Pea and Edamame Burgers with Sriracha

What’s your restaurant-going style?

Does the chef have to have a recognizable name? Is convenience your main priority? Are you all about what’s trendy? Do you choose places based on your eating ethos (nose-to-tail, vegetarian)?

I prefer a relaxed approach to food that’s inclusive of everyone – regardless of budget, diet and relative hipness, I think we all deserve a quality eating experience when we go out.

But when I look back on some of my favorite meals they have usually been simple backyard or picnic situations shared with favorite people in beautiful weather.

One experience that stands out as an exception (in that I was required to wear nice clothing and shoes) was at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Situated on a farm in the Hudson Valley of New York – not too far away from New York City – guests aren’t presented with a menu, but a long list of food harvested from the farm and market that day. Any of these ingredients could end up on your plate throughout the evening.

We did an 8-course tasting, which is now (2 years later) unfortunately a blur of bright flavors, beautiful ingredients, exciting textures and general stokedness. But one thing that I remember exactly is the (warning: wanker alert) amuse bouche – a one-bite burger made of fresh peas on a mini brioche bun. Not only was it adorable looking, it was also completely packed with sweet pea flavor.

I’ve always promised myself I would attempt a version of my own, and here I am…finally – with a normal-sized version for those who prefer multiple bites of something delicious.

Pea & Edamame Burgers with Sriracha
(makes 4)

- 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 shallots, chopped
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 cup fresh peas blanched quickly in boiling water or frozen peas, thawed
– 1/2 cup shelled edamame, thawed
– 1 carrot, shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
– 1 tablespoon sriracha, plus more for serving
– 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
– 1 egg
– salt & pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium pan over a medium- high heat. Saute shallots until softened and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat.

Place peas, edamame, shallots, garlic and carrot in a food processor and pulse until the peas and edamame are broken down but still retain a little bit of their shape. (A whole pea here or there is totally fine.)

In a large bowl, combine the pea mixture with the sriracha, bread crumbs and egg – stirring with a fork to combine all the ingredients well. Let the mixture stand in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (you can leave it for a few hours if needed.)

Heat oven to 190 C/375 F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Form patties from the mixture with your hands. I used the buns I  was serving them on as a sizing guide, making mine about 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide. (English muffins make a great burger bun!)

Place patties on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, flip the patties and bake for another 10 minutes until golden on each side. Serve with more sriracha and herbed yogurt on buns.

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Edamame Sushi Bowl with Wasabi Dressing

I have come to realize that 72% of the time when I think  I’m craving sushi, I’m in fact craving straight up wasabi.

It’s not that I don’t looove sushi in its many glorious forms but it’s the wasabi that really brings the whole thing together for me. I love the stuff. It’s a completely different type of spicy that I totally dig.

I even love that eye-watering moment when you’ve gotten a little too much and your sinuses are magically the clearest they’ve felt in months. Oh yeah. That’s the good stuff.

I know not everyone shares my crazylove for Japanese horseradish (I mean, clearly I’m some sort of spice sadist. Whatevs.) But if you do like the flavor, you have to try this salad with wasabi dressing. The dressing isn’t at eye-watering level (I’m not a monster!) but it’s undoubtedly wasabi-flavored.

The combination of traditional sushi roll vegetables like carrots and avocado topped with sesame seeds and a wasabi and soy dressing completely satisfy my sushi/wasabi cravings from the comfort of my own home.

It’s a salad that holds up well if you want to take it as a work week lunch or on a picnic – and it’s best at room temperature.

This version of the salad is vegan-friendly, but I’m dreaming about a gorgeous medium-rare piece of grilled salmon on top of this situation sometime soon.

Edamame Sushi Bowl (serves 2)
inspired by Sushi Roll Edamame Salad from Appetite for Reduction
– 1 cup cooked brown rice
– 1 medium carrot, shredded
– 1 cup shredded kale
– 1/2 cup shelled edamame (defrosted)
– 1/2 avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks
– 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Place rice, carrot, kale and edamame in a bowl and toss well with 1-2 tablespoons of the wasabi dressing (below) top with avocado and toasted sesame seeds and serve with additional dressing (if desired.)

Wasabi Salad Dressing (warning: packs a punch!)
– 1 teaspoon wasabi paste
– 1 teaspoon soy sauce
– 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
– 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Place all ingredients in a small jar or bowl and mix well until everything is blended together.

Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango

Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty sold me with the cover. The rustic roasted eggplants with creamy buttermilk sauce, studded with pomegranate jewels. Exotic and gorgeous, yet familiar…

I was stoked when I received it in my much-anticipated Amazon delivery a couple of weeks ago – I couldn’t wait to dive into the beautiful photography and get some creative new ideas.

This dish from Plenty struck me as soon as I saw it in the eggplant chapter (yes, an entire chapter devoted to eggplant. How can you not love this book?) I am always looking for a good soba noodle dish  – I love their slightly nutty flavor and silky texture. This recipe called for the quirky combination of eggplant and mango. The bright yellow of the mango and browned eggplant woven through the sandy-colored noodles just looked like fun. I had to make this.

The sweet, ripe mango and velvety, savory eggplant pair really well together. I added some shelled edamame to give another bright pop of color to this already surprising dish.

Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi – I decided not to shallow fry my eggplant and adjusted the measurements to serve 4 instead of 6.
Serves 4

- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
– 1 tablespoon of honey
– 1/2 teaspoon of salt
– 2 garlic cloves, crushed
– 1/2 fresh chili, finely chopped
– 1 teaspoon sesame oil
– zest and juice from half a lime
– 2-3 tablespoons oil
– 1 medium eggplant, cut into even bite-sized chunks
– 6 ounces/170 grams of soba noodles
– 1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
– 1 large mango, cut into even bite-sized chunks
– 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced into half-moons
– 1 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
– 1 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

In a small saucepan heat vinegar, honey and salt for 1 minute, making sure the honey is combined with the vinegar. Remove from heat and add garlic, chili and sesame oil. Allow to cool and then add the lime zest and juice. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes. By this time the eggplant should have absorbed most of the olive oil in the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover the pan with a lid. Let the eggplant cook for this way for about 10 minutes, checking on it and stirring once or twice. If the pan dries out add another tablespoon of water. Cook until the eggplant and its skin are soft but still retaining their shape. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook the soba noodles according to the package in salted water. When cooked through, drain and run cold water over them. Make sure the noodles are as dry as possible, blotting them on paper towels.

In a large bowl combine noodles, eggplant, edamame, mango, onion, dressing and half of the herbs. Mix well to combine. Let this sit for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Serve with the rest of the herbs.