Saturday, May 30, 2009

"beet" this burger

*the stars of the show*
hope to grow ones like this beautiful bunch someday!

when the idea to make my own veggie burger first struck, i searched online for weeks and painstakingly poured through hundreds of different recipes. (ok, i exaggerate just a little). but really, i did come across A LOT of 'em, and i had no idea which one to choose. then this recipe caught my eye, for two reasons - 1) it was a grand prize winner in a contest, and 2) the grated raw beet and almonds in the recipe intrigued me.

i love almonds and all things crunchy; i also imagined the beets would give the burgers a pleasing color - and i was right. (and when you're cooking to interest meat-eaters, you're very concerned with color and texture resembling the meat version, as i'm sure many herbivores already know!)

with a side of sauteed beet greens (yes, you can eat the tops, and they're scrumptious - like spinach!)


the winning recipe was developed by a Mayan woman named Olinda Cho-Forsythe. she developed her burger recipe in the kitchens of the Gran Fraternidad Universal, an organization dedicated to world peace and to promoting a vegetarian diet through centers and restaurants throughout Latin America. a very big thank you to Olinda! =)

"Beet" this Burger
makes 4-5 patties

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp grated raw beet
1/2 C. cooked quick rolled oats*
1 C. uncooked oats
1/2 C. coarsely ground walnuts
1/4 C. coarsely ground almonds
1/4 C. mashed chick peas (optional)
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp veg broth or water
1/4 C. green pepper, minced (optional)
1/4 C. celery (or fennel)
1/4 C. onion, minced
1 tsp basil (dried or fresh)
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp mustard powder, or mustard (spicy brown or dijon)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)

* Bring 1/2 C water to a boil in small saucepan. Add 1/4 C oats and a dash of salt. Return to boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 7 minutes.

Get the oaks cooking while you chop the veggies. Throw everything into a big bowl and mix well. Form into patties. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high. Cook patties until golden on each side.

i like to top these burgers with veggie burger or bbq sauce, avocado, tomato, and something crunchy, like onions, lettuce, or even sliced fennel. it's your burger...put whatever you want on it! =)

Veggie Burger Sauce

1 tbsp mustard
2 green onions
1 tsp wasabi
1 tsp soy sauce
juice from 1 lemon
few dashes hot sauce
2 tbsp olive oil

blend until smooth. use with ketchup, onions, pickle, and a sesame seed bun to get that fast food flavor, minus the cruelty and grease.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

pics of my plants

the garden after about 1 month

everyone's not in their permanent homes - the cherry tomato is moving to the upper right corner and i think lavender seedlings will go in its place. the beet is the lone survivor of 9...i'm not sure what happened to its friends =(

i started the cherry tomato, carrots, cilantro, basil, chard, cucumber, and radishes (which were previous tenants of the basil's new spot) from Botanical Interests organic seeds. every seed i have planted from them has sprouted! on the other hand, the beet seeds were from lowe's. lowe's blows. =)

(as i said in previous posts, my mom started the tomatoes, my friend missy gave me pepper and eggplants, the oregano was from a co-worker of missy's, and the flowers and lettuce were all transplants from Bloomer's, a local nursery.)

soon john will be making us a trellis for the cukes and tomatoes, we will have cages for the eggplant and pepper, and a vine for the sugar snap peas (which aren't looking so hot - anyone have an idea why the bottom leaves are turning yellow? have i deprived them of a vine for too long???)

did you see, i have a bloom on my tomato plant? =)

check out my strawberries, lookin' all cute!

flowers we have out front, to greet guests and the mailman...

and a hanging basket of violas and impatiens (whose parents lived at my mom and stepdad don's house last year near the shore - she collected the seeds and started them in her house this past winter. now they're city flowers =)

that pink flower is the first bloom of the bunch (of about 400 plants!) i'll bet it was the mel's mix...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

for the love of portobello mushrooms

have you discovered the joy of portobello mushrooms? i've truly gotten to know their splendor only recently, and i'm still wondering where they've been all my life!

grilled, oven-roasted or sauteed, their size and meaty texture make portobellos a great transition food for moving toward a whole, plant-based diet. they can be used in place of meat in many meals as a healthier, more peaceful option. (i think/hope mushrooms don't feel any pain when being plucked from the ground!)

here i grilled them and used them as a "burger" with sliced avocado, tomato, and bbq sauce with tots.

next, we have portobello mushroom soft tacos with asparagus, guacamole, and pico de gallo.

last, wasabi portobello steak with teriyaki millet
(and tots again- not the healthiest but so yummy! hey, i said these were transition meals!)

animal-friendly ingredients for two:

2 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
wasabi, to taste
1 C millet, rinsed
2 1/4 C.water
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 T tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp agave or organic sugar
2-3 tsp lemon juice or rice vinegar
2 tsp organic sesame oil
2 tsp grated fresh ginger, divided
1 pinch salt
1 green onion, chopped
1 T sesame seeds, toasted

rinse millet. in a large pan, toast millet for 2-3 minutes. add garlic after 1 minute. add water. bring to boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. simmer for 20 minutes or so (until water has evaporated).

while millet is cooking, cook portobello mushrooms. season with a little tamari, wasabi, 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1 clove garlic each. i like to steam my portobellos in a pan for about 10 minutes, but they could also be baked in the oven on 350 for 15-20 minutes.

in a small bowl, whisk tamari, agave, lemon juice, sesame oil, ginger, and salt. add to cooked millet and top with green onion and sesame seeds. add more tamari if needed.

sources say portobello mushrooms are an excellent source of niacin, an essential vitamin with many benefits. you gotta love that!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

another salad from the garden

this time we were able to add some french breakfast radish, which matured in only 3 weeks!

i hope you are all enjoying your weekend. i'm loving this weather, and so are my plants!

pics of the garden will be coming soon...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

garden happenings

it's been a pretty productive week in the garden, thanks to the beautiful weather we've been having here!

-transplanted two tomato plants my mom started from seed the way Mel said to do it (by laying the stem down so the plant produces more roots) and they are already straightening up.

-planted an eggplant and pepper plant from my dear friend Missy (who was also a gardening virgin until recently).

-repotted my violas from the square foot garden into hanging baskets, along with impatiens my mom also started from seed, and planted about 30 or more impatiens around the front of my home. read that impatiens attract hummingbirds (and my mom also gave me like 30 more) so i'll be planting them in hanging patio boxes soon.

radishes are ready to pop out of the ground, cilantro seeds sprouted, and the sugar snap pea plants are really taking off. we've been eating a large salad almost every other day from our romaine, red sails, and bibb head. growing my own lettuce may be the best financial decision i've ever made! =)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

protein-packed pasta

i posted this to inspire you to use up those leftovers and get creative in the kitchen! out with traditional meals and in with cooking out of the box!

this is made with the extra chick peas and sauce from our thai chick-un pizza. just added peas and mushrooms and topped with the same greens. it's a great feeling to create your own meal with that leftover food in the fridge instead of throwing it out!

what are some creative ways you've used leftovers?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

my new favorite cookbook

this is one delightful cookbook i just had to have! simple recipes, amazing photos, and lovely insights on almost every page! the website offers free recipes, including a cashew cheez i can't wait to try.

extra crispy thai chick-un pizza

found this recipe in the wonderful cookbook eat, drink, and be vegan.

the sauce is a perfect mixture of peanut butter, ketchup, organic tamari, fresh garlic, ginger, and coconut milk topped with chick peas, pineapple, green onions, and cilantro.

left off the red bell pepper and the mung sprouts called for in the original recipe (not needed when you're cooking on a budget, IMO).

thin crust pizza dough recipe here.

delicious! my belly's growling for more as i write this!

Friday, May 15, 2009

very rare parrot flower

be sure to check these out the next time you're in thailand =)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

my second harvest

i can't believe how fast my lettuce has grown after only a few days!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

the finished cookie bouquets

these were a project and a half but worth it in the end. i hope the mommies who received them liked them! =)

Friday, May 8, 2009

from garden to dinner plate

my very first harvest!

Hungry For Change

"The industry doesn't want you to know the truth about
what you're eating, because if you knew,
you might not want to eat it".

I was fortunate to attend an advanced screening of Food, INC, an expose' on the food industry due out in theaters soon, thanks to my friend and former cooking-class teacher, Lisa Melian.

check out the trailer

The film was hard to digest at times (no pun intended) as it lifted the curtain hiding the truth of our food system. I must note that this movie was NOT a pro-vegan/vegetarian flick - in fact, vegetarianism was not even mentioned. Instead, this film urges us, the consumers, to educate ourselves on where our food is coming from so we can make healthier, more humane choices for all living beings and our planet.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

portobello mushroom taco salad with guacamole and corn pico de gallo

jesus spreadable christ on a cracker, this taco salad was the best i've ever had! (i read that cracker thing last night and find it necessary to use it often now. sorry missy =)

seriously, the addition of cilantro puts any mexican meal over the top. and it's inexpensive! i will be growing it myself this summer so if all goes to plan, i may have some to share!

to make this tasty taco salad for two, you will need:

2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado
1 lime
corn on the cob
peppers or onions(optional)
1/2 can refried beans
1/2 bag tortilla chips

first gather the ingredients and get the water boiling for the corn. as soon as the water begins to boil, add corn, cover, and cook 2-10 minutes, depending on how soft you like it.

meanwhile, place sliced portobellos in a skillet over medium high heat with a few Tbsp water (enough to cover the bottom). sprinkle with seasoning (i used garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, chili powder, and salt). allow mushrooms to steam until tender, stirring often and adding water if needed to keep the mushrooms from sticking.

as the corn and shrooms are cooking, make guacamole and corn pico de gallo. dice your tomato, peel your avocado, and slice your lime. (you may also want to start heating your refried beans in a small sauce pan over medium low heat).

mash avocado, half a tomato, cilantro, juice of half a lime, seasonings, and peppers if you'd like

pico de gallo:
mix half a tomato, cilantro, juice of half a lime, corn cut from one cooked cob (tongue twistas!) and diced onion if you'd like (i didn't use peppers or onions and it was still really flavorful)

happy belated Cinco de Mayo!!!


the start to my cookie bouquets...

i'll be doing the cookie baking tonight. tweaked my vegan sugar cookie recipe after noticing my cookies were spreading and rising way too much (some flowers were beginning to resemble animal paws), so we'll see how they turn out!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

my violas

Sunday, May 3, 2009

zucchini "crab" cakes

makes about 10

you will need:

around 4 C grated zucchini ( about 3 nice-sized zucchini)
2 eggs or egg replacers
3 T butter or Earth Balance vegan butter, melted
2 1/2 C Panko japanese bread crumbs and 3 T for coating
1/2 C unbleached all-purpose flour and 2 T for coating
3-4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (or to taste)
few T olive oil for frying

how to make these delicious little monsters:

Wash zucchini and shred using the larger side of a cheese grater (when using organic, I like to leave the skin on). Drain in a colander for at least 20 minutes. It's important you get most of the moisture out or else they will have a mushy texture. Occasionally press onto shredded zucchini using a potato smasher or a spatula. Right before you're ready to mix the ingredients, press about two paper towels onto the zucchini. By now it will look like you have about half of what you started with.

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, egg and butter. Stir in bread crumbs, flour and seasoning. Mix well.

Shape mixture into patties. Dredge in 2 T flour mixed with 3 T bread crumbs, or more.

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. Fry patties in oil until golden brown on both sides. Be very gentle when flipping them because they will fall apart if you're too rough.

Serve on your favorite whole grain roll (but watch out for high fructose syrup in the ingredients- thank you ang and darryl for pointing that out to me!) Tastes really yummy with cocktail sauce. Extra patties can be frozen to be reheated later for a quick meal.

You will be amazed at how delicious these are!
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