Portobello mushroom burgers with provolone cheese and red pepper mayonnaise

It should be illegal for something to taste this good.

Here’s a hint to all you readers (hello, anyone out there? Mom, is that you?): if I post something the day I made it, then you know it was just so incredible that I needed to share it with the world right away.  This was one of those meals – the type that makes you lean back in your chair and emit “oohhh” and “ahhh” sounds with every bite.

This meal was also good enough to make me actually consider vegetarianism as a plausible lifestyle.  I’m serious – the only thing that was holding me back from kicking the cow (forgive me) all together was the fact that I love, adore and live for beef burgers.  Today, July 12, 2011, an alternative was found.  Portobello mushroom caps have a naturally meaty texture and are way more flavourful than the traditional burger.  And god knows I eat enough quinoa that I don’t need the protein…

Anatomy of a portobello mushroom burger

Anyways, these burgers were unreal, and perfectly in sync with my current portobello mushroom phase.  The recipe was inspired by the August issue of Canadian Living (which I managed to rescue from the piles of mail at my old house…I really need to get my address changed).  As an aside, you can always tell which recipes I’ve made in books or magazines, since the page is absolutely destroyed with oil stains and food residue by the time I’m done.  Oh the memories.

Post de-gilling

Now, if you’ve been reading for awhile, you’ll notice that I frequently express my love for preparing certain foods.  In the past, I’ve said I love slicing zucchini, peeling avocados and cutting bouncy eggplants, among many other equally as strange things.

I can now add another neurotic food preparation love to that list: de-gilling a portobello mushroom cap.  It really is a whole lot of fun (this may speak a lot to the type of life I have).  You gently snap off the mushroom stem and use the side of a spoon to hull out the gills (you know, the fun underside of a mushroom that you always want to run your fingers against).

Hey, don’t judge my strange obsessions. You don’t truly love food unless you love every part of it – gills included.  There’s a life lesson for you, kids.

PS: The broil feature on my oven has changed my life.  It’s like a BBQ without the aesthetically-pleasing grill lines.
PPS: The texture of a grilled portobello mushroom is what I imagine the skin of a dinosaur would feel/look like.

And of course, the more delicious a food, the messier it is to eat…

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Gluten-free vegan quinoa burgers with potato salad

Gluten-free and vegan!  Excitement! 

Update: As my roommate and fellow food blogger Brittany has kindly informed me, I should probably clarify that the bun is not GF, only the burger patty itself.  There. Now go forth and cook.

My summer burger craving got resolved the healthy way.

Like: square burger patties. Dislike: harsh sunshine shadows

I was in a bit of a rut last night when trying to figure out what I wanted for dinner.  The balmy summer weather and sweaty bike commutes were making me drowsy and in desperate need of something that resembled an easy going weekend BBQ.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve virtually stopped using meat in my dishes (besides chicken, because chicken is just so damn good), a result of both my inherent cheapness and the fact that meat now makes my stomach feel like it wants to rip itself to shreds.

Anyways, my attempted vegetarian-minus-chickenism, led to the finding of an alternative burger source.  Back in the winter I made a chick pea burger, which turned out to be awesome and extremely photogenic (like I’ve said before, food miraculously tastes better if it’s also pretty).  Since I couldn’t very well duplicate a recipe, I settled on making quinoa patties.  Chalk up another win for my favourite protein-filled summer grain!

I had no idea how to make quinoa burgers, so I googled recipes, settling on the very first one I read.  From here, I actually tweaked the recipe a lot (translation: left out a few non-critical thing), making my burger so incredibly cheap (without sacrificing taste).  There were loads of delicious spices that made for a tasty patty and a pretty pan:

And because no impromptu Thursday night BBQ is complete without a salad, I quickly whipped up a potato one, matched with crunchy celery and red pepper and drizzled with a smooth dijon vinaigrette.

Dinner was eaten on the patio in our hammock.  Bliss.

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Chick Pea Burgers and VEGETARIAN WEEK

You know how in the last post I mentioned something about converting to vegetarianism?  Well it’s happening…for a week anyways.  Being a newbie at this whole vegetable eating thing, you might think this is a shocking statement.  For the next seven days I will be exploring all things non-meat-like in an adventure that will hopefully prove to be quite enlightening.  I have always been a lover of burgers, chili and (of course) pogos, but this week I am battling my inner carnivore instinct and keeping it green.

SPEAKING OF BURGERS…As my second “vegetarian stint” meal, I decided to make a chick pea-inspired burger.  I really only tried chick peas for the first time last year and have since fallen in love with their meaty and delicious texture.  Also, hummus is just really, really good.  This chick pea burger recipe came from Canadian Living and allowed me to use up the half can of chick peas that I had chilling out in our fridge.  Even though I cut down the ingredients into a third of what was originally required, I still got three decently sized burgers out of the mix, one which I ate for breakfast this morning (hooray for early morning protein).  Since there is really nothing in the patty other than chick peas, rice, grated zucchini/carrot and bread crumbs, I’d say that the cost per burger ended up at probably around 75 cents.  Pretty dece, right?  Vegetarianism: making me more healthy AND more rich.  Love it!

Alright so keep checking back over the next week as I continue to share my “Vegetarian Week” menu with the blogging world.  Perhaps this will one day turn into vegetarian month…

Chicken Burger Melts & Mango Avocado Salad

Never having made a burger of any kind from scratch before, the task of making one was long overdue.  Shaping my own chicken burger was…an experience.  Raw meat is the most disgusting thing in the universe, and having to touch it was absolutely awful.  To make my burger, I used Canadian Living’s “Chicken Burger Melts” recipe.  The best thing about this burger was that it allowed me to bring out my old friend, the George Foreman grill for the very first time since learning to cook!  Taking out that grill brought back many, many memories from my grilled cheese and plain-chicken-and-bbq-sauce days.

Side note: This burger also represents the first time I have eaten vegetables on a burger.  Big step.
Side note II: If purchasing a delicious, mouth-watering cheese such as brie to put on your burger, ensure that you do not eat 3/4 of the cheese prior to your dinner being cooked.  Personal experience has found that it is almost enough to kill your appetite.

As for the mango and avocado salad, I am happy to announce that I FINALLY know how to properly peel and cut these two delicious fruits, thanks to a bunchofonlinetutorials.  There was a slight moment of panic while making this salad, as my first avocado turned out to be bad on the inside.  The new grocery store near my house turned out to be a lifesaver, and I quickly dashed down there to pick up a lovely already-ripe avocado.  Disaster averted.

Also, exciting news!  As some of you may have noticed, I now have my very own DOMAIN NAME!!  Hoorah!  I was completely positive that I was going to accidentally delete my blog whilst trying to achieve this url, so I am very happy that we are still here!