Monday, January 20, 2014

veggie burger basics

Every time I make veggie burgers and bring them to work somebody asks for the recipe. I usually try to tell them cause its super easy and if they need a reference check my blog. Inevitably I explain that the version on the blog is a kinda of extra salty super revved up version that has some extraneous and unnecessary in ingredients. If you haven't read this post you should...I guess.

Long  story short here is the basic recipe for all to love and share. I must admit of course that the guy who taught me this is Jeff Novick super funny dietitian that works with all the healthy vegan doctors so I am not trying to take credit for this recipe. I didn't invent it. I just made it them a million times. In fact if you like the recipe and want to watch him make them on a DVD and learn all the variations (not to mention super easy to make steak fries) buy this DVD.

Ok so much for the long story....

Basic Veggie Burgers

2 cans of beans 
1 cup of cooked rice
1 cup of rolled oats
4 tablespoons of tomato based liquid
a few teaspoons or shakes of your favorite dry seasonings/spices

1. mash the beans thoroughly 
2. add all the other ingredients
3. form patties and put on a plate or cookie sheet or anything else flat like a donna summer record, or a Tupperware. If no lid to your flat thing cover with some plastic wrap.
4. Place the burger platter in the fridge and let them set up for at least 20 minutes, for best results overnight.
5. heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, covered for 3-4 minutes or so on each side until sufficiently browned and warmed through. 

That's it. Now for the variations.

Beans-black, white, pinto, garbanzo, kidney, whatever. Ok smart ass no green beans or dried beans. Jeff always said that one can had to be kidney. I think the kidneys are really great and I used to preach the doctrine of kidney inclusion but the other night I had a can of these Ranchero beans (pinto beans with southwestern-y spices) and black beans so I just threw ALL CAUTION TO THE WIND and made them anyway. God I hope Jeff isn't reading this! Guess what...Worked just fine. No change to texture or crumble factor. I do thing kidneys may be more starchy and that helps hold it all together...not really sure. I think a larger factor in setting up right is the liquid interacting with the oats. But I digress....

Rice-Any rice works but I always use brown. If you can make it on the stickier side then HALLELUJAH! I usually just have precooked rice in the fridge and i use a cup of that.

Oats-Regular rolled oats. no subs here. Nothing to see...move along. Ok I guess you could use quick oats but I don't so try to stick with the plan here I means you can make these things like 5000 different ways . Don't fuck around with the oats!

Tomato liquid-Ketchup, BBQ sauce, pureed tomato, salsa, marinara get the idea.

Spices-Ok too many to list but.....chili powder, garlic, onion, curry, Mexican seasonings, Italian seasonings, oregano, medicinal marijuana, you know whatever you like to spice up your life!

So that is it. Use what you like and spice it up to taste great to you. I never add salt because usually the tomato product or at the very least the condiments that I use have plenty of salt in them already. 

So these burgers are great on a bun or not. The ezekiel sprouted english muffins make a great bun as well as the one bun. Once on a flight to Detroit I made a large batch and brought them on the plane. I got stuck on a connecting flight with Moby. He is vegan and I should have offered him some while we sat for hours on the tarmac. I didn't. Not because I am insensitive or anything. I just love my burgers and sometimes I ain't sharing. Not even for Moby. 

I hope you make many burgers and eat them all.


Thursday, November 28, 2013


This gravy rocks. Forget that it is made with only plant fat. In fact I wouldn't tell people that its vegan. I have served it to a host of meat eaters and they poured it all over their turkey and loved it.

Gravy is one of those culinary glues that hold things together. Mashed potatoes for one without gravy is just, well mashed potatoes!  I have a few really great recipes for gravy. The first of note is from Jill Nussinow. Her Golden Gravy uses a combo of tahini and soy with some flour for a really nice, simple, creamy gravy. Super easy to make and hard to screw up.Next up is a more complex, more savory gravy from Miyoko Schinner. Her Poultry-type Gravy employs a yeast flavoring powder made from Nutritional Yeast (aka vegan crack) and various herbs and spices. I like this one because the yeast and spices really give a warm, savory, chicken like flavor. It is a fuller bodied, rounder gravy than the simpler golden gravy.Lastly Mary McDougall's Rich Brown Gravy employs a whole onion for the base and I am just crazy about using onions for the foundation of so many dishes.

Of course being the extremist that I am I decided to mash-up all these recipes to create the ultimate gravy. Its rich, savory, full bodied, tastes like onions and chicken and everything good in gravy. It has very little fat. 2 tablespoons of tahini for 5-6 cups of gravy is pretty good! It employs the yeast concoction from Miyoko's Poultry-type gravy, the tahini from Jill's golden gravy, and the onion from Mary's Rich Brown Gravy.



Preparation Time: 20 minutes 
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Servings: makes 6 cups
1 1/2 cup water
4 cups of broth
1 onion, chopped 
1 cup whole wheat flour 
2 tablespoons light miso
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tablespoons tahini
½ teaspoon celery seeds
3 tablespoons light yeast flavoring powder*(recipe follows)

Dry saute the onion in a medium saucepan. As it starts to brown and stick after a minute of two add the 1/4 cup of water and continue to cook until soften and starting to change color about 5 minutes. 

Add the flour and mix in well. 

Continue to cook for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly. (This is an important step as toasting the flour deeply without burning it helps develop the rich flavor). The flour and onions will clump together. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Blend with an immersion blender. If you don't have one turn off the stove and go to TARGET and get one for 20 bucks. You are worth it. :)

Pour gravy into a clean skillet or saucier (if you are fancy). 

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until gravy thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Season with fresh ground pepper to taste.

If the gravy fails to thicken to your satisfaction, you may want to add an extra thickener to the gravy. Use a mixture of 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed in 1/4 cup cold water. Add a small amount to the gravy while stirring until it is thick enough for serving.

Light Yeast Flavoring Powder
By Miyoko Schinner
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
Pulverize all ingredients in a blender until powdered.  Store in a covered jar in a cool place.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Autumn harvest Sweet Potato and Apple soup

This is one of those super simple crock pot soups that is pretty fool proof. I hesitate to even put amounts in the recipe. You basically chop up the veggies and cover with broth. Add a little ginger and black pepper and cook overnight. Puree in the morning and adjust some seasonings. That's it! For those of you that love the steps see below.

Autumn harvest Sweet Potato and Apple soup

Chop these into medium sized chunks-
3 small-med sweet potatoes (unpeeled)
3 small russet potatoes (unpeeled)
3 small apples
2 large carrots 
1 onion
3-4 cloves of garlic peeled
3" piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated
Black pepper to taste
2 qt of broth
1 cup of white dry wine (optional)

This is stupid simple. Throw all of this in a pot. The veggies will fill the slow cooker and the. You add liquid to cover them. Cook on high for 4.5 hours. Then puree and adjust any seasonings and salt. I suggest serving  it with rice blended in for some extra energy and texture.

served with wild/brown rice garnish
Hope you all enjoy it as much as we have.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Super easy, super-firm, super yummy baked tofu

Baked tofu is delicious. Packs a mean protein punch and is way too expensive I'm stores. . Making it is a snap and you get to customize it to YOUR taste buds and save a few pennies in the process.

This recipe takes about 5 -10 minutes to assemble and about 30-40 minutes to bake. No pressing, no marinating, and some fairly straight forward ingredients. 

I mean, you guys have tahini at this point in your life right? ;)

Of course my version is oil free and adapted from a recipe I started with from Vegan Eats World. 

Super easy, super-firm, super yummy baked tofu

Preheat oven to 425 degrees 

30 oz giant-ass block of super firm tofu & cut into half inch rectangles

Whisk all of the following together in a large glass casserole dish-
1/4 cup of soy sauce or tamari
4 TBL veggie broth/miso broth
2 TBL maple syrup or agave
4 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tap cayenne pepper
1 TBL tahini

Add each piece of tofu. Dip and flip to coat on all sides. Snuggle them all neatly into the pan. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes and then flip each piece and continue to bake 15-20 minutes or until as crispy as you like it.

That's it. Super easy right? I usually get it in the oven and then cook the rest of my meal while it's baking. If you can't find super firm tofu you can use firm tofu and press the cut pieces for about 20 minutes with a clean towel or paper towels and some books or some type of heavy weight. Also freezing the entire block first helps expel some of the water and the tofu will suck up the marinade.

Hope you all like it and remember the concept is solid. You can adjust the flavors to your liking. Peanut butter, chili powder, Mexican seasonings, or whatever you like. Stores great for about a week and then it just kinda dries out but I really don't know for sure....cause it's never lasted more then 2 days at our house.

See ya round.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

i'm not bullet proof and the degustation of kales and hot chiles

So I haven't written anything here in like forever. Honestly the last 6-8 months I have been getting less and less strict about what I eat. I can't call myself vegan anymore. Even if that is how I have eaten 80-90% of the time lately. I also hadn't limited the fat intake as much and let my exercise routine go to shit. I haven't been sleeping much and I have been dancing and having a lot of "fun".

I started to get this nagging mild nausea this summer and it was really starting to bug me. I decided it was time to spot check my blood sugar and low and behold its skyrocketed back to my diabetic levels.

This really bummed me out....

I had also gained some wight back. I didn't care about that so much. But I care about my blood. I started to get that anxious feeling of worrying about your health that was all too familiar for me.

I guess after 2 years of having reversed my diabetes and maintaining 60-70 pound weight loss I was starting to feel bullet proof.

Sadly I am not.

After feeling sorry for myself for about a week I have decided enough is enough.

I am back to testing my blood before and after every meal, when I wake up and when I go to bed. I keep trying to kick start my workouts and that has only been moderately successful.

I did however go back to eating the way I had been for two years. The good news is that after two days of eating like this my blood sugar is coming down.

I am not using the terms 'eating clean' or 'vegan' or referring to my recent diet as 'cheating' or 'back sliding'.

At this point  feel like I know what foods are good for my blood and what aren't. That means. plants. and that's it. It also means keeping my fat calories under 20% and not cooking with oil or animals. I don't know why but eating eggs and even lean animal proteins are just no working for me.

I am not bummed about this and I certainly don't have all the answers. I only know what is working for me and waht is not. I also know that judging myself about what I am eating or how much I am exercising stresses me out and leads me to an unhealthy place.

I am not going to make any big blanket statements or feel bad for where I am at. Its food, I am human, and I am paying attention. I know that moving my body by bike riding and lifting weights and doing yoga makes me feel good mentally and physically.

That being said I made some yummy food tonight I thought I would share it with you.

the Kale and chiles were home grown. :)

Polenta with spicy greens miso and tomato sauce

1 tube of pre cooked plain polenta sliced into rounds

4 brown mushrooms sliced
2 Anaheim chiles sliced
2 cups of broccoli florets
1/2 onion sliced
1 habanero chile sliced
1 can of kidney beans
5 cloves of garlic diced

marinara sauce

5-6 TB miso glaze
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar

in one non stick pan I brown the polenta rounds for about 3-4 minutes each side

meanwhile in a non stick wok I add the chiles, garlic, and mushrooms. Hit it with the miso glaze. ( i used Miso Easy but you could reconstitute some miso paste and water into a thick glaze)

stir fry a bit. ad some water or wine or broth if its too thick.

add reaming veggies, more miso and some vingar and mirin. Lower heat and cover to steam cook. After a few minutes I take the lid off and cook down the liquid to a saucy consistency.

heat up marinara.


Happy eating. Hope to see you around the blog more often.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pink Beans with Chipotle peppers

Lazy Saturdays call for long slow cooking projects. Even with the little ones nipping at your heels non-stop. If you can get these babies on the stove first thing 3 hours will pass like a blink of an eye.

I have been realizing lately that the days that I incorporate beans into my meals are the days I don't hunger nearly as much between meals. Not to mention when you don't have all your meals planned having a pot of beans around can really save you in a pinch. Of course having cooked grains like brown rice, quinoa, farro and the like added to your beans is a meal. The fridge with cooked beans and cooked grains is the appliance of someone who won't go hungry that is for sure.

I cook the spices whole in this recipe. I don't mind crunching into a coriander seed or two personally. If you a weirded out by that thought then I would recommend either toasting the whole spices and grinding them or if you have some cheese cloth make a little boquet garni and remove it at the end of cooking.

If you want to use the slow cooker you could as well. I will point out that variation at the appropriate time.

Pink beans with Chipotle 


1 white onion diced
4 cloves of garlic gently smashed
2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 
2 TBLS of adobo sauce
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1/2 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp Mexican Oregano
1/2 bay leaf
2 cup of dry Pink beans (or pinto)

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions and dry Saute with the lid on until caramelizing 4-5 minutes. Open the lid every minute and stir. No need to add oil or broth. Generally speaking the lid will trap enough moisture to keep the onions from burning or sticking. If you find this not to be the case add a splash of beer, water, or broth to keep them moist.

Add remaining ingredients and enough water to cover everything and come about 3-4 inches above the beans.(if you are using the slow cooker you basically dump everything at this point into the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours. This is not baking. You can guess. It will be OK  I promise. The only trick is that you want to make sure you have enough water to cook the beans. So If you cook off too much water simply add more water.

Bring to a boil and cook partially cover for about 3 1/2 hours. You can check on the water level from time to time. Once the beans are cooked you can adjust any seasonings and add black pepper and salt to taste.

Its pretty simple and simply delicious. 

Hope you enjoy them.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sweet Potato Homefries

I am absolutely convinced that this is one of those dishes that If you don't tell people that it is good for them (vegan, no added oils, etc.) that everyone will love it. In fact I am pretty sure that this is what Remulus Dreypa eats every day for strength and complete nutrition. This dish isn't just for breakfast. It could be the base for a bunch of quick meals. You could eat it over rice, polenta/grits, or my new favorite starch base couscous.

It doesn't require any oil or additional liquid if you have a good heavy bottomed non-stick pan.

Dice these:
2 large sweet potatoes
1/2 onion
1 red bell pepper
1 carrot
4 cloves of garlic

1 cup of frozen corn kernels
1 (28oz) can of fire roasted diced tomatoes (liquid drained off)
1 (15oz) can of kidney or black beans (rinsed)
1 Tablespoon of chili powder (I really like the Whole Foods 365 Chili Val de Sol blend)
1/2 Tablespoon of cumin
Black pepper to taste

Possible garnishes-
hot sauce
chopped parsley/cilantro

Put sweet potatoes in a large heavy bottomed non-stick skillet. I actually used two separate pans because I made a too much. You won't get everything browned if you have 3 inches (deep) of potatoes. Fill the pan with water until the potatoes are just covered. Heat skillet over high heat and cook for about 6 minutes or until  potatoes are about 2/3 of the way cooked through. Drain water and set aside.

Add the remaining ingredients from the "diced" section and dry saute for about 3 minutes or until starting to brown. Add potatoes and corn to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, beans, and spices. Cook another 2 minutes. Taste and adjust any seasonings.

Top with your favorite condiments and enjoy!