Try This—Halloumi Burgers With Sticky Sriracha Glaze

I finally got back home from a month long vacation to Stockholm and London! I totally missed you guys, but I seriously had an amazing time. London has officially become my second favorite city (you know I gotta represent my hometown NYC). I’m already planning my next vacay with a must have pit stop in the UK.

Anyway, I stayed in Limehouse, an area in East London right next to Jack the Ripper’s old stomping grounds in Whitechapel. I’d never been to London before and I’ve heard horror stories about the food all my life, but when I arrived, I was absolutely famished and exhausted so I had to brave it. I dropped my bags at the air bnb, and walked right out the door to find something to eat. I was staying on Commercial Rd., a giant, super busy street, so I figured that I’d be able to at least find a grocery store. Limehouse is an up and coming neighborhood, so there weren’t as many restaurants as there are in areas like say Bloomsbury. Nevertheless, I stumbled upon this little cafe a few blocks from my place called Sylvia’s Corner that served all kinds of specialty coffee drinks and diner type food. Yes and yes! I was in the mood for a sandwich, so I scanned the menu looking for a veggie burger.

As a vegetarian, I’m always fully prepared to suffer through a soggy, poorly made portobello mushroom sandwich when I’m ordering at a restaurant. I was pretty surprised when I saw that Sylvia’s had a halloumi burger on the menu. Halloumi has been trending for quite some time now in the foodie world. If you don’t know what halloumi is you are truly missing out. Get this, it’s a kind of cheese made from goat’s and sheep milk, that doesn’t melt when you cook it. I know that sounds crazy because like who doesn’t appreciate the perfect gooey of melted cheese? Right?! But hear me out— the reason halloumi is so amazing is precisely because it doesn’t melt like regular cheese. It basically catapults itself into the position of being the very best thing to throw on to a grill or into a frying pan for your vegetarian friends. This halloumi burger at Sylvia’s was transcendent. I mean, I was pretty much full half way through the thing and still, not only did I just have to finish it all, but I seriously considered ordering another one to take home to the air bnb.

Fast forward: as soon as I cleared customs coming back to the States, I was on a mission to recreate those amazing halloumi burgers  (yeah, burgers, plural) that I enjoyed at Sylvia’s. The good news is that you can find halloumi at a ton of stores. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and even Walmart carry it. The even better news is that halloumi is so easy to cook that you’ll be in sandwich heaven in no time. With Labor Day right around the corner, and the final days of perfect bbq and picnic weather fast approaching, drop everything—You must try this!!!

Halloumi Burgers with Sticky sriracha glaze

Ingredients

2 servings

For the Burger

  • about 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 mushroom, sliced
  • 3 tbsp bread crumbs or semolina
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 5oz (about half a pack) of Halloumi, cut into slices
  • 2 brioche rolls
  • Cup of lettuce or spinach leaves
  • ½ red onion, peeled and sliced

For the Glaze

  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1+1/2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha

Directions

  • To make the sauce: Place all the sauce ingredients into your smallest saucepan and bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Continue to stir, and cook for another 1-3 minutes until the sauce has reduced down to a runny syrup. Remove from heat allowing the glaze to thicken even more as it cools.
  • Heat some oil in a skillet and fry your mushrooms. Remove the mushrooms from the pan. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat.
  • Place the bread crumbs or semolina on a small dish with the a little salt and pepper. Crack the egg into a small dish and whisk lightly with a fork. Dip the halloumi slices into the egg, then coat in the bread crumbs or semolina. Place in the pan and fry on a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  • While the halloumi is frying, assemble your sandwich. Lightly toast the brioche rolls. Add the lettuce and mushroom slices to the rolls. Once the halloumi is cooked, place the slices on top of the mushrooms. Top with red onion (you can saute some with the mushrooms if you prefer) and then drizzle over a little (or a lot!) of the glaze. Enjoy!!!

***this is a variation of a recipe that first appeared on Craftberry Bush

Make-Ahead Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Before I jump right into the recipe, I have to tell you that these next several weeks are going to be pretty busy for me. If you’ve been checking out my posts, you know that I’m heading over to Stockholm and London in July. Yay! I’ve been writing lists and getting organized for the trip. I am seriously neurotic when it comes to packing luggage, and I am a total carry-on-only warrior. Anyway, since I’ve been planning everything right down to the smallest of details, I realized I’d forgotten one of the most important things to consider. After returning home from a long trip, the last thing you want to think about is grocery shopping and cooking. I needed to come up with a meal that I can take straight from the freezer and pop in the oven as soon as I set down my bags.

Because farmer’s markets and summer CSAs are in full swing, and because I have more summer squash than I know what to do with, I decided to make a Summer vegetable lasagna. Lasagna is one of my favorite meals, y’all, and this recipe is nothing short of amazing. The Béchamel sauce really makes every bite a cosmic experience. The best part is that you can make this ahead of time and then freeze portions for a quick, healthy, and oh so tasty meal. You must try this!!!

Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

For the vegetable filling:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 yellow or green summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
  • 3 jarred roasted red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz./875 g) plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) fresh basil leaves, minced
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the béchamel sauce

  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk
  • 3 cups (24 oz./750 g) ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 3/4 lb. (12 oz./375 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. To make the filling, in a 5-quart (5-l) Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the bell peppers, tomatoes, basil and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Clean the pot.

3. To make the béchamel sauce, in the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer half of the sauce to a bowl. Spread the remaining sauce evenly on the bottom of the pot. In another bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper.

4. Cover the sauce in the pot with a single layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them if needed to fit. Spread one-third of the ricotta mixture evenly on top, then one-third of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with one-fourth of the mozzarella. Repeat the layering 2 more times, starting with the noodles. Top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and bake until the noodles are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is browned, about 15 minutes longer. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.

***To freeze, cut it into individual portions. Wrap the portions in aluminum foil and when you’re ready to reheat, just pop them in the oven for about 45 minutes at 375°F.

Source: Williams Sonoma

Try This— Onigirazu (Sushi Sandwich)

No doubt whole grains are super good for you, but I eat a lot of bread, y’all. Dare I say, I eat way too much bread. I can turn an otherwise healthy meal into a caloric, water weight disaster by literally eating an entire baguette along with it. That’s dedication. Anyway, I’m always on the hunt for sandwich recipes that don’t rely so much on bread. I’ve made some pretty delish lettuce rolls. You know the ones. You just take all your regular sandwich fixin’s and roll them up in lettuce. Voila! No bread, but sometimes it feels like I’m just eating a salad without a fork. Then I found Onigirazu.

So this is really a thing. Onigirazu. Sushi sandwiches. What?!! There’s really never a wrong time for sushi. I thought I had ventured into some pretty unique recipes before what with grain bowls for breakfast and savory yogurt, but this one right here is just the end all. I mean imagine a sandwich meets sushi, falls in love, has a baby, and names it Onigirazu. Word. It’s kinda like that. You must try this!!!

Onigirazu  (Sushi Sandwich)

Ingredients

  • 4 nori sheets
  • about 4 cups of cooked sushi rice
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 oz baby spinach
  • red cabbage, shredded and pickled (optional, see below)
  • homemade sriracha, get the recipe here

TOFU KATSU VERSION

  • 1 package firm tofu, pressed
  • tamari or soy sauce
  • beaten eggs, for coating the tofu
  • 1-2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups frying oil (for fried version only)

SWEET POTATO VERSION

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp tamari (GF) or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp neutral (flavorless) cooking oil like avocado oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar

QUICK PICKLED RED CABBAGE (optional)

  • a wedge of red cabbage, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed with the side of a knife

Directions

FILLINGS

TOFU KATSU VERSION

  1. BAKED – Set the oven to 200° C / 390° F and line a baking tray with baking paper. Toast panko breadcrumbs in a small pan until golden (they will gain more color in the oven). Cut each tofu block into two 50% thinner blocks. Sprinkle tofu with some soy sauce (or tamari) or you can season the flour with plenty of salt instead. Drag tofu in flour making sure that the entire surface area has been coated. Dip the tofu in beaten egg and finally drag it in the pre-toasted breadcrumbs. Brush a bit of oil on the baking paper underneath the tofu and bake for about 30 minutes (until crisp and dry) flipping the pieces to the other side half way through.
  2. FRIED – Fill a small pot with 2 cups of frying oil and set on the stove. Cut each tofu block into two 50% thinner blocks. Sprinkle tofu with some soy sauce (or tamari) or you can season the flour with plenty of salt instead. Drag tofu in flour making sure that the entire surface area has been coated. Dip tofu in beaten egg and finally drag it in breadcrumbs. Carefully lower the tofu, one piece at the time, into hot oil and let it fry for about 3 minutes on each side. Once ready, place fried tofu on a piece of kitchen towel to get rid of the excess oil.

SWEET POTATO VERSION

  1. BAKED – Set the oven to 220° C / 425° F and line a baking tray with baking paper. Mix all the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl. Cut the middle (widest) section of your sweet potato, peel it and slice into 0.2″ slices. Brush each slice with the marinade and place the slices on the prepared baking tray. Bake for about 20 min (until soft), flipping the slices to the other side halfway through.

Assembly

  1. Cut a square of cling film slightly larger than your nori sheet. Place it on the table, place the nori sheet on top with the shiny side down and rotated 45° in relation to the cling film (SEE PHOTOS above).
  2. Wet your hands (keep a small bowl of water handy to wet your hands) and grab a handful of rice. Place it in the middle of the sheet and using your hands form it into a compacted square (about 3.5 ” by 3.5 “). Try to make that layer as even and compacted as possible. Season well with salt.
  3. Place remaining ingredients on top. For the tofu onigirazu,  layer spinach, avocado slices, Sriracha and tofu katsu. For the sweet potato onigirazu, layer pickled cabbage, avocado slices, Sriracha, and a sweet potato disc. At this point cover all the ingredients with another layer of compacted rice. You can get a special onigirazu maker that makes this process a little  easier.
  4. Once you are done with your stack, seal all four corners of the nori sheet on top of the filling. Fold the right corner over the stack, wet the end of the nori sheet with a wet finger and fold the left corner over the stack and ‘glue’ it to the right corner. Repeat the same thing with bottom and top corners until you get a small packet.
  5. Finally gather all the cling film over the stack and tie on the top. Put something moderately heavy (like a breadboard) on the onigirazu and set it aside to let the seaweed soften a little. Cut in half with a sharp knife.

QUICK PICKLED RED CABBAGE (optional)

  1. Place shredded cabbage in a sterilized, medium size jar.
  2. Put the remaining ingredients and ½ cup water in a small pot. Bring to a gentle boil, over low heat.
  3. Once they come to the boil (make sure the sugar has dissolved), pour the mixture over the cabbage and stir well. Make sure that the pickling liquid covers all of the cabbage. Set aside for 6-8 hours and consume.

Source: Lazy Cat Kitchen

Try This— Vegetarian Mexican Casserole

This is a delicious vegetarian recipe to add to your Cinco de Mayo celebration menu. It is truly cheesy goodness at it’s finest, y’all! Best part? Every single time I’ve made this casserole, I freeze the leftovers for an easy weeknight microwave dinner. You must try this!

Mexican Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas, chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) can refried beans, warmed
  • 1 (10-ounce) can mild enchilada sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat shredded Mexican blend cheese

directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and bell peppers. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in black beans, corn, chili powder and cumin until heated through, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in green chiles and cilantro; set aside.
  • Place tortillas evenly on the bottom of the baking dish. Spread refried beans evenly over the tortillas, followed by the onion mixture and enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Place into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly.
  • Serve garnished with cilantro, if desired.

Image and Recipe: Damn Delicious