Monday, November 14, 2011

the grilling continues

vegetarians eat bean burgers.  that's what we do.  we've made mexican black bean burgers in the past.  they were delicious.  this is an italian variation to a bean burger recipe that has served us well for quite some time.
italian kidney bean burgers:
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
some garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cornflake crumbs/bread crumbs (if you can find any vegan options...or be super chef and make your own from old bread)
handful of chopped basil
oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, any other italian-ish spices
this is pretty simple stuff.
you mash the beans (generally a potato masher works well but a fork can also be a useful tool)
you saute the peppers, onion, and garlic in some olive oil until they are soft.
you throw everything into a bowl and mix it
the consistency of the burgers is something that takes some time to master.
as someone who used to eat meat, i urge you to keep this fact in mind: bean burgers will not shrink or solidify the way ground beef burgers do.  with that being said, adjust the wet and dry ingredients so that the mixture is slightly dry.
form patties.
heat the grill.
apply olive oil to the grates of the grill.
grill burgers about 4-5 minutes on each side.  you're looking for a brown crunchy crust.
to get all the "italian" flavor, we whipped up some basil cream spread.
this, too, is simple stuff.
we bought some vegan cream cheese.  don't let the mention of some "special" vegan product scare you.  we bought ours at jewel in the case next to the fake meat and fake cheese.  we used classic plain cream cheese from galaxy nutrional foods.  it's our favorite of the brands we've tried.
alright, so you buy vegan cream cheese, you chiffonade some basil.
*insert fancy (but totally simple) cooking technique here*
chiffonade = herbs cut into fine strips; method = place basil leaves on top of one another and roll into a little cigar.  start chopping where you would light the cigar.  it makes lovely little ribbons.  now you're fancy.
mix the basil into the cream cheese.  add lemon juice to taste.
burger, basil cream spread, toasted bun, lettuce, tomato, red onion.  delicious.
we served our burgers with some grilled leeks:
cut the ends off the leeks.
wash them really well - when the leeks grow, dirt collects between the layers.
toss the leeks in a little bit of olive oil.

fashion yourself a little leek boat out of tin foil ("leek"y boat - haha)
place your tin foil leek boat on the grill and allow the leeks to cook until tender.
serve with a little salt and pepper.

Lazy Summer Meal

In the summer, there is nothing better than food cooked on a grill.  Yes, it's November.  It's fine.  The cold weather has pushed us inside and we need a task...hence posting blogs about food we made 5 months ago.  Think about sunshine and warm breezes and the smell of vegetables kissed by flames.
This meal was basically the result of craving grilled food but not really wanting to put forth a great deal of effort.

Grilled Green Beans:
1 lb. fresh green beans (ends removed) - get these from a farmer's market, your taste buds will appreciate the fresh, crisp flavor
wooden skewers (soak these in water to avoid any little fire incidents)
all you've got to do is heat the grill and put a little olive oil on the grates.
put the green beans on the skewers
grill until delicious
side dish = done.
as for our lazy main course, we went with tofu dogs.  super simple.  super tasty.  enough said.
i believe we rounded out our meal with some left over bean salad of sorts.

Beet Burgers and BBQ Broccoli

Confession: I love the Food Network - Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives; Chopped; Iron Chef America; etc.  There are rarely any recipes that I can enjoy (even vegetable side dishes involve bacon, a pound of butter, or prosciutto).  Over the summer, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives featured a recipe called Beet Sliders.  I had to try it.
To prep the beets - this can get messy so be prepared:
Boil whole beets in a pot with water and about 3 tablespoons pickling spice (I used McCormick's pickling spice mixture but I would imagine you could whip up your own if you were so inclined).
This will take about an hour but it's low maintenance.  You want the beets to be tender.
Allow the beets to cool.
Peel and slice the beets into about 1/2 inch rounds.
Warm up the grill and apply a thin coat of olive oil.
Place the beet rounds on the grill.  All you're trying to do here is make the outside of the beet slices kind of crispy.
Once the beets have been grilled, serve each round on a toasted bun topped with green goddess dressing (we opted for the ease of store-bought..yeah, I know, lame. but the beets alone were a serious endeavor), and shredded cabbage.

I served the beet burgers with BBQ broccoli.  Alicia saw the recipe in a cooking magazine and wanted to try it out.
This was ridiculously simple.
Toss broccoli florets in olive oil and arrange on the grill.  You'll want to keep the florets fairly large so that they don't fall through the grates.
Grill the broccoli until it becomes tender.
Remove broccoli from the grill and toss it in your favorite BBQ sauce.  I'm a fan of Sweet Baby Rays.

Don't go crazy with the BBQ sauce here because you want to taste the freshness of the broccoli and the smokiness from the grill.