Black Bean Veggie Burger w/ Chipotle Honey Mustard

This recipe is not too far removed from Melissa d’Arabian’s black bean burger.  They both are somewhat spicy, which is a good thing, and do not use any rice, — which is a great thing!  Melissa uses crushed corn chips as a binder, which was a nice change.  But, this one uses oatmeal, — which happens to be one of my favorite ingredients!

I’m sorry to say that I cannot recall where I found it.  The original called for grated zucchini, which I did not have, so I substituted chopped mushrooms.  I’ll need to keep this in mind, however, when my zucchini crop comes in this summer.

Oh!  I should mention that this Chipotle Honey Mustard is a killer!

Black Bean Veggie Burger
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can black beans, drained, rinsed and coarsely smashed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
  • 1 cup oatmeal, pulsed to a coarse powder in a food processor
  • coarse Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Saute the onion, bell pepper and jalapeño in olive oil until soft.  Stir in chopped garlic and season with salt, pepper and ground cumin.  Cook the mushrooms until slightly browned in some olive oil, to remove the excess water.  Add to the veggie mixture, in a medium bowl, and stir in the beans, chipotle pepper and powdered oats.  Adjust seasoning, if necessary.







The burger mixture needs to be refrigerated for awhile, then formed into four rather flat patties.  (The patties can be frozen at this point, and reheated, while still frozen, in a 400 degree oven, 18-20 minutes.)

Using a nonstick skillet, brown in olive oil, several minutes each side.

Serve on a bun of your choice (see mine, below) with Chipotle Honey Mustard!  Mix together, well:

  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely minced
  • pinch Kosher salt

I used a “40 Minute Roll” recipe from Taste of Home.  I tweaked it a bit, and it turned out very well!  What I did:

Dissolve 2 tablespoons active dry yeast in 1 cup warm water.  Add a little honey, which tests and activates the yeast.  Let stand about 5 minutes, until bubbly.  Stir in 3 tablespoons oil, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and about 3 cups flour (I used a mixture of 1 cup whole wheat + 2 cups unbleached flour) to form a soft dough.  Turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Do not let rise.  Divide into 12 pieces and shape each into a ball.  Place 3″ apart on a greased sheet pan.  Allow to rest, covered, for 10 minutes (I let them almost double in size, which took a bit longer).  Bake for 8-12 minutes in a 425 degree oven.  Cool on rack before slicing.

Black Bean “Nacho” Burgers

I really like Melissa d’Arabian.  She has great dinner ideas for people with limited budgets (like me), that appeal to everyone.  Her recipes are well tested by her three adorable daughters and a sexy French husband — all who must bring different criteria to the table.  So, when I came across her recipe for a black bean burger, I decided to give it a try.  She did not disappoint me.  This is a delicious burger.  “¡Olé!” Continue reading “Black Bean “Nacho” Burgers”

Tomato Jam

“Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland




I have a crazy wonderful group of friends, who happen to love themed parties.  We typically hold two each year; one at Yule and another in the middle of the summer.  This past summer, we borrowed a bit from the Mad Hatter, and held our own potluck “mad” tea party.

There were many tasty offerings, both savory and sweet.  But, my favorite, by far, I nearly overlooked as I attempted to sample from each tea table.  You may be able to see it, — there, on the top two green plates in the photo on the right — tiny bits of a deep, luscious red, nearly covered by small squares of white cheddar cheese.

I’m talking about tomato jam.  I never had it before, and I will never let a summer go by without making some from my own homegrown tomatoes. I just might cry with joy some cold, rainy day this coming winter, when I open a jar and chase those blues away. Continue reading “Tomato Jam”

Zucchini and Carrot Muffins

Yes, you’re seeing it right.  You have to look close to see the zucchinis peeking out from under the cucumbers, but they’re there!  I forgot to take a picture of this dish, but it was a nice, very light tasting zucchini muffin. I think it freezes well, too.  The problem is, my friends ate the whole batch and there was nothing left to freeze! Continue reading “Zucchini and Carrot Muffins”

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Spread

I hosted a brunch meeting recently, and this was the perfect dish to round out the menu:

Mini Bagels with Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Spread
Deviled Eggs
Tomato Tartlets
Fresh Strawberries
White Wine and Grapefruit Spritzers

The recipe couldn’t be simpler, and was okay to make a day ahead!
Continue reading “Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Spread”

Tomato Tart

‘The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts,
All on a summer day:
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts,
And took them quite away!’

— Lewis Carroll


I love parties.  One of the best things about entertaining is all the wonderful leftovers!  When I was a young girl, my favorite time of year was when it was my parents’ turn to host their monthly card club, because the special treats prepared for their 9:00 p.m. “lunch” were made exclusively for this occasion.  We children, of course, had to wait until the following day to enjoy them, but it was always worth the wait!

My husband and I host several big parties a year, and I have never grown out of the thrill of discovering all the delicious leftover treats in my refrigerator the next day.  This year, I also discovered something I rarely use — a single sheet of thawed puff pastry — so off I went to the internet to see what to do with it!

I had already used the other sheet to make simple tomato tartlets for the party brunch (I think it was à la Martha Stewart: rounds of puff pastry, pricked, brushed with olive oil, topped with 1/4″ Heirloom tomato slice, salt and pepper; after baking about 30 minutes, garnish with fresh basil and allow to cool to room temperature) — which were simply delicious!  I found several similar tomato tart recipes on different sites, so I thought it would make perfect sense to adapt the tartlet recipe to a larger version.

Most of the recipes I found required some type of cheese mixture to be spread on the puff pastry, under the tomato slices, most commonly a combination of goat cheese and ricotta.  But, cheese is cheese, in my book, and I had confidence that my juicy Heirloom tomato slices would carry any cheese right to the top.  And, I was right!  This was a wonderful, tasty and frugal dish! Continue reading “Tomato Tart”

Bread & Butter Pickle Slices

We love growing Persian cucumbers, usually enjoying them as a cold and crunchy snack or sliced in a tabbouleh salad.  I came across a recipe for bread and butter pickles that used Persian cucumbers and I thought I would try and make my own.  I had a half a dozen jars in no time at all! Continue reading “Bread & Butter Pickle Slices”

Creamy Cucumber Salad Dressing

There comes a time for me, during every cucumber growing season, where I cannot stand to look at another cucumber slice.  I honestly always enjoy the taste of cucumber, but those little white & green circles really annoy me after weeks and weeks of seeing them in everything I eat. Continue reading “Creamy Cucumber Salad Dressing”

Volunteer Pizza Sauce

I admit it.  I have a love-hate relationship with pizza.  While it may not be my favorite food, it may be the food I would pick if I could only have one to eat everyday, for the rest of my life.  I grew up loving it, in every form and only ever had one pizza I did not like.  Ever.  I even loved “Pizza Day” at our high school,  which meant the cafeteria was serving canned tomato sauce on hamburger bun with melted processed cheese.

I loved it all!  Until now.  Until fast-food pizza, frozen cardboard pizza, pizza that doesn’t taste anything like pizza is supposed to taste pizza. When I was a teenager/young adult, the only pizza that was publically available came from either an Italian restaurant or a local bar.  “Bar pizza” was the best!  Every local family-owned bar had a unique pizza recipe of it’s own — and I can still “taste” many of them, now, as I remember them.  But, sadly, those days are over, destroyed by fast-food chains and the raping of the American diet.

So, I learned to make my own pizza.  And any good pizza needs a good sauce.  A nice, simple sauce made from a few fresh ingredients.   Today, a homemade, basic pizza sauce is something I always have on hand — either canned from my own garden tomatoes, or made in bulk using a good quality canned tomato product and then canned for later use.  No unnecessary ingredients, no artificial flavors.  Simply delicious! Continue reading “Volunteer Pizza Sauce”

Summer in a Jar Salsa

This summer has proven to be the best tomato year in a long while!  It has been so wonderful, especially after the extreme disappointment of last year.  Our garden soil is much more dependable now, with our rich chicken-made compost.  The Summer temps have been unusually mild, as well, following a long, productive Spring.  We were able to produce vigorous plants, capable enough to support a bumper crop of fruit while surviving the inevitable Summer heat that we are just now, in late July, experiencing.

There is no better way to capture the taste of Summer than by canning salsa.  We eat fresh salsa all year, but nothing beats the taste of fresh garden salsa in the middle of winter.  My recipes vary a bit, as I use what I am able to produce in the garden.  But, I am careful to follow official canning recommendations (available online) for water bath canning, and always follow a recommended formula for balancing the non-acidic add-ins (such as onions and chiles) with the amount of acid in the recipe to make the salsa safe.

What I did differently this year: I broiled my tomatoes, to peel them and to enrich the flavor.  Wow, Zowie!!


This can be easily done under the broiler.  It only takes about 10 minutes to char the tomatoes.


Cool under a kitchen towel for about ten more minutes, and then peel.  The peels come right off, quite easily.  Then chop the tomato pulp and transfer it to a large pot, carefully including all the flavorful juices, as well.

This is the best trick ever!!  If you have never tried it, try it now.  Really.  Stop reading this and Go Try! Continue reading “Summer in a Jar Salsa”