Soooo....I attempted to make something I have never a.) made before or b.) read a recipe to make before. Veggie burgers. Frustrated by the near four dollars I am continually paying for a package of four burgers, I decided to experiment and see if it would be cost effective to just make a bunch of them and store them in the freezer. Bonuses: they would be extremely healthy (I could make them gluten free!) and I could make them in different sizes. Not bonuses: well, let's just say the recipe needs some fine tuning before I attempt this at home again, and now I have a freezer full of healthy, various sized patties that, well, need a lot of ketchup. I documented my process and decided to share because there were some good things here, and with a slight revamp to my recipe, I think I could get people to actually eat these things (well, except for Cheyenne's boyfriend Jay, who, according to her, will "eat anything" and I have been pawning them off on him...and Fred the dog)
I soaked two pounds of beans (black and pinto that I got in the bulk bins at the food coop) for about a day. Actually...I think it was more like 3 or 4, because I forgot about them for a while. Regardless, you need to soak your beans. Post soak, I rinsed them, put them in fresh water and boiled them for about an hour-ish. (Note to self: next time drop in a bunch of garlic gloves in the water when the beans are cooking, so they soak in some of the garlic flavor. AND ick-snay the pinto beans. Didn't like those.)In the meantime, I started shredding and chopping. With a black bean base, I wanted to go for a tomato/Mexican flavor in my patties. In a huge bowl, I added a can of tomato paste, a bunch of cloves of garlic and shredded a small bag of carrots. I added a a sauteed onion and 3 roasted red peppers, chopped coarsely. Then because I wanted to add more color and vegetables, I basically opened the fridge and started throwing leftover crap into the food processor: a head of broccoli, some mushrooms, a squash, and some Romano cheese. Everything is better with cheese. (I know, I know...I began to divert from the Mexican flavor a bit at this point...hey, I'm making it up as I go!)An hour later, the beans are done and I rinse them and throw them in the food processor. I add the smushed beans to my mix, add more salt, pepper and whatever else in the spice cabinet looked intruiging and give it a stir. Hmmm...too soupy. I found a package of gluten free crackers, put them in a ziplock bag and smashed them all to pieces, then add them to my veggie mush. And since there was SO MUCH mixture at this point, I added 3 eggs to bind the patties together. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, and started making patties. I made about 36, and when I ran out of cookie sheets, I added the rest of the mixture to small loaf pans. I baked them for about 45 minutes, until I thought the egg was fully cooked through. (They probably only needed 30-35. Oh, and P.S., I should have greased the sheet...whoops!)When I took the burgers out of the oven, the house was smelling yummy and I was starving. I took one from the pan and added it to a bed of field greens, and added some gorgonzola cheese to the top. Well, you know how they say looks can be deceiving? Well, smells can too. They didn't taste nearly as good as they smelled, they were kind of dry and I didn't like the pinto bean flavor at all. But there was some good stuff here: the patties maintained their shape, which was huge. (When I bought the beans at the Food Coop, the lady asked me what I was making. When I told her I was going to attempt veggie burger making, she gave me a not-so-encouraging “good luck,” as if I was going to climb Everest or do something completely unheard of. She explained that it was near impossible to make patties that hold their shape. So...I got that going for me). Next time I figure I will NOT use pinto beans, use about 4 times the seasonings (fresh herbs!), one less egg, and add some sunflower seeds for crunch, and add some olive oil to the recipe. Yeah, that's all. Then I think I will have this recipe licked. So stay tuned for Veggie Burgers: the Revenge.
Oh, and just as I was cleaning up the kitchen, a package with this stuff arrived in the mail from my Pops. Thanks, Dad! (Maybe my veggie burger making would have been a little more fun if I was groovin' out to some Saturday Night Fever action and rockin' the 3-D glasses!)