Bistro Beet Burgers

Ohmehgawd! These are fantastic (apologies for the bad photo)! They are from Isa Chandra's Isa Does It book, and are the Bistro Beet Burgers (p82). They are flavorful, they do what few veg burgers do- coagulate nicely, and they aren't a boat load of work. I made "slider" size burgers to be sure that they cooked all the way through and made them on a cast iron skillet (which I am forever loyal to). These were also served up on pretzel buns (or a sliced pretzel baguette), which elevates any burger to amazing heights (ala Kumas Korner in Chicago <3 )

Quinoa Chickpea Burger and Oven Fries

This is the Quinoa Burger from the book Vegan Diner. It was really quick and easy to make, held together really well for a veggie burger (they tend to have coagulation issues), and tasted great. I was looking for something similar to the Quinoa burger at Flore (always trying to replicate Flore's recipes, especially now that we live a good 15 miles from them). They were primarily made of the quinoa, chickpeas, oats and some seasonings. Nutritionally, I'm sure that they're good, but there was something so great about the RFD ones that have loads of veg in them. But it's really apples and oranges (quinoa and beets). The Rfd ones evoke a more traditional burger (the color, texture, flavor, etc)- these are a lighter (in flavor and color), squishier alt burger. Both are good, though. I would still like to find a morningstar farms-esque burger recipe that would hold up to grilling and such with more of a faux burger flavor- but those were probably made in a lab, so I may never get there.

Also, though there's not a lot of recipe to oven fries, I had to include these. I had made them a few times before both with russett and sweet potatoes, and this time I hit on the way to a good fry. My previous attempts never got crispy enough to satisfy a fry craving, but these were perfect. I minced parsley ala Cafe Stella in Silverlake (great addition), cut them very thin, tossed them in 1-2T of olive oil, then baked them on a spray greased foil lined pan for 25 minutes at 425 (stirring a few times). This delivered a true, crispy, awesome, way healthier than deep fried fry. I am pleased and will probably consume them far more often now (not necessarily a good thing :)

Also, I should out myself on this book- since we're working out a lot these days, I didn't want to commit to a diner/ comfort food book in the house as I was afraid I'd make too much bad for us food. This was one of the times that I went, "oh yeah, library!" Which was great, I had it for a few weeks, tried out a couple recipes and will probably go ahead and buy it anyway. It did make me realize that this is a smart route for cookbooks since there are duds out there that are filled with recipes that clearly aren't thoroughly tested (not naming names, they know who they are). Thought I'd pass that on in case you're like me and keep forgetting that the library exists and is full of awesome!

Black Bean Cakes with Lime Peppered Mayo

I was craving the southern style black bean cakes from Wishbone in Chicago. When I worked at Columbia, they would often cater our meetings and events and the black bean cakes with cornbread and mango salsa was about the only veg thing that they had (which I grew to love).

I got the Best Life Cookbook in a swap from a while back. It has a fair about of plant-based recipes, primarily because they're generally lower in fat and calories than meat stuff. This is from that book, it's from the guest chef section in the back. Since the "best life" stuff sprouted from the Oprah show, you can get the recipe HERE

It's ... alright. It's not what I was going for, really. The patties have a great flavor, the creole seasoning mix in the recipe is amazingly good. They had the problem that so, so many veg patties have and that is coagulation. They're kinda a blob of mush that smooshes when flipped and never really firms up. It's kind of a paste consistency. Also, they're fried (which is kind of weird b/c the best life book is a diet book), so they're pretty greasy and ridiculously messy to make- mostly because since they aren't firmed up patties, they disintegrate a bit in the oil, so you end up with a gritty, globby, oily mess. Again, great flavor, but the rest really counters that.

The lime peppered mayo sauce was very sour and pickled tasting. It was kind of okay, but really, if you made the recipe as-is, just the cakes with that sauce- I'd have walked away not liking it at all. What redeemed the dish was that I made corn muffins from scratch to have with it and also just reverted to Trader Joes roasted red salsa on top when I realized that the mayo was a bit too sour (and runny) for my taste. So... all in all, I'm still looking for a good Wishbone-style black bean cake recipe. I did see in their menu that I linked to in this post that theirs has lentils in it, so maybe I'll experiment with my own franken-burger creation.

RFD Veggie burgers

Whew! So, these are the Veggie Burgers from the Real Food Daily book. I've never had the ones at the restaurant- but you sure must know how much I love mostly everything from there by now! I made beet burgers from scratch before that were so-so, and the Vegan with a Vengeance ones, which were good- but I was still on the hunt for the perfect recipe.

After making these, I kind of still am. It may just be the nature of the beast, but all of the ones that I've made had coagulation issues. I have to say, it was less of a problem with these, I think in most part because they have gluten flour in them- which does not have the word "glue" in it for nothing (okay, it doesn't, but it should be spelled that way). That stuff is crazy! Just 3/4 cup, and there was a stringyness to it that was unbelievable.

The great thing about these is that they have so many good ingredients in them; beets, tempeh, carrots, miso, mushroom, corn, peppers, etc. Which kind of makes them take a long, long time (as is standard with RFD recipes, but still) they seem to be a bit of a pain because of all of the steps. It is funny how much the pre-cooked finished recipe looks like ground beef to me!

The recipe said that it made 6 patties, I formed 12. They weren't the biggest, but since they're smaller, I think that they stay together a bit better. We froze 6 of them, so I'll report back to let you know if they re-cook well after having been frozen. All in all, they're about a 7 or 8 out of 10, but I think that the quest may still continue.

Veggie Burgers

This is the Veggie Burger from page 101 of Vegan With a Vengeance. It is beyond. I've tried a few veg burgers from scratch, and coagulation is the biggest issue that I've had with them. They tend to fall apart when you cook them and more so when you try to eat them. This one is a hint loose, but sticks into a patty far better than any other recipe that I've tried.

It has AMAZING flavor, and makes at least 6 burgers. I shredded the carrot, then chopped it a bit, and used white buns from Trader Joe's that were a perfect compliment (kind of a big, rustic bun). Toasted, natch.