Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos


 
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos - Homemade pita bread chips are layered with roasted red pepper hummus, feta cheese, red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, and loaded up with parsley. A delicious take on the classic nacho meal. #pitabread #greeknachos #hummusnachos #saladnachos #vegetarian
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos - Homemade pita bread chips are layered with roasted red pepper hummus, feta cheese, red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, and loaded up with parsley. A delicious take on the classic nacho meal. #pitabread #greeknachos #hummusnachos #saladnachos #vegetarian
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos - Homemade pita bread chips are layered with roasted red pepper hummus, feta cheese, red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, and loaded up with parsley. A delicious take on the classic nacho meal. #pitabread #greeknachos #hummusnachos #saladnachos #vegetarian
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos - Homemade pita bread chips are layered with roasted red pepper hummus, feta cheese, red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, and loaded up with parsley. A delicious take on the classic nacho meal. #pitabread #greeknachos #hummusnachos #saladnachos #vegetarian
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos - Homemade pita bread chips are layered with roasted red pepper hummus, feta cheese, red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, and loaded up with parsley. A delicious take on the classic nacho meal. #pitabread #greeknachos #hummusnachos #saladnachos #vegetarian

Word on the street is that it's almost Football Season! Despite my Poppa's incredibly enthusiastic attempts to explain the rules of American Football to me every time I go and stay, I don't think I will ever quite grasp the rules. There are just so many people, so much swapping, flag throwing, and weird lines on the field for someone like me who grew up in a rugby mad country. We went to a game when we first moved to NYC and it's even more confusing watching it in real life than it is on TV. 

The part I like the best about watching it though, or any game in general, are the snacks. I can always get behind some good game snacks. I come from a sports-mad family who are willing to get up at any hour to watch New Zealand play. While I've never been particularly interested in the game itself (have you ever watched a full game of cricket on TV? I wouldn't recommend, sometimes it goes for FIVE DAYS), I have always been all about the food that goes alongside whatever sport happens to be on. Back home, gatherings are often centered around watching the rugby - people will get together for dinner, then cram themselves into a room to yell at the TV for a few hours. With snacks. Always with snacks. If I have anything to do with it anyway. 

This month I have teamed up with Blue Moose of Boulder to share with you the perfect game snack idea! I decided to go with a simple riff on Nachos and use a base of home made pita chips, loaded up with Roasted Red pepper hummus, red onion, red pepper, tomato, and feta. The dish goes for a quick spin in the oven, then is finished with cucumber and parsley when it comes out. If you are an olive person (which I am not), you could add some of those too! This dish comes together quickly, and is perfect to serve a crowd. The components can easily be prepared ahead of time, then assembled when you are ready. It would also be perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, or light weekend lunch! Who doesn't love Nachos?

 

 

Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos

- Serves 3-4 people -

6 - 8 medium pita breads (the thin ones are the best), or 1-2 bags pita chips
Olive oil to brush pita breads
Flaky sea salt
1 container Blue Moose of Boulder Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
1/2 medium red onion, very finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 medium tomato, finely diced
6 oz (170g) feta, crumbled
1 small cucumber, chopped into cubes
Chopped parsley to garnish
 

- PROCESS -

Preheat the oven to 400˚f / 180˚c. Brush each side of the pita breads with olive oil, and cut into 8-10 wedges. Arrange on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden and crunchy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a 9" x 13" baking dish. 

Dollop the container of hummus evenly over the pita chips, then evenly layer the onion, red pepper, tomato and feta over the top. 

Bake in the oven for 9-10 minutes, until the hummus and toppings are warmed through. 

Top with the cucumber, and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

 

Thank you so much to Blue Moose of Boulder for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.

Black Bean Burgers with Homemade Brioche Burger Buns


 
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect vegetarian meal that even the staunchest of hamburger eater will love! #vegetarian #blackbeanburger
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect vegetarian meal that even the staunchest of hamburger eater will love! #vegetarian #blackbeanburger
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect vegetarian meal that even the staunchest of hamburger eater will love! #vegetarian #blackbeanburger
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect vegetarian meal that even the staunchest of hamburger eater will love! #vegetarian #blackbeanburger
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect vegetarian meal that even the staunchest of hamburger eater will love! #vegetarian #blackbeanburger
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect vegetarian meal that even the staunchest of hamburger eater will love! #vegetarian #blackbeanburger
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect vegetarian meal that even the staunchest of hamburger eater will love! #vegetarian #blackbeanburger
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect vegetarian meal that even the staunchest of hamburger eater will love! #vegetarian #blackbeanburger

Having people over for dinner is one of my favourite things. I like to think that our house is sort of a hub - it is where people gather. It's where there is always food, and good company. I grew up in a home where there were always loads of extra people, and I loved it. It is always my aim, no matter where in this world that we are living, to create that wherever we go. To me, having a home base is so important. I want to have a space where people can come and treat it like their own space. Where they can relax, and feel comfortable enough to invite themselves over. One of the things that I love about food, is that it almost does this for me. Since we moved over here, I have always been the one who is in charge of organising the meals, whether it be a holiday occasion, or a weekend camping trip. I love how a meal can bring people together - for me, living in a city so far from my home, this is one of the most important things : making myself feel at home. And providing a home base is a great way to do that. It's almost as if I need to do it for me - there's something so comforting about putting a meal on a table for people that you love. And in a city filled with seamless and people cooking for one, it is such a nice thing to do for friends.

 Often we have people over either one, or both weekend nights. Eating out can get expensive quickly in NYC, and to me, sitting at home sharing a meal with friends is so much more appealing than having to compete for a server's attention in a noisy restaurant. Of course there is the huge plus side of not having to leave the house. We are avid Settlers of Catan players, so that often also takes place in the window between dinner and dessert.

 At first, I used to bust ass making intricate dishes that took a long time to make. Individually portioned meals, or multi component dinners. I soon realised that our guests didn't mind what we had for dinner - it was often the same group of friends, who were ok with me trying out new, slightly obscure recipes on them, provided that I made Molly's Mac and cheese semi regularly. 

So the solution was - to start making 'build your own' dinners. I get all the components ready ahead of time, and come dinner, we all make our own! It's the best way to feed a crowd - you don't have to worry about serving someone too much or too little, or something that they don't like. It works with loads of meals - we do it with nachos, pasta, summer rolls, dumplings (which is literally build your own - I sit everyone down at the table and we make them all!), and these Black Bean Burgers. 

Burger night is one of my favourite meals, and I love mixing it up so that the type of burger is slightly different each time around. For this particular burger, we keep things simple. There is a black bean burger patty, which I was totally skeptical about, until I tried it for the first time. After a huge amount of tweaking and research on how to keep the patty to stay intact while cooking (all it took was for me to make a burger from leftovers the next day to realise the mixture needs a little resting), I have come up with something I think you will love. It is 'meaty' enough that it isn't a total burger cop out, it has texture, amazing flavour, and doesn't totally fall to pieces when you go to eat it. 

I have also included a recipe for my new found love: Brioche burger buns. I was working on a recipe for a custard roll situation last week, which involved me trying a bunch of different brioche recipes, not being totally satisfied with any of them, and setting out to make my own. I wanted something versatile - something that could be used for sweet or savoury, loaves, buns, and scrolls, and didn't need an overnight rest. And I got it! These buns are super easy to whip up, don't require a spin in the fridge like most recipes, and are perfect for your burgers. This is the start of a wee series I hope to do on ways to use the one recipe of brioche dough - watch this space! 

A few wee notes:

  • The burger patty mixture definitely benefits from a rest before you shape it - this allows the panko breadcrumbs to soak up a little bit of the moisture, which makes things much easier when it comes to cooking time, because the patty holds together nicely.

  • I haven't tried making these on the BBQ before but I think it would probably be quite crumbly - if you can, a skillet or frying pan is your best bet! You can always pop them in the oven on a low temp to keep them warm until you are ready.

  • We always have our burgers 'kiwi style' with beetroot and pineapple rings - feel free to add on whatever you like! I also added some home made pickles on the side.

  • Leftovers are best kept uncooked, and quickly fried up just as you need them!

  • If you want to make this GF, swap out the panko for GF panko.

  • Store bought buns are just as awesome! We lightly toast ours before assembling the burgers.

 

 

Black Bean Burgers with Homemade Brioche Burger Buns

- Makes 8 large burger buns, and 6-8 large burger patties -

Brioche Burger Buns
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup (240ml) whole milk, lukewarm
2 Tbsp sugar
3 3/4 cups (565g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
egg wash - 1 egg plus 1 Tbsp water, whisked
sesame seeds to sprinkle, if desired

Black Bean Burger Patties
2 x 15.5oz (440g) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, very finely chopped (if you don't like onion very much, use half an onion)
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a microplane
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to season

Assembly
Salad, condiments, and filling of your choice - I used tomato, lettuce, canned beetroot, canned pineapple slices, mayonnaise, and tomato sauce (Ketchup), and served with home made pickles on the side. 

I also added cheese to the patty once it was cooked, and popped it under the broiler / grill for about a minute to melt the cheese.

- PROCESS -

BRIOCHE BUNS

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth. 

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into eight equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball, and place four balls on each baking tray, leaving room between. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap, and leave to rise for approximately 30-40 minutes. 

Brush the tops of the buns with egg wash, and sprinkle with seeds if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the buns are a deep golden brown colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. 

BLACK BEAN BURGER PATTIES

Place one can of drained, rinsed beans in a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash well until smooth. Add the second can of beans, leaving whole, and mix through. Add the onion, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper, and mix well using a spoon or your hands. 

Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour. 

Form the mixture into six to eight patties using slightly wet hands, and place on a plate or parchment paper lined tray. (If you aren't using all the mixture at once, transfer any leftover mix to an airtight container and store in the fridge until ready). 

Heat a cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of olive oil. Cook the patties, three or four at a time depending on your pan size, for four to five minutes on each side, adjusting the heat as necessary. They should be lightly golden brown. Transfer to a plate, or onto a paper towel lined tray in the oven to keep warm until serving.

ASSEMBLY

Slice each burger bun in half, and lightly toast under the broiler / grill. Melt cheese over the patties under the grill if desired. 

Assemble burgers. Serve immediately.

Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect vegetarian meal that even the staunchest of hamburger eater will love! #vegetarian #blackbeanburger

Kale Caesar salad with green garlic croutons and chive caesar dressing


 
Kale Caesar salad with green garlic croutons and chive caesar dressing
Kale Caesar salad with green garlic croutons and chive caesar dressing
Kale Caesar salad with green garlic croutons and chive caesar dressing
Kale Caesar salad with green garlic croutons and chive caesar dressing
Kale Caesar salad with green garlic croutons and chive caesar dressing
Kale Caesar salad with green garlic croutons and chive caesar dressing
Kale Caesar salad with green garlic croutons and chive caesar dressing

CSA season is FINALLY here! We are super, super lucky to live across the road from a community garden, where each week the East Williamsburg CSA runs their weekly pick-up. The farmer drops the shares off on the morning of the pick-up, where they come directly from the farm in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York. The vegetables are always amazing and fresh, and the eggs are just the BEST THING EVER. I totally forgot how much I missed always having fresh, organic free-range eggs in the fridge. The fruit shares will start soon too, which I also can't wait for. (Prepare yourself for ALL of the pie!) The fun part is that you never quite know what is going to be in the pick-up each week - you pay at the beginning of the season, and then each week you pick-up whatever the farmer has allocated for you. It's always so inspiring coming up with new ideas and ways to use the vegetables, and such a great way to meet new people. 

This year I am hoping to publish a recipe each week using the CSA share, to help inspire ways to use your share, or seasonal produce that may be at the market etc! I kind of wing it each week depending on what I feel like making, but if you have any particular requests, please let me know! Hopefully we end up with an epic recipe archive that we can come back to next year too!  

Because it is early in the season, the share is always pretty leaf-heavy, so a salad made a lot of sense! I went with a simple Kale caesar, with some Mizuna and radish to add some extra pepperiness, sliced parmesan, and home-made croutons, which I made from some day-old sourdough, butter, and some green garlic. The Salad was then finished off with a super simple caesar dressing made with chives and green garlic, and a few hard-boiled eggs for extra protein and flavour. All combined, it made an amazing one-bowl meal, perfect for a light lunch or dinner, or as a side to accompany a main meal. 

A few wee notes:

  • This is super versatile - This isn't really a recipe as such, more just a base that you can work off. Throw whatever you have in the fridge at the bowl, most of the time it turns out amazingly!
  • I used Chives for the dressing, and green garlic, but if you don't have either of those on hand, you can sub the green garlic for 1 clove of minced garlic, and leave the chives out to make a regular caesar dressing. 
  • If you like anchovy in your dressing, a teaspoon of anchovy paste can also be added
  • The Croutons can also be kept plain, or you can make them whatever flavour you like by adding herbs and spices.
  • I use an immersion blender to make my dressing, which means that there is no need to slowly incorporate the oil. If you do not have one of these, pulse all the ingredients except for the oil together in a blender, then slowly add the oil with the motor running until it emulsifies.
 

 

Kale Caesar Salad with green garlic croutons and chive caesar dressing
- Serves 4-6, depending on serving size -

Green Garlic croutons
2 cups day-old bread (I used sourdough), cut into rough cubes
3 Tbsp melted butter
pinch of salt
1 stem green garlic, very finely chopped

Chive Caesar dressing
1 egg
2 Tbsp chives, finely chopped
1 stem green garlic, finely chopped, or 1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
4 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup neutral flavoured oil such as canola
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad
1 medium bunch of Kale, stems removed and roughly torn
1 small bunch Mizuna (a handful of arugula, or any other lettuce would work perfectly here too!)
2-3 small radishes, sliced very finely with a knife or microplane
Small handful of fresh parmesan, sliced with a vegetable peeler into ribbons
3-4 hardboiled eggs (I boiled mine for 9 minutes, set in an ice bath, then peeled)
Caesar dressing
 

- PROCESS -

CROUTONS

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Mix together the butter, green garlic and salt, and toss with the croutons until evenly coated. Place onto a baking tray and bake for 20 mins, tossing often, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

DRESSING

In a jar with a mouth large enough to fit the end of an immersion blender, combine all ingredients. Blend for 30 seconds or so until the dressing emulsifies. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

ASSEMBLY

In a large bowl, place the Kale and mizuna. Drizzle over some of the dressing, and toss lightly to combine. Top with the parmesan ribbons, radishes, croutons and hard boiled eggs. Serve with remaining dressing.

Kale Caesar salad with green garlic croutons and chive caesar dressing