Keen-on-Quinoa Black Bean Burger

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In the words of Samuel L. Jackson,

 

“MMMMM MMMMM MMMM, that is a tasty burger!”

 

Who doesn’t love a good burger? If you hate burgers, you probably hate kittens and puppies, too.

 

These burgers are low in fat, high in plant protein and have flavor that even and omnivore can enjoy. In fact, I had an entire table of non-vegetarians going gaga over them! They were also very surprise at how good quinoa is for them.

 

Quinoa is an ancient grain rich in complete proteins, and a much healthier alternative to rice.

 Keen on Quinoa Burgers

 

-2 baked sweet potatoes

-1 cup cooked quiona

-1 can drained black beans

-1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

-1 medium onion

-1 T smoked paprika or chipotle

-1 knuckle length chopped ginger

-2 cloves garlic, chopped

-1 T sea salt

-1 T freshly cracked pepper

-1/3 cup oats (blended for coating the patties)

-1 cup oats (quick oats work best)

 

Cook the quinoa and sweet potatoes, chop the sweet potato and set place n blender or food processor. Place all ingredients except the blended oats, in the blender.

 By the way, it’s probably a good idea to grind the oats before you grind up the wet ingredients!

 Blend until it’s just mixed, not liquefied. Favor the “pulse” button to a running blade, as you still want the grainy quinoa and oat texture.

 Once the mixture is done, place in the fridge for 2 hours to let the mixture settle.

 Form into burger size patties and coat generously in the oat mixture.

 Place burgers into a very well oiled pan, I use coconut oil for a delicate flavor (these guys are thirsty, so you may need to re-oil!). I prefer cast iron to create a crispy crust. Cook well on both sides.

 

Serve as you would a burger. Or try it in a lettuce wrap! Perhaps this time you can make it quesadilla style. Maybe just jazz it up with some guacamole, make it your own!

 

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Bangin’ Vegan Bulgogi Cheesteak Recipe

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You heard of tex mex, right? Well, imagine a Korean baseball player Shin Soo Choo had a sandwich-love child on a lunch break at Gino’s in Philly, and there is the Bulgogi Cheesesteak. Fusion cuisine  goes beyond borders, it’s a little like the free-jazz of the food world. One must fully understand the rules of each cuisine in order to break them and create new and interesting flavors and textures. My challenge is to not only make a kick-ass vegan version of one of the top 10 american sandwiches, but to make it healthy, not too hard with a little research and some clever swaps. http://www.endlesssimmer.com/2011/01/20/americas-top-10-new-sandwiches/

So what about understanding both sides of the story?

The cheesesteak. I had one of the famous ones in Philly, waited 45 minutes in line for steak-ums on white bread with cheeze whiz at a premium of $7, needless to say I was disappointed.  The cheesesteak was developed in the early 20th century “by combining frizzled beef, onions, and cheese in a small loaf of bread,” according to a 1987 exhibition catalog published by the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I find nothing appetizing about “frizzled beef”.  Most places will use cheeze whiz, provolone or white cheddar to hold together the globby mess.

I am not against Cheesteaks, in fact on a road trip through Connecticut, and friend brought me to Kruaszer’s, and I couldn’t seem to get enough. Who would know the best cheeseteak would be in CT?  Freshly baked bread, globs of sauce and heavy amounts of cheese…. not to mention the next day my pee would smell like garlic. Pure heaven, but looking back at these photos, I can see why my eating habits had me about 20 pounds heavier.

 

Bulgogi literally means “fire meat” in Korean, which refers to the cooking technique—over an open flame—rather than the dish’s spiciness. Usually made with beef, the term is also applied to variations such as dak bulgogi (made with chicken) or dwaeji bulgogi (made with pork), although the seasonings are different

Bulgogi is made from thin slices of prime beef marinaded with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, pepper, sesame oil and sugar.  Possible add-ins are shitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, scallions and onions.  Some regions serve it over a bed of cellophane noodles and others over rice.

 

Cleveland, Ohio serves it up on a whole wheat hoagie, because we’re classy.

 

Let the fusion of late night comfort food between the east and west begin…

 

 

  • One block very dense extra firm tofu frozen, thawed and drained, or 2 handfuls shitake mushrooms and 1 package seitan
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 average sized onion, sliced
  • 1 heaping tsp fresh grated ginger (grate fine, otherwise you may end up with unpleasant chunks of ginger in your bulgogi.
  • 2/3 cup wheat free tamari or soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 6 tbsp organic sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup shredded pear, skin and all or 1/2 cup apple sauce

 

-Chop all your veggies and thinly slice your seitan, tofu, mushrooms or any combination of the aforementioned delicacies.

-Mix the last 8 ingredients (you know, for the marinade!) on the list in a shallow bowl or pan.

-Place your tofu, seitan or mushrooms in the bowl with the marinade and cover with the veggies. Make sure that everything is covered by the marinade.

-Cover and refrigerate overnight. 8-15 hours is best.

-Remove the goodies from the marinade with a slotted spoon and fry in a hot skillet or pan. Pour enough marinade to lightly cover the goodies. If you want to go the traditional route, you can BBQ them on a grill with some foil, but my iron skillet works just fine for creating a nice char and carmelization.

-Let cook until most of the marinade has reduced, and the bottoms of the goodies are a nice caramel brown. Flip over tofu strips and cook until other side turns brown. Continue to cook until all of you normal vegan goodies have transformed into delicious Korean bulgogi goodies!

 

Now for the cheesesteak part.

-1 whole wheat roll (I used sourdough because I am a bread snob)

-daiya mozzarella, or 1 slice low fat provolone if that’s your game.

-1 teaspoon reduced fat veganaise

– handful baby spinach

Cut the roll lengthwise and hollow out the center, creating a little boat to stuff all your goodies in. This not only reduces calories, but I think just makes the sandwich more aerodynamic. Lay cheese on the bread and place in a toaster oven until the cheese is slightly melted.  Spread the veganaise on the bread, spoon in some bulgogi and cover in spinach! I enjoyed mine with baked sweet potato fries!

 

 

Banging Biryani

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After traveling the US with the Kominas this summer, I began to crave the Pakistani-staple Biryani. The layers of veggies and rice became the perfect pairing to any of the saucey main dishes or as a main dish itself. I payed careful attention to every chef who would divulge some of their secrets, and this is the final recipe I came up with. Some people use a pre-mixed spice (Shan is the most popular), however, I believe this spice mixture to be a bit tastier, and there are no “surprise” fillers and artificial flavors.

Ingredients
2 cups of mixed veggies ( potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, mushrooms or anything else you have laying around, get creative! )
2 cups basmati rice (I like brown basmati)
1 onion ( sliced)
1/2 cup tomato puree
2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
6 to 7 green chillies ( slit)
2 tbsp cilantro – chopped finely
mint (optional)

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 bay leaves

4 cloves
4 cardamom pods
2 inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tbs oil

2 tbs ghee or good balance soy free spread

pinch of saffron ( soaked in 1/4 cup warm milk, rice or almond)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Method
Wash and Soak rice for 20 min, Cook 2 cups of rice with 3-1/2 cups of water and 1 tsp of salt. If you feel sassy, add a couple cardamon and clove with a lemon zest and a cinnamon stick to the water!

Chop all the veggies in to big pieces. Now Heat oil in a pan, add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, golden raisens, then add sliced onions, sprinkle salt and cook on low flame until onions are brown.

Now add green chilies and cilantro and fry for a minute, then add tomato puree, cumin powder, bay leaves, coriander powder, red chili powder mix everything and cook on low flame for 5 min.

Then add chopped veggies, cover and cook on low flame for 10 min or until veggies are soft. Now add  garam masala powder, mix everything and cook for another 5 min, and turn off the stove.

Take a baking dish, add a layer of vegetable mixture, top it with rice, ghee and garam masala, and repeat the layering as required. Finally pour the saffron mixture over it and sprinkle with walnut pieces (optional). Cover with tight lid or foil, and bake on a preheated 350 F oven for about 20-30 mins.

When cooked thoroughly, mix gingerly with a serving spoon to mingle all the flavors, serve with pita, roti or as a burrito stuffing!