Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

I love burgers made from all sorts of things. At this time of year, most of our burgers are bean based, and most are made up as I go, with whatever’s in the house.

Bean burgers require some thinking ahead, but this recipe makes enough that it’s worth the extra work.

2 cups dry black beans
1 cup quinoa
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 carrot
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
handful fresh cilantro
2 eggs

Boil the beans ahead of time in plenty of water until soft. Drain and mash cooked beans in a large bowl (I use a potato masher for this). Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water until the water is absorbed (10-15 minutes). Finely chop the onion and garlic. Sauté them in 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil until the onion is translucent. Grate the carrot.

Add all ingredients except the eggs to the mashed beans and stir to mix. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.

Form into patties and place on a well oiled baking tray. Bake at 210°C (400°F) for about 25 minutes, flipping the burgers after 15 minutes.

Makes about 18 burgers. Freeze the leftovers for quick mid-week meals.

The Season for Food Porn

A spread of summer vegetables ready for grilling.

I roasted the last of the summer’s potatoes last week, and finished off the carrots over the weekend. The corn I froze in March and April is already a memory, as are the cherries, apples and blackcurrants.

We’re getting to the boring time of year, when our vegetable options are limited, and we eat a lot of beans. It’s not a problem, but it means it’s a great time to enjoy food porn. Here are just a few of my favourites.

Waffles smothered in strawberries

Roast summer veggies

Soy, parmesan-crusted zucchini sticks, watermelon, and breadsticks dipped in a rich tomato sauce.

Tomatoes ripe and flavourful

Apricot upside down cake

Homemade strawberry ice cream

Spectacular Storm

Just a few minutes before the rain, with the sun still shining.

When I checked the weather forecast last night, it looked promising for hanging out the washing today. Perhaps a bit overly windy, but a dry nor’westerly wind.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the house this morning before it was light, so I wasn’t able to get the laundry on the laundry line. Instead, I hung it on the indoor drying rack, set on the porch.

It was a good thing.

The storm that was forecast to blow in late in the afternoon arrived several hours early.

I had a fabulous view of it from the library where I was working today. The clouds spread out like a spill of hot jam, oozing across the the sky. The leading edge, when it first appeared, was white and smooth, but behind it, the clouds roiled black.

For an hour, I watched the storm ooze toward me. All the while the sun shone bright and warm.

Fifteen minutes before I knew I had to leave to pick up the kids, I decided it was time to make a run for the car. The storm nipped at my heels, and I just had time to get into the car before every autumn leaf on the street was whipped into the air by the first gust of wind.

I drove to the kids’ pick-up spot through a whirlwind of flying leaves and rubbish. By the time their bus pulled up a few minutes later, the car was being lashed by rain and hail.

And the laundry? It wasn’t exactly dry, and some of it had blown off the rack. But I was thankful that darkness had kept me from putting it on the line in the morning.

Playing with Spiders

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll know I love jumping spiders. I’m not alone. In fact, I know people who, in general, can’t stand spiders, but who are nevertheless fond of jumping spiders.

I think part of the reason people like jumping spiders is that they are such visual animals. Like us, they navigate their world using visual cues. They turn to watch something pass by. They walk around objects placed in their path. They react to stimuli in a way we can understand.

The other day, a jumping spider on the computer screen began stalking the cursor as though it were a tasty fly. My husband began to play with the spider in much the same way we dangle a string for the cat. It was terribly cute. I know the cat understands it’s a game, but I doubt the spider did. I’m sure it ended up frustrated it couldn’t catch that little dancing arrow.

Moonlit Night

I should have stayed in this evening and written my blog post.

But the moon was full, the sky clear, and the sea calm.

They called the family out to the beach, where moonlight sparkled on cresting waves. Where the black shadows of driftwood stumps clawed across the rocks. Where waves hissed and foamed up the sand. Where mist clung along the arch of the shore. Where the salt smell clung in our hair and nostrils. Where one single light, far out on the Banks Peninsula, was the only sign we weren’t completely alone on Earth.

So you’ll have to excuse me, for I’ve written no post for today. I have no photo–only my words to urge you out on this moonlit night.

Pumpkin Pizza

Ordinary pizza on the left, pumpkin pizza on the right.

I tried something yesterday that I’ve been thinking of for a long time. I’m sure that if I googled it, I’d find millions of people who had already done this, but for me it was new.

When we make pizza, we always make two–we eat one, and put the other in the freezer for a quick mid-week meal. So when we made pizza last night, I decided to make one of them a pumpkin pizza. I figured if it was awful, we could at least eat the other one.

It wasn’t awful.

In fact, it was incredible.

Here’s what I did…

3 1/2 cups cooked winter squash, mashed (I used kabocha squash–you want something with dry flesh so your pizza doesn’t end up too soggy)
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
fresh sage and thyme to taste
1/2 tsp salt
50 g blue cheese
grated edam, mozzarella, or other mild cheese

Chop and sauté the onion and garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil until the onion are translucent. Add chopped herbs toward the end. Mix into the winter squash along with salt.

Spread this mixture evenly over the rolled-out pizza dough. Crumble the blue cheese and dot it over the surface. Top with grated cheese of your choice and bake as for any other pizza.