Black Bean Burgers and steak Fries

It's been a while since we've updated but here it is. The delectable, delicious Black Bean Burgers. Totally veggie-ized for your meatless pleasure.

We first made these several months ago. In that time, I have made these several times over and continue to enjoy them over and over and over. First, we'll start with the fries.

Easy enough, really. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and then start slicing up your potatoes however you please. Obviously, we like them a bit thicker. Season them with salt and pepper (or whatever your heart desires) and then pop them in. I don't set a timer on them usually. I just cook them until I'm done with the burgers, flipping them about half through my burger-frying process.

On to the burgers!

Chop up one sweet onion and start frying that up with some olive oil in a frying pan. Cook them until they're nice and clear. Then add that to a mixing bowl with a can of black beans, and two torn up slices of bread. Mash them all together until they turn into a paste. You may also want to add some salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as well to flavor them. Next start adding flour by the handful until the batter becomes a bit more solid so it'll hold together when you're cooking. Fry them up in olive oil for the best taste results.

Once you fry up all the burgers (there should be 5-6 of them), take the fries out of the oven and serve them up with the burger. And viola!

Now, you'll notice in the picture here that the burger is topped with ketchup and lettuce. If you prefer a classic burger, that's the way to go. [The following suggestion is Brian's choice of toppings, which aren't vegan because he's not. Obviously to keep them vegan keep the cheese and honey off!] If you want to go all out, put some Gorgonzola cheese and slices on raw onion on there for a real treat. As for buns, I recommend the honey flavored ones for a slightly different taste.

And that's pretty much it! It's super easy to make, it makes quite a bit and you'll always be coming back for more!

"We should call this recipe things that burn all the tiny cuts in your hands you didn't know about."

This recipe spawned itself from the bizarre and mysterious hive-mind that typically forms when Paige and I aimlessly wander around the grocery store. Paige was set on getting me to try Tempeh and so we began racking our collective brain, hoping something at least semi-delicious would find its way out. "But what would go good with this?" was the question of the night. Indeed, what? We decided on the much healthier Quinoa over my starch of choice, fried rice. Since we were both in a glazy mood, we were looking for something innovative. Paige, being a big fan of orange chicken (back when she ate meat), opted for that. We decided to one-up the creativity factor and go with the Blood Orange instead of the traditional orange for a distinct flavor. Add to that some broccoli for a bit of crunch and we had all the makings of a faux-Asian veagan wunder-dish.

4 blood oranges, peeled and sectioned
half a lemon (juiced)
quarter cup of sake
palm full of fresh chopped cilantro
a piece of ginger root about the size of your thumb, skinned and minced
two cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil for the pan
a head of broccoli
a quarter cup of soy sauce
two and a half cups of water
flour and water for a roue.
a cup of sugar
a package of Tempeh
a cup of Quinoa

Heat a pan with olive oil and saute the ginger, garlic, and parsley. Add the liquid ingredients for the sauce, then the solids. Cook down for around ten minutes, bringing to a boil and reducing the heat. Strain the sauce into a bowl using a mesh strainer, pushing the pulp against the sides making sure to get most of the flavor out. Cut your tempeh into quarter inch thick pieces and start to fry them in the sauce pan. Once they brown slightly on both sides, add the sauce back into the pan. Add a small amount of roue to thicken the sauce a bit, and a few teaspoons more sugar. You want to be careful with how much roue and soy sauce you use in this recipe as too much will distort it into more of a terriyaki flavor...unless that's your thing, in which case don't worry about it. Stir constantly over medium heat until you have your desired thickness. We definitely were aiming for more of a glaze but be careful not to let it cook too long as it will carmelize. Simultaneously, you'll want to make the Quinoa according to directions, and steam broccoli. Drizzle the remainder of the glaze over the broccoli and voila!

Our intention with this dish was to serve it with Thai Iced Teas which you can find recipes for easily on Google but in case you want to know now, here's how we did it.

Boil some water
Add a few black tea bags (or Thai if you can find any at your local grocer, we couldn't)
Let chill to room temperature and then refrigerate till cool
Pour into individual glasses and add to each a handful of ice cubes, a tablespoon of cream and a tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk and stir in
Spray some whipped cream on top and now you have a delicious Thai Iced Tea to go with your lovely Faux-Asian Blood Orange Wunder-dish.

"I'm gonna make him a pasta sauce he can't refuse..."

The recent weather has lead to many things, mostly which have involved cleaning, movies, and the cuddles. By movies, I more specifically mean The Godfather trilogy. Brian, always ready and willing to try anything related to his favorite cinema, mentioned the loose recipe that Clemenza was trying to teach Mikey, in case he needed to feed, "20 guys someday".

"Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn't stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh…? And a little bit o' wine. An' a little bit o' sugar, and that's my trick."

Brian pulled out the iPhone and searched for the exact recipe for awhile and came up with something fairly precise. It was basically my own Mother's recipe, plus red wine and minus the bay leaf. He was pretty set on making it, because, well Brian is stubborn. We only really had one problem, the one where I don't eat meat. So veggi-izing something that I grew up with, and Brian had high expectations of might have been a little tricky.
Growing up Italian you learn to love a few certain foods above most others; tomatoes, garlic, olives [and their oils], cheese, sausage, pasta, meatballs, and I'm sorry to say veal. I knew I wanted something that tasted like sausage, something with a kick. I managed to find Light Life's Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style meat substitute for around 2.50 at Kroger's, which was cheaper than the Morningstar Grill Starters, and already claimed to taste like sausage, so we gave it a go. The rest of the ingredients were already Vegged out so it was pretty easy past that point. We ended up getting;

-1 tube of veggie sausage substitute
-2 large cans of whole tomatoes
-3 small cans of tomato paste
-1/2 carton of sliced white mushrooms
-1 sweet onion
-a generous helping of olive oil
-4-6 cloves of chopped garlic
- oregano
- basil
- salt and pepper
- a decent red wine [Note: I recommend a good Cabernet. We got a double-bottle of Livingston Cabernet Sauvignon for $5.99. It was a pretty decent red wine for that price and it gives the pasta a nice, full-bodied flavor. We went through the whole bottle by the end of the evening. -Brian]
- some sugar

Heat the pot that you want your sauce to be in to a high heat with the olive oil. Once it's hot add your garlic, mushrooms, and chopped onion. Right before your onions are done [they should be clear once they're cooked] start adding your fake meats. I just clipped the end off of the sausage tube, and squeezed the "meat" into the pan. It's a lot sticker than ground beef so you kind of have to chop it up with a wooden spoon and keep it moving around the bottom of the pan so it doesn't stick. If it does start sticking though, add a little bit more oil, or a splash of red wine [from the cup which you should be drinking right now, you know, for the whole experience.]. Now you want to make sure to season the "meat" pretty thoroughly with salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Continue cooking everything in the pan until the "sausage" is crumbly and crisp. Add both of your cans of whole tomato's, and stir everything together. Add your wine, which is to taste, but I added about a cup and a half to mine [which is what a full wine glass and a splash from the bottle is]. Add more salt and pepper, and 1-2 tablespoons of both your basil and oregano. Mix in your tomato paste, making sure it gets distributed evenly. Then add about a fourth cup sugar. Keep stirring until it looks pretty uniform, turn the heat to low and cover your sauce. I let it sit, occasionally stirring for about ten minutes.
By now you should have already started boiling your noodles, Brian and I like whole wheat penne for this, it's good, and pretty healthy. Make sure to throw some olive oil on the noodles when they're in the strainer so they don't stick together.
Throw together a salad with a vinaigrette, make some garlic bread, and turn on the godfather. Makes for a great snow day, and your house will smell great, like my Moms.