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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Sweet Potato Burgers

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It’s become so much easier to get Steve to have a meat-free night once a week. I’ve been really expanding my recipes to exclude meat and even gluten. This dish hits on both those marks. My Sweet Potato Burgers are so flavorful and satisfying, the fact is, you won’t miss the meat. Topped with avocado slices, wrapped in a whole grain gluten-free flatbread or just using bib lettuce as your vessel, makes no difference. My Sweet Potato Burgers are delicious.

I wanted to use a flatbread as a vessel for these burgers. I wasn’t able to find this particular hinged-brand in a gluten-free variety but they do offer gluten-free flatbreads. I’d previously bought a package of these hinged flatbreads to try because they’re great for burgers and sandwiches.

I used one of the hinged flat-breads as a pattern to follow, making the regular whole grain flatbreads into a hinged-style flatbread. I used a piece of parchment paper to trace the outline of the hinged-flatbread. I laid it over the gluten-free flatbread, and cut it out using a paring knife. Now I have a slice of gluten-free hinged bread. In time they may offer this type of bread in a gluten-free variety. You could use a leaf of Bibb (Boston) lettuce as a vessel too!

These are some of the ingredients I’m using to make these delicious Sweet Potato Burgers. First, I think the best way to incorporate sweetness, and to keep these burgers moist, not dry,  is to add a little apple sauce. When I go to the market, I’m looking for something completely natural. I decided to use a jar of baby’s puréed first apples as one of the ingredients. What’s more natural than that!  Okay, so here’s how I start.

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hr 45 minutes
Equipment: 12-inch non-stick sauté pan, parchment paper, paring knife, large mixing bowl

Ingredients:
Pesto Mayo Sauce
1/2 cup of good mayo
2 heaping tablespoons of fresh basil pesto

Avocado Slices
2 avocados, sliced
1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Ingredients For Sweet Potato Burgers:
6 gluten-free whole grain flatbreads (trace and cut into hinged flatbreads)
3 med-size sweet potatoes
2 15-ounce cans of drained and rinsed Cannellini beans
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup of organic baby apple purée
1/4 cup of flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup of baby Arugula
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/4 cup of gluten-free flour
2 cups of gluten-free bread crumbs (this amount may vary slightly)
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided

Basil Pesto Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup of good mayonnaise
2 heaping tablespoons of basil pesto (store-bought fresh basil pesto)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set the sweet cleaned and dried sweet potatoes on the baking sheet. Prick the potatoes with a fork to release steam, and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.

While the sweet potatoes are baking prepare the gluten-free hinged flatbreads using the store-bought hinged flatbread as a pattern to follow. Prepare a total of six.

For the basil mayonnaise, take a 1/2 a cup of good mayonnaise and add 2 heaping tablespoons of basil pesto, stir to combine. Refrigerate until needed.

Note: Take advantage of fresh store-bought basil pesto in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half, scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher, mash the sweet potatoes together with the Cannellini beans. It’s fine if the beans are not fully mashed into the potatoes. This gives the burgers great texture.

Add a beaten egg, apple purée, chili powder, ground coriander, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, gluten-free flour, gluten-free bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, chopped flat leaf Italian parsley, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Mix together until fully combined. You want the sweet potato mixture to be similar to the consistency of ground meat.

Note: Just like if you were making crab cakes, place the sweet potato mixture into the frig, for 30 minutes, to firm up before making the patties. Divide the sweet potato mixture into six equal portions and form into patties

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil together. Add the patties to the pan two at a time. Cook until golden brown and caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Repeat the process until all 6 patties are cooked.

Note: Transfer the cooked patties to a plate and cover tightly with foil to keep warm while you finish cooking the remaining patties. You can also refrigerate the uncooked patties. Place them on a plate tightly wrapped in plastic wrap until you’re ready to cook them.

To Serve: Spread 1 tablespoon of the Basil Pesto Mayonnaise on one side or both sides of the hinged flatbread. Add a Sweet Potato Burger, a few baby arugula leaves, and top with slices of avocado. Finish by wrapping the Sweet Potatoes Burgers in parchment paper.

 

 

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Roasted Acorn Squash Filled With Italian Sausage And Pears

 

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My favorite part of any stuffing is the crunchy and caramelized topping that occurs in the last minutes of cooking. How the croutons become golden brown, the pears release their sugars and glisten from that slight char along with the crunchy exterior of the sweet Italian sausage. Yet inside, the stuffing is soft and flavorful. What I’m describing is my Roasted Acorn Squash Filled With Italian Sausage And Pears.

Let me start by showing you how roasting winter squashes brings out their flavor. Then I’m going to go a step further and fill them with savory sausage and sweet pears.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons (3)

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons (2)

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One final step. They get a drizzle of olive oil over the top of each one and go back into the 400-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Just long enough to get the tops golden brown and caramelized.

I know it’s a few steps to pull this dish together. Really all the steps are easy. It’s just a matter of having all the prep done and roasting the acorn squash first. I’ll explain in more detail in the directions at the end.

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 12-inch non-stick sauté pan, 4 rimmed baking sheet pans, Chef’s knife, small mixing bowl, whisk, pastry brush

Ingredients:
4 acorn squash that has been seeded and tops and bottoms cut
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar

Ingredients:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, bulk or casings removed
1 sprig plus 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 diced Bosc pears
1 diced zucchini
6 cremini mushrooms, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 ribs of diced celery
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of chili powder
3 heaping cups of homemade croutons, (Ciabatta bread), 1 /1/2 inch bread cubes
1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
greens for garnish

Directions For The Homemade Croutons:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by evenly dividing the bread cubes out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, toss to evenly coat the bread cubes. Spread the bread cubes evenly into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking process to make sure they brown evenly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Start by cutting the tops off the 4 squash. Next, clean the seeds out of the inside. Then cut a thin slice off the bottom of each one so they will sit upright on the baking sheets. Place 2 on each sheet tray. On the inside of each acorn squash add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until fork-tender. In a small mixing bowl with melted butter add chili powder and brown sugar, whisk to combine. Brush the inside of each squash with the flavored butter mixture and return to oven for another 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on the squash for the last few minutes of cooking. You don’t want them to burn. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside.

In a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat (no oil needed) add the skinless sweet Italian sausage. Using a wooden spoon, start breaking up the sausage. Cook the sausage for 15 minutes until brown, crumbly, and there is no pink. Transfer the cooked sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel allowing the fat to drain, set aside.

Tip: Take a paper towel and wipe out the sauté pan. No reason to dirty another pan

Using the same sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter, olive oil, and chopped sage leaves. Once the sage becomes fragrant add the diced cremini mushrooms, zucchini, celery, onions, Bosc pears, minced garlic, chili powder, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Once the veggies start to soften, then add in the diced pears. Stir and continue to cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cooked sausage back to the pan, stir to combine. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Tip: It’s important that all the veggies are relatively cut the same size ensuring they’ll cook at the same time.

At this point, add the sausage and vegetable mixture to the bowl with the croutons. Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, gently toss to combine.

Fill each of the squash with the filling. Any extra filling place into an oven-safe baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the top of each one and place back into the 400-degree F. oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until the tops become golden brown and caramelized.

Place leavy greens on the plate. Arrange the Roasted Acorn Squash Filled With Italian Sausage And Pears on top, garnish with a sprig of fresh sage. Serve hot.

 

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

 

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Sweet And Smokey Ribs With Caramelized Onions

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It was touch and go for a while there, but, I was finally able to retrieve my last set of pictures for this recipe. It’s funny, you get so used to your computer, like a comfortable shoe. This one has been with me a long time so I have to make this post the last one that I will ever type on”old Betsy” before I put her to pasture.

Anyway enough will all that let me tell you about my Sweet And Smokey Ribs With Caramelized Onions #sweetandsmokeyribs.

First, I’m going to show you how to turn your oven into a make-shift smoker.

Second, you need to know, that when you buy ribs, there is some preparation that you need to do before you can begin to spice up your ribs.

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Applewood Chips

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours to overnight
Cook Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 40 minutes
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, foil, 2 large mixing bowls, 3-quart saucepot

Ingredients:
2 racks of St, Louis Ribs, each rack 1 1/2 to 2-pounds
2 large sweet onions, thick slices
1 bag of Applewood chips, 3 cups for this recipe
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground Chipotle powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoon ground mustard
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons Ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 28-ounce bottle of barbecue sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s
2 to 3 dashes of liquid smoke
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup apricot jam

Directions:
First, turn the rack over and on the underside remove the silver skin. You need to remove this because it will help you spices penetrate through the meat, and this piece of silver skin is not appetizing at all.

Take your fingers at one corner of the back side and start to separate it from the ribs, kind of like your starting a piece of tape on a new role you want to get started. Once you grab a hold of it, it should peel right off for you, as you can see in the picture above.

Next, trim off a couple of the end rib pieces. This rectangle style that St. Louis ribs are known to have will ensure for even cooking. Now, if you like those end pieces, you can, by all means, leave them on. It’s also a good idea to trim off some of that extra meat that’s on the back side, as seen in the above picture. I like the ribs to be neatly trimmed of any excess fat as possible. The picture on the left side showing the rack of ribs (without the spice rub) is an example of how I like my ribs to look.

To make my oven into a makeshift smoker. Add 3 cups of apple wood chips to a large bowl. Add enough water to cover the wood chips and let sit for at least 1 hour.

While that’s happening you want to get the spice rub ready for the dry rub. In a bowl, add garlic powder, ground Chipotle powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, onion powder, ground mustard, Kosher salt. cayenne pepper, Ancho chili powder, dried oregano (optional), dark brown sugar, sweet paprika, and fresh ground black pepper.

I know that’s a lot of spices but remember it’s for 2 racks of ribs. Whisk all the spices together then rub them all over both sides of the ribs. Place the ribs on the pans and refrigerate for 2 hours, overnight is even better.

Note: All of this can be done in advance if you know you going to be making this recipe.

On each of the baking sheets lay another piece of foil twice the length of the baking sheet. Spread out 1 of the sliced onions on each of the pans. The onions will act as a bed to set the ribs on so the heat can transfer easily around them.

In the pictures following, you can see to fold the extra foil over the ribs and fold up all the sides around the rack to trap in the heat. This will allow the ribs to steam for 1 1/2 hours at 275-degrees F. Low and slow.

Next, uncover the ribs, place the wood chips in an oven safe vessel, and place the wood chips below the oven rack holding the ribs. Turn the temperature down to 230-degrees F. and let them smoke for another 3 hours.

I like my ribs to be tender but not to the point where they will fall apart when you cut them. This means they are overcooked. If after the 2 1/2 hours you see the ends of the rib bones are exposed on one end, they are done. If not, continue smoking. Watch for the internal temperature to reach 180-degrees. Take a knife sticking the point of the knife between the bones and if the knife comes out really easily they’re done. There are just so many variables when cooking ribs, it just takes some practice. Getting to know your oven is important. The goal is to get the internal temperature of the meat to 180-185 degrees because the barbecue sauce stage is next.

You can see in this picture above shows the rib bones are exposed, and the ribs are still intact. Remove the foil pouches. Transfer the cooked onions to the bottom of the sheet pan and again place the ribs on top.

I’m not making barbecue sauce from scratch but I am adding a few ingredients to the bottled sauce I’ll be using.

In a large bowl, add a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce. To the sauce, add real maple syrup, liquid smoke for some smokey flavor, and apricot jam. In a saucepot on low heat, simmer the sauce, occasionally stirring, to allow the flavors to combine, around 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the ribs from the oven. Brush this delicious sauce all over the ribs on both sides. Remove the wood chips, they’ve done their job. Set the oven on broil and put both racks back in but I leave the oven door cracked. The reason for this is so that the sugar in the sauce will burn really quickly so it’s important to keep an eye on them, it doesn’t take long maybe 10 minutes. Take the ribs out of the oven because they’re ready.

These Sweet And Smokey Ribs With Caramelized Onions are ready. Serve with some of that awesome barbecue sauce in case you want some extra to dip your ribs in. Talk about finger-lickin’ good!

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