Happy New Year, and Veggie Sausage

Please forgive my week-long delay in publishing this.  Now please enjoy the only post I’ve ever written with a massive hangover.

Clean Plates!

Clean Plates!

I’m sipping ginger kombucha and hoping my stomach settles some time today as I write this. I rang in the New Year last night with some of my closest and oldest friends, ate a lot of food, and drank an unknown quantity of whiskey. Hence my stomach’s need to settle.

I did prepare for this situation though, by planning ahead for my first breakfast of 2015: I sent my manfriend to the store for coffee beans and eggs yesterday while I stayed home and made fake sausages and unpacked a gallon of sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is necessary for New Year’s Day so you have good luck in the new year, and as an added bonus it is cheap and easy to make, as well as great for your micro-biome. I’m not sharing how to make kraut today because there are too many other people more qualified than me, but I will share with you how I made my meatless sausages! I made them up as I went along, so understand that the measurements are not precise, but they were awfully tasty.

Veggie Sausage

Ingredients
1 cup cooked lentils, well drained
1 cup cooked white beans, well drained
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup cooked pearl barley (brown rice should also work, I just happened to have cooked barley on hand)
1/4 cup walnuts
1 medium onion
lots of garlic (I used a bunch of those tiny cloves from the center of the head and I didn’t count)
1/2 a medium apple, cored and chopped
3 Tblsp nutritional yeast
1 Tblsp tomato paste
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp each of several different dried herbs; I used oregano and thyme and lemon-pepper seasoning blend. Put in sage too. I don’t know why I don’t have it.
1 tsp each of ground coriander, paprika, and turmeric (smoked paprika would be great!)

1. Start by grinding up the onion, garlic, herbs and spices, and walnut in the food processor until you have a chunky paste.
2. Add the beans and lentils, oats, barley, tomato paste, and yeast. Pulse until combined but not totally smooth.
3. Taste for seasoning and once you’ve got it just right, add your apple chunks and pulse a few more times. You want to be able to see some bits of apple.
4. Refrigerate the goop for about half an hour, then shape into links or patties. Actually, make patties because links kind of look like dog turds. Then put them back in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them, even overnight.
5. Cooking method is where I’m not sure what to tell you. I pre-baked mine yesterday at 400 for about 20 minutes (both links and patties), then fried them this morning. They were way too brown and a little dry. I think you’ll get the best results if you fry them in a bunch of oil from raw goop, but that will take forever. So that being said, also feel free to bake them on a parchment-lined pan or greased pan (for more oily sausagey results). Do them like any of my burgers, but perhaps less time since I assume you’ll be making smaller patties. Sorry to be vague. I trust you though. You’re smart people who are probably less hungover than me, and you can figure it out.

We also had grapefruit, grits, bagels, eggs, and coffee for breakfast today with our good-luck kraut and sausage. Put ketchup on the sausage. Why don’t we ever buy ketchup?

Bon appétit! And happy New Year!

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Mediterranean Bean Burgers

Mediterranean Bean Burgers

Make these!  They are from Dreena Burton’s wonderful cookbook, Let Them Eat Vegan.  Quite similar to my own Salsa Burgers, but with a different flavor twist.  Penny Parsnip makes them without olives, because olives are yucky 😉  I’m planning to eat these for dinner tonight with a side of pasta tossed with some steamed spinach, seasoned with lemon and lots of garlic.

Much love to all of my readers!  I’m  getting some things worked out for the better right now and hope to start posting my own recipes again soon.

Party Planning

I’m cooking for a crowd this week!  What with my recent belly-aching, I was a little nervous about this party… until I realized that most of the food is healthy and shouldn’t bother my stomach!  Here’s the menu:

Spring Rolls (not deep fried, filled with raw veg, served with peanut sauce)

Black Bean Sliders and Guacamole (to make the sliders, form them into small patties or balls and bake them on a parchment lined pan at 425 for about 20mins, until golden.  No need to flip them.)

Crackers topped with pesto spread and cucumbers

Hummus and veggies

Chocolate Chip Blondies

See?  Even the cookies are healthy!  All I have to do is steer clear of the potato chips and try not to drink too much, and my stomach will be fine.  Now, I’ve got to make all this food by Friday night, and still go to work in the mean time.  I learned from the best (thanks Mom!) to make lots of lists and plan around my work schedule when to make what.  Here’s my mission:

You must be wanting some recipes by now.  Since you know all about hummus and black bean burgers, how about that pesto?  More of thick spread than a sauce, it’s oil-free and has no cheese.  I substituted cashews for pine nuts because who can afford those things?  Plus, I stretched my basil by replacing some of it with kale or arugula.

Pesto Spread

Adapted from Chef AJ’s MVP Stuffed Mushrooms, found in the Forks Over Knives Cookbook

2 c pine nuts or cashews

1 c basil

1 c something else green, like arugula, spinach, or kale, or more basil

4 or more cloves garlic

2 Tbls light miso (I like shiro miso)

Juice of two lemons

1.  Puree all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the S blade, until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Try not to eat it all at once.

Nutrition Facts

Dear Readers, I confess I am too lazy to calculate the nutrition facts of my recipes.  Besides that, I tend to think that if I’m eating unprocessed grains, veggies, fruits, and beans, I don’t need to worry about calories.  It’s processed foods like oils, sugar, and white flour that really rack them up.  In fact, I lost about eight pounds without trying just by giving up cooking in oil.  No small accomplishment, considering it was right around Christmas.  Hooray for whole foods!

BUT… That said, it’s nice to know sometimes how things stack up.  Nutritionist Jeff Novick recently posted this link on Facebook, comparing his bean burgers to some fast-food beef burgers, as well as frozen veggie burgers.  Jeff’s burgers are pretty similar to mine in terms of ingredients, so the analysis stands.  Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Lentil Curry Burgers

I may have perfected the Penny Parsnip Patty today.  Me and Dorothy (the food processor–we cook up a storm!) whipped these up this afternoon.  They’re my first lentil burger, and the first I’ve tried to make by machine.  It went well!  Give these a try:

Lentil Curry Burgers

Ingredients:

2 c cooked lentils, well drained (regular brown or green, NOT red)

1/2 c rolled oats

1/2 c cooked brown rice (use up those leftovers!)

1 medium onion, quartered

2 cloves garlic

1 Tbls curry powder

1/2 Tbls cumin

1 Tbls fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste (I used some Slap Ya Mama)

1.  Start by toasting the spices in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for about a minute, stirring occasionally, until they are fragrant.

2.  Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until you have a nice thick paste.  There should still be some small chunks.  Be careful!  A friend warned me recently that he over-processed some bean burgers and ended up with soup.  Alternatively, you could mash by hand, mincing the onion and parsley beforehand.

3.  Let the mixture rest for a few minutes, then shape into patties.  I make mine about 1/2 c in size. Much bigger than that and they fall apart when you flip them over.

4.  Let the patties rest a few minutes, then heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high and brown the patties, 3-5 minutes for each side.

Eat up!  These would be good with some chutney (I’m working on something) or yogurt sauce, if you eat yogurt.

Salsa Burgers

This upcoming weekend is all about the barbecue for me, so I wanted to make something to toss on the grill with the vegetable kabobs. Nothing worse than having nothing to eat but chips all day (especially when there are cocktails in the mix)! I made these pinto burgers this morning, since the temps are going to reach the mid 90’s today and tomorrow. Cook before the sun gets too hot! Sorry for the lack of photos, I’ll try to add some from the luau I’m taking them to on Saturday. Here’s what I came up with, varying the original recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian:

 Salsa Burgers
4 c cooked pinto beans (just under a pound if you cook them from dry) or 2 cans, well-drained

2 onions, quartered if you have a food processor, finely minced if you don’t

1 c rolled oats

2 T each of chilli powder, cumin, and dried oregano

2 eggs or substitute1c mashed potatoes, or 1c cooked oatmeal, or 1/2c Vegannaise, or 1c tofu.  I think tomato paste would work too, and give some more depth to the flavor.  Someone try it and report back!

1/3- 2/3 c salsa of your choice (I used Trader Joe’s Salsa Autentica because I happened to have it. Curious about how chunkier salsa would taste and affect the texture.)

big handful of fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

1. If at all humanly possible, puree the onions and cilantro. I did this in two batches in the 2 cup food chopper attachment for my blender. If not, mince them as finely as possible.

2. Either mash everything together with a potato masher like I did (time-consuming but kinda fun), or put it in the food processor (fast and fun) and pulse until chunky but not pureed, adding a little more salsa if it’s too dry (unlikely for this recipe) to produce a moist but not wet mixture. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

3.  Let it rest for a few minutes before you shape into patties. If your kitchen has reached a temperature of 85 or more degrees (like mine did), you may want to put it in the fridge for 10 minutes. With wet hands, shape into whatever size patties you want (I made them about 1/3c each and got over a dozen patties). Let them rest again if you can be that patient. This is a good opportunity to wash some dishes.

4. Brown in a non-stick skillet, or lightly oiled cast iron skillet over medium heat, about 5 minutes for each side. I found it helpful to lightly squish them with a spatula after flipping them over. Keeps them from being too thick and not cooking through.

Eat up!  I found that these were great with a little mayo and some pineapple salsa that I accidentally stole from my roommate.  I really thought it was mine, I swear!  But now I know what else to take to that luau 😉

Black Bean Burgers

I had a ton of leftover black beans from making the quinoa salad earlier in the week, so I decided to put them to good use.  I hadn’t made my own burgers in over ten years because my teenage self thought they were a pain and my mom was willing to buy the over-processed frozen ones.  These days I don’t bother with those burgers.  They’re too expensive and not very good for you.

I dove in with the help of one of my favorite cookbooks:  How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.  My only problem with this book is that it relies so heavily on the food processor, which Bittman uses for everything!  Obviously he’s never had a tiny NYC kitchen.  I don’t have one, except for tiny one that attaches to my blender, so I used a potato masher.  It worked great, except I had big chunks of onion.  Next time, I’m going to process the onion in the blender.

UPDATE:  I pureed the onion, herbs, and lime juice this time.  WOW!  What a difference.  Big flavor, nice and moist, and the cilantro-onion slurry is such a gorgeous color.  Just know that you may need a little extra oatmeal if the mixture is too wet, and that the slurry will make your eyes tear.

The Simplest Bean Burgers

2 cups well-cooked beans (I used black of course)

1 medium onion, finely minced if you don’t have a food processor, quartered if you do.

1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)

1 egg, or 1/2 c mashed potatoes, or 1/2 c cooked oatmeal, or 1/4 c miso, or 1/2 c tofu

^ I used the cooked oatmeal, since it’s the cheapest and I had it on hand

Seasonings:  I used some cumin, chopped fresh oregano, zest of one lime, and a little lime juice when the mixture got too dry.  Also a little salt and pepper and my favorite seasoning blend Slap Ya Mama.

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or by hand with a potato masher.

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2.  With wet hands, form into patties (I used a 1/2 c measuring cup to keep them even).  I got six 1/2 c sized patties out of this recipe.

3.  Brown in a non-stick skillet, or lightly oiled cast iron skillet over medium heat, about 5 minutes for each side.

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Delicious with salsa or even a little ketchup.  I’m going to try them with avocado or guacamole next.  Yum!  I’ve definitely revised my opinion of home-made burgers.  These were so easy, and you can even make a big batch and freeze them.

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