Summer time, chickpeas and a homespun vegan burger

Chick Pea and Jersey Sweet Potato Burger served on an onion roll with Swiss cheese, mayo, salsa and spinach.

Hello summer!

It’s so nice to see ya.

We are so ready to get into your flow with all the barbecues, picnics and family gatherings that will abound.

There will be  so many opportunities to invite folks over or be invited over for food and fun during the summer season.

With the 4th of July holiday looming, so are the decisions about your holiday menu to celebrate the independence of our nation. If you don’t live in the states, summertime is seldom without visiting guests from the states and various parts of the world, and the question “what am I going to serve?” is always a quandary.

The question is much more complicated when your guests are vegetarians and more specifically vegans.

Classic barbecue ribs, chicken and burgers

When grilled chicken, ribs and burgers are the centerpiece of your menu, your non-meat eating guests are oftentimes relegated to eating salads and bread.

But no more. I got you –  or I got them – with this tasty, moist and somewhat savory Chickpea and Jersey Sweet Potato burger that is gluten and dairy free. It will enthrall your most discriminating vegan guest. Pile on fresh vegetables and toppings, serve it on an artisan roll or plate it alone with an Asian coleslaw or arugula salad and you have a vegetarian burger that is worthy of celebrating.

If you plan on grilling the burgers on the outside grill, make sure you cook them first before you cook your meat and seafood proteins. You can also cook them  inside on your stove top in a skillet or a grill pan, as featured in this recipe.

Thanks to the folks at Goya Foods for providing some of the ingredients used in making this tasty recipe.

Have a beautiful summer season. Cook fearlessly and eat well my foodie friends.

Chickpea and Jersey Sweet Potato Burger

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

This moist and savory burger is full of flavor.

Ingredients


1 15.5 ounce can Goya Chick Peas
1 medium baked Jersey (white) sweet potato to yield ½ cup
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
½ cup chopped white or yellow onion
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon oil (olive, canola or Grapeseed)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo Light All Purpose Seasoning
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
½ cup oatmeal
1 ear white corn, roasted with kernel removed

Directions

  1. Open and drain the can of chickpeas. Pour them into a large bowl and  smash with a potato smasher or folk. The texture should be chunky.
  2. Cook Jersey sweet potato in microwave oven for 4 to 6 minutes or until done. Remove and let cool. Once it has cooled, scoop out ½ cup of the inside and add to smashed chick peas.
  3. Place a skillet or grill pan on the stop and set heat at medium heat. Coat the surface of corn with oil and place in skillet. Cook the corn until medium browned, turning constantly. Remove when done. When cool, use a knife and cut corn kernels from the cob. Separate kernels and add to the mashed chick pea and Jersey sweet potato mixture.
  4. In a separate skillet set on medium heat, add 2 teaspoons of sesame seed oil and 1 teaspoon of oil. When the oils are heated, add ½ cup chopped onion and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Add chopped garlic, fresh chopped thyme and ½ teaspoon of Goya Adobo Light All Purpose Seasoning and 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce. Stir well for one minute. Remove from heat and add mixture to the bowl with the smashed chickpeas and Jersey sweet potato.
  6. Lastly, add ½ cup of oatmeal to the bowl, and the blend mixture until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. (Add 3/4 cup of oatmeal for a more dense burger.)
  7. Form mixture into 4 patties. Place patties on lightly oiled skillet set on medium heat. Cook 3 minutes on one side, two minutes on the other. Remove from heat when done. Or if grilling outdoors, grill 3 minutes on one side, 4 to 6 minutes on the other side or until desired brownness is achieved.

Variation: Form mixture into 8 small patties for sliders. Reduce cooking/grilling times in half or until desired brownness is achieved.

Empty chick peas into a bowl and smash with potato smasher.

 

Microwave Jersey sweet potato and scoop out inside.

Grill corn on stove top and remove kernels.

Saute chopped onion, chopped garlic, fresh chopped thyme, and other seasonings.

Add sauteed mixture and mix thoroughly, form into patties and grill.

Remove from grill when done and serve.

Enjoy with you favorite toppings.

Instagram Faves – Meet Delphine Kirkland

I am “all in” when it comes to Instagram.

If you don’t follow me on Instagram at @collardgreenscaviar  well, you are missing some really tasty posts my foodie friends.

Instagram is all about photo sharing. And when the site was launched back in 2010, food pictures were among the first pictures posted within that first 24 hours of the site’s birth.

It’s no surprise that food photos remain a seminal part of Instagram.

There are a lot of food photos in the Instagramverse (this is completely a made up term). In the posts over the next few weeks, I will highlight a few of my favorite food Instragramers whose passion for food is evident in their posts and their personalities. These are the few who have captured my attention, interest and my heart. I will share excerpts from their interview in their voice, along with one of their recipes, so you can see why they are my “Instagram faves.” And if you are not following my “faves” after learning about them, I certainly hope you will.

Delphine Kirkland, baker, cookbook author, social media influencer, prayer warrior

Instragmer:  Delphine Kirkland

Focus:              Specialty Baking

City:                  Sweet Water, Alabama

Business:        The Cookie Crumbles –  launched over a year ago, specializes in cupcakes, cookies, cakes and specialty baked goods. Shipping of some products is available.  Website is currently under development.

Instagram:      @cookiecrumblescupcakes was created to increase the visibility of her baking business,  inspire people through baking, and touch the lives of people spiritually.

Other social:   Instagram account @crumbsfromthemasterstable features words of inspiration and encouragement.

Book:                  Crumbs From the Masters Table available at Amazon.com. A collection of Delphine’s treasured dessert recipes along with uplifting inspirations for the soul. The “pray and bake warrior” provides all the essential ingredients to excite the palate and ignite the soul with words of wisdom, inspiration and encouragement.

Recipe:           Mahogany Rose Cupcakes – featured below.

Delphine Kirkland’s latest book: Crumbs From the Master’s Table

Secret sauce:  Delphine is a warrior baker and prayer warrior. Her creations are sheer #foodporm and I mean that in the highest Instagram sense. One of my favorite references to her by one of her followers is “pastry baking preacher friend.” Her baking is more like a ministry of what can be created from ingredients like hope, faith, encouragement and love.

What sets her apart is her heart of service, her devotion to God, and her “pray and bake” inspirational tagline. “God feeds me with ideas and special ingredients to help others,” said Delphine during our interview. “Because of what God has given to me, I can give to others,” she said adding that her @cookiescrumblescakes account has grown in ways she never imagined.

Her voice, her story

I am the daughter of Anderson and Daphne Paige. I have two older brothers, Andrew and Anderson Paige, Jr.  I lost my sister Delores from a sickness at an early age. I am the baby of the family. I was raised with strong religious beliefs. I had a praying mother, father, and grandmother and they instilled the word of God in me constantly. I have a talented family, my mother, brothers and I sing. I’ve been singing since the age of 3. I sing gospel music. While attending college, I majored in opera, but a sickness prevented me from pursuing it farther. Once I was healed, I had lost interest and no longer wanted to pursue singing.

My family has always loved the warmth and traditions of the holidays.   That’s when the baking bug bit me. My mother’s aunts and cousins were excellent bakers. During the holidays, my brothers and I  would  go to her aunts and cousins homes to pick up the cakes for the holidays. My mother would make pound cakes and cream pies, but the six layers caramel, chocolate, and coconut cakes would come from relatives and neighbors. That’s when I began trying out my baking skills.

Left: Delphine and her mother Daphne Paige; Right top: Delphine and her husband Ben at a Rolling Twenties Gala Charity event in Phoenix, AZ; Right bottom: Delphine and husband  Ben at a Gone with the Wind theme party.

I am happily married to my husband Ben, for soon to be 17 years in June. We are pastors and co-pastors at the Tabernacle of God Holiness Church in Uniontown, Alabama. We are a branch church from our original church in Sweet Water, Alabama. I have a women’s ministry, and I am in the process of launching one in another city.

Culinary Background

I am a self-taught culinary artist. In 2004, I read a newspaper article that announced that  Michaels Specialty and Craft store was offering a cake decorating class. I remember talking my husband into taking it with me. We completed cake decorating levels I and II. My only regret is that I didn’t take it seriously after taking the class.  I would bake a little but I wasn’t consistent. And besides, going into business and selling cakes was the furthest thing from my mind.  I started watching a few baking videos in 2010 on YouTube, and was inspired to make cupcakes after watching an episode on Food Network, Cupcake Wars. Suddenly my interest in baking and the possibility of starting a business was rekindled.

A few of Delphine’s creations. Left top: Devil’s Food Cupcake. Right top: White Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Crackers. Bottom: Toffee Pecan Cookies.

Hobbies

I am a florist. I like making floral arrangements from time to time and will probably do some arrangements to add to my Instagram photos in the near future.

Cookbook she cannot live without

I’m a southerner so the Southern Living Cookbook is the one I cannot live without.

Where her recipes have been published

Amazon, CreateSpace, and Instagram.

The focus of her Instagram posts 

I want to build and brand my business, and  spread the word of Christ. Not everyone goes to church and we all need to be motivated and inspired at some point. I chose Instagram to be that tool.

Her most popular post

Smoky Maple Bacon Cupcake

My Smoky Maple Bacon cupcake had the most hits for me on Instagram than any of my cupcake posts. Locally selling, it is the most popular. I have never seen men devour cupcakes like they did this one. I call it a “man’s cupcake.” They especially love the bacon on the cupcake with it’s spicy flavor, that’s the secret. After this post, my culinary inspirations quickly became popular.

The best thing that has happened because of Instagram

Because of the inspirations that I’ve included on my account, Instagram has given me an audience that has come to rely on my inspirations. I frequently  get direct messages all  times during the day and night from many of my followers who ask for prayer requests, or they just need someone to talk to.  I hear from followers with terminal diseases, those fighting cancer, depression and dealing with relationships problems who ask me to pray for them. To know that through the guidance of God I can be a blessing to someone – whether they are near or far – gives me an awesome feeling.  To have followers from across the waters asking for permission to teach their bible study group the inspirations that I have posted is priceless.  I know they are bringing the word of God to places I cannot go. All of this  has been such a blessing and so gratifying to me.

What’s new, what’s next

From the Instagram account @crumbsfromthemasterstable

With her Instagram followers clamoring for more inspiration and words of spiritual encouragement,  Delphine launched a second Instagram account @crumbsfromthemasterstable,  taken from the name of her first book, dedicated to words of  inspiration and encouragement.

While her first book Crumbs From The Master’s Table fulfilled a dream to author a book, she knows this is just the beginning. Delphine has aspirations to write a book of her most treasured inspirational sentiments and also a children’s cook book.

Mahogany Rose Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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The Story Behind the Rose

When I first started my cupcake business, I was not well known like the other home based baking business in my little rural city. I wasn’t getting many orders.  So in the meantime, I would look at YouTube videos and learn how to pipe large roses on a cupcake.

I received a phone call for the biggest order I had ever gotten. The order  was for 3 dozens cupcakes and one of the dozen had to be chocolate cupcakes with a big rose covering the entire cupcake.

I was nervous and I wanted to leave a lasting impression. I began praying and baking and sweating.  I watched Rose Cake Diva videos on YouTube so many times that I lost count.

I didn’t like how they turned out, but every time I tried to improve them, they kept coming out the same. The next day I delivered them and when my customer beheld them, she had the biggest smile on her face. I was relieved and grateful. Turns out, God allowed me to pipe them the way she had envisioned.

These cupcakes have a special meaning to me. They are moist, delicious and the Chocolate Ganache frosting makes them decadent. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Ingredients

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon Folgers French Vanilla coffee
¼ cup boiling water
½ stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup Crème fraiche (I prefer homemade)
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
10 oz. semi chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

Directions

1.  Preheat oven a 350 degree and line 12 liners in a standard cupcake pan. Prepare one day before baking these cupcakes.

2.  Mix together cocoa powder, coffee, and boiling water until the cocoa and coffee grains dissolves.  Let it cool completely.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3.  Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Add egg and beat well. Combine the vanilla and cooled cocoa mixture.  Add flour gradually with the crème fraiche on a low speed but be careful not to over mix. The batter should be fluffy.

4.  Spoon batter into cupcake cups about two-thirds full. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool to room temperature. Frost cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting.

5.  Prepare chocolate ganache frosting. Place chocolate chips in a medium size bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and pour the hot mixture over the chocolate chips, making sure the chips are covered completely. Allow to chill at room temperature for 3 hours. You can place in the fridge for 30-45 to speed up the process if you like, but I prefer room temperature. Use a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisks the frosting until fluffy. Fill pastry bag using a 2D close star piping tip and frost your rose cupcakes.

How to makeCrème Fraiche

In a medium bowl combine 1 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoon buttermilk or sour cream. Mix heavy cream with buttermilk or sour cream. Pour mixture in the jar and cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours or until thick. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use. Crème fraiche may be kept refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Your Taco Tuesday just got tuned up

My dear vegetarian friends, I heard ya!

This one is for you so please, keep reading.

Love me some Taco Tuesday’s!

Who doesn’t love a good Taco Tuesday?

It’s an after work indulgence.

It’s a social rite of passage.

It’s cheap eats, and who doesn’t like that?

It’s just fun, tasty and all of the above.

Taco Tuesday History

This history of Taco Tuesdays is a bit sketchy and two separate Mexican food establishments (from California and Wyoming) have laid claim to its creation. But the bottom line is it began as a low cost promotion to bring in customers on a night that typically had low attendance, while exposing patrons to the array of menu offerings and events the restaurants had to offer.

Most Taco Tuesday’s are often more than just tacos. Many feature a tapas or small bites menu. The mash ups, iterations and combinations range from predictable to delectable and wildly innovative.

A mash up not to be missed

As an homage to my love of all things Taco Tuesday’s and with an ear to the hue and cry of my vegetarian friends and followers, I created a wildly innovative mash up I hope will take your tapas to new heights.

It’s a tostada. Not just any tostada, but one that has soul, character and hint of sassiness.

My Sweet Potato and Ancho Chile  Tostada with  Black Bean Salsa is a bit of a departure from the expected, but it is unexpectedly good.

The mild heat and fruity flavor of the ancho chile paste perfectly complements the slightly sweet, earthy notes of the sweet potato. The addition of fresh thyme to the mixture gives it warmth and depth.  The flavor is delicate yet elevated and the mixture is a great alternative to classic refried beans. Oh and let’s not forget about that black bean salsa that tops this tasty tostada which is both savory and sassy.  One last thing, for this recipe, I used taqueria or mini size tortillas. This recipe serves four or even more so don’t dine alone.

Don’t go out for Taco Tuesday, dine in.  

Thank you Goya Foods for providing a lot of the ingredients and the inspiration for this recipe.  I hope you will be inspired to give it a try and turn up your Taco Tuesday or any day of the week.

Sweet Potato and Ancho Chile Tostadas with Black Bean Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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A departure from the expected, yet is unexpectedly good.

Ingredients

For the Salsa:
1 can (15.5 oz.) GOYA® Low Sodium Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium seeded, sliced bell peppers (red and yellow) pan grilled then diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon GOYA® Adobo Light All-Purpose Seasoning with Pepper
1 teaspoon GOYA® Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon GOYA® Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the filling:
2 Ancho Chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 tablespoon GOYA® Lemon Juice
2 tablespoon corn oil
1 teaspoon GOYA® Adobo Light All-Purpose Seasoning with Pepper
½ teaspoon GOYA® ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced GOYA® garlic
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped or ½ teaspoon   dried
Corn Oil, for frying
12 Corn Tortillas or 16 taqueria or mini size tortillas

Directions


1.  Cut and remove the top and bottom portion of the bell peppers. Remove seeds and slice into strips.   Heat about a tablespoon of corn oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, but not smoking, add bell pepper slices and cook until lightly browned. Remove from heat. Once cooled, cut into smaller piece. (Note: you can substitute 2 large tomatoes seeded and chopped instead of bell peppers.)

2.  In medium bowl, stir together bell peppers (or tomatoes), black beans, tomato, onions, cilantro, Adobo Light, lemon juice and olive oil until well combined; cover with plastic wrap and set salsa in refrigerator until ready to serve.

3.  Place chilies in medium bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit for about 15 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, pierce two medium sweet potatoes (total weight just over a pound) with a fork and place in microwave.  Bake about 15 minutes until soft. When done, remove skin and place flesh of sweet potato in a mixing box.

5.  After 15 minutes, remove stems and seeds from chilies and transfer them and 3 tablespoons soaking water to a blender. Add lemon juice, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, Adobo, cumin, garlic and thyme to a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

6.  Add ancho chile paste and sweet potatoes to a bowl and mix well. Place mixture into a ceramic dish, cover with foil and keep warm in oven.

7.  Heat about a tablespoon of corn oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, but not smoking, add two large corn tortillas or three taqueria or mini size tortillas to skillet. Fry, flipping once, until tortillas are golden brown and crisp, about 1 minute per side; transfer to paper towel-lined tray to drain. Add more oil as needed and repeat with remaining tortillas.

8.  To assemble tostadas, spread a heaping spoonful of the warmed sweet potato and ancho chile filling on each fried tortilla. Spoon black bean salsa on each tortilla and top with sour cream if you like, and your favorite grated cheese.

Note: You can also add sliced avocado, chopped rotisserie chicken or another other protein before you add the bean salsa for those who just have to have meat or seafood.

Left: bell peppers cut, seeded and sliced for grilling. Right: bell peppers cooking on stove top grill pan.

Top left: Cut bell pepper, chopped onions and cilantro. To right: chopped ingredients added to  mixing bowl with drained and rinsed black beans, Adobo Light All-Purpose Seasoning with Pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Bottom: ingredient’s mixed and ready to be covered with plastic wrap and placed in the fridge.

Top left:  ancho chilies soaking in hot water, covered. Top right: chilies added to blender with hot soaking water, lemon juice, vegetable oil, Adobo Light All-Purpose Seasoning with Pepper, cumin, garlic and chopped fresh thyme. Bottom left: microwave baked sweet potatoes. Bottom right: blended ancho chile paste and baked sweet potato mixture.

Left: Taqueria size tortillas frying in a large skillet. Right: a heaping spoonful of the warmed sweet potato and ancho chile filling on  fried tortillas.

 

Up close and personal view of Sweet Potato and Ancho Chile Tostadas with Black Bean Salsa. ¡Delicioso!  

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It’s not a bunch of crock – it’s Mother’s Day dinner

I don’t think they saw this coming.

When Congress passed the Mother’s Day resolution in 1941, I bet they never envisioned that it would evolve into a multi billion dollar spending spree with Americans projected to spend $23.6 billion this year – which tops last year’s record of $21.4 billion. That’s according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), a trade organization that has been keeping track of consumer spending of Mother’s Day gifts since 2003.

The NFR estimates that over of half us have plans to dine out at a special Mother’s Day brunch or dinner. But alas, if you haven’t made reservations to take mom or the mother figures in your life to that brunch or dinner, chances are you are out of luck. Most of the best spots are booked.

Book that crock

No worries.  You can make a reservation at home and book that old Crock-Pot to make a Mother’s Day meal she will love, one that looks like a labor of love without much labor.

My Smothered Turkey Wings with Fingerling Potatoes are a Crock-Pot delight.  Simple ingredients make it delicious and soul satisfying.  Add a little red wine and elevate it to a restaurant quality entrée that is Mothers’ Day worthy.  The best part is the Crock-Pot does all the work – that is after you add the ingredients to it.

Serve this dish with a lovely salad, mixed vegetable medley and garlic bread and you’ve got dinner – well, she’s got dinner to be more exact.

Happy Mother’s Day! And by all means, post a picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hash tag #collardgreenscaviar and let me see your handy work. Or send an email to collardgreensandcaviar@gmail.com and I will post it on my social media sites.

Smothered Turkey Wings with Fingerling Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Easy, delicious and perfect for a special Mother's Day meal.

Ingredients

3 to 3 ½ pounds turkey wings
1 to 1 ½ pounds potatoes (fingerlings featured here)
2 ½ cups chicken stock  (or 2 cups stock ½ cup red wine – cabinet sauvignon used here)
2 teaspoons of  fresh chopped thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons of  fresh chopped rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
3 cloves roughly chopped garlic
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter, cut in cubes
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
Flat leaf parsley, chopped for finishing
1 cup unbleached flour for dredging
Oil for browning (corn, vegetable, Grapeseed)

Directions


1.  Set up Crock-Pot. Turn setting to low.

2.  Separate wings into portions. Discard tips or save for soup.

3. Add three tablespoons of oil to a non-stick  skillet. Place skillet on stove top and set heat at medium.

4.  Generously season each side  of the meat with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on a cutting board and about a cup of flour on the paper. Thoroughly coat each wing portion in flour. Add  to the skillet and cook on each side until dark brown. Don’t be afraid to brown the meat. Remember: color equals more flavor.

5.  When browned, remove from heat and place in large crock pot. Add more oil as needed.Continue until all pieces are browned and nestled in the crock.

6.  Add chopped potatoes, onions, garlic and herbs to the Crock-Pot. Pour chicken stock and wine (if you are using it) over the top of the turkey and vegetables. Season the top  with about 2 teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper (cracked pepper featured here).

7.  Dot top with butter. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

8. Once done, remove wings and potatoes and place in large baking dish, with wings being on one half of the dish and the potatoes on the other half.

9. Pour  the  gravy that remains over the turkey and potatoes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Note: For thicker gravy, whisk together 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of cold water in a coffee cup or small bowl, then whisk mixture into the gravy before pouring over turkey and potatoes.

Top left: seasoned turkey wing portions. Top right: turkey wing portions thoroughly  dredged in unbleached flour. Bottom: turkey wing portions panned seared until dark in color. Remember: color equals flavor!

 

Top left: Once turkey wings are browned, add to Crock-Pot. Top right: Chopped herbs and vegetables make this dish savory and soul satisfying. Bottom: All ingredients added to the crock including vegetables, herbs, chicken stock, red wine, salt, cracked pepper and 2 tablespoons of butter cut in cubes and dotted on top.

Smothered Turkey Wings and Fingerling Potatoes finished with fresh chopped parsley. Dinner is ready to serve and the Crock-Pot did all the heavy lifting. (Vegetables Medley, Trader Joe’s)