Quinoa Patties with Herbs and Gruyere Make Great Burgers

Christopher Kimball wrote . . . . . . . . .

Building a good grain-based veggie burger is a challenge, not only for flavor, but also because they tend to fall apart.

So instead we tried a seed — quinoa, to be specific — and were delighted with the results. The texture and size make it better-suited than rice or other “grains” for forming into patties, and pan-frying gives them a crisp crust that contrasts with the tender interior.

For this recipe from our book “COOKish,” which limits recipes to just six ingredients without sacrificing flavor, we bind the quinoa with beaten egg and panko breadcrumbs, which soak up the egg to keep the inside moist and the patties together. A quarter-cup of tarragon and chopped scallions give them an herbal fragrance, and a pungent cheese like Gruyère or Gouda punches up the flavor.

The recipe makes four 3-inch patties, which can be made into burgers by tucking them into buns with toppings. Served on their own, they make a nice side dish that’s a departure from a typical salad or pilaf.

To cook just enough quinoa to make the cakes, in a large saucepan bring 1½ cups water and ½ cup quinoa (rinsed and drained) to a boil. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, then cover, reduce to low and cook until the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, drape a towel across the pan, re-cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Quinoa Cakes with Gruyère and Herbs

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

2 large eggs
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon OR dill OR a combination
3 ounces Gruyère cheese OR Gouda cheese OR smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons neutral oil

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add the panko and mix until moistened; set aside for 15 minutes to hydrate. To the panko-egg mixture, add the quinoa, scallions, tarragon, cheese, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix by hand, then form into four 3-inch patties, pressing firmly so they hold together. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the patties and cook until well browned on both sides, flipping once.

Optional garnish: Mayonnaise mixed with chopped fresh herbs

Source: AP






Almond Butter Makes Chocolate Cookies Moist and Fudgy

Christopher Kimball wrote . . . . . . . . .

In her cookbook “My Two Souths,” chef Asha Gomez added an intriguing twist to the classic chocolate cookie — Nutella. It was an innovative way to introduce nutty flavor to an otherwise straightforward chocolate cookie dough.

Inspired, we wondered what other nutty spreads would work, so for this recipe from our book “Milk Street Tuesday Nights,” which limits recipes to 45 minutes or less, we tried natural almond butter. We were thrilled. Besides injecting the cookie with almond flavor, the natural ingredient gave us more control over the finished texture — moist, fudgy and almost brownie-like.

We made a few other small tweaks — adding cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate to deepen the cookie’s flavor and color without overwhelming the lighter milk chocolate — but otherwise kept the recipe simple and straightforward.

Sliced almonds pressed onto the tops added crunch, and a final sprinkle of flaky sea salt heightened the other flavors. The result was delicious but intense, so we scaled down the cookie’s size, making it a decadent two-bite treat.

When you’re forming the cookies, if the dough is very sticky, allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. As the milk chocolate solidifies, the dough becomes easier to work with.

Triple-Chocolate Almond Cookies

Start to finish: 30 minutes (20 minutes active)

Makes 30 cookies

8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
130 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour
160 grams (3/4 cup packed) brown sugar
16 grams (3 tablespoons) cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup roasted almond butter, stirred well
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons flaky sea salt (such as Maldon Sea Salt Flakes)

Heat the oven to 350°F with racks in the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with kitchen parchment.

Put the milk chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 50 percent power, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely smooth and melted. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Add eggs and mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Stir in the melted chocolate, almond butter, vanilla and chopped semisweet chocolate.

Spread the almonds on a large plate. Divide the dough into 1-tablespoon balls, then lightly press into the almonds, coating one side and slightly flattening them. Arrange 15 of the balls, almond side up, on each of the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Brush the tops lightly with the egg white and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake until the center is set and the edges are no longer glossy, 10 to 13 minutes, rotating the sheets and switching racks halfway through. Let cool completely on the sheets. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Source: AP





Halloween Caramel Apples: An Easy, Fun Treat Amid the Candy

Katie Workman wrote . . . . . . . . .

There is a slightly weird irony to the fact that around Halloween, we tend to look for recipes for seasonal sweets, even as we prepare for an onslaught of candy. My kids are way beyond trick-or-treating age, but that doesn’t mean we don’t lay in a supply of mini candy bars for the kids who will come a-knocking at out door.

But if you are hosting a Halloween party — for adults or children — a plastic pumpkin full of mini candies might not feel special enough.

Maybe you were tasked with bringing a treat to a school party. Maybe (like us) your building hosts a Halloween party every year for the kids. Or maybe, even though you are an adult, you still think Halloween is the coolest holiday of the year and you need to go the extra mile!

Homemade caramel apples are surprisingly easy to make, and purely joyful.

You can use whatever apples you like, as long as they are firm and crisp. Granny Smiths are a good choice, with the tartness playing nicely against the sweet. Honeycrisp and Fuji and Gala, all good choices. You want a crunch when you bite into it.

I like to use smaller apples, because with caramel and coatings there is a lot going on. Have you seen some of those huge packaged caramel or other candy apples available during the holiday season? The kind that can feed a family of four? They are gorgeous but uh, let’s just say hard to justify.


Supervise like crazy if you have little ones; that melted caramel is HOT, so don’t let them touch it.

Kids can help choose different toppings (colored sprinkles or jimmies, crushed cookies, granola, shredded coconut). And they can dip the coated apples into the toppings of their choice.

Another fun extra is to take fruit leather and cut it into festive holiday shapes. Pumpkins or ghosts are pretty forgiving, and then you can stick those fruity pieces right onto the caramel apples for extra Halloween flair.

Or buy edible googly eye candies and stick them onto the apples as soon as they are almost cool.

Putting the finished dipped apples in holiday-themed paper cupcake liners also adds festiveness to an already festive treat.

If you are making these for Halloween, lean into the black and orange toppings.


For to-go apples, wrap them in clear cellophane, tie them with a piece of string and ribbon, and share with your neighbors. You can choose ribbon colors for the appropriate holiday, or for a gathering like a shower that has a color theme.


You can store candy apples in the fridge well sealed for up to five days. The apples may soften a bit as they sit. It’s best to remove the stick before storing them, as the wood will speed up up the spoiling process.

This recipe multiplies easily. Just rewarm the caramel in the double boiler as directed below if it starts to thicken up (see Step 6).

Makes 6 apples

6 small apples, washed
1 (14-ounce) package caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons heavy cream
6 wooden popsicle sticks

For decorating (pick and choose):

Crushed cookies, such as chocolate wafers or graham crackers
Crushed nuts
Crushed candy, such as toffee or Halloween-colored candy canes
Shredded coconut
Crushed pretzels

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Twist the stem from each apple and insert a popsicle stick in the top, sticking it halfway up the apple for stability.

2. Place the desired toppings in separate bowls or containers large enough for the apples to fit inside.

3. If you have a double boiler, set that up with water in the bottom. If not, grab a skillet and a saucepan smaller than the width of the skillet by a few inches. Place the saucepan in the skillet and fill the skillet with water about ½ inch up the sides of the saucepan nestled inside. Place the caramels and the cream in the top pan of the double boiler, or the saucepan in the skillet. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until the caramels are melted and smooth.

4. Transfer the melted caramel to a heatproof surface. Dip each apple, one at a time, into the hot caramel. You may choose to coat just the bottom half, or turn the apple to coat it all around with the caramel. Lift the apple up and twirl it gently to allow excess caramel to drip back into the pan.

5. Dip the apple into the toppings of your choice. You may use more than one topping for each apple; either lean different sides of the coated apple into different toppings, or sprinkle some of the toppings over the apple, holding the apple over the toppings in their container.

6. If the caramel starts to firm up before you have dipped all of the apples, return it to the heat over simmering water, and stir frequently until it is liquidy again. You can also put it in the microwave and heat it for 15-second bursts, stirring between each one.

7. Place the decorated apples on the lined baking sheet, transfer the tray to the fridge, and let cool and set for at least 1 hour. Place in cupcake liners if desired.

Source: AP





For Better Roast Chicken, Slather Spices Under the Skin

Christopher Kimball wrote . . . . . . . . .

Slathering sauces or seasonings over a chicken before roasting may produce a beautiful bird, but it can deliver lackluster flavor. That’s why we prefer to season a chicken under the skin.

Sliding spices and aromatic seasonings under the skin boosts flavor by putting the ingredients in direct contact with the meat. The skin also helps them stay put during cooking.

We also maximize flavor in this recipe from our book “COOKish,” which limits recipes to just six ingredients without sacrificing flavor, by using two powerhouse pantry shortcuts.

The first is garam masala, an Indian spice blend with seven or more spices, including cumin, bay, fennel, cinnamon, dried chilies and black pepper. And the second is tamarind chutney, a sweet-tart punch of flavor that acts like several ingredients in one, balancing the richness of the chicken with bright acid and taming the spices. Blending both with butter makes the seasoning paste, which we supplement with extra cinnamon and black pepper to bring added warmth.

As the chicken roasts, the paste blends with the rendered fat from the skin and suffuses the meat with rich, complex flavors. We like serving it with mild-tasting lentils and warmed flatbread to sop up the juices.

Garam Masala and Tamarind Roasted Chicken

Start to finish: 2 hours (15 minutes active)

Servings: 4

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, softened
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon tamarind chutney, plus more to serve
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4-pound whole chicken

Heat the oven to 425°F. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Mix the butter, chutney, garam masala, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the meat on the chicken’s breast and thigh areas, then smear the mixture evenly under the skin. Season all over with salt, then tuck the wings to the back and tie the legs. Set the bird breast up on the rack and roast until the thighs reach 175°F, 60 to 80 minutes. Let rest for about 30 minutes, then carve. Drizzle with additional chutney.

Source: AP





Spiced Beef, Salty Cheese Fill Turkey’s Top Street Food

Christopher Kimball wrote . . . . . . . . .

Outside the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, a woman in a headscarf slaps a ball of dough between her formidable hands and stretches it over the dome of a large saç griddle.

She sprinkles half of the paper-thin dough with chewy white cheese, a tangle of bitter greens and a crumble of spiced beef. By the time she folds it shut with a long wooden dowel, the flatbread is already bubbly and browned.

This is gozleme, one of Turkey’s most common street foods. The scene is repeated all over Istanbul, and it’s easy enough to replicate at home with a few substitutions.

For this recipe in our book “COOKish,” which limits recipes to just six ingredients without sacrificing flavor, we use items easily found in a U.S. supermarket. Spinach instead of the bitter greens, flour tortillas and feta cheese, which has a similar saltiness to the Turkish one, made a faithfully tasty stuffed flatbread.

To quickly build flavor, we cooked the ground beef with tomato paste and cumin before adding the spinach to the pan. And we made sure to cook the stuffed tortillas in the skillet until golden brown for additional texture and a toasty aroma.

Beef, Spinach and Feta Gozleme

Servings: 4

1 pound 90% lean ground beef
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
5-ounce container baby spinach, roughly chopped
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)
Four 10-inch flour tortillas
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

In a nonstick 12-inch skillet, cook the beef, tomato paste, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 cup water, until the beef is no longer pink. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until the pan is dry. Transfer to a bowl; cool for 10 minutes, then stir in the feta. Wipe out the skillet. Divide the mixture among the tortillas, spreading it over the center third; fold each like a business letter. In the skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil until shimmering. Add 2 tortillas and cook until golden on both sides, then transfer to plates. Repeat with the remaining oil and tortillas.

Source: AP