Wednesday, August 15, 2012

'Tis the Season for Burgers and Fries

Summer cravings have once again possessed me to spend two hours in a hot kitchen making a seasonally appropriate dinner, but these lentil burgers were worth it. They’re close to my black bean burgers, with a few tweaks (well, and lentils instead of black beans). They’re not exactly barbecue material, since they require more finesse in cooking than throwing onto a grate, but you could still eat them outside if you want.

The Burgers:
Get this:
A bag of lentils
An onion
A vegetable or two (I used a red bell pepper, but you could use mushrooms or whatever else)
A few cloves of garlic
2-4 cups of instant oats (whatever it takes to get the burger batter to stick together)
Spices (I used salt, pepper, paprika, oregano & basil, because that’s what I had)
Some flour

Do this:

  • Cook and drain the lentils.
  • Grind the onion, garlic and other vegetables to a pulp and set aside.
  • Grind the oats to a powder and set aside.
  • Smash the lentils with a masher a bit, leaving some whole and some squashed.
  • Mix the lentils, vegetable goo and spices together and add oats as needed until it thickens and sticks.
  • Use your hands to make balls of burger and coat each lightly with flour.
  • Heat a little oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Cook the burgers on one side so that they’re mostly cooked through, and then flip once (sort of like pancakes). They’ll obviously be more fragile than their fleshy counterparts so it’s best to disturb them as little as possible while cooking.
  • Put them on buns with fixings of your choosing.

The Fries

Get this:
Sweet potatoes
A little oil
Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Do this: Cut the sweet potatoes into fry shapes and coat them with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder, put them on a sheet pan, and throw them in the oven at 375ish until they look done. They don't take long, maybe 20 minutes in the oven.

This makes a fairly massive amount -- about enough for 16 huge burgers by my count. So unless you’re insatiably hungry and consuming these in close proximity to a toilet, I’d freeze some for next week’s dinner. Or just use half the bag of lentils and fewer oats. Wing it... it’ll work.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sweet & Sour (& Spicy) Tempeh Sandwiches

This experiment turned out pretty tasty, so I figured I’d share it. I’ve been into sandwiches this summer, so I wanted to get a little more creative than just BLTs (with tempeh) or egg salad (with tofu), not that those aren’t delicious. This isn’t the most colorful meal, but I’m sure you could find a way to make it pretty if you tried (or cared). Brown is fine with me, as long as it tastes good.

Do these things first:

  • Make the marinade - This is about as experimental as it gets and you can use pretty much anything you see fit (half of the ideas for these ingredients originated from what I had in my cabinet), but this seemed to work: Mostly soy sauce (about a quarter cup), a spoonful each of sugar and tamarind, a splash of vinegar, a squeeze of sriracha, some red pepper and paprika, and a few cloves of chopped garlic. Mix all of that together.
  • Thinly slice a slab of tempeh - Any shape or thickness of your choosing really.
  • Pour the marinade over the tempeh, stick a lid on it, and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  • Chop up an onion

And then:
  • Sautee the onion in a little olive oil in a deep-ish frying pan/wok.
  • Add the tempeh mixture, fluid and all.
  • Cook on medium, cover and mix around once in awhile.
  • When it looks done, it is. I think it took around 15 minutes.
  • Toast some bread, spread on some spicy mustard and veganaise, and pile on the tempeh and onions.