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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Earth Burgers on Not Really Buns

Like many of you, I'm sure, I collect far too many cookbooks - with best intentions, of course - and never end up using them. They get lost on the shelf, perused and put aside, I cook from whatever I have, or rely on recipes on the internet. I'm trying to put a stop to that and deliberately picked up a cookbook I would otherwise have no reason to - but who really needs a reason?
I pulled Joni Newman's The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet off the cookbook shelf and flipped through. I'm pretty sure G strongly influenced my purchasing this book. Joni's books are inventive, gorgeous, and a lot of fun to read but I personally don't eat the way her cookbooks would have it. G is the burger person. I like...salads.
So we compromised. I made the Earth Burger, which is full of veggies, has simple ingredients I either had on hand or could easily buy, and was even photographed atop a salad! At the same time, it wasn't something I would have come up with on my own and sounded hearty enough that it would be an actual burger and something both G and I would enjoy.
The recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked rice - so I started that first and at the same time, worked on Amey's recipe for english muffins. While The Best Veggie Burgers has recipes for buns and rolls, I opted for the muffins because they'd been bookmarked for a long time and I feel like they're more versatile (i.e. I can eat them anytime! I'd feel weird eating a burger bun for breakfast or a snack.)



Amey's came out way better looking than mine did and I had a hell of a time forming the balls, but they taste exactly like I remember english muffins, even if they're too thin to "fork-split." The most fun part is rolling them in cornmeal!
SO. Bread part down, rice having cooked, I set to the burgers. Chop, mix, pour, let sit, and bake. Easy. The recipe (you can find it online here!) calls for sauteeing mushrooms and garlic in a skillet but I needed the skillet for the muffins and I also didn't feel like that step (and that extra oil) was necessary, so I tossed them raw in with the rest of the ingredients. The veggies and rice make for a pretty chunky mixture and I wasn't sure everything would hold together, but it did (vital wheat gluten and soy flour do the binding work.)


They are browned and crispy on the outside from the wild rice and corn, and chewy inside. I served mine on a salad (romaine, spinach, celery, avocado, red onion, tomato) with a tahini-mustard dressing.


And G had his on a muffin.


We both really enjoyed the burger. Haxan was very interested in them too.
I'd like to keep exploring the veggie burger book. A lot of it relies on TVP, wheat gluten, and some processed ingredients a bit more than I'd prefer but recipes that apply are clearly marked as "Wheat free" or "Soy free." Browsing through, there's a Oktoberfest Kraut burger, an Ethiopian Berbere patty, a Super Quinoa burger, and a Potato Samosa burger - all of which I'd especially like to try, and soon.
Joni does what she knows and does it well so I can't wait for the next time. Does anyone else have this book? Or have a favorite type of burger?

17 comments:

  1. I don't have this book, but those burgers look like something I'd love. I'm impressed that you made your own english muffins! I love having them for breakfast.

    I'll be bookmarking the burger recipe to try later. We very rarely buy cookbooks anymore because we had so many we never used. Sold all but 3 of them after taking the recipes we wanted out of them.

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  2. So I was totally sold on this amazing and hearty looking burger until I saw the wheat gluten. I was a little bummed about it but then I saw how you served it on a salad and basically decided that I'm going to deconstruct this burger and use it as salad toppings! Corn, broccoli, wild rice (sprouted?!), and mushrooms? sounds like a hell of a great salad to me!

    Those english muffins look amazing! I think it was a great idea to use them as the bread and you are totally right, they are way more versatile than a more traditional bun.

    Great looking meal and adorable kitty as always! And thanks for the inspiration, this will be a great summer salad!

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  3. I am so into your English muffins! Good god, they look delicious. Your take on this meal sounds and looks incredibly delicious. Haxan is such a superb name for a cat. I have a problem with "burgers" that is somehow psychological and that I wish I could get over. I love to eat them but can't really make them for myself...

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    1. Hi zoa- i hope this doesnt sound too simplistic, but i often turn veg burger pattys/mixture into meatless balls- weird, but a few smaller balls of the same mixture arent as intimidating....Or burger like.

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    2. Hi zoa- i hope this doesnt sound too simplistic, but i often turn veg burger pattys/mixture into meatless balls- weird, but a few smaller balls of the same mixture arent as intimidating....Or burger like.

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  4. Wow! Baking bread is rough, your venture looks pretty good, though! The Earth Burgers sound really delicious.

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  5. I was just talking about how I NEVER use my cookbooks and really need them to learn new styles to brak out of my cooking rut.

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  6. Oh my gosh, I can't believe you made vegan English muffins. Those are one of the things I didn't even realize I was missing until I saw yours and now I'm imagining one filled with tofu scramble, cheddar Daiya, and ketchup. YUM!!

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  7. Joni is a cool lady! I have a few of her cookbooks - not that one, though I want it. Her recipes do tend to be rich and comfort food-y, and though I use wheat gluten sometimes I pretty much never use TVP, but her recipes are the kind of vegan food that would impress omnivores, which is important!

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  8. The English muffins look good and English-muffiny — who needs perfectly round muffins, anyway? I love(ed) homemade English muffins. We have a burger divide here, too. There's always a giant box of vegan burgers from Costco in the freezer, and they all get eaten by my husband. I may have one from the box, or none. I'm not opposed to burgers, but I like salad for lunch. I used to sometimes make burgers (they never had gluten flour) but I just don't seem to be in the habit anymore. Maybe you'll inspire me with your experiments!

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  9. molly, good for you for cutting back on yr books so drastically. I wish I could do that...and I have with some, but others are either in terrible condition or I just KNOW I'd regret and have separation anxiety! So dumb, since there really is so much info online.

    VAVA, I almost feel bad posting recipes with gluten in them sometimes! It must be such a bummer, but a deconstructed salad is a fantastic idea; I'm sure they'd taste just as good. Sometimes cutting out the gluten can make you more inventive!

    Zoa, I saw another recipe for English muffins that calls for both baking in the oven and cooking them on the skillet - I think the skillet cooking makes them suuuper good. A bit of oil will do that, I guess ;)

    Ingrid, I bought a bunch of yeast that I want to use up and then NEVER USE AGAIN! It is really cool to see the reaction and the dough rising and all but, ugh, what a mess. It's always so sticky for me.

    S&S, that's definitely a bonus. I've cut back on buying so many but I still have a ton hanging around.

    Abby, you should really try making them! Alternately, they do have vegan (and sprouted) muffins that people seem to like but I don't feel like spending that kind of money. These have like 4 ingredients.

    Allysia, yeah that's pretty much how I feel. I totally appreciate that other people would like Joni's dishes. I actually bought Hearty meals because it was so gorgeous and sounded so fun but I gave it away (to G's family - mostly vegetarians and one decidedly omni dad) because I knew I didn't want to eat any of that stuff. TVP kinds of creeps me out.

    Andrea, you have to use up the Costco stuff! Burgers are pretty fun and I'm coming to learn they're super easy to improvise. I'd like to see what you come up with, if you re-attempt!

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  10. 3 bookcases of cookbooks here and adding! Amey's (and your ) muffins look great. Veggie burgers every which way (Volger) doesn't use a lot of fillers...just in case you need yet another burger book!

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  11. English Muffins seem like those things that just can't be made at home, I don't know why. Did your's have nooks and crannies?

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  12. Susan, do you cook from them often?? I think I've seen that cookbook around but haven't really gone through it much. Thanks for letting me know - I will check it out and after much contemplation, decide if I need it :)

    Shen, they actually did! I think it was from having bubbled up on the skillet - they were kind of like pancakes in that way. But you seem to be pretty happy with yr Ezekiels.

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    1. Read them like novels and then go for inspiration when I have CSA overflow. I got the cookbook from a contest and I have used it...spinach and chickpea and quinoa walnut burgers and a Shen favorite...pretzel rolls.

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  13. Looking at those burgers made me salivate..

    Enough said.

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  14. These sound and look incredible! I've never been a burger girl but I do adore English Muffins (usually spread with nut butter and maple syrup... :P ) and I love the sound of the complex flavours of the burger1

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