Sunday, October 5, 2014

Balsamic Tofu Burgers and Gardening

I feel like it's finally fall here in Penacola.  The air has a coolness to it, and it isn't so humid that every inhale feels like you're drinking a glass of water.  I have a recipe for this week!  Most days, I just make up meals but I never take pictures or write down the ingredients, so I can't post about it.

It's been so long since I posted something that I actually made up, so I figured I should be proactive and document my cooking experience.  I made my own veggie burgers last week, and I saw a pin for a tofu burger on Pinterest, so I thought, Why not?  Here's what I came up with...

Balsamic Tofu Burgers
1 block of firm tofu
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon of ketchup
1 teaspoon honey
Squirt of barbecue sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon basil
salt and pepper to taste.

Press your tofu to get the water out.  I use the Tofu EZPress.  A really good investment if you eat a lot of tofu! See it on Amazon HERE.  Cut your tofu into desired burger size and shape.  I used one block and made four burgers.

Mix together everything else in a bowl. Pour it on your tofu and let the tofu marinate in the refrigerator for at least two or three hours. I flipped them over in the marinade halfway through.

Cook them! They're best on the grill but I just pan-fried them the other day.  Super easy.  Three or four minutes each side.
Should have used a grill pan but I don't have one

Keep in mind that my measurements are just recommendations.  I literally just threw in random amounts of random stuff until I came up with something that I liked.  I think some rosemary would be good in there too.

Also keep in mind that these are TOFU BURGERS.  Tofu gets a bad reputation for being plain, but marinating it helps.  But it all comes down to them being made out of tofu.  So I add a bunch of toppings.  I usually make my burger like this (in order from bottom to top): whole wheat bun, baby spinach, tofu burger, smear of barbecue sauce, some vegetables, ketchup, whole wheat bun.  My favorite topping is a mixture of sauteed onions and mushrooms.  Here's the recipe for how I make them!

Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions
1/2 a white or yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
Five good sized white mushrooms
Tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Splash of white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat up a saucepan.  Add the olive oil and the garlic.  Once the garlic is fragrant, add the onions and then a little while after add the mushrooms.  Add the white wine and the balsamic and let it cook on medium heat until the majority of the moisture has evaporated.  Then eat it alone or put it on something.  Whatevs you want.


Moving on... I've decided to make a garden and I've become kind of obsessed with the idea of having a raised garden bed.  If you follow me on Pinterest, you can see my garden board here.  I'm pretty sure that half of my pins are just links to raised garden beds.  Peter and I went through a phase where we were going to make one from random wood in the backyard, then where we were going to buy the wood from Home Depot and then finally we were like, let's just buy one.  Turns out those things are like $100.  After I had resigned myself to the fact that I was either not going to have a raised garden bed or I was going to have to make it myself, the neighborhood had a yard sale.

One of the girls that had lived here before me left behind an old book case and the shelves were falling off, so we took out the shelves.  Peter and I looked at each other like they do in the movies and I was like, "Wait.... this is a raised garden bed."  I felt like a genius.

Not sure where we are going to put it yet!

So now I have a few containers and a bed that needs to be filled.  I planted arugula, onions, garlic, peas, carrots and daffodils.  I have no idea how this is going to turn out.  I've never really tried that hard to grow something before so I'm excited.

Because I am a very impatient person, I needed the instant gratification that planting flowers provides.  I can't wait for the months while my seeds grow, I needed something to be proud of now.  So I made hanging planters.  By "made" I mean I bought the hanging things and picked out some flowers and put the flowers in the hanging things.  I put one on each side of the porch.  I'm kind of proud of them.  Also, in case you didn't know Lowe's has a military discount.  Sadly my ID expires on October 28th so I have to use it while I can.  

In other news, I have a few new books.  I'm 75% done with Ken Follett's Edge of Eternity which has 1,120 pages.  It's the finale of his Century trilogy and I'm kind of depressed that it's over.  It is an epic multi-generational historical fiction saga.  I know more about the characters in this book than I know about my own relatives.  Read more about it HERE. I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes historical fiction and European and American history.

I also have the two most recent Phillipa Gregory novels in her Cousin's War series that somehow I just missed that they came out!  This is the fault of the bookstore in Naples who stopped carrying books and magazines because their supplier went out of business.  I'm catching up slowly but surely.

That's all for now! If you have any gardening tips, suggestions for what I should plant or book suggestions, let me know!

xo Katelyn

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