I think the biggest mistake people make when they approach a veggie burger is assuming that it will taste like meat. This is apparent in a lot of commercial veggie burgers that try to mimic the look, taste and texture – and if you’re looking for that, this might not be the burger recipe for you.
I had wanted to try out Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Quarter Pounder Beet Burgers since I had first seen them on her website, The Post Punk Kitchen (really, the vegan Bible). Shredded beets, lentils and cooked brown rice combine to create a whopping 1/4 veggie burger that wouldn’t look so out of place at a backyard barbecue, but doesn’t even pretend to want to be compared to a beef burger. The texture is fabulous, and this is the first homemade veggie burger recipe I’ve used that stayed dense and compact down to the very last bite – no crumblies here!
I baked my beet burgers to save on calories, but Isa herself recommends lightly frying the patties in a hot cast-iron skillet to create a crunchy char. Even without the frying, though, my burgers came out of the oven with a very pleasant golden-brown crust.
It’s been a less than stellar week.
On Monday, I had a minor, albeit painful procedure done on my right foot. I wasn’t really prepared for the amount of pain and discomfort I’ve been experiencing, so I’ve spent the majority of the week sulking around my house, looking at craft blogs on the couch and drinking entire bottles of diet root beer. The moral of the story is, make sure your running shoes fit your stupid feet properly.
Normally, I’d be inclined to bury my sorrow under a big pile of vegan mac & cheese, but considering I purchased my first bikini over the weekend (thank you, thank you), I figured it might be a bad week to start eating heavy comfort foods straight out of the casserole dish.
I love the combination of brussels sprouts and cranberries – the flavors are somewhat reminiscent of the holidays, but they’re pleasantly light enough for spring. The thick tofu triangles are coated with a little sprinkle of corn starch before baking to create a golden, crispy crust – you can make the slices a little thinner, but I like having a big honkin’ portion of protein on the plate.
I chose to simply salt and pepper the tofu baking, but I happen to enjoy tofu’s natural beany, earthy flavor. If this isn’t your style, or you’re cooking for more picky patrons, feel free to marinate the tofu with your favorite flavors – soy, citrus or even balsamic would be just dandy.
I love a good PB&J as much as the next guy, but sometimes I crave something that tastes a little more…adult.
Something magical happens when Granny Smith apples, red onion and balsamic vinegar come together – the combination of tart, sweet and tangy is one of my favorites. Usually, I get my fix in a salad (generally, it has the word “harvest” in the name), but I’ve been on a real sandwich kick lately. Slabs of browned tempeh make this a hearty lunch – and just so happen to be the perfect vehicle for a slightly-sweet balsamic marinade.
On its own, this sandwich is pretty heavenly, but as I sit here with half of it already in my stomach, I can’t help but think that a slice of vegan cheddar, melted til brown and bubbly, would transform this dish from sandwich to religious experience.
About a year ago, my now-boyfriend Curtis and I started spending an awful lot of time together – and an awful lot of time ordering take-out from our favorite Chinese place in nearby Princeton. We tended to gravitate toward the same dishes – I got eggplant in garlic sauce, while Curt was fond of the General Tso’s Tofu. We would bring our big paper bag back to Curt’s apartment, where we would watch episodes of Scrubs and eat our food on separate couches.
Since then, a few things have changed (we sit on the same couch now!), but one thing has stayed constant – Curtis almost always goes for General Tso’s.
I had always sort of been turned off (read: afraid) of General Tso’s because of the spice – even with a generous helping of sweetness, that sauce packs a serious chili punch. But they say that your taste buds evolve as you get older, and these days I find myself boldly incorporating ingredients like jalapeños and cayenne peppers into my meals. I’d say that my taste for sweet is changing too, but Curt would probably point to the three Splendas in my morning coffee and politely disagree.
Last week was a pretty big week here. On Wednesday I turned 23, and my family and I celebrated with the most delicious vegan birthday cake from Whole Foods. Chocolate cake with vegan vanilla filling, and beautifully coated with chocolate ganache. It was one of the greatest cakes I’ve ever had, vegan or otherwise.
Among the fabulous gifts I received were three books I have been pining for for quite some time now: Will Write for Food, Plate to Pixel and The Everything Grow Your Own Vegetables Book.
My neighbor has graciously offered me her gardening space for the season – a glorious 15×13 foot fenced-in space that, with a little TLC, will be home to sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini, lavender, radishes and a menagerie of other vegetables and flowers.
I’m excited to have my own vegetable garden. I had a very small one back in high school, but it was a short-lived project (it was a lot of work for my notoriously lazy 16-year-old self). I’ve spent the last few weeks growing nine different plants from seeds, and after carefully watering, bringing them in and out of the house and giving them afternoon pep talks, it is so exciting to see life burst from the soil. The little seedlings look different every day, so I am doing my best to photograph them often and document their progress.