Posts Tagged burger

VeganMoFo: Semi-Wordless Wednesday II

Last week’s Semi-Wordless Wednesday turned out pretty well, so here’s another random assortment of things I have made!

Pad Thai Salad with kelp noodles, adapted from Appetite for Reduction, and orange-glazed tempeh

Avocado Cream Soup (better than it looks) and Zucchini Spaghetti alla Marinara (best raw marinara ever) from Practically Raw

Oh She Glows’ Strawberry Lemonade

Thai Veggie Burgers from Peas & Thank You, topped with pineapple and sriracha mayo

Moroccan Chickpea & Lentil Soup and Cheese Herb Corn Muffins fro Vegan Soups & Hearty Stews for All Seasons

roasted tofu and dry-sauteed cabbage

Reuben salad with roasted chickpeas, sauerkraut, pickles, and Healthy Thousand Island Dressings from Eat to Live

Southwestern Black Bean & Corn Chowder from Vegan on the Cheap

Almond Butter Sesame Kelp Noodles from Practically Raw with Sesame Garlic Marinated Tempeh.  Loved the noodles, not so much the tempeh.

Baigan Bharta and Quick Indian-Style Spinach & Chickpeas

Green bean, tempeh & mushrooms stir fry with brown rice

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VeganMoFO: Christmas in Central Texas

In what has seemed to become my unofficial theme for VeganMoFo 2013, here is another post about something that happened last year!

My brother was stationed at Fort Hood mid-last year and so he, my sister-in-law, and their baby Josie moved to Killeen, Texas.  My family decided to meet there for Christmas so they wouldn’t have to travel, and my mom found Weatherstone cabin bed and breakfast in the nearby town of Salado, which had the perfect amount of space for all six of us.

Flights into Killeen were super expensive, so I flew into Austin and rented a car instead.  I was hoping we would be able to work in a day trip to Austin but knew with the baby it might be difficult, so I wanted to choose a restaurant for a late lunch after landing.  It was really hard to choose one place from all the awesome-looking vegan food in Austin!

In the end I went with Wheatsville Coop, first because I had heard the tales of their popcorn tofu, and second because I wasn’t sure what would be available food-wise at the cabin or in Salado, so I wanted to pick up a few supplies.

The Buffalo Popcorn Hero was really tempting, but I stuck with the classic Popcorn Tofu Po’boy, which comes with cashew tamari and fresh veggies.  I also picked up a kale and beet salad, mac and cheese from the hot bar, an oatmeal cream pie, and a Blue Sky Jamaican Ginger Ale.

The sandwich was good; the tofu was firm and chewy and made great little fried nuggets.  The salad was really nice, a good mixture of sweet and tangy.  The mac was saucy, warm, and cheesy.  The oatmeal cream pie was a good simulation of the Little Debbie classic; the cookies were chewy and had a strong brown sugar flavor.

Full, happy, and tired, I made the drive to Salado, where I met my baby niece for the first time.

That night we hung around the cabin, ordering pizza delivery for dinner.  I wasn’t very hungry after my big late lunch, so I just asked for a double side salad.  What I didn’t realize is that apparently they put shredded cheese on side salads at a lot of places in the area.  (This began a trend I saw throughout my few days there.)  I just picked the cheese off as best I could.

We chose 9AM as our breakfast time, and being on west coast time and in vacation mode, I slept right up until then (as I did the next two mornings).  Our host Kay had already been hard at work and had everything ready.  My mom had let them know about my diet when booking the rooms and they had said they could accommodate me, but I still had no idea what to expect.

Fresh fruit on a pretty plate is always a good way to start.

While the rest of my family was served an egg casserole, I got my own little plate of veggie sausage patties and bread which had been toasted in margarine.  Kay picks up the bread, which was delicious, from a local bakery.  She also had coffee brewed and offered refills while we ate, in addition to seconds on anything.  She had soy milk for me to use in my coffee, and the cabin was stocked with bottled water, soda, tea, and a few snacks.

We didn’t really have an agenda for the day, so I spent some time taking in the cute Texas decor.  We also got a tour of the barn out back, which they rent out for events.

my brother Tate and seven month old Josie

my parents and Kay

We eventually headed out and walked down Main Street, which is lined with antique shops and all sorts of cute little stores.  We ended up at Adelea’s on Main for lunch, which Kay had recommended.  I forgot to take a picture of my meal, but not because it wasn’t good!

They didn’t have anything vegan on the menu but I noticed that hummus was available as an appetizer special, and there was a veggie wrap that usually came with black beans and artichoke dip.  I asked our waiter if they could sub hummus for the dip on the wrap and he seemed a little flummoxed by my request, but immediately offered to ask the chef and returned with a positive answer.  Despite being a kind of random gathering of ingredients, the wrap was very tasty and nicely grilled, and it came with their freshly made kettle chips.

On the walk back to the cabin we came across Salado Creek Winery.  I was not expecting to see a winery in this tiny town!  My mom and I popped in for a tasting.  Their wines definitely have personality; for example, the Cowpuncher Cabernet.  I do not advocate punching cows though, and I don’t believe they do either 🙂

I first tried their “Vaquero” Shiraz/Tempranillo Blend, which I like so much that I bought a bottle to bring home.  Shiraz is my favorite wine, and this was a lighter, tangier spin on it.

I also tried the Brown Chicken Brown Cow, a sweet shiraz flavored with chocolate.  The winery’s website says “As far as we know the only ‘chocolate’ wine made in Texas!”.  It was definitely good, but incredibly rich.  A few ounces went a long way.

For dinner that night we headed to Johnny’s Steaks & BBQ, another local restaurant which had been recommended.  It’s the type of joint that puts meat in all the side dishes, so I went for the ol’ side salad and french fries dinner.  The point of being there was to spend time with family, so as long as I got some calories in my belly it was alright.  Josie didn’t want to sit in the high chair, so we took turns holding her and walking around the restaurant, while she made friends with all the other guests.

After we got back I sampled the Red Rabbit Bakery donut holes I had bought at Wheatsville.  They were a little dry, but to be fair it had probably been a few days since they were made at that point.  I liked the flavor.  My brother did not, but my brother is picky.

The next morning, breakfast for the family was french toast, and for me it was waffles piled high with fruit, and veggie sausage links.  The waffles were also gluten free, as Kay was looking to expand her resources for special diets, and they were quite good.

That day we headed out to the Round Rock Premium Outlets for some shopping action.  We took a break for lunch at the food court, which didn’t seem too promising.  I did find Phil’s Philly Grill which had a veggie philly on the menu, so I asked for that without cheese plus a side salad.  Again, the side salad came with unadvertised cheese which I had to pick off.  I also snagged a few of my brother’s curly fries.

After more shopping and the drive back a few of us weren’t feeling so well, so we decided to stay in and take it easy that night.  We were going to call for pizza again, when after searching around I randomly found that the burger place down the road was advertising a vegan veggie burger, actually using the word vegan!  That was a surprise for such a small town.  My mom and I headed to Old Fashioned Burgers and Ice-Cream and placed our order with the one lady working there, who promptly started working hard to make all the food.  I think she may have buttered all the buns but I didn’t say anything since she was clearly busting it to get the food done.

The burger was pretty tasty, and we shared a big order of fries too.

The next morning we were greeted with a gigantic platter of fruit.  I don’t know where Kay was buying the produce, but she managed to find good melons and berries in Texas in December.

The highlight of the fruit was the sugared bananas.  She just rolled sliced bananas in cinnamon sugar, and the sugar takes on the moisture from the bananas and makes something like a glaze.  Delicious.

My main dish was hash browns, veggie bacon, and biscuits made with margarine.

That day we ventured to my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Killeen to check it out, watch football, and for them to get a workout in.  They’re very serious about weight training and power lifting – no breaks on vacation!  For lunch we headed to Red Onion India Bistro, which I was very excited about, only to find that they were closed on Sundays.  Sad Face.  There was a McAlister’s Deli next door, a suitable second choice.

I went for the Spud Ole with veggie chili and jalapenos (no cheese).  I used to go to McAlister’s a lot in Florida, so this was a fun trip down memory lane, as well as a filling meal.

That afternoon, Tate gave us a tour around Fort Hood.  I had never been on a military base, so it was a really interesting experience.  I didn’t realize that some bases are open to the public; Fort Hood has a visitor’s center and two museums.  It’s a lot like a college campus, there are offices, barracks, sports fields and training grounds, as well as business like gas stations, restaurants, and the commissary.

This was the last vehicle out of Iraq after the US withdrew.  Very cool to see.

I’m not sure if you can tell the scale of this helicopter, but it is massive.  Its job is to pick up and move other vehicles and equipment.

For dinner, we went to Texas Roadhouse.  I had a side salad with a dressing off of the “light” menu, a baked sweet potato, and a vegetable skewer.  Not bad for a vegan steakhouse meal.

The next morning I was up early, saying goodbye and driving back to the Austin airport.  I’ll remember this trip as a lot of things:  meeting my niece for the first time, spending time in a cute little Texas town, and eating a lot of potatoes.  A lot.

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VeganMoFo: OBR Week – (never home)maker

(never home)maker is a blog by Ashley and Stephen, an adorable couple who are currently expecting a baby.  In addition to food and recipes, they post about running, decorating and general life stuff.  They eat vegetarian/pescetarian, but a lot of the recipes they post are vegan.

In looking over their recipes, one in particular stood out – The Vegetarian Juicy Lucy.  It’s a cheese-stuffed tofu burger with sweet potato fries in the sandwich.  It’s a gut bomb, and it’s awesome.

The recipe is vegan except for the cheese, so I subbed in some pepperjack Daiya that I had in the fridge.  You’re supposed to form the mixture into two stuffed burgers but I thought they would be way too huge, so I made three and they were still gigantic!  I baked the sweet potato fries and served my burger with roasted green beans.

The big question is, did the cheese melt?

Why yes, yes it did!  My only complaint about the burgers is that they didn’t seem cooked through in the middle even after browning the outsides well.  Next time I would brown them then bake them in the oven, or vice versa, to make sure the insides are cooked.

I happened to have some chickpeas in the fridge waiting to be used up, so I also tried Ashley’s Hu-Mousse, a dessert hummus.  I didn’t have any real coconut milk, so I used So Delicious Coconut Drink instead.  I really liked this, but I think it would have been better with the extra fat from the coconut milk.  It was only a little sweet, so I would suggest eating it with a sweet dipper, like the banana slices I had, or maybe graham crackers.  I could definitely taste the chickpeas, but they didn’t take away from the dessert-ish nature.

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VeganMoFo: OBR Week – Oh She Glows

(OBR = Other Bloggers’ Recipes)

Today I’m featuring recipes from Oh She Glows.  I haven’t been reading Angela’s blog as long as some other food blogs, but I was quickly drawn to it upon first discovery.  Angela has an infectious joy for life and a passion for what she does, and she creates such amazing-looking stuff on a daily basis.

(On a side note, I have tried the Glo Bars from her Glo Bakery, and they’re really good.  Really, really good.  Like, if I had more money I’d be getting them all the time good.)

Oh She Glows hosts a recipe index, which made it easy to find recipes to try.  I chose two that had gone on my mental checklist when I first saw them – In a Jiffy Spelt Burgers and Nut Butter Crusted Fries.  Actually, looking now I see that Ricki was the originator of the fries, and it looks like Angela changed some of the nut butter to peanut butter, which is A-OK with me.  For today, the credit goes to Angela because her blog is where I first saw them.  (I may or may not be featuring Ricki later this week anyway…)

First, let’s talk about those fries.  They’re insanely delicious!  The recipe calls for much more fat than I would normally use, 1/4 cup total, but the payoff is totally worth it.  I went the sweet potato route, and the combination of flavors and textures was unique yet comforting.  My note would be to not cut the fries too small, as the thinner parts burned a little.  Also, I would use a rimmed baking sheet and toss them around half way through baking because the bottom side got pretty dark.

The burger patties are awesome!  They really do come together quickly, and they’re full of healthy ingredients like spelt flour, vegetables and seeds.  The flavor was really nice, except I think they may have been a little too onion-y for me, so if I make them again I may substitute some celery or some other tasty veggie for part of the onion.  I formed my patties in a three-inch cookie cutter for that perfect roundness.

The meal was already plenty substantial for me with just the fries and patty, so I ate the burger on a cabbage leaf instead of a bun.  Another day, I tried a patty on lightly toasted bread, and it was good that way too.

Fresh out of the oven, the burgers were a little soft in the middle, but after a night in the fridge they were very firm.  I would even say firm enough to go on a grill!  In fact, I’m going to freeze the remaining patties and see how they hold up, and if it’s successful I might finally have a solution for my Boca Burger habit.

In conclusion, read Angela’s blog because it will probably make you smile (or at least make you hungry), give her recipes a try, and get your hands on some Glo Bars if you can.

eta:  It turns out that the burger recipe was originally Ricki’s too, adapted by Angela.  I gotta give credit where credit’s due!

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Fourth of July

Yeah, it’s the ninth of July and I’m posting about the fourth.  That’s how things are going right now.  Applying for jobs, planning the move, getting rid of my stuff and living as cheaply as possible are consuming my mind and there’s not room for much else!  Now I understand when people say “I don’t have time to cook”.

I have an admission to make:  Every fourth of July I get the urge to make a red, white and blue cake a la Family Circle and moms everywhere.  I’m not very patriotic at all, but it’s just the Suzy Homemaker thing that I like to do every now and then.  I’ve had to work on the fourth for the past few years and so thus far had not fulfilled my flag cake dream.

This year I didn’t leave myself a whole lot of time, but managed to come up with an effort I can be proud of.  I made the Lemon Almond Cake from Yellow Rose Recipes, which calls for decorating the top with strawberries.  My friend Janeen, who I’ve mentioned before is allergic to soy, is also allergic to strawberries (the poor thing!), so I took the opportunity to incorporate blueberries into the design.  I needed to leave the glaze off her portion too since it included margarine, so I designated a Janeen corner and went from there.

I think it’s supposed to be stripes and fireworks and American things.  What is was was delicious.  The cake is very moist and almost intensely flavorful, I might even reduce the almond extract a bit the next time I make it.  Janeen made sure to steal her corner first and then we went at it.  If you make this cake, which you should, be sure to eat it within the first two days as it spoils quickly, what with all the freshness on top.  Or you could probably extend the life by putting it in the fridge.

As per usual, we were to spend the day grilling.  I wanted a non-store bought (read:  cheaper) protein to grill, so I made Black Bean Burgers from Veganomicon.  I pan-fried them to fully cook and then grilled later just to reheat.  Heed the instructions when they tell you to press them down in the pan!  Otherwise the middles can be a little undercooked.  Here they are packed up for transport.

I ended up eating pretzels and chips and boiled peanuts all afternoon, and wasn’t hungry for dinner until much later that night.  We fired up some new coals and had a veggie grilling session.  Our friend Amber had brought Tofurkey kielbasas so we cooked those up, along with some corn and zucchini that had been waiting for action all day.  I couldn’t manage all of that, so I just had a kielbasa and a burger.

I love how it looks like a crazy face!  I put lettuce, tomato, grilled red onion, grilled mushrooms, avocado, ketchup, AND mustard on the burger and it was way tall when I piled it up to eat.  It was a task I was willing to undertake.

These burgers are really good!  I’m definitely going to make them again.  I’d recommend eating these within a day or two also, or putting them straight in the freezer.  After a few days the wheat gluten texture got a little funky and freaked me out.

By the next night I was ready to fully enjoy everything we had made, so I did.

My food has been pretty boring lately, as I am trying to eat out of the pantry and freezer and buy as little food as possible.  I should have some decent pantry meals to post about soon.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

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At-Home Quickfire Challenge

I love Top Chef.  I really love it.  I watch it every Wednesday, and try to catch a rerun of each episode before the next one airs so I can more fully comprehend it.  Even if most of the challenges are hokey.  Even if I know the drama is contrived.  Even if most of their cooking revolves around a “protein” which always means meat.  (Last week they did a challenge based on diets of zoo animals, and Team Gorilla, when presented with a list of vegetarian items, decided it was okay to add meat as long as they “focused” on the veggie items.)  I love Top Chef.

And so I was delighted while perusing their blogs last week to see an At-Home Quickfire Challenge.  For those not as obsessed as me:  Each episode starts with a quickfire challenge, which really just means there’s a time limit.  This At-Home challenge involves creating a burger inspired by the word “audacious”.  It has to include a protein, vegetable topping and condiment.  And it has to be doable within a half hour.  Knowing Top Chef is so meat-based, I instinctively put my cursor over the X to close the window, then stopped to think.  I looked up the definition of audacious – one listed is “unrestrained by convention or propriety”.  I like it.  I think a vegan burger entered in a contest like this is automatically audacious.  I immeditaly decided tempeh would be my protein, as I have recently fallen in love with it.  Then I considered what I could do that would qualify as audacious that hadn’t been done before.

A samosa burger!  Indian flavors are pretty intense if you want them to be, and the cuisine naturally lends itself to condiments.  Now, as I hadn’t had any previous success on multiple attempts to make veggie burgers (they never hold together), and I haven’t cooked all too much Indian food, I did my research, which pretty much involved gathering a rough list of ingredients that might could go into them and reading up on tempeh burger recipes, most of which involve marinating and grilling a chunk of tempeh.  In the end I bought some tempeh and some garam masala and just went for it.  I figured if it didn’t work out I could hopefully at least eat some decent tasting mush.  It ended up working out really well!  Very flavorful and almost heavy on the spices, but the components balance each other really well – the spiciness of the chutney and the coolness of the raita.

(I will at this point admit that I know nothing of authentic Indian cuisine except that I like to eat it.  I avoided any ingredients that would be hard to find, and skipped a couple steps I might have done given a longer pretend time limit.  Although these took me almost 2 hours to churn out.  I think with the recipe in hand I could maybe do it in a half hour.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  And so I present for your consideration…)

Samosa Tempeh Burger with Tomato-Onion Chutney,
Cucumber-Mint Raita and Wilted Spinach

samosa tempeh burger
samosa tempeh burger

1/2 Tbs peanut oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 lb tempeh, finely crumbled
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
1 cup potato buds
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup + 3 Tbs water

1 cup soy yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup finely diced seedless cucumber
3 Tbs finely chopped mint
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp kosher salt
olive oil spray

large tomato, coarsely chopped
1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 serrano pepper, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp kosher salt

6 pieces flatbread
baby spinach

1. Heat peanut oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic and saute 4 minutes, until onions start to soften.
2. Meanwhile, combine all other burger ingredients in a medium bowl. Once cooked, add onion mixture. Mix very well.
3. On wax paper, shape mixture into 6 patties by pressing into a large circular cookie cutter.
4. In a large flat pan sprayed with olive oil, cook patties on medium heat for 3 minutes. Gently flip patties, top with spinach, and cook 5 more minutes, until burger is browned and spinach is wilted.
5. Meanwhile, prepare chutney and raita. Combine chutney ingredients in a blender and blend until almost smooth with very small pieces. In a small bowl, mix together raita ingredients.
6. To serve, spoon raita onto one half of flatbread. Place patty on top, then chutney on top of the patty. Fold flatbread over onto patty and secure with a toothpick.

Makes 6.

Notes:  I couldn’t find plain soy yogurt (rawr) so I used Better Than Sour Cream.  Hydrogenated, yes, but it got the job done just the same.  Also, don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list, most of it is pantry stuff and some are repeated.  Also, for any tempeh haters, you can’t really taste the tempeh in this at all once cooked, so go for it.

Amidst the stress of getting the burgers done right, I forgot the mashed cauliflower I wanted to have as a side, so I whipped it up right quick at the end.  I added spinach to use up some of the huge package I bought.

mashed cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower & Spinach

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 cups packed baby spinach
heaping spoonful plain soy yogurt or better than sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
dashes curry powder and turmeric
black pepper

1. Steam cauliflower for 7 minutes. Add spinach on top of cauliflower and steam 5 minutes more.
2. Mash well, add rest of the ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serves 3-4.

This would also be good pureed smooth, but both my blender and food processor were dirts, so chunky it was.  Also I’m sure it would be good with different seasonings, like oregano and parsley.

So yeah, I’m going to submit my burger.  I’m not expecting anything, I really just wanted to challenge myself.  I don’t even know how many entries get picked or if there’s a prize or anything.  I’ll be sure to update if anything comes of it.

eta:  changed the amount of onion in the chutney from 1 medium to 1/2 large.  didn’t make sense.  it’s basically the same amount anyway.

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