Jill Fergus

I began cooking as a child and feeding family and friends has always been my passion. My kitchen is a busy one. I love to experiment and embrace the kitchen successes along with the accidents. I love to cook and collaborate with friends. I am seasonally driven (I love the farmer's market!), avoid processed foods and focus on whole and organic (mostly plant-based, but not exclusively) choices. In my home, my family has a variety of eating preferences from plant-based, gluten free, refined sugar free to full on omnivore. My goal is to create dishes to please all, either as is or with minor adjustments to the recipe. Where did "Feed the Swimmers" come from? When my kids began swimming competitively and growing into young adults, I realized, even more, how important nutrition is to performance, growth and overall health and emotional well being. Everyone (including the coach during travel meets) would ask "what are you feeding the swimmers?" This has become my mantra whenever I'm in my kitchen cooking for family and the friends I love.



My New Favorite Veggie Burger

My New Favorite Veggie Burger

I love a great veggie burger, but I do find the ones I make at home are always the best. This one is loaded with flavor and packed with nutrition. By combining flavorful cranberry beans with sweet potato, beet, brown rice, walnut, shallot and the umami of shiitake with a combination of strong spices, this burger hits all of the flavors you want from a burger (even for traditional burger lovers). It’s a little smoky, a little spicy and a little sweet. My hubbie, the omnivore, who craves a great “real” burger, loves this one! By making great food, his diet has become more plant based without any push back. You may even plan ahead for this one and batch cook some of these wonderful  components in advance, streamlining prep when you want to make this and getting more than one meal from your efforts. These burger patties may also be made in advance and cooked off a day layer or frozen.

I developed the recipe for this great burger in partnership with Légende Wines, produced by the prestigious Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite). Choosing a great red Bordeaux wine that’s meant to be enjoyed in the moment shouldn’t be intimidating. Many are meant to be put away to keep for a bit and many can be quite a splurge for a casual night in with comfort food, but you usually want something great you can drink tonight or bring to friends. Inspired by a grand tradition of quality, Domaines Baron de Rothschild has created a wonderful range of wines, with a focus on five Bordeaux appellations: Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux, Médoc, Saint-Emilion, and Pauillac all offering unparalleled quality, immediate charm and exceptional value- Légende Wines.

I always love a great veggie burger, so why not enjoy one with a great bottle of wine! This burger is ideal for a cozy date night or a fun casual meal with friends and pairs beautifully with Légende’s Médoc. Médoc is a famed region that produces remarkably well structured and complex wines. This beautiful deeply hued, full bodied wine is made up of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. It’s rich in flavor with aromas of black currant, sweet spices, firm tannins and long finish that pair perfectly with this full flavored veggie burger (yes, my family really loves this one!), and is exceptional when topped with Gorgonzola or your (vegan) cheese of choice. Whip up your own version of a “special sauce” (maybe your favorite bbq sauce with a touch of mayo) to add a little something extra special! This rich Médoc is so approachable with immediate charm (drink it tonight!) and great value and elevates a delightful evening in! 


Favorite Veggie Burger

Pairing suggestion: Légende Medoc

Makes 6 large burgers, 8 medium or 12 sliders (extra patties may be frozen) These may also be made into vegan meatballs.


1 cup dry Cranberry Beans, soaked overnight

1 medium carrot, cut into large chunks

2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks

1 shallot, rough chopped

(note: canned beans may be subtituted)


8 oz. sweet potato, peeled, cubed and roasted

½ cup chopped walnuts

3 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sautéed

1 large shallot plus 1 clove garlic, sautéed

3 oz. roasted beets

1 cup cooked short grain brown rice

2 Tbs tomato paste

2 Tbs flax meal

2 tsp sea salt

½+ tsp fresh ground black pepper

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp Aleppo pepper

½ tsp cumin


½+ cup good quality bread crumbs seasoned with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

2+ Tbs olive oil


whole grain hamburger buns of choice, lightly toasted

gorgonzola or sharp cheddar, optional


1- Cook beans: add soaked beans to large (4 qt) sauce pan with carrot, celery and shallot. Cover with cold water by about 2”, bring to a rapid boil, cover and reduce to low heat and simmer for about 1 hour (cooking time will vary depending on the age of the bean). If water has cooked off before beans are tender, add boiling water to pan and continue until beans are tender. Remove veggies and drain thoroughly.


If using canned beans, rinse thoroughly and pat dry to remove excess moisture.

Sautée Shallot, add garlic and mushrooms- the more caramelized, the better.

2- In a food processor fitted with a blade, add beans, roasted sweet potatoes, walnuts, shiitake, beets, shallot, brown rice, flax meal, tomato paste, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper (everything except the bread crumbs, olive oil and cheese) and pulse until a course paste is achieved, scraping down the sides every few pulses. Adjust salt and pepper.

3- Line baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Add bread crumbs to a mixing bowl and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Form mixture into patties, approximately 4 oz each. Coat each patty with the bread crumbs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

4- Preheat heavy bottomed sautée pan over medium low heat. Once pan is hot, raise heat to medium, add olive oil in batches and cook patties approximately 6 minutes each side until a nice brown and crispy edge is achieved. Allow patties to cook against the side of the pan to also brown the edges of the burgers. Handle patties carefully as they will be a bit fragile.

5- Serve on toasted buns with garnishes of choice. If melting cheese, place burger on bottom half of bun, top with desired cheese and place under the broiler just until cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.


I promise, no one will complain! 



A few simple steps which may be prepped in advance. 


Add all to a food processor. The spices are in here as well. I sprinkled them throughout.  


you want to pulse just until you achieve a course paste. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. These may also be made into vegan meatballs!



crisp up the edges! 


Garnish with all of your favorites!


Gochugaru Maple Roasted Nuts (Love Nuts)

Gochugaru Maple Roasted Nuts (Love Nuts)

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