February 5th, 2009

Non-egg binders

Hi! I'm a long time vegetarian who is trying to transition to being "more" vegan, mostly for health reasons (and a realization of how much cheese I eat, gross!) Anyway, for some reason in the 13 years I've been meat-less, it never occurred to me to make my own veggie burgers. I've only eaten the frozen, processed stuff and whatever I've eaten at restaurants. A few nights ago, I got the inspiration to try. And man, I've been missing out. They were really, really, really good. But the recipe called for an egg as a binder. I used it and they were great and held together really well. I'd like to find a substitute though. I've heard of using ground flax seeds and water as a binder but I don't have a coffee grinder (I do have a small food processor and blender) and I don't want to buy already-ground flax seeds because they degrade so quickly. Anyone have any other ideas? Can I use some tofu? I'm sort of at a loss and these burgers are my new favorite thing in the world.

This is the recipe I used, for reference (it's from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and was also featured in one of his Minimalist columns from the NY Times).

Nut Burgers
Time: 20 minutes

1 medium onion
1 cup walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews or other nuts, preferably raw
1 cup (raw) rolled oats or cooked short-grain white or brown rice
2 tablespoons ketchup, miso, tomato paste, nut butter or tahini
1 teaspoon chili powder or any spice mix you like
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
2 tablespoons peanut oil, extra virgin olive oil or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn.

1. Grind onion in food processor. Add nuts and oats, and pulse to chop, but not too finely. Add remaining ingredients except oil. Process briefly; don't grind too finely. Add a little liquid -- water, stock, soy sauce, wine, whatever -- if necessary; mixture should be moist but not loose.
2. Let mixture rest a few minutes, then shape it into 4 burgers. (Burger mixture or shaped burgers can be covered tightly and refrigerated for up to a day. Bring back to room temperature before cooking.) Put oil in nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet and turn to medium. When oil is hot, add burgers to skillet. Cook about 5 minutes, undisturbed, until browned, then turn with spatula. Lower heat a bit and cook 3 or 4 minutes more, until firm.

Thanks!

Baking With Cocoa Butter? (Also: coconut milk yogurt)

Hi, all,

I've recently gone soy-free, and I've been thinking about non-soy vegan alternatives to butter. I found a shortening that's just palm oil (though I haven't used it yet) and have used coconut oil (not super impressed, but it's ok), but I was wondering if anyone's baked with cocoa butter. It seems like it might make cakes and brownies taste ridiculously good, but I'm having a hard time finding recipes that use it.

(somewhat relatedly, I just made coconut milk yogurt, which is rad and tasty (and really really thick) except it has very little yogurt-y taste to it. I boiled first, then used a yogurt starter added at 105oF, a few tablespoons honey (don't start, ok?) and an incubator for 7 hours (the amount recommended on the package). Did I not incubate it long enough? Or does coconut milk yogurt just not get very sour? It *is* quite tasty, regardless.)

Grapes

Does anyone have any grape recipes? I received about 10 lbs of grapes (red and green) from the food pantry that are on their way out. I've eaten my fill of them as is and was going to freeze the rest if I can't find anything to do with them.


Thanks.
  • Current Mood: creative

Mushrooms

I have a large carton of white button mushrooms that's going to go bad pretty soon..I just wanted to check the group and see what are your favorite mushroom recipes. I used to have this amazing mushroom stroganoff recipe, the best stroganoff I'd ever had, but I haven't been able to find it : /

And continuing on the topic of mushrooms, I also have some oysters and am not sure what to do with them...they seem too good to do anything too experimental!

Thanks in advance!
  • Current Music: DeVotchKa

buffalo style portabellos

so recently a had a culinary success, sort of.

i had the mushrooms cut into strip and sauted them in oil. when they were almost done i added a store bought buffalo sauce and mixed it in. following that i tossed them with some bread crumbs and broiled them to get a little cooked and hopefully crispy.

i was really hungry and i figured that broiled in the toaster oven was the fastest way to get them onto my plate but it wasn't the outcome i was really hoping for.

does anyone know a better way to make these breaded mushrooms become a bit crispy? not fried please.

also, does anyone have a recipe for a buffalo sauce that's really tasty. that store stuff wasn't that great, just really spicy.

thanks in advance.

Question RE: Vegetarian Meals at Weddings etc...

As I've mentioned here before, I work in the banquet kitchen of a country club. We don't specialize in vegetarian food at all, but we will often have banquets, particularly weddings, when we have an order of 4-5 vegetarian/vegan meals in addition to the regular orders of prime rib and chicken and all that.

The previous head chef was not particularly bright or ethical and generally served some atrocious veggie meals; typically either some kind of fish or a mediocre Pasta Primavera drenched in butter and chicken base. (Yes, he put chicken base in the meals of people who declined the chicken option)

Thankfully, his incompetence got him canned and got me promoted so I am now Sous Chef and have the opportunity to come up with ideas for the vegetarian meals as they come along. What I wanted to ask you guys is:

1) What would you like to be served if you were invited to a banquet and only allowed to order something as vague as "Vegetarian Meal"? I think these days it goes without saying that we should not assume a veggie eats fish, but should we also assume that they don't want any dairy? Or would most vegans make a point to have that specified?

2) Also, I'd like to hear any horror stories you've got about "vegetarian" meals you've been served in the past. Personally, I've had a lot of bad buttery pasta at weddings.

Thanks a lot in advance!
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Sweet Curry glazed tempeh


Inspired by this recipe:

http://www.tempeh.info/recipes/recipes.php?recipe=451
Which sounds really good, but has honey, but I'm finally quitting, and peach slices, which I don't keep on hand. SO ...

1 8oz package tempeh
3 tbs prepared mustard (I used half yellow and half spicy brown)
1 clove garlic crushed (ok, I used 3, but they were tiny and I garlic)
1/4 tsp minced ginger (omit this if you want, I have prepared ginger in the fridge)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp curry powder

And my super awesome ditch-the-honey ingredient? Which also let me ditch the peaches?
1/4 cup apricot jam

Preheat oven to 350
Slice the tempeh in half across the length, and then split it so it is thinner. I then cut mine into triangles, but I'm weird. Mix together all of the other ingredients, and dip the tempeh into the sauce, coating it on all sides. Lay the tempeh into a parchment lined pan (you don't want to have to try to clean this glaze off your pan. Trust me) and bake for 25 minutes total, flipping it twice, and adding part of the rest of the sauce each time you flip it.

Serve over rice. OH. WOW.
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