A Dressed Up Veggie Burger

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I’m entering my second week of interning at Serious Eats and I’m already feeling the strain of summer in the valley. The tiring commute that steals 3 hours away a day, my money being sucked into a black hole of no return, laziness, excitement for something new and utter boredom. Working four days a week has not been enough to entertain me; I still feel jittery when unoccupied and bored when not hanging with friends — something that doesn’t occur very often anymore. The sizzling heat that I love so much has not yet arrived and the damp, chilly air of last week refuses to leave even though the rain has already petered off. I know I should be starting something, learning something new but I feel quite unmotivated to push myself into a challenging direction and surrender the ease in my days. Surprise, surprise.

I started looking through one of my former favorite blogs and have become slightly inspired again, though. Inspired enough to write this post and talk a little bit with myself in a productive way. It’s about time that I start cooking again and practice my photography and kitchen skills. There’s nothing like a diligent visit to the grocery store to restore some vigor. Cooking is an easy way to nudge my brain and tell it to come back from sleep mode.

Anyways, while I have yet to cook anything at home, I still have a good stock of photos of dishes I made while in school that I didn’t have time to post until now.

This veggie burger was one of many that I’ve consumed in the past few months. I’ve become hopelessly addicted to veggie burgers and I’m not sure how. They’re just so savory and delicious while still delivering the meaty satisfaction of a beef patty. I feel a little less guilty about them and they’re easier to finish off on schedule than a large package of ground beef. This one features some feta and Tahini to give it a Mediterranean flair I suppose and to dress it up a little from being just an ordinary veggie burger.

 

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Servings: 1

Ingredients:
1 frozen veggie burger patty
1 pretzel bun, split
Tahini sauce
Feta
Arugula
1 cucumber

Directions:

1. Microwave patty for approx. 1-2 minutes. Then crisp up in fry pan for about 3-4 minutes , flipping to brown each side — no oil necessary.

2. Split your pretzel bun and toast in toaster or in another pan.

3. Cut ends of cucumber. Then, with a vegetable peeler, slice thin slivers of the cucumber, lengthwise. Don’t use the first slice as that will be all skin, no flesh.

4. Slather Tahini onto top pretzel bun. Place hot veggie burger onto bottom bun then top with a thin square of feta or about one and a half tablespoons of crumbled feta. Pile on slivers of cucumber and arugula and then cover it all with the top bun. I suggest holding the burger together with a toothpick until ready to be eaten.

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Ginger Fried Rice

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Fried rice is a genius dish, the perfect trifecta of savory, simple and easy. Whenever I’m in a bind, I simply drizzle some soy sauce and sesame oil onto a bed of rice and top it all with a sunny-side up egg. It’s the ideal solution for a hungry stomach on a tight schedule.

But while there’s little you can do to mess up fried rice, there are little details you can pay attention to to elevate the quintessential Asian dish. This recipe is one of those detail-oriented fried rice dishes, with soft, buttery onions strewn throughout the rice and topped with a sprinkle of fragrant fried ginger and garlic bits. It’s a college student’s take on Jean-Georges’s ginger fried rice, and while it might not be as beautiful as his perfected version, I find it a valuable recipe to have on hand.

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Ginger Fried Rice

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked white glutinous rice
1-2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 egg
Canola oil

Directions:

1. Mince ginger and garlic into tiny bits and pieces. Dice the onion.

2. Heat tablespoon of canola oil in a pan on low heat. Add garlic and ginger pieces and fry until golden brown. This shouldn’t take very long at all so be very careful and watchful. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel folded onto a plate.

3. Add tablespoon of canola oil to pan on medium heat and cook diced onions until softened and translucent.

5. Then add the rice and mix thoroughly.

4. Add sesame oil and soy sauce and mix until rice and onions are coated.

6. Remove everything from pan onto plate.

7. Fry an egg sunny-side up and slide onto rice. Top with fried garlic and ginger bits.

Chicago Cupcakes

The Motherload

The Motherload

I’ve personally never been caught up in the whole cupcake craze. I didn’t really understand why people freak out over these mini-cakes because, well, they’re just that – mini cakes. That is until I tried a few from Chicago Cupcakes, a cupcake truck that visited Northwestern campus a couple months ago.

There are three components that make up a Chicago Cupcake and those are the frosting, the cake and the crust. Each treat comes topped with silky Italian buttercream that adds an appropriate sweetness and smooth, creamy texture. The cake is infused with some kind of creamy diary so it tastes and feels more like a light, moist cheesecake rather than a traditional cupcake – brilliant! It’s absolutely delicious and the texture is both surprising and satisfying. And the finishing touch? A salty sweet crust that holds the entire beauty together; each crust is chosen to compliment different cupcake flavors.

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The first I tried was the Motherload and you’ll understand its name once you read the description: chocolate cake on a pretzel and brown sugar crust, filled with peanut butter and topped with a caramel Italian buttercream, chopped peanuts, pretzels and brown sugar. It is THE dream cupcake, everything you’ve ever wanted and more. Salty, sweet, creamy, nutty, decadent, light…shall I go on?

The second cupcake was the Key Lime, which had a fluffy cheesecake-like texture and a clean lime flavor that shone through. It came with a graham cracker crust and proved to be a simultaneously light and decadent treat.

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These guys at Chicago Cupcake really changed my perspective on what cupcakes can be. Try them out to learn the real potential behind these mini-cakes.