The Very Best Burger

I am not a big hamburger person.  In fact, since I moved, I don’t even own a barbecue.  I recently bought a Groupon for the meal delivery service Hello Fresh and this week I thought I had selected a “juicy lamb burger.”  In fact, the meal was for what at first glance appeared to be a regular old hamburger.  So disinterested in the meal was I, that I used the ground beef on Friday night during an impromptu dinner party to create a pasta dish to serve a surprise crowd.  This afternoon, however, I revisited the recipe card and decided to give it a go.  Oh, my goodness, DELICIOUS!  Seriously. Delicious.  Hence I’m recording the recipe here because I will absolutely make this again.  It is a step or two more involved than my typical burger night routine, but perhaps this is precisely why I am so disinterested in my typical burger.  Without further ado, Lauryn’s not-typical burger (courtesy of Hello Fresh).

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 12 oz ground beef
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 Roma tomato, de-seeded and diced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Brioche buns
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • olive oil, salt and pepper


  1. Make the tomato-onion jam by sauteing the onion in a large pan over medium heat.  Use a swirl (about a tablespoon) of olive oil and cook for about 4 minutes.  Salt and pepper.  Add the diced tomato, sugar, and balsamic.  Salt and pepper.  Cook for another 4 minutes.  Set aside while you tackle the burger.
  2. Divide the beef into two patties, season with salt and pepper.  Add the cheese to the MIDDLE of the patties.
  3. Cook the burgers in oil for about 4 minutes per side over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, toast the buns.
  4. Tips: I roasted garlic and smashed the roasted pieces (twenty minutes for two peeled cloves wrapped in aluminum foil in a 400 degree oven).  I rubbed some of this deliciousness on the inside of each bun before adding a spread of mayonnaise and good tomato sauce to the buns, insert burger and delicious tomato-onion jam to form a perfect burger meal.



Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Freekeh Salad

I haven’t been able to post in ages, but if I don’t post this recipe, I’ll forgot it and I DEFINITELY want to make it again.  This salad is delicious.  It’s complex without be fussy, unusual without being weird.  There are a few steps for a salad, but it really doesn’t take too long and you probably have most of the ingredients at home.  [Note: I substituted balsamic vinegar for the saba.]

Blue Apron recipe, serves 2, (I tripled the amount of Brussels sprouts)

Asparagus, Avocado, Basil Salad

My friend Christina brought this salad to a party last weekend and I begged for the recipe.  It’s just so good!  She made the paleo diet version (no quinoa), but I added the quinoa to make it a bit more substantial (for a light lunch)– either way it’s quite tasty.



  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (or so) pieces
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup quinoa (optional)
  • mint leaves, handful (optional)


  1. Cook the quinoa as per package directions (I like the pasta-type method, pot of boiling water, 15 minutes, drain and done).  Set aside to cool (spread on a baking sheet).
  2. Steam asparagus for 5 to 7 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Mix together in a large bowl all the ingredients.  Enjoy!

Thai-Style Grain Salad with Crunchy Seeds

I am absolutely delighted with this salad!  It is layered with flavor, relatively easy to throw together, and full of nutritious ingredients.  We have Bon Appetite magazine to thank for this one.

Ingredients serves 4IMG_0693

  • 1 1/2 cups grains, freekeh is suggested but I used (and recommend) spelt, other substitutes include farro or wheat berries, cooked according to packaging (the cooking of these grains can take awhile, so plan ahead), cooled to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds, toasted [Note: I didn’t have any sunflower seeds on hand, so I just doubled the pumpkin seeds and loved the result, plus pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc.]
  • 1 tsp lime zest (roughly one lime)
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice (roughly two limes)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (it’s smelly, but tasty)
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook grains and set aside to cool.
  2. Toast seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk together in a large bowl the lime zest, lime juice, oil, and fish sauce.
  4. Add everything else to the bowl and mix.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad-Side

I have been completely remiss with maintaining this blog lately.  I’ve moved (back to the beachy ‘burbs) and although I’ve been cooking, I haven’t been able to justify time typing away when half my wardrobe is still sheltered in cardboard….  But I always forget about great recipes if I don’t etch them into my cyberspace recipe box, so I’m going to try to do a bit of catching up this weekend.  [Psst… I also want to mention that my new kitchen is far superior to my tiny cupboard NYC one, so cooking is even better now! I have my very first pot of splet simmering away at this very moment.]

I adore Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s cookbook Jerusalem (hence the multiple recipes I have already posted from this beautifully photographed book), but their terminology is not the same as mine.  This recipe is classified as a salad in Jerusalem and, to be fair, it is a salad.  However it’s not the type of green and leafy dish that conjures salad in my mind, so before you make this (very tasty) dish, think side or starter or some other liberal definition of salad.  One more note, I might have noshed on a good deal of the cauliflower before actually tossing everything together… so, you can always just stop at roasted cauliflower if it’s that type of day.

Ingredients serves 2 – 4

  • 1 head cauliflower broken into small florets
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1-2 celery stalk cut at an angle into 1/4-inch strips
  • 5 Tbsp hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • salt and pepper
  • Optional: to make it more salad-esque, add a few handfuls of salad greens like arugula or similar


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix the chopped cauliflower with 3 Tbsp of oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and some black pepper.  Spread out on a baking sheet and roast on the top rack for 25 – 35 minutes, until the cauliflower is crisp and parts of it have turned golden brown.
  3. Decrease the oven temperature to 325ºF.  Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly and then coarsely chop.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the cauliflower, nuts, and all remaining ingredients including remaining oil.  Stir, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve at room temperature.  It tastes even better the next day.

Cabbage with White Beans and Shallots

This is now a go-to recipe.  It’s quick, easy, and (a very big plus in my book) it reheats really well.  You can make it as a light meal or a side dish and my husband is always after me to add a little meat to it (bacon or ham would probably pair beautifully).  The cabbage offers a sweetness, the potatoes provide texture, the entire plate is insanely healthy (we’re talking nothing but beans and veggies here with 4 ounces of white potato), it’s just a great dish.  That said, I have yet to make it look even relatively appetizing.  Heidi Swanson uses a photo of it on the cover of her book, Super Natural Every Day, but mine always looks bleached out, a tad crispy brown, and rather unappealing.  Don’t serve it to anyone who will judge their food before they taste it.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz potato, unpeeled, cut into tiny cubes
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed
  • 3 cups cabbage, shredded
  • salt, sprinkle liberally at appropriate intervals
  • [optional] Parmesan cheese on top


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skilled over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the potatoes and a pinch of salt.  Toss, cover, and cook until the potatoes are cooked through, 5 – 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the shallots and beans.  Let the beans brown a bit in a single layer without tossing too frequently.  Toss, brown, repeat; this takes a few minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage and cook for another minute or so.  Done!

Lentils in Oregano Oil with Tomatoes

This recipe is filling and easy.  It is a great at home lunch (I can’t broil tomatoes at work, I don’t know about you) and it is certainly healthy.

Ingredients for 2 servings

  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • tomatoes (2 or 3 small or medium, more if you are using cherry tomatoes)
  • fresh dill (just a sprinkling)

Oregano-Flavored Olive Oil

  1. Put approximately 1 tsp of fresh oregano is a mortar and pestle.  Add 1/4 tsp sea salt.  Smash and grind.
  2. Gradually work in 2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (the best you have on hand).
  3. Work in 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (or a bit more if you like lemon flavoring as much as me).

Avocado and Lentil Salad

  1. Cook the lentils (1 part lentils to 2 parts water for cooking).
  2. Toss some olive oil, salt, and pepper on the tomatoes and pop into the broiler (I use the toaster oven broiler for this) on an aluminum foil lined tray.  Depending on size, the tomatoes will be ready in 1o – 15 minutes.  The skin should start to shrivel and they should be fragrant and juicy.
  3. Combine 1 cup of cooked lentils with 2 Tbsp of the flavored olive oil, season to taste.
  4. Chop the tomato and add (juice and all) to the lentils.
  5. Sprinkle fresh dill over the top (dried is not a good substitute; skip if fresh dill is not available).