Burger Wars: No Meat Athlete Grill-Worthy Burgers

These burgers are based on this recipe: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/cookout-veggie-burgers, with some modifications. It’s the best burger I’ve tried to date, and I’ve made 3 batches of 18 small, hearty burgers so far. This burger is delicious, firm, toothsome, full of protein, and uses common ingredients. The ratio of legumes to gluten give it the perfect texture, and walnuts add a satisfying crunch. That’s not something I thought I wanted in a burger until I tried it, and I am really into it. The recipe seems somewhat flexible, especially considering I have already modified it a bit – you can change up the type of legume, nuts, and mushrooms easily, at least.

Simplicity: 7/10

Flavour: 9/10

Protein: 9/10

Texture: 10/10

Recipe Flexibility: 7/10

Below is the recipe for the version I have been making (original linked above).

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Burger Wars: Falafel Burgers

The falafel burger didn’t exactly fulfill my goals of looking for a higher-protein burger, and it does have oats in it, which though not quite as much of a filler as bread crumbs, is not, in my opinion, an ideal ingredient in a burger that already has chickpeas for carbs. But the idea of a falafel burger was so tempting that I didn’t care. I was excited to try this recipe, and it came together easily with ingredients I usually keep around or use.

In reality the burgers were just so-so: tasty enough, but a little crumbly and dry. They were pretty filling, which is good, and maybe would have been better with a generous amount of sauce on them. I made them to take to work for lunch so there was usually just a little sriracha and pickles on them as my topping.

I was happy enough to eat them, but probably wouldn’t make them again.

 

Simplicity: 6/10

Flavour: 5/10

Protein: 5/10

Texture: 2/10

Recipe Flexibility: 4/10

 

FABULOUS UN-FRIED FALAFEL BURGERS

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Sous Vide Sweet Potato Stand-off

IMG_2078.jpgI read this book FoodLab – all about scientifically testing new and old cooking techniques to see what actually makes a difference to taste, ease of cooking, etc. and the chemistry behind various techniques. I was just reading it out of interest, but there was a sweet potato DIY sous-vide technique that required only a large pot or beer cooler of water, instead of a $1000+ water bath machine. So that sounded cool and worth trying, especially when I thought about the collection of varieties of sweet potato that I have been passing by at the farmer’s market (on my way to the squash, of course). Sous-vide is a technique of very slowly cooking meat, veggies, fish, etc. over several hours in a bath of warm water, sometimes in a vacuum sealed (or freezer) bag. Then the food is cooked in some other way – a steak is quickly seared, or a sweet potato is roasted, etc. The idea is that sous-vide enhances the flavour of the food in some way. In the case of the sweet potatoes it is supposed to turn more of the starches to sugars, much like caramelizing onions requires low, slow heat.

So, I track down the farm and names of the Wychwood farmer’s market’s main sweet potato seller, and contact Bob and Juli from from Round Plains Plantation, to ask them to sell me a mix of the varieties of sweet potatoes that they have. I got:

  • Orleans – an orange sweet potato
  • Bonita-  a yellow-skinned yellowish-white sweet potato
  • Murasaki – a purple-skinned white sweet potato
  • Satsumaimo, a purple-skinned sweet potato with deep purple flesh

I started out by sous-vide cooking all four sweet potato varieties following the FoodLab technique, then tasted all four after cooking a few different ways.

Sous-vide Only

After just the sous-vide the sweet potatoes were just cooked. The different flavours between the sweet potatoes were hard to differentiate, and overall were muted. The Satsumaimo stood out as being noticeably less sweet, and the Orleans sweeter than the others.

Sous-Vide Then Roasted With Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper

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Squash Wars: Victors

Well I am not likely to come across any more varieties of winter squash this year. I had fun trying all the different ones I did this winter, and there are some clear stand outs. Number one has to be Tigerstripe/Honeynut Butternut for its rich, maple flavour – what other squash begs to be eaten plain with ice cream? A very close second was the giant but elusive Blue Banana. Blue Kabocha and Sunshine have to tie for third not only because of their delicious flavours and creamy texture but because they are also readily available still, and are what I have been eating as my main squash for months. Bitter melon and chayote need to get special mentions as fun gourds I am glad to have tried and incorporated into my diet.

That said, it’s not all over for the squash posts, perhaps. I have been working on a lot of fermenting projects lately, and one of the ones I am most excited about is a kabocha fermenting in miso and coated in homemade Japanese 7-spice. I will let you know how it turns out in a month or so.

Burger Wars: Fake Sunshine Burgers

I have no idea what a Sunshine burger is, but apparently these are imitations of them. I got the recipe from a friend of a friend who swore they were the best veggie burgers ever. I liked them a fair bit but didn’t love them. The flavour was quite good and the texture was actually the best thing about them – they had just the right amount of variety within the burger bites: little pieces of rice and veggies were visible, but they held together well. Unfortunately they are not that high in protein and have very little fat so I got hungry fairly quickly after eating them. There was something charming about them, though – at first I was a little disappointed because they contain a little of a lot of ingredients and I was prepared to be blown away, but they were just a solid, good burger. Then I grew to like them a bit more. I think if I was in a medium-sized city without many eating options and for some reason I went to a restaurant to eat and they made this burger in-house, I would be happily surprised. Yes, that is very specific. Otherwise … they are just kind of a decent standard burger without anything to make them stand out. Maybe they are perfect replicas of Sunshine burgers, and that that is something someone somewhere is looking for but I probably wouldn’t make these again without tweaking things a bit. The only change I made to the recipe was using miso instead of marmite because I didn’t want to buy a jar of it just for this recipe.

 

Simplicity: 4/10

Flavour: 6/10

Protein: 5/10

Texture: 7/10

Recipe Flexibility: 6/10

Made 21 burgers.

This wasn’t online anywhere, just got it via email from her friend via Amy Leigh:


Fake Sunshine Burgers
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Burger Wars: Pinto Quinoa

This is probably the most basic veggie burger recipe there is: grain, bean, a few other things. I am a fan, though – it makes it easy to play around with the recipe and make it a few different ways, depending on what beans and grains are on hand or leftover from another meal. So far I have made them with the original pinto beans, kidney beans, and mung beans, with almond flour and a combination of almond flour and vital wheat gluten, and with the original quinoa, with brown rice, and with barley. All worked out well. I don’t think the burger is a show-stopper, but it’s pretty tasty and satisfying, especially considering how few ingredients there are. I mostly just ate it with homemade BBQ sauce, mustard and pickle, wrapped in lettuce or some other green leaf. The recipe makes 4 large, filling burgers and holds together well (especially if you use a food processor instead of mashing). The texture is a little firmer than mashed beans. For people who are looking for something springier or more burger-like, this is not your burger. But it works for me.

Simplicity: 10/10

Flavour: 6/10

Protein: 5/10

Texture: 4/10

Recipe Flexibility: 10/10

 

From: http://goodnessgreen.com/pinto-quinoa-burger/

Note: I used dry beans not canned beans.

Pinto Quinoa Burger

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