Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Home, home again

...I like to be here when I can.

It's been a hectic, yet fun, past few days. We have been on the run quite a bit... and it's not going to stop anytime soon. Sorry for not commenting on your blogs--I will try to catch up soon.

Saturday our friends had a cookout, and instead of taking the standby Boca burgers, we wanted to take some really special black bean patties for grilling out. I have a recipe that I have used before which worked fine on the George Foreman grill, but I had serious doubts about how it would hold up on a real grill. So after playing with my old recipe some, and reading this recipe for some more inspiration, I finally came up with the following recipe--and it's a keeper.

Laura's Grillable Black Bean Patties

2 cups cooked black beans, drained well
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño, coarsely chopped
1 bell pepper, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
3-4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup quick oats

Place the beans in a large bowl and mash with a fork until well mushed. In a food chopper, combine onion, peppers, garlic, and sunflower seeds, and pulse until veggies are well chopped and sunflower seeds are crumbly. Add to black beans, along with dry spices, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and liquid smoke. Mix with fork until well combined. Add the gluten and the oats, and fold them in well with the fork. Mix for several minutes until well incorporated. If it seems too dry, add some cooking liquid from the beans or some more of another liquid, until it gets to a nice workable consistency.

Form into patties (you should get about 7-8) and wrap each patty in a piece of lightly oiled aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 325 F oven; then flip patties and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, unwrap and allow to cool down. Then rewrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, until ready to grill. The patties may seem flimsy at first, but once they chill they firm up nicely. Grill on a lightly oiled grill rack until delicious.

Alongside the black bean patties were these lovely grilled vegetables that the host of the cookout made. They were marinated in balsamic vinegar, oil, and some spices, and they were fantastic on top of the patty as well as on the side.

And for dessert the hosts made one of those cakes with whipped cream and angel food cake, and strawberries and blueberries on top to look like an American flag. Why? Because one of our friends just returned from Italy, and it was their way of welcoming him back home. Anyway, they reserved some of the fruit for Bob and me, and we brought our own whipped cream.

The whipped cream was made from a recipe out of Vegan Vittles, and it was wonderful--much better than Soyatoo. In fact, I have not purchased Soyatoo in a while because the last couple of cans we bought had little air pressure in them, and we could not get all of the product out. Bummer. But this was much better, though denser and more liquid than commercial whipped cream.

That was Saturday. Sunday I left to visit a friend in the small town of Manchester, Georgia where we had fast times, studying for the CPA exam together. We had fun too. We went hiking today and the woods were in full bloom with mountain laurel.

...So gorgeous.

We also cooked dinner together... and being in Small Town, Georgia, we decided to go with the most basic recipe we could find. Veggie-Bean Burritos from Vive Le Vegan! This is the filling, which was simply and deliciously seasoned with chipotle sauce and a touch of cumin, oregano, and other spices.

Jessica and I became quite proficient at rolling up burritos.

And here it is after hanging out in the oven for a little while. We served these with salsa and a tossed salad with a simple cumin vinaigrette that I threw together with ingredients that were on hand (and reading Dreena's Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette recipe for a bit of inspiration).

This tofu is one of the best whims I have ever had. I pressed it and sliced it into 16 pieces, and I marinated it in a mixture of soy sauce, ketchup, hot sauce, maple syrup, oregano, paprika, and a touch of olive oil. After it sat in the marinade for about 30 minutes, I pan-seared it over medium-high heat, and I tossed each piece in nutritional yeast when I took it off the pan.

The tofu made a great lunch on tortillas with spicy mustard, lettuce and tomato, and a drizzle of the cumin vinaigrette from the night before.

I just got home an hour or so ago from visiting my friend, and tomorrow we're up and at 'em early again. In fact, for the rest of the month, we'll be going and going and going. I'll be back again soon, but peace for now!


springsandwells said...

Lots of good stuff here Laura!
The burgers look great. I almost never make my own patties, but these look like they would be worth the effort. Also, those burritos look great. yum!

Urban Vegan said...

Look at all that yumminess. I will have to try your burgers...the picture makes me hopeful that summer and grilling will eventually get here.

I've had the same product with SoyaToo. I wrote to the company in germany. They never even apologized, but asked me for the lot number so they could correct the problem. Obviously, they have not!

funwithyourfood said...

You think those patties are freezable? I'd love to keep them on hand, you know??
just curious


Webly said...

YUM! Everything looks so good. I love hearing others mention vegan vittles because it's my favorite basic vegan cookbook. And tortillas - one of my base foods. I love tortilla sandwiches!

Johanna3 said...

the food looks very good.

those flowers are so pretty.

Veg-a-Nut said...

Thank you for the new Bean burger recipe. I am always in the mood to try something new with beans. The burritos look fantastic. I need to try that recipe.

I too got a can of soywhip and it did not work. When I emailed the company they told me it is because the storage in Europe is different then the US. On their website they give instructions on how to use it. The instructions are very helpful.

laura jesser said...

Amey, we don't usually make our own patties either--too lazy! I'm going to find out if these freeze well, and if so, make a huge batch sometime soon.

Urban vegan, it's really too bad when companies treat their customers' concerns that way... but it makes you realize which companies do treat their customers well. Maybe I'll write them too and see if we can get them moving!

Teddy, I definitely plan to find out! I have a ton of beans left over, so I'll probably make some more later this week and freeze them. I'll let you know my results!

Webly, it's funny--I never think to use Vegan Vittles because it is so basic, but there are really some great recipes in there! I am trying to make a point out of picking that book up more often.

Johanna, gosh, you should really see the woods around here right now--they're full of those flowers, everywhere you turn. It's one of the prettiest times of year...

Veg-a-nut, that's really interesting about the soy whip. I'll check their web site and see if that helps me any. But it was weird because the first several cans I bought worked fine, like any can of whipped cream. Then they just started... fizzling out!

scottishvegan said...

Your burger looks fantastic! And I heart grilled veggies…yum yum! Those flowers are really pretty, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before. I love the look of that tofu. I have some tofu baking in the oven now…I am wishing that I had read your post before I put it in!!

Carrie™ said...

Any post that starts off with Pink Floyd has to be good.
Thank you for the burger recipe. I usually just wimp out and buy commerically made veggie burgers. I would rather make them at home. I will have to try your recipe on the BBQ this year. Everything else looked delicious too. And the flowers are very pretty.

laura jesser said...

Scottish vegan, I love grilled veggies too. That smoky flavor really makes them special.

Carrie, if you do try the burgers I hope you like them. I usually wimp out too, but these are so much better so I'm determined to be more motivated to do my own from now on.

Kati said...

Those burgers look great, Laura! They would beat a Boca burger any day. I also think your wraps look delicious. It's been a long time since I had a wrap, so thanks for the inspiration! Beautiful flower picture from your hike, too.

Melody Polakow said...

Your burgers look awesome! .. actually all the food does... I really want that tofu right now.. I've been putting off dinner for hours...

laura jesser said...

Kati, I love wraps--they're such a great alternative to sandwiches. I don't like feeling like I am eating mostly bread... Hee hee. I took so many pictures of the flowers on that trail--they were everywhere!

Melody, lol - sounds like it's time for dinner! :)

bazu said...

Yea, Boca burgers get a bit boring... your black bean patties look *gorgeous*! I'll try them as soon as we have an excuse to grill.

I love your line "fast times studying for the CPA exam" lol!

Good luck with everything!

Steven said...

Great recipes! I'm Jewish, so being Kosher is very important to me. It is rather easy to be a vegetarian Jew. After visiting a massive chicken farm in Arkansas this summer, we will never eat meat again! I appreciate these recipes. They look awesome.


Veg-a-Nut said...

I just adapted these into a meetloaf thanks to Diann. These are so good! Thanks for the recipe!

tj said...

This all looks incredible. I was watching Laurel Canyon a week or so ago and they had grilled tofu in it, which I was curious about trying. Doubly so since I saw the pictures of yours. Thanks! :-)