Bruschetta, Portobello, & Beef Burger

Now that it’s summer I really want a grill. To be more specific, I really want this grill. A little impractical I know, but it’s SO CUTE! And it comes with matching tools! Though… if I were to be perfectly honest with myself, what I really want is someone to man my impractical grill for me. Any volunteers =)?

For this burger, I was trying to re-create the best one I’ve ever had at Archie Moore’s Bar & Restaurant in CT (sorry Bartley’s and R.F. O’Sullivan’s). I think part of the reason it ranks as “the best” in my mind is that I was at a seemingly average chain restaurant and I was expecting my meal to be… well… average. Then… BOOM… it blew me away. It was also the first time I’d seen bruschetta since I’d been aware of my allergy and been able to order it, because they didn’t put parmesan in it. I was so happy… it was like a party in my mouth.
Burger adapted from EatingWell.
Bruchetta modeled after The Cooking Photographer.
Serves 4.

Ingredients:

Burgers:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, finely chopped
  • 3 TB plain breadcrumbs (Trader Joe’s has some that is sans dairy, it’s often hard to find!)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg

Bruchetta:

  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 TB Vegan Grated Topping (sounds so appealing I know. It does a good job on the parmesan flavor though)
  • 1 TB basil olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ciabatta rolls
  • 1 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

Mix beef, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, thyme, salt, pepper, and egg in a medium bowl. (I used my hands like the meatballs… it’s just easier) Lightly pack into patties. The burgers will cook better if you leave them with a bit of air. The original recipe only called for 12 oz. of meat, but I didn’t know what to do with 4 random oz. so I just threw it in and made 5 patties. You could make 4 big patties as well.

Heat grill pan (sigh) to medium heat and cook about 6 minutes each side, adding cheese with 2 minutes to go.

For the bruchetta, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Keep in mind you might want to loose some of the juice from the tomatoes.

On a toasted roll, top with mozzarella burger and bruchetta. Commence party.

Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese Kabobs with Double Goodness Tomato Soup

Before jet-setting to Miami, the girls and I made a Target trip to get our vacation essentials. They got toiletries in 3 oz. or less… I got the Fun Stuff Silly Snacks cookbook. Logical. (Side-note: I also got Fun Stuff Cupcakes. May have a problem here) One of the first entries in the “Reinvented Classics” chapter was Grilled Cheese Kabobs.

I had always been afraid to make grilled “cheese”. What would it taste like? Fake cheese in small amounts is usually fine because I mix it with other things and it’s close enough in taste to satisfy my craving. But a whole sandwich? That’s a lot of fake cheese! Enter daiya. I had been hearing good things ever since Amy’s started using it. After some hesitation I decided to give it a go and… WOW. Just wow. Never have I tasted something that brought me back to pre-lactose-intolerant Joanna.

Always searching for ways to add in vegetables I modified this grilled cheese from Closet Cooking and paired it with some Double Goodness Tomato Soup.
Serves 4.

Ingredients:

Grilled Cheese:

Spinach Pesto:

  • 1 cup baby spinach (packed)
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 TB walnuts
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon (juice and zest)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tomato Soup:

  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB earth balance natural buttery spread
  • 1 large leek, chopped and washed
  • 20 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 14.5 oz cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter on low heat. Stir in leeks and cook until leeks are soft but not turning brown, 3-4 min. Add in sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, and water and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Pour in the canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 min.

While the soup is cooking, you can make the pesto for the sandwich. It’s really easy! Add all the ingredients into a food processor and blend. Done!

After the 15 minutes is up, remove the soup from heat, and puree with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Now time for the sandwich! Heat a grill pan on low. For each sandwich assemble 2 slices of bread, 1 TB butter, 3 TB pesto, and 1/4 cup mozzarella. Grill about 7 min each side or until cheese is nice and gooey. To make kabobs cut into 1-in. squares and skewer. I liked the idea of having bite-sized sandwich pieces to dip in the soup, but easily could’ve just dipped the whole thing =).