Saturday, March 31, 2012

Egg Salad Sandwich, Hold the Mayo

Let me start by saying I've always had an aversion to egg salad.  So it seems strange to be dedicating an entire post to it.  Up until a few weeks ago, I had never eaten egg salad.  Therefore, I am by no means an egg salad expert.  I'm not sure where you'd find an individual with that sort of expertise, but I assure you, it's not me.  What I do know is I despise the version sitting at the deli at the supermarket.  It's the same one sitting on the salad bar.  I've never tasted it, nor would I want to.  I've never ordered egg salad at a deli or restaurant.  When I see egg salad, I can't help but think some angry individual mashed the bejesus out of those poor precious eggs, tearing the yolks away from the white albumen, proceeding to douse them in gloppy mayonnaise.  An egg salad of this fate is a sad one.  Eggs are much too delicate for such vulgar treatment.  

I just finished reading Tamar Adler's 'An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace.' The book is a compilation of approachable cooking lessons modeled after M.F.K. Fisher's 'How to Cook a Wolf.'  It's a wonderful and inspiring read.  Adler made me feel, as though I could make humble meals sparkle with a little know how.  All food has a purpose.  I will forever think twice about discarding beet and leek tops.  The second chapter is dedicated solely to the egg: How to Teach an Egg to Fly.  Adler writes, "I am going to be as practical as I can be because most people know how to 'make eggs.'  But 'making eggs' sounds dull and habitual, and too much like, 'making do,' and we and eggs deserve better."  She advocates purchasing eggs from someone raising chickens for eggs, going on to describe their yolks ranging "from buttercup to yellow to marigold."  Good eggs she argues are worth their price and care.  One should give proper thought and consideration before cooking automatically and cracking.  So, it is with great intention and consideration that I gave second thought to egg salad.

I got my hands on some heirloom eggs, their shells a pale shade of mint, and carefully hardboiled a half dozen.  Perhaps these would make a better-suited egg for Easter, natures own doing.  (If you happen to be dying eggs this Easter, you might want to check this out.  Tell me that's not a fabulous idea).  The eggs I found from Ameraucana hens yielded as promised, marigold yolks.  Since these hens have a diet rich in marigold, it makes sense.  It's worth noting, the fresher your eggs, the more trying it will be to remove the peels.  I always have difficulty.  I'd like to think it's a testament to the quality of my eggs.  It's a tedious act of love and patience.  The shells rarely come off in clean swoops, and instead, tiny shattered pieces sprinkle my counter.  I do my best not to remove white flecks.  It slows me down, forcing me to appreciate the process nonetheless.    

My egg salad uses Greek yogurt instead of mayo, some whole grain mustard and a touch of lemon juice for some tang.  I've always been into mustard more than mayo and I think it works well in this instance.  There are some finely chopped flecks of red onions tossed in, and a fairy dusting of capers for a surprisingly salty bite here and there.  The eggs aren't mashed, but rather, gently and roughly chopped, an oxymoron yes, but the best way to describe how to treat them.  They'll retain some structure this way and it makes for a more pleasant texture in the salad.  I like to sandwich the egg salad between two slices of sourdough bread with spinach or lettuce.  I've also made open-faced sandwiches, piling the egg salad high on a bed of the same.  A great tasting classic sandwich with a little twist is born.  Egg salad doesn't scare me anymore.  It's quite lovely in this manner.  I believe I've given egg salad new wings.  If you find yourself with leftover Easter eggs, I hope you'll put them to good use and make Adler proud.    

~Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe, Hold the Mayo~

6 large organic eggs, hard-boiled* 
3 tbsp Greek yogurt
2 tsp whole grain or dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp finely diced red onions
pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste

*Here's what works for me when hard-boiling eggs.  I place the eggs in the bottom of a pan and fill it with water until they are covered by about an inch or so.  Put the heat on high and as the water starts to come to a gentle boil (the eggs will barely begin to pop up from the bottom and want to bounce), remove them from the heat.  Put a lid on them.  The eggs will be done in 10 minutes.  Transfer the eggs to a bowl of icy cold water to stop the cooking process.  Once they are cool enough to handle, peel back the shells. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop.

In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, and capers.  Add in eggs.  Carefully fold the eggs into the mixture with a rubber spatula or spoon.  Don't overwork it.  Add sea salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Serve between slices of bread or make open faced sandwiches.  Serves 4. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Morning Muesli

A few years ago I traveled to Switzerland, a magical place where everything sparkled.  Maybe it was the backdrop of the snow-covered peeks or the crisp clean air that had me invigorated.  I instantly felt I could live there.  I began scheming.  Switzerland can have that kind of effect on you.  I suddenly needed a bike and hiking boots and most likely a walking stick for good measure.  I'd change my name to Heidi and braid my hair.  I'd find a small home in the mountains somewhere, raise a goat or two and dance around singing "the hills are alive with the sound of music."  I'd learn to make cheese.  I'd ski during the day and gorge on truffles at night.  I can think of worse things.  I was glowing with possibility, day dreaming in a cloud of chocolate haze all week long.  

But as most good things often do, my plan and the trip were coming to a close.  The caffeine buzz settled and I remembered I knew nothing of goats other than the one I encountered at Busch Gardens when I was seven.  I was at a petting park with my family, feeding a goat from my hand when it decided to relieve itself on my open toe sandals.  There's a picture of me in a pink dress looking particularly horrified and humored all at once.  In other matters, I can't hold a tune and my voice will never, ever, sound as angelic as Fraulein Maria's.  It actually sounds worse when it reverberates off the shower walls.  I was a little glum about it, but returning to Boston seemed like the reasonable thing to do.  At the weeks end, I packed my bags and stuffed my carry on entirely full of chocolate.  I can't remember what the contents of the carry on bag were.  Whatever was in there, it had a one-way ticket.  I returned with nothing but chocolate. 

Let's talk more about the food for a moment.  There was chocolate, yes.  Glorious, glorious chocolate.  There was Raclette, and Rosti, and an endless supply of bread, butters, and jams.  Then there was muesli; the humble breakfast I couldn't get enough of.  During the trip, I parked a big bowl in front of me each morning.  When in Rome.  There were variations on it from place to place, but the general idea here is uncooked rolled oats, dried fruit, and nuts.  A Swiss physician developed it around 1900 as a means to heal his patients, encouraging fresh fruit, vegetables, and nuts over meat and white bread.  Certainly this man was ahead of his time.  So even if I couldn't bottle up that Swiss effervescence, I could bottle up muesli.  Or mason jar-it-up.  And that's exactly what I've been doing.  When I originally wrote this recipe, I made it fit for one jar, but found it was vanishing too quickly.  This recipe just about fills two jars.  So for any of you who happen to be enthusiastic muesli lovers like myself, it should last a little longer.  

You could buy muesli sure, but it's hard to find a brand without a good amount of sugar in it.  Besides, making it is always better and much cheaper.  It's dead easy and there's absolutely no cooking involved.  If you can measure, you can make muesli.  It's that simple.  There are many variations on muesli but this one is my favorite.  It's a combination of oats, wheat germ, coconut, raisins, hazelnuts, and almonds.  Toss these ingredients together and you'll have breakfast ready for a week or two.  Muesli can be eaten hot or cold.  Some people like to soak it overnight with milk or yogurt thinned with water.  Traditionally, it's eaten with juice instead of milk.  But me, I put a serving of muesli in a bowl, cover it with a good amount of almond milk, give it a stir, and let it sit for five minutes.  The oats will have absorbed a lot of the liquid, becoming softened, but not mushy.  The mushy quality is the very reason why I don't like the overnight process.  After the five-minute mark, I add a few additional nuts, raisins, or chopped fresh apple if I have one.  Berries in the summer work beautifully too.  Eating a bowl always brings me back to Zermatt, and for that, I'm grateful.

~Morning Muesli Recipe~

5 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup raisins, unsulphured

In a large bowl, mix together rolled oats, coconut, wheat germ, and salt, evenly distributing.  Add in almonds and hazelnuts, mix.  Lastly, add in dried raisins.  Transfer to an air tight container or into two mason jars.  Serve with milk, almond milk, juice, or yogurt.   

Optional toppings:
blackberries or raspberries
chopped apple
drizzle of maple syrup or honey
sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon
handful of extra nuts, seeds, or dried fruit

Source: Wikipedia: Muesli 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Simple Snack: Avocado on Toast

I am not expecting this post to wow you.  There are no soufflĂ©s here, no homemade croissants, and no tiered layered cakes.  By now, I don't think you're not expecting this sort of thing when you click over here.  You know this isn't my style.  I'm about simple food and simple pleasures.  And while I'd like to think something this simple wouldn't normally make the cut around here, I can't help but gush about it.  Avocado on toast.  I know, it seems so ridiculously self-explanatory, so matter of fact.  Please don't scoff at it.  Maybe you have your toast situation down.  Of course you do.  But maybe some of you haven't tried avocado on toast before.  I know I hadn't until recently and I'm here to tell you, you should.  It will change the way you snack.  Am I overselling it?  I hope so.  It's just so darn good.  You see, I'm a big believer in snacks.  Snacks can make or break my day.  I appreciate those with some protein, good fat, and a satisfying quality.  Avocado on toast passes with flying colors.

I split a ripe avocado; mash half of it with a touch of flax seed or olive oil, lime juice, and sea salt.  Divide it between two slices of bread and you have an instant snack for two.  Sometimes I pile it onto one slice and keep it all for myself.  Who says you have to share?  It's creamy and just a touch salty.  It's a quicker version of guacamole, less fussy, but just as satisfying.  If I have homemade bread, I'll use that as my vehicle.  If not, Ezekial sesame is usually my go to.  Whole grain, dark rye, marble, and anything with a great crust is a safe bet.  Not only is this a great snack choice, but it would make a great breakfast choice too.  It's worth repeating.  Avocado on toast will change the way you snack.  What are you waiting for?  

~Avocado on Toast Recipe~

1/2 ripe avocado
1/2 tsp flaxseed oil or olive oil
2 tsp lime juice
pinch of sea salt
sprinkle of black sesame seeds
2 slices of bread, toasted

Lightly mash avocado in a small bowl.  Don't overwork it.  You want the avocado to have some chunkiness and texture to it.  Mix in oil and lime juice.  Sprinkle in sea salt.  Toast two slices of bread and pile avocado mixture on top.  Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.  Serves 2.

-You could also top the avocado with a sprinkle of paprika.  Sometimes I add slivers of thin red onions or radishes on top.  Tomatoes in the summer would be delicious too.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Susan's Brown Soda Bread

There are moments in life that far exceed even your greatest expectations.  My memories from Ireland are chock full of those moments, particularly the days I spent in the quaint town of Doolin days before our wedding.  Situated on the west coast, it has it all, majestic ocean views, lush green countryside, and the brightly colored houses you've likely seen in postcards.  We managed to position ourselves within walking distance of a pub that fed us so well, it made us wish we packed stretch pants.  They didn't even bat an eyelash when we asked for pints of Guinness with our eggs at breakfast.  We were fresh off an overnight flight, so in our defense, I believe it was still the middle of the night back home.

We stayed at Daly's House, where we were met by Susan, the proprietor.  She gave me a warm embrace and I instantly felt like I had reconnected with an old friend.  She is the very essence of a warm Irish welcome.  Susan is charismatic, humorous, and beyond gracious.  When Donny and I arrived in our room, we found a handwritten card with a bottle of wine and a beautiful piece of local Burren stained glass art.  I held in my hand an emerald green harp that twinkled in the sunlight against the room's open window.  The gift had significant meaning because a harp would be played at our ceremony in the coming days.  

I also have memories of squishing into wooden pub benches, shoulder to shoulder, sipping on pints of Bulmer's and Guinness.  We stuffed ourselves to the brim with bowls of thick creamy soup.  We laughed and joked about our driving mishaps and close calls.  We got lost, and rained on, and marveled at the cows outside our windows.  We sat each morning around Susan's breakfast table, sipping on tea and coffee, passing around brown bread.  As luck would have it, brown bread appeared just like magic at every meal.  Granted, not everyone was a fan of this bread.  For some, it's on the dry side and bit too bland, but I don't see it.  I grew up eating my mother's soda bread, which is also plain and simple.  That's what I love about Irish bread.  It's homey and mirrors the essence of Irish cooking.  It doesn't try to wow you with bells and whistles.  It's dense and gritty bread.  With a rustic and craggy crust, brown bread is the kind of bread that warms your soul, even on the rainiest of days.  The Irish are onto something.

When I returned home, I began missing my brown bread.  It's fairly difficult to come by.  Soda bread is more likely to make an appearance, but only around St. Patrick's Day.  It's unlike the traditional versions, glammed out with candied fruit, glistening with green dyed sugar crystals.  I've been planning to make a stop here for an authentic version, but until then, I realized I was going to have to roll up my sleeves to do it right.  Susan was just the girl to turn to.  She was kind enough to send along her recipe, which gave me a lesson in converting grams and ounces to cups and tablespoons.  Pints, it turns out are not only for beer, but for buttermilk too.  I ordered the best Irish style wholemeal flour I could find and did a little Irish jig when FedEx dropped it at my door.  I was ready to bake brown bread.

It's a bread of the easiest variety.  Being a quick bread, there's no yeast involved, just good basic grains.  The buttermilk works with the baking soda to act as a leavening agent.  It gets kneaded just a few times and plopped in the oven.  It's not particularly sophisticated, but it's the kind of bread I imagine has been made much the same way for centuries, unsweetened and lightly salted.  I realize I'm supposed to wait and let it cool, but as you can tell from the steam in the picture below, I never do.  A slice of this straight from the oven begs to be smeared with golden butter.  I'm going to advocate for Kerrygold butter at room temperature.  I invited my dad over in the early stages of testing this recipe and he happily washed down a buttered slice with a beer, just like he did in Ireland.  If you ever find yourself in the lovely town of Doolin, grab a pint and listen to some music at Gus O'Connors.  Be sure to give Susan a big hello for me until I can make my way back.  Better yet, stay the night and enjoy some brown bread with your breakfast in the morning.  Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

~Susan's Brown Bread Recipe~

2 1/2 cups Irish style ground wholemeal
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp wheat bran
1 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Sift the all purpose flour and baking soda into a bowl.  Mix in the wholemeal, wheat bran, and wheat germ.  Add buttermilk to make a soft dough, lightly mixing to combine.  Turn onto a lightly floured board.  Knead a few times until the mixture comes together smoothly into a cohesive round, slightly flattened ball.  Place dough on a floured baking sheet.  Cut a cross over the top of the loaf.  Place in a central oven position and bake for 40 minutes.  When baked, the bread will have a hollow sound if tapped on the base.  Cool on a wire rack.  Susan notes that a tea towel wrapped around the bread at this stage helps to give a softer crust.  She also recommends enjoying it with a cup of Barry's tea.  Yields 1 loaf, serves 8.    

Monday, March 12, 2012

Flukes and Finds

There's an antique shop I occasionally stop in called Flukes and Finds.  I love that name.  It's so clever and fitting.  The shop itself is a treasure trove of goods and makes for excellent perusing on a Sunday afternoon.  I enjoy a good stroll through antique shops, consignment shops, and used bookstores.  Dusty hands and hanger pushing is a small price to pay for an unexpected and thrifty find.  More often than not however, I'm searching for food items first and foremost.  I love seeking out new ingredients, especially produce, but also find comfort in refilling my pantry with old favorites.  I thought I'd share a few of my flukes and finds from this past weekend, things that put a smile on my face when our paths crossed.

Tokyo Bekana, an Asian mustard green.  These are the tops of the leaves.  Don't they look similar to broccoli rabe?  These are much, much less bitter, slightly sweet, and have the most beautiful edible yellow flowers.  I've never eaten prettier salad greens.  I tossed them with my blood orange olive oil, threw down a few sunflower seeds on top, and called it a day.  It felt so satisfying to eat something so vibrant and full of life.

Rose water.  This sounded so lovely, so floral.  I haven't cracked it open yet, but I'm thinking of adding it to my tea and drizzling it over some fruit for starters.  I also hear it makes for a nice touch in cakes and cookies.   

Pink grapefruit.  A most well behaved subject to photograph, which just so happens to be all natural kitchen fragrance and instant mood booster.  As far as beating the winter blues goes, grapefruit is a superstar.  I feel better just looking at that photo.  I can't stop eating these.  I've been squirting everyone and everything in my path.

Spice rack refills: mild curry and Garam masala.  I have my sights set on a few new recipes that will put these to use.  This long ago version of Molly's Chana Masala has again piqued my interest after finishing 'A Homemade Life.' If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it.  It's a beautiful, beautiful read.  I easily devoured it in one sitting and just began cooking from it as well.  

Unsweetened dried cranberries from Fairland Farms.  These beautiful jewels are straight from the bogs of Cape Cod.  Tart and delicious, my mouth waters just thinking about them.  I like to top my muesli with a handful, but most often I eat them straight from the bag.  Speaking of which, I'm working on a muesli recipe to share with you in an upcoming post.

The good old shamrock plant.  The first leaf is for faith, the second for hope, and the third for love.  Tradition has it the fourth leaf is for luck, especially if found accidentally.  I wonder if rummaging through the pot counts as accidental?  I plan on doing my best to water it.  Something tells me killing the shamrock plant would undoubtedly bring bad luck, and I don't want to take any chances.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spinach Linguine Aglio e Olio

Some say February is a trying month.  But February doesn't bother me too much.  It comes and goes rather quickly, the shortest month of the year.  I would argue March is the more trying of the two, more fickle.  Without fail, a bright sunny day will surely arrive and with it, hope follows suit.  It's a scenario that plays out every year.  I long for lighter jackets, less layering, and additional daylight hours.  I eagerly await the first bloom and chirping birds.  I dream of burning my wool sweater collection and winter coats.  Spring appears to be within my reach.  I can almost feel it, touch it.  I want to grab hold of the moment, seize the smells and sounds, and wrap myself in a luscious blanket of warm breeze.  And just when I think we are finally turning a corner, finally kicking winter to the curb, the cold creeps back in the following day and my anticipation plateaus.  The threat of a late season snowstorm is never far off.  I know this.  March has disappointed me before.  March is a cruel, cruel month.  It toys with my emotions.

March is also the time of year when I feel less connected to my seasonal eating habits.  I'm in somewhat of a holding pattern, waiting for asparagus and rhubarb.  I've been turning to the pantry, continuing to bake bread, cook pots of beans and soup, and a pasta dish here and there.  Pasta is on the agenda today, aglio e olio to be exact.  Truthfully, I forget about aglio e olio.  I'm not sure why this is the case, considering I always have the ingredients on hand.  I was reminded of this meal at Christmas Eve and it's been at the top of my 'to make' list ever since.  If you saw the size of my list, you'd agree three months isn't a bad turn around.  My mother in law hosts this holiday every year and like a champion makes the traditional feast of seven fishes.  Although in her home, it's more like a feast of seventy-seven fishes.  No sea creature is safe with her.  It's quite the undertaking and quite the spread.  For those who don't eat seafood, Donny's uncle makes a big batch of spaghetti aglio e olio.  Since I married an Italian, well Swedish-Italian if we're being technical, I feel as though I can take the liberty of tossing out a few Italian words like aglio e olio.  It's even better when I know what they mean (garlic and oil).  Other words I have under my belt include ciao, bella, and buon natale.  When all else fails, a clean plate, smile, and a nod cross all language barriers.  I also earned brownie points when the Italian family I was marrying into discovered I had the appetite of a truck driver and could cook to boot.  Both qualities speak volumes.  

In this classic and thrifty dish, spaghetti gets tossed with a glug of olive oil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, and parsley.  A bit of reserved cooking liquid works its way in.  I put my own spin on it using spinach linguine.  Even though we're not quite at spring's door, I attempted to work some green onto my plate.  If you're a purist, use spaghetti and ignore my pasta choice.  My mother in law is cringing at the moment but she loves me and will forgive me.  She also wants you to know that grated cheese is served with and not added to the aglio e olio itself.  She's always right about these things, so I hope you'll obey.  It's a simple pasta dish with a slurping appeal, one that hugs you from the inside out.  I could use a little extra love in March.  In like a lion, out like a lamb.  Isn't that how the saying goes?  If the March first snowstorm that blew in were any indication, I'd say things are looking good.  

~Spinach Linguine Aglio e Olio Recipe~

1 lb spinach linguine
4 cloves garlic, minced
handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid

Bring water to a boil in a large pot and add in linguine.  Cook for 10-11 minutes, or according to package directions if using another type of pasta.  Toast pine nuts over low heat in a cast iron or skillet pan until fragrant and lightly brown.  These can burn in a flash so keep your eye on them.  Remove from heat and put off to the side.  I put them in a separate bowl so they don't continue browning.

In an another skillet or cast iron pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and cook for just about a minute, until lightly browned, taking care not to burn.  Remove the olive oil and garlic from the heat and transfer to a small bowl or dish.  This will prevent it from browning any further while the pasta finishes cooking.  Once pasta has finished cooking, reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid before draining.  Return drained pasta to pot, toss with olive oil and garlic and again with reserved cooking liquid.  Add in parsley and pine nuts, giving one more good toss.  Transfer to serving dish.  Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano.  You can also add a drizzle of fresh olive oil on top of each serving.  Serves 4.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Brown Rice Chickpea Burgers

I've done it.  I've finally created a stand up veggie burger.  I'm crossing it off my list in permanent marker.  This burger has happily become my go to.  It's taken some time to get here friends.  It's been anything but smooth sailing in the veggie burger department.  More like high winds and tumultuous waves.  If I had to come face to face with one more sub-par burger, I was going to declare myself lost at sea.  I take these things seriously and so I ventured on, traveling the course.  Onwards and upwards. 

If you've ever tried creating a veggie burger, you can probably relate to my troubles with crumbly versions that fall apart, those that are too dry, or too wet.  It's a tricky balance.  I've tried for longer than I'd like to admit to achieve the right consistency.  I went back and forth, testing versions with grains and versions with breadcrumbs.  Then it hit me.  I needed both to achieve a moist burger that would hold together.  Brown rice and creamy chickpeas do just that.  What I like about using the brown rice is that it makes for a moist burger, one that's dense, but not 'bready.'  I've added an onion, lemon zest, and parsley into the mixture.  You don't necessarily need the parsley if you don't have it, or you could swap cilantro instead.  I've made them both ways.  Add in some spices or heat if you like.  

Veggie burgers are a perfect do-ahead sort of thing.  Sure, it's a little work initially, but I'm happily rewarded with an instant meal when I just don't have the energy to make one.  Sitting on the top shelf in my freezer are individually wrapped patties at this very moment.  It's my mealtime security blanket.  I've gotten into the habit of doubling this recipe.  I make some for now, some for later.  Defrosted, warmed, and slathered with grainy mustard, this burger has become my lunch of choice lately.  They really hit the spot.

~Brown Rice Chickpea Burger Recipe~
Adapted from Whole Living, Jan/Feb 

2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 small onion, chopped
small handful fresh leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 lemon, zested
1/4 tsp sea salt
few grinds pepper from a pepper mill
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, add chickpeas and brown rice.  Using a potato masher, mash chickpeas and brown rice together until they form a paste.  This will take some arm work.  If there are still chickpeas in tact towards the end of the process, you can also use the back of a fork to scrape them down. (I would resist the urge to use a food processor, as the texture won't work out the same way).  Stir in onion, parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.  Add in the beaten egg and breadcrumbs.  Use your hands to combine.  Form mixture into one large mass.  Score the mixture with your hands, creating four equal portions.  This will ensure all the burgers are the same size.  Form four round patties, approximately 1" in height.

Heat a skillet pan over medium heat with olive oil.  Add the patties.  Cook for about 7 minutes.  The burgers should have a nice brown crust on them.  Flip and cook for an additional 7 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Serve with your favorite toppings.  I like grainy mustard or tzatziki, sliced onions, avocados, and tomatoes.  But really, anything goes.  I also l like to wrap these in various types of lettuce instead of using a bun.  Serves 4.