this blog until I began writing more. In due time, I understood the meaning behind what I wanted from my audience and that was to encourage taking control of the food you put in your body. I want the public to spend less on going out to eat and more at home in their own kitchens. I wanted to give simple, low cost, healthier food to help create a beneficial lifestyle. With this being said, not every one of my recipe’s is the healthiest but it’s all about balance. When you discipline yourself to eat better every day, it’s okay to reward yourself and indulge in something good, kind of like a treat yo self day. 

I sit here now at a desk in front of my 20″ HP monitor in my first post of 2019 and couldn’t be more excited to head into another year of taking care of myself, for myself. I am going to try new foods and cuisines. You wont see (hardly any) meat recipes in my posts going forward (Please feel free to substitute protein of your choice in any of these recipes!). I made the change last year to eliminate most proteins (with the exception of seafood) so I could focus on higher protein foods with fewer calories and saturated fat. I want more Vitamin and mineral rich meals. Heart disease runs in my family and consuming more heart healthy foods are great start to prevent having to undergo future heart surgeries, etc. Once you turn 30, you start to realize it’s time to take care of yourself better.

As with a new year, comes a new product I’ve never worked with and have only tried once before, the Jackfruit. A very hipster, trendy plant based fruit exceedingly popular with Vegans as a meat alternative. Once cooked it takes on a texture and resemblance of pulled pork.  This young, unripe fruit soaks up flavor well and is truly versatile. Jackfruit is packed with fiber and antioxidants along with great benefits for your body. More information on this miracle fruit here. This recipe was adapted from the  cookbook “But I could never go Vegan!” The outcome of this was tasty, however I am not sold on BBQ as a taco condiment. I would love to make these as tacos again but next time just using a classic taco seasoning for the Jackfruit. 

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Mise en Place:

Guacamole:

  • (2) Avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
  • (1) Lime, juiced
  • (1) Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
  • S&P, TT

Tacos:

  • (1) 6 oz Can Jackfruit, packed in brine (not syrup)
  • (1) Cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
  • (1) Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • (1) Tablespoon Hot Sauce
  • S&P, TT
  • (1) Medium Yellow Onion, Sliced
  • (1) Orange Bell Pepper, Sliced
  • (1) Yellow Bell Pepper, Sliced
  • Tacos Toppings of Choice
  • Corn OR Flour Tortillas

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Method of Prep:

  • Rinse the Jackfruit thoroughly in a colander. Use your fingers to tear into shreds, set aside.
  • Mix BBQ sauce, tomato paste and hot sauce in a small bowl. Season with S&P if needed. Set aside.
  • Heat a Tablespoon of Oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent.
  • Add the Jackfruit and bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the sauce mixture, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
  • While the Jackfruit is cooking, prepare the guacamole. In a large bowl mash the avocados until creamy leaving a few chunks. Add in remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  • Heat up a small saute pan. Cook one tortilla at a time 30-60 seconds on both sides or until lightly browned.
  • Prepare tacos with garnish of choice.
  • Enjoy!

*I cooked up rice, added in fresh chopped cilantro and added cooked black beans as well. Both make great sides or garnish!

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Shortcrust Pastry

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As a pie over cake lover, it doesn’t need to be fall to enjoy a homemade pie. However something about going into the apple orchard in mid September to hand pick the perfect apples for your next delicacy makes it that much more lovely about fall baking.

Many folks prefer to buy store made crust and for timing reasons I understand, no judging here. I am however disciplined in making everything from scratch, even the dough, so i’m always making sure there is plenty of time, even if that means making the pastry a day in advance! A shortcrust dough is typically used in tarts, quiches and pies. Pate Brisee is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry

What I love most about this style of crust is the flaky and buttery goodness you get off each bite. It is the same recipe you would use for a basic pie dough. The only two things that differ is the type of flour you use and the method of preparation. The key to keeping a flaky crust is making sure your dough and ingredients that go into the preparation stay cold! Give yourself a day and a half to make this recipe and you wont be disappointed! This is also a great dough for savory dishes as well. 

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Yield: 2 Single Crust Pies

Mise en Place:

  • 500 Grams Bread Flour
  • 410 Grams Butter, cubed
  • 6 Grams, Salt
  • 110 Grams, Ice Cold Water

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Method of Prep:

  • Place all ingredients into mixing bowl including paddle attachment. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • On medium low setting begin to mix ingredients together until butter and flour are combined and resemble a course meal.
  • Slowly begin adding in ice cold water and continue to mix until a dough forms scraping the sides of the bowl in between.
  • Remove dough from bowl. Form into a large round disc and divide into 2 sections. Wrap each individual disc (not ball, keeping them flatter will allow to chill faster) and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours up to 1 day.
  • Remove one disc at a time and on a heavily floured surface, begin rolling out to a slightly thin dough. Once rolled out to desired thickness, place bottom layer in a greased pie dish and par bake in the oven on 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Remove crust from oven and allow to cool. Prepare desired filling and once crust has cooled, layer on top of pre-baked dough.

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  • Turn oven to 425 degrees.
  • Remove second crust from the refrigerator and roll out on floured surface to desired thickness (I prefer a thinner crust about 1″).
  • Place top crust on pie and cut to fit. Pinch sides shut.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 Minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake until crust is golden brown, approximately 35-40 minutes.
  • Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.
  • Enjoy!

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**Keep all ingredients (include dough) wrapped tightly and chilled until ready to use for a buttery, flaky crust!**

Peach & Jalapeno Jam

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Hello world & Happy Fall, Ya’ll! I can finally celebrate Autumn because the weather is slowly breaking here in N.E OH and according to my calendar, tomorrow (Friday) marks the first official day of fall, heck yeah! Who else really enjoys the fall as much as me!? How can you argue sweaters, boots, leaves crunching beneath your feet, crisp air, picking apples and then turning them into a fresh pie, warm days and cool nights, everything fall scented, fall crafts such as pumpkin painting/carving, bonfires, no bugs or sweat running down your body, goodbye to sunburn and busy nights at work! Fall really is the best season.

For those of you that have missed me, I appreciate your patience in waiting for my next blog post, ya’ll are the best! If you are new to following me, ICYMI: Summers for me working as a banquet captain at a Country Club is very busy. I don’t allow myself a lot of free time to work on cooking at home, crafting, photography and anything else that makes this blog what it is. I tend to disappear every so often because this is only a hobby for me and I only have a small window of free time to do what I love. Thank you to those who do continue to read and follow my blog. You can also follow my facebook page if you are on there as well facebook.com/driven2eat

As I was saying, fall is here and August thru September has the best produce available. -If you haven’t stopped at your local farmers market yet, this is the last week to do it before the season ends! I was lucky enough to make it up in time for the last of the peaches hull. I don’t know how the peaches were for everyone else, but the peaches we had here weren’t all the great 😦 I was disappointed in the lack of sweetness and juice that I expect to have from a peach, they were okay.

When I make breakfast at home, I usually almost always have a toasted English muffin with fresh jam. I had been buying Jam from Amish Country the last few years and haven’t made my way up there in a few months, figured it was time to just make my own anyways. With how easy it is to make jam, there’s no excuse whey I don’t make it more often! I took a look around the fridge and noticed that a few Jalapenos I had remaining were beginning to do the pruning effect on the outside, so it was time to do something with those as well. I remembered one thing my Aunt always liked to bring to a family dinner, cream cheese topped with pepper jam to spread on crackers for an appetizer. That’s when the light bulb went on in my head to take my leftover peaches and jalapenos and make a jam! The lack of sugar in these peaches actually made them perfect for this recipe. Sweet meets heats for a great spread. Peach and Jalapeno are a great combination together. This recipe also makes an excellent glaze on pork or fish for a finishing touch on dinner!

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Mise En Place:

  • 3 Large Peaches, Diced
  • 3 Jalapenos, seeds removed, diced
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • Juice 1/2 Lime
  • 2 Small Mason Jars for storing

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Method of Prep:

  • Mix together peaches, jalapenos, sugar and lime juice until sugar well incorporated. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Over high heat, add mix into a pan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and allow to lightly simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Liquid should reduce by half and coat the back of a spoon when ready.
  • Turn off heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Pour into Mason jars and cool to room temperature. Seal shut, refrigerate after opening. *If jam is cooked too long, it may become gelatinous and hard to spread once cooled. Scoop out what you need for spreading. As jam sits on a warm surface it will begin to melt for easier spreading. 

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*You may blend the jam at the end if you don’t like the candied chunks of jalapeno that will be left behind.