Rich, slightly smoky, tangy barbecue sauce. Great on beans, too!

The other night I really wanted some barbecue ribs. Back home, my Uncle Paul would make these huge, Flintstone-style ribs on the grill with a few simple seasonings and it always came out perfect. It was tasty stuff and, as a kid, gnawing on those huge bones was a lot of fun!

Since there was no chance I would be eating any of my uncle’s barbecue ribs anytime soon, I still had a craving, and more specifically, for that one thing he rarely put on his own ribs: barbecue sauce! I tried a recipe for “St. Louis Style Barbecue Sauce,” but it was way too sweet for my taste and was missing that umami flavor. So I improvised and made up my own recipe (below.)

While the sauce was simmering,  I made a quick batch of wheat-free corn bread muffins (Blood Type Diet A recipe from Cook Right 4 Your Type.) The scant 1/4 cup of buckwheat flour make it taste less like a traditional corn muffin so next time no buckwheat. Two chicken breasts were cut in half lengthwise, seasoned with a bit of salt and red pepper flakes, then pan-fried in unsalted butter. I still had some cooked beans from when I made turkey bean burgers the other night so served that on the side topped with barbecue sauce. Everything tasted much better than I thought, and I was surprised at how fast I ate everything on my plate! Maybe I was craving ribs, but the chicken and barbecue sauce were more than satisfying for tonight’s dinner.

And who knows, maybe my uncle might like it. :)

 

Jenny’s Tangy Barbecue Sauce
makes about 1 1/2 cups 

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup red wine (I just used a table wine, but something dry would be good)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons tamari
1/2 onion, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried onion)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried garlic)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Put everything in a pot, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning. Turn off heat and taste. If too sweet, stir in 1 tablespoon mustard. If too vinegary, add 1 teaspoon more sugar. Use as a baste or topping.

Do not adjust your screen, these patties are really purple!

Burgers in any flavor, shape or size is a laid-back kind of food that is as versatile as can be. Some revel in piling their patties high with veggies, bacon, cheeses, pickles and chili, others prefer a modest meal of a savory patty sandwiched between a soft split bun with lettuce and tomato. Any way you make it, burgers are always there to please.

My favorite burger to make involves an Asian sauce called nampla, also known as patis, or fish sauce. It is an incredibly strong fish-smelling sauce that should NOT be used on its own but together with lemon or lime and ginger to brighten up the heavy saltiness. I started making veggie burgers the other night (which actually turned into turkey bean burgers,) and wanted to have that same flavor as my Asian Style Burgers. I thought adding carrots would have have been too sweet, not what I wanted to balance the fish sauce. Since my other burger recipe  was originally accompanied with a cole slaw, I decided to use that chunk of cabbage that was sitting in the fridge for the last ten days. And what made it more fun was that it was purple!

After mixing all the ingredients together I came out with a beautiful purple-colored patty (reminded me of Spongebob’s ‘pretty patties’…kelp fries, anyone?) I fried it up, served it on a salad and this turkey bean burger was just as yummy as the other version, just more fun to look at. In this recipe, feel free to omit the turkey to make it more of a veggie burger, the flavors will still be delicious!

Purple Turkey Bean Burgers
Spice it up with 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes or 1 finely chopped serrano chile. 

1 1/2 cups cooked beans (black, pinto, black-eyed beans)
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 slice sprouted wheat bread or any kind of bread, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass (white parts only, discard tough green parts)
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon fish sauce (unsure option: use 2 teaspoons first then test-fry a patty. Add more if not enough flavor.)
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 – 2/3 cup raw ground turkey
1/3 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice

In a large bowl, mash beans with a potato masher until few whole pieces remain. Add celery, bread, lemongrass, ginger, nampla and purple cabbage, stirring well to combine. Set aside.

In a large frying pan heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, sautee 1 minute. Add garlic and sautee 1 minute more or until fragrant. Remove from heat, stir in quinoa or brown rice. Add everything to bean mixture, along with raw ground turkey and mix well.

In the same frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Form mixture into patties and add to hot pan. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes on each side. Serve on a mixed green salad with tomato and avocado.

Purple patties?? What’ll they think of next, green eggs and ham?!

This recipe has been submitted to Fantastic Frugal Fridayso come on over and check out the other great eats!

Creamy, tangy yogurt and fresh lemon juice make this bean dip delightfully different.

This recipe is featured in Justa’s weekly feature, Fantastic Foods Friday.

If you have never cooked your own beans, it is incredibly simple, and no more difficult than boiling a pot of noodles. Worried about the uncomfortable side effects? Someone once told me that to get rid of the gas, you just have to poke a tiny hole in each bean to let the gas out (lol!) But seriously, visit this website for some great info on beans and how to make them virtually gas-free.

I had a lot of cooked beans left over from making my black bean & turkey burgers last week. Extra cooked beans are great sprinkled on salads or tossed into a soup for lunch, and taste better than the conventional canned and salted versions. What to do with the extras…fiber for my morning smoothies? No way! Bean dip? Heck yeah!

The beans I had left over were a mixture of black and pinto. I like them both, and they looked pretty displayed in my clear oxo pop containers (which are excellent for storing flours & grains, btw.) But when you cook them, the pinto beans pick up a reddish tint from the black beans. Since the beans would end up in chili, turkey burgers, or mashed into a bean dip mix, I didn’t mind this at all.

The base of this recipe starts with a yogurt-tahini mixture, similar to the sauce for falafel, but much thicker. Use Greek-style yogurt, but if it’s not handy, drain regular yogurt in a paper towel-lined strainer for a few hours before using to get the same consistency. It’s great as a dip, as a spread for crackers or bread…I even topped my black bean burgers with the bean dip, and it was even more delicious!

Surprise your guests with a new twist on bean dip!

Black Bean and Yogurt Dip

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cooked, unsalted black beans (or pinto, or adzuki, or a combination)
1/3 cup tahini (to make your own: add 1 cup raw sunflower seeds to food processor, grind until texture is sandy. Drizzle in about 1/4 cup olive oil, process until it forms a smooth paste.)
1/2 cup Greek-style plain nonfat yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Olive oil
lemon zest
raw sunflower seeds

Instructions:

Soak minced garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil, set aside. Mash beans and tahini in large bowl with potato masher or pastry cutter until most of the beans are smashed to your liking. Add yogurt, lemon juice, kosher salt, and minced garlic with olive oil. Mix well. If too thick, add a teaspoon of water or lemon juice (if you like it lemony.) If too thin, add more tahini. Put mixture in a serving bowl. With a clean finger or chopstick, make a swirly pattern in the dip. Carefully drizzle olive oil into the pattern. Sprinkle with raw sunflower seeds and lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Mini Turkey Bean Burgers - skip the buns and eat it salad-style. Sammy looks on wistfully.

Whenever we’d get together with friends for a barbecue or potluck, I’d usually bring one of my favorite easy-to-make dishes: turkey burgers. For those who may have had bad experiences in the past, I would like to reassure you that delicious turkey burgers do exist, and, with the right seasoning, anything is possible!

Basic Turkey Burger Mix

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/3 cup diced onions, sauteed with 1 or 2 garlic cloves (omit for Turkey Bean Burgers)
1 piece of bread, cut into small cubes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil or ghee
Add-in seasoning (below)

Directions: In a bowl, add sauteed onions, garlic, bread cubes, and salt, if using. Toss with fork to distribute evenly. Add the oil or ghee, toss with fork to mix well. Crumble raw turkey into bread & onion mixture and add in one of the seasoning options below. Mix gently until combined. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cooking.

Asian Style Turkey Burgers (most unique) – Omit salt from basic turkey recipe. Add 1 tablespoon nampla (fish sauce); 1″ piece ginger, peeled and grated; 1 stalk lemongrass, white part chopped finely (discard the green part or save to make tea); 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes . You can serve this with a cole slaw tossed with nampla, fresh lime juice and cilantro.

Indian Spice Turkey Burgers  – 1 tablespoon Indian seasoning mix such as Garam Masala or your own special blend. I like to use  “Chef Johnny’s Korma Powder” from the cookbook, Eat, Taste, Heal. It’s a fragrant blend of cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, cardamom, poppy seeds, ginger and tumeric.

Italian Seasoning Turkey Burgers – 2 teaspoons basil, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes or 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning. Add 1/3 cup finely diced or shredded Parmesan cheese.

Bean & Turkey Burgers (my favorite) – 1 cup cooked & drained beans (I use a black & pinto mix), 1/4 cup finely chopped celery, 1/4 cup finely chopped & sauteed onion, 1 teaspoon chili seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Mash everything with a potato masher or mix in a food processor or blender just until beans are smashed and mixture is still chunky (if you over-blend, it’ll turn into a refried bean paste consistency. Still tasty, but the texture will be very different.)