Monday, March 28, 2011

I've turned into some kind of veggie burger fanatic.

So over the past month, I have weirdly developed this obsession with veggie burgers. I probably didn't even have my first one until 5 years ago and don't even eat them very regularly at all. On a snowboarding trip with some friends, I explained to my friend Brittany how I'd been craving a veggie burger like whoa. She in turn treated me to one the following weekend, being the amazing friend she is and filling this yearning or rather starting an epidemic perhaps. After having this burger I proceeded to eat two more that week! Here is the list of veggie burgers I have tried over the past couple weeks in order of goodness:

1. Bare Burger
– Astoria, NY – There special sauces was lost on me, but I still thought they put together the best most flavorful burger I’ve had thus far. Some veggie burgers can be bland, but this one was not lacking in flavor. It had a nice high quality whole grain bun and monteray jack cheese on top.
2. Five Napkins Burger - Midtown - Another special sauce was nixed on this one and I added cheddar cheese to the top.
3. Deluxe Restaurant – Morningside Heights - One of my fave restaurants provided me with another greatly satisfying meal
4. Paradise Café – Chelsea – This small little café had the most basic of all the burgers. No cheese, no sides. It was still a good burger though even though it is at the bottom of the list!

Now, being on this kick has inspired me to want to make one of my very own. With any new cooking endeavor it hard to decide which recipe will be best and I usually end up having to try a couple before being completely satisfied. The recipe I decided to try out was from “America’s Test Kitchen” This way I know they have already tried out a bunch of recipes and they believe this to be the best one!

They wrote how lot of burger recipes are not flavorful and super boring. I kept coming across recipes that made me think the same. This version was a black bean based burger. It is jam packed full of flavor and zest and I highly highly recommend you trying it. I was VERY pleased with my first go at a veggie burger. It was also taste tested by some friend who gave it their stamp of approval. I would like to still try another recipe that has more veggies in it, more similar to all the ones at the above restaurants.

Black Bean Burger:


2 slices of high quality white bread (I used wheat instead)
2 eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, chopped finely
½ cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 shallot minced


- Move your oven rack to the middle and preheat at 350 degrees
- Pulse bread finely in a food processor
- Spread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 10-12 minutes
- Set aside crumbs to cool
- Whisk egg, oil, cumin, salt, and cayenne together
- Place 2 ½ cups of beans in a large bowl and mash them with a potato masher until mostly smooth
- Stir in bread crumbs, egg mix, and remaining ½ of beans
- Stir in pepper, shallot, and cilantro until combined
- Divide mixture into 6 portions, ½ cup each (I did 8 portions)
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skill.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes flipping halfway through

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Day of Spring means a visit to Ritas!

In college my two friends, Annie and Devin, were kind of in love with Ritas Water Ice and introduced me to it. Each year on the first day of spring, Ritas gives away free water ice and they would always give me a friendly reminder when this date was approaching. Last year I discovered they had Ritas in NYC!!! So this year I paid a visit to celebrate spring. My all time favorite flavor is raspberry lemonade, but unfortunately they hardly ever have it, which has caused me to get pretty upset with poor high schoolers in Newark, DE before. I decided to go with lime this year, but I was also intrigued by a new flavor.....I asked to have a little put on top so I could try it out..........

This was a bad ideas on my behalf, but more so on their behalf:

Peep flavored water ice.

It didn't really sound like it would be good, but it was such a weird concept I felt the need to try it out. All of their more cream based flavors sound very unappetizing to me, so I really don't know why I even decided to try this. Peep flavored ice cream would definitely work, but water ice not so much. I took one bite and then had to scoop off the rest into the trash so I could get to my lime ice.

Moral of the story: Don't get Peep water ice!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Refueling after a hard run..........with a cupcake.

Being a cupcake connoisseur, I need to get on top of my game and keep at the taste testing. There are far too many cupcakes in NYC that I have yet to get my hands on.

Numerous people have told me Billy's Bakery is their favorite. Today after running a hard race, what better way to refuel then with a cupcake? After finishing, my mom had a little bag of goodness waiting for me which was consumed while riding the metro cause there was no way I was going to be able to make it all the way before indulging!

I have to say the standard bar has now been set by Sweet Tooth and all are now being compared to them. I like the simple look of Billy's cupcake. He has a signature swirled design to the frosting and mine was topped with a couple sprinkles. Looks nice and enticing!

The cake: was a disappointment. It was very dry. My style of eating a cupcake involves first biting off the bottom. This allows for a better cake to frosting ratio for the rest of the eating. Even though the frosting is the most important part that does not mean you can get away with a dry, bland cake. Cake should be moist and tasty without any frosting. You can easily mask a mediocre cake with frosting, but when this is done it's a huge problem. So Billy's was dry and not quite up to par with the taste. I'm not sure if I got a dud as far as the dryness goes, so I am going to have to give them a second visit to make sure.

The frosting: Was good. It kind of tasted like the buttercream recipe my always made that I now make. It is a balance between sugary and buttery. I have had better before, but it is still at a standard I like and I will definitely return to this establishment because of it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The art of peanut butter.

I will admit I am a peanut butter addict. That is why I had to check out some peanut butter art today. Peanut Butter and Co. was putting this exhibit called
The Nutropolitan Museum of Art. For every person who went they donated a jar of pb to the Food Back of NYC. Each attendee also got a jar of their very own! I walked home with a jar of "crunch time." This was my first time ever having a jar of crunchy peanut butter in my cupboard. It is peanut butter so of course I still do like it, but nothing competes with creamy. Especially in sandwich. Really not into the crunch on my bread. By the spoonful is quite fine though!

I really really wish I had gotten a jar of "White Chocolate Dream." If you have not tried this you MUST. It kind of taste like what peanut butter and fluff blended together would be like. It is definitely my favorite of their line. I am also thankful I did not receive "The Heat is On" another version that is blended with fiery spices!