9.30.2014

burger wrap-up

Day 20 Vegan MoFo. This is it! This is the last post for Vegan MoFo 2014. Congrats to all who made it this far, and congrats to all who started in the first place. It can be pretty intimidating, especially if you aren’t a daily blogger (does anybody blog daily?)

My last post is not another burger post, but rather a round-up of five of our favorite burgers from this MoFo and tips on how to make your own vegan burgers.


Our Top Five Faves from this month, in no particular order:




Schnitzel Burger. This was the only burger that was fried and was made out of seitan. There is nothing else needing to be said, as basically anything fried would taste good, but then make that fried something a seitan, add a dill-horseradish sauce AND serve it on a homemade pretzel bun? Forget ‘bout it! This definitely makes our Top Five.




Rou Jia Mo (Chinese Burger). This one didn’t get a lot of hit action for some reason. It didn’t seem to appeal to too many of you. You have no idea what you’re missing. You HAVE to make this burger, from bun to finish. I guarantee love at first bite. The sauce/broth is nothing short of amazing and I am not the least bit surprised that this is a street food of unparalleled love in China.




Pizza Burger. Another one with a homemade “bun,” this one made out of focaccia. Even if you make the focaccia and not the burger (read: eat it alone in the back of the kitchen quietly so no one is the wiser and comes to pilfer your treasure), you are still way ahead of the game. Make the sausage-style burger and the sauce for it, and you have died and gone to pizza heaven. Decadent!




Eggplant Sriracha BBQ Burger. An elusively simple burger to make in the sense that the burger patty is nothing more than grilled eggplant. But that is just the start of the magic. It is then based with Sriracha BBQ Sauce and served with a Zucchini Slaw to cool things down. Do not forget the mayo! It ties everything together and is the host of the party. Told you it is simple, but the sum is so much more than the parts. Said that before, but with burgers, this is the #truth.




Thanksgiving Burger: all the holiday fixings on a single burger. Admit it, we all have our perfect bite at Thanksgiving – a bit of stuffing, a little cranberry sauce, some green bean casserole, a little gravy – and then we shovel it all in our mouths. Now you can stuff to contention and not feel as though you have crossed some sort of social divide. Eat your Thanksgiving meal! One complete bite at a time. The way the Feast was meant to be enjoyed.


Tips to Making Your Own Burgers:

The Bun:

You can use any bun you like but make sure to toast it. And I’m not talking just any old way. Lightly butter the buns and toast them in a skillet or grill pan over medium heat. That is the best way to toast your buns for your burgers.

Think outside the bun! I used all “burger” type buns because of the theme (lest someone mistake my burger for a sandwich!) but you have no such restrictions. Use lettuce leaves, lavash, tortillas, bread slices, whatever you have handy or you desire.

The Sauce:

All burgers need a sauce, whether it as simple as vegan mayo or ketchup or as complex as a BBQ sauce. But you can do better than ketchup, can’t you? Mix that ketchup with the mayo and add some grated onion and sriracha. While moderation is always best (please, don’t make a 40-ingredient sauce), get creative and add a few things: spicy, sweet, creamy, tangy, etc.

The Veggies:

Contrasting the hot burger, cool veggies are always a welcome addition. Your veg can be a slaw, a lettuce leaf, a slice of onion, a tomato slice, pickles, cucumbers, shredded cabbage, whatever you feel would make the burger complete. Try to match your veggies with your burger patty – napa cabbage on an Asian burger, etc.

The Burger Patty:

As I’ve demonstrated this month, your burger patty can be anything, from a cauliflower steak, to a cabbage steak, to tempeh and tofu and beans and anything that can be mashed, flavored and formed into a burger. All you really need is a binder for a patty, if you mash up ingredients such as veggies and beans.

Your binder can be: gluten flour, nut butters, seed butters, bread crumbs, oat flour (or other flours), flax meal, soaked chia seeds, etc. Anything that becomes sticky and acts like glue. Get the ratio of “food glue” to delicious burger filling right and you’ve got a burger that won’t fall apart, won’t become mushy and won’t be hard as a rock, but WILL be full of flavor.

Which brings me to flavor: over flavor the filling because once you sauté it or grill it, it tends to mute the seasonings. This includes salt. Don’t go overboard, but don’t produce a bland burger, either.

Theme:

Yes, you need a theme. Otherwise what on earth will you make? A theme is your starting point. It can be a region, a country, a style of burger, a flavor, a dish you want to make into a burger, etc. Making an Asian-inspired burger will start your journey with an Asian vegetable or flavor profile, such as teriyaki sauce, sriracha or Thai basil.

Recreating a meal into a burger, such as making your favorite curry Burger-fied: start with a coconut-curry sauce and make your patty from there: perhaps a cashew-tofu-veggies-Thai-curry-paste burger patty. 

The theme is your starting point from which you will draw your map. Don’t veer too far off-course, and you’ll find your way to your burger destination.





Thus ends Vegan MoFo 2014 for me! I’ll be reading and chatting with you all over the coming weeks. Thanks for all the support and enthusiasm! It’s been a blast!

Zsu





I am linking to these recipe parties: Healthy Vegan FridaysWhat I Ate Wednesday and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck. 


 


9.29.2014

nothing fishy burgers



Day 19 Vegan MoFo is the final burger in this burger marathon and it is my Nothing Fishy Burger. This is in lieu of salmon burgers, crab cakes and other sea animals, that are best left in the ocean and not piled onto a sandwich.

This burger utilizes oyster mushrooms, which have an awesome texture for this type of a filling and it is accented with a hint of seaweed. I use my absolute favorite sea vegetable: dulse flakes. They are just a reminder of the sea instead of a harsh sea flavor, and therefore, they are perfect for the uninitiated.




I top this burger with a Caper-Relish Sauce, which is a kicked-up tartar sauce (because we can't have any repeats this month!) thanks to the capers and chipotle peppers. To cool things down, the Cucumber Slaw is a welcome addition for its effect and it's crunch.

I've made a crab-cake like sandwich before: Crabby Cakes, HERE, which we loved, too. Those are made with tofu and these Nothing Fishy Burgers are soy free. Oh, the choices!





Now that the burgers are all done, what will tomorrow bring, the final Vegan MoFo Day of 2014? A Round Up, of course, and ...perhaps some tips and advice on how to make your own vegan burgers. Let me, one whose made the mistakes, let you in on a few tips of the trade.





NOTHING FISHY BURGER PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE


Nothing Fishy Burger
Makes 5 burgers
3 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
1 large onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
Sea salt and black pepper
1 pound oyster mushrooms, trimmed
2 teaspoons dulse flakes, divided
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
1 ½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs, divided
¼ cup chopped parsley
Cucumber Slaw, recipe below
Caper-Relish Sauce, recipe below
5 burger buns, toasted


1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and season with salt and black pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes and remove from skillet to a large bowl.
2. In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil, increase heat to medium-high and add half the mushrooms. Cook, stirring infrequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to work surface and chop well, but do not mince. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and mushrooms.
3. Add the chopped mushroom to the large bowl with the onions. Add 1 teaspoon dulse, mayo, Old Bay, ½ cup bread crumbs and parsley. Mix well and season with salt and black pepper. Divide into 5 portions and form into burgers. Handle them carefully. Just like crab cakes, these are delicate and will fall apart if handled with a harsh hand. Gentle dredge each burger in the remaining bread crumbs.
4. Heat the skillet again, add a little oil the remaining dulse flakes and cook them until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
5. Assemble the burgers by spreading the bottom bun with the sauce, adding a burger and topping with the slaw. Serve.


Cucumber Slaw
½ large cucumber, cut into julienne strips
1 medium carrot, cut into julienne strips
1 tablespoon white vinegar (such as white balsamic or coconut vinegar)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
½ teaspoon natural sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt


1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Sti well. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper


Caper-Relish Sauce
¼ cup vegan mayo
¼ cup vegan sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon sweet relish
2 teaspoons minced chipotle
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well and season with salt and black pepper.


© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved

california burger



Day 18 Vegan MoFo is all about the state I reside in, at the moment: California. We tend to move around a lot, although not as such as my family did in my adolescence, which was up to twice in one year, at times.

This burger has everything going for it that you've come to expect from a California type sandwich: sprouts, vegan bacon, avocado, tomato and a homemade burger patty.




This patty is a variation of my Better Burger Patty, which I'm trying to perfect. This patty omits the beets (athough it is an omission I only made because I didn't have fresh beets) and uses Marmite instead of a homemade beef-style seasoning.

As for the bacon, use whatever vegan bacon you like. I used my Tofu Bacon (page 36) from Everyday Vegan Eats because we love it so much - crispy, crunchy, salty, smoky. Perfect on this burger.

The sauce is Avocado-Cilantro Sauce that makes use of the other half of avocado that you thinly slice for the sandwich.





Our kids love the California Club Sandwich (EVE, page 83) from Everyday Vegan Eats, and I figured I'd make it into a burger because, why not?

Note: I was supposed to publish this last night. Grr! I'll add two post today or tomorrow to finish my MoFo on a high note!




CALIFORNIA BURGER PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE


California Burger
Makes 10 burger patties. Makes 4 burgers, with the other 6 freezing well.
1 (14-ounce) package tofu
6 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
3 teaspoons yeast extract spread (such as Marmite)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup chopped onions
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cup vital wheat gluten flour
½ cup steak sauce (such as A-1)
8 strips vegan bacon
Avocado-Cilantro Sauce, recipe below
½ avocado
1 cup sprouts
4 tomato slices
4 onion slices
4 leaves lettuce
4 burger buns, toasted


1. Preheat the oven to 230-degrees F. Combine the tofu, mayo, yeast extract, mustard, onions and salt in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the gluten flour and pulse until the dough comes together. Transfer to a large bowl and knead until gluten threads form. Divide into 10 portions and form each portion into a burger patty. Arrange the burgers in two baking dishes. Spread 1 teaspoon of steak sauce on each side of the burgers. Cover the dishes tightly with foil and bake for 2 hours. Cool the patties throroughly before using.
2. Heat a grill pan or large skillet over medium heat. Oil the burgers with oil spray and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Baste with more steak sauce, flip and continue to cook until golden, another 2 minutes. Baste, flip and cook for another 2 minutes.
3. Assemble the burgers by spreading sauce on the bottom bun, adding a tomato slice, an onion slice, adding a burger patty, adding a few slices of avocado, topping with sprouts and adding the top of the bun. Serve.


Avocado-Cilantro Sauce
½ avocado
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
¼ cup vegan mayo
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Combine all the ingredients in a personal blender. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper



© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

9.24.2014

irish burger



Day 17 Vegan MoFo burger is an Irish Burger!

These burgers are made with cabbage steaks that are rubbed with horseradish and dusted with corned seasoning and then roasted. It is then topped with melted cheese.

The second layer is sauerkraut and crumbled homemade tempeh-bacon.




The third layer is fried potatoes - because you can't have an Irish burger without potatoes! Finally the sauce is made of relish, mustard and grated onion - a twist on the traditional 1,000 Island dressing that graces a Reuben.

This burger has a lot of action happening, but it all comes together in one magical sandwich.





IRISH BURGER PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE

Irish Burger
Makes 4 burgers
5 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
1 large Russet potato, cut into julienne strips
1 head cabbage (about 1 pound), cut into ½-inch slices
Prepared horseradish, as needed, about 2 tablespoons
Corned Spices, recipe below
½ cup shredded vegan cheese
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, finely chopped
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Special Irish Sauce, recipe below
1 cup sauerkraut
4 burger buns, toasted


1. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F.Toss 1 tablespoon of oil with the potato strips on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 20 minutes and set aside.
2. Arrange the cabbage slices on an oiled baking sheet. Spread 1 teaspoon of horseradish on each cabbage slices. Sprinkle the Corned Spices over the top of the slices. Roast the cabbage in the preheated 400-degree oven until tender, about 20 minutes. Add cheese over the cabbage steaks and continue to bake until the cheese melts. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh and cook until golden about 4 minutes. Add the tamari, yeast and cook until the tamari evaporates. Remove from heat and stir in the paprika. Set aside.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet and cook the baked fries in batches until crisp. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and black pepper.
5. Assemble the burgers by spreading about 2 tablespoons of sauce on each bottom bun, add a cabbage steak, tempeh bacon, ¼ of the sauerkraut and ¼ of the fries. Top with the top buns and serve.


Corned Spices
2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon dill seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
Pinch ground clove
Sea salt and black pepper


1. Combine all the ingredients in a spice grinder or personal blender. Blend until finely ground.


Special Irish Sauce
½ cup vegan mayo
½ small onion, grated
2 tablespoons sweet relish
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Sea salt and black pepper


1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well.


© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

9.23.2014

thanksgiving burger



Day 16  VeganMoFo is all about continuing the holiday theme, this time celebrating Thanksgiving between two buns.

I've missed a few days of this year's MoFo party (I had a bug over the weekend and well into yesterday), and now will have to play catch-up.

Getting to this burger: it is a freekeh-stuffing burger on a bun with cranberry sauce, gravy, quick sauteed green beans and fried onions - picture all of the best of the Thanksgiving in every single bite.

I took a page from my Hungarian ancestry and created the burger base of this burger by treating it like a dumpling (boiling it) and then sauteing it, just as a typical burger should be.

I'll be back with the recipe because tomorrow; I'm a little exhausted right now, but I didn't want to miss another MoFo day.



THANKSGIVING BURGER PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE

Thanksgiving Burger
Makes 8 burgers
6 cups cubed bread (about ½-inch cubes)
½ cup freekeh
1 garlic clove, minced, ½ teaspoon thyme
Sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 medium carrot, minced
¼ cup raisins
1 teaspoon each: thyme, sage, oregano, dried parsley
¼ cup hot water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 cup unsweetened plain vegan milk
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
4 ounces green beans, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 cup cranberry sauce
2 cups favorite vegan gravy
1 cup fried onions
8 burger buns, toasted


1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Transfer the bread to a baking sheet and bake until dried and crisp, about 15 minutes. Cook the freekeh, garlic, thyme and ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper in about 2 cups water until tender, according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, raisin, thyme, sage, oregano and parsley. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook the vegetables until tender. Transfer to the large bowl.
4. Dissolve the bouillon cubes in the hot water. Add to the large bowl, along with the milk, the bread cubes and flour. Mash and knead until well combined. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Form into 8 burgers.
5. Heat a large pot of water over high heat to boiling. Add the burger dumplings and cook until they float and are cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain on cooling rack and cool thoroughly.
6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and the green beans. Cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Set aside. Add more oil and cook the burgers until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
7. Assemble the burgers by spreading 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce on the bottom bun, add a burger, top with green beans, add gravy, top with fried onions and the top bun. Serve.


© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

9.20.2014

gyro tempeh burger




Day 15 VeganMoFo is all about gyros and tempeh. Making this Gyro Tempeh Burger was just like eating a wonderful gyro, burger style. The tempeh is marinated in a Greek seasoned oil and is then served with a Cucumber Tzaziki.




I served these burgers on flat rounds, which mimic a pita quite nicely, but you can, of course, serve them in pita bread. Even if you use regular pita, make sure to toast it well to offer some desired crunch.

The tzaziki adds enough of a sauce-feel that there is no actual need for anything additional.  Gyros were one of my most favorite sandwiches pre-veg days, so I wouldn't steer you wrong.






If you happen to have Everyday Vegan Eats, make sure to check out my Greek Gyro with Tzaziki Sauce (page 77) for a more authentic version of a gyro.

Just as Tami Noyes (Vegan Finger Foods and American Vegan Kitchen) will make a Reuben out of anything, (really ANything,  I mean ANYTHING), I'll do the same with a gyro, hence this not-so-traditional burger.



This is the very last day to enter the giveaway for "Vegan Tacos" by Jason Wyrick. Enter HERE!









Gyro Tempeh Burger with Cucumber Tzaziki
Makes 4 burgers
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh
4 tablespoons Gyro Seasoned Oil, divided, recipe below
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 medium cucumber, peeled into thin stips
¼ cup unsweetened plain vegan yogurt
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
4 thin burger rounds or two pita bread, halved and split
Lettuce, tomato and onion, as needed

1. Cut the tempeh in half. Cut each half in half diagonally. Cut each quarter in half through the middle so that you have 8 thin slices of tempeh. Combine 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, salt, black pepper and sliced tempeh in a large bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Squeeze the cucumber slices with your hand to eliminate much of the liquid. Make the tzaziki by combining the cucumber, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon lemon  juice, yogurt, and chili flakes in a medium bowl. Set aside.  
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the tempeh in the skillet until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Take care adding the tempeh to the hot skillet; the marinade will sputter.
4. Add the reserved marinating onion and herbs to the skillet and cook until golden.
5. Oil the rounds with the seasoned oil and toast in the skillet until golden.
6. Assemble the burgers by layering lettuce, tomato onion, 2 tempeh slices and tzazki on each bottom toasted round and finish with the top buns. Serve.
Gyro Seasoned Oil
½ cup neutral oil
10 garlic cloves, minced
½ medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon Rosemary

1. Combine the oil, garlic, onion, oregano and Rosemary in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Strain the oil, reserving the vegetables.
3. The oil will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

9.18.2014

eggplant sriracha bbq burger


Day 14 VeganMoFo Burger Hoopla continues with this Eggplant Sriracha BBQ Burger with Zucchini Slaw. This is an Asian-inspired burger of eggplant slices grilled and basted in Sriracha BBQ Sauce.

There are Asian flavors spiking this burger throughout, in the BBQ sauce and the slaw: tamari, sriracha, sesame seed oil, rice vinegar and Chinese 5-spice powder. I love using that spice because most of us have it in the back of the cabinet, yet seldom get the chance to cook with it; it adds so much flavor!




You can see all those wonderful flavors coating the grilled eggplants. So good and so fast!




As an aside, you can see hot hot it is in San Diego: we don't have central air, and as soon as I took the bottle of sriracha out of the fridge, it immediately began to condense the water from the air and the label got all soggy. Sheesh.






Oops! Who is that?! Jimmy photobombed my shoot. He took a sniff, turned right around, not being one for eggplant, and promptly went to the back of the table to lay down for the duration. Spot him in the remaining photos.

As soon as I moved the food out of the way, he claimed his rightful spot in the front. I've noticed that he and I are taking turns using the table!





This burger is outrageously good! Even my youngest took a careful bite, looked at me wide-eyed and said, "I cannot believe I like this so much - it has everything I don't like!" She dislikes eggplant, ginger, ziucchini and bbq sauce.

Goes to prove that the sum of the parts can be very different than the parts themselves.




Eggplant Sriracha BBQ Burger with Zucchini Slaw
Makes 4 to 6 burgers
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
1 small onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
⅔ cups ketchup
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon reduced sodium tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sriracha (or more)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
½ teaspoon dry ground ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 large eggplant, cut into ¾-inch slices (you will need 8 slices for 4 burgers)
4 to 6 (3-inch) buns, not sliced
Vegan Mayonnaise, to taste
Zucchini Slaw, recipe below
1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sesame oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the ketchup, 2 tablespoons tamari, vinegar, sriracha, brown sugar, 5-spice and ginger, stir and cook over medium-low for 8 minutes to thicken and marry flavors. Remove from heat.
2. Combine the remaining teaspoon oil and tamari and the vegetable broth in a large bowl. Toss the eggplant in the marinade and set aside while grill pan preheats.
3. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Spray each slice of eggplant with oil before placing on grill pan. Cook the eggplant until almost tender, about 2 minutes per side. Baste the eggplant with the BBQ sauce and cook until glazed and the eggplant is tender, about 1 more minute per side.
4. Toast the buns to warm. Cut the buns in half almost all the way through, but not completely. This will help keep the sandwich together. Spread a little mayo on one side of the bun, add 2 eggplant slices, a bit more BBQ sauce and top generously with the slaw. Serve.
Zucchini Slaw
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon fresh ground ginger
1 garlic clove. minced
1 medium zucchini, julienned or grated (use a julienne peeler)
2 cups shredded baby kale
¼ small onion, grated
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. Combine the lime juice, tamari, sugar, ginger and garlic in a large bowl.
2. Add the zucchini, kale, onion and cilantro. Toss to mix. Season with salt and black pepper.

© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.



If you haven't seen the giveaway for the cookbook Vegan Tacos by Jason Wyrick, it is HERE. Don't miss it.