Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm No Veggie Burger Cook

I can't tell you how many times I cursed this contest, wanted to quit and not show up, thought about punching Andrew in the face for getting me into this. It's one of the most discouraging things when patty after patty crumbles in a pan, won't adhere, or what's worse-- when it works out and tastes like crap.

Vegan burgers have the unique issue of trying to form patties without eggs to hold them together. And from that, I've discovered it's damn near impossible to make a vegan patty without beans. They're the vegan magical clue that binds all. Unless you're a big corporation with isolate soy protein and fancy chemicals. But I'm not.

My first burger was the black bean potato that I posted about a few days ago. I loved that burger, but I think Andrew was right to point out it was too soft. Coincidentally, one of the other contest entries was a Masala Potato Burger, so I'm glad we opted out of this one.

My second burger was suggested by a commenter [[Chris]]-- the vegan dad burger. I've only used this burger as gyro meat, and for whatever reason it failed for me as a burger. They were falling apart, and didn't get that stretchy, meaty texture I enjoy. I topped it like my Gambit hot dog: with creole sauce and fried onions.

Ultimately, I stuck with the gambit hot dog toppings, and made a seitan black bean burger. The road to this burger, however, was paved with many failures.

The night before I had tried making a straight sausage style seitan burger, but my ghetto homemade steamer wasn't getting the job done. I took the ghetto steamer off the stove, and stormed out of the kitchen. I told Andrew I quit and refused to go back for a good 10 minutes. It was about 11 at night, and I wasn't really in the mood for sudden apparatus failures.

I eventually came back, finished cooking the "sausage" seitan, instead boiling it in water like regular seitan. All the flavor and peppers were drained from the it while cooking and it wound up tasting like regular seitan when it was all done. At that point, I was really getting frustrated.

I didn't know what to do. All I had was a can of black beans. For some reason, I didn't want to do a black bean burger. I wanted to do something different. Alas, I chopped up all the seitan into tiny pieces, mashed up some black beans, and pureed a chili paste, pattied them, and baked them.

When they were done, my first two burgers just fell apart in the pan. I was about done with this contest, and began to satisfy myself with the idea that I was just not going to bring a burger. But I couldn't do it . . .

So, in the end, I made second batch, had Andrew help [[because he's awesome]] and he chopped up the seitan super tiny this time, and voila. I could only make 5 burgers, because I was out of ingredients, but they adhered and tasted great.

The contest itself was awesome. I won. I beat what I consider to be three very formidable opponents -- a masala potato, a meatless griller, and an artichoke burger. Check out the Cincinnati Beacon for more on the contest. Thanks again for all your help. The black bean/spicy combo conquered all.

[[I'll post the burger reciple tomorrow, too]]


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

You're a trooper!! I'm too intimidated to make them, haha. And congratulations on winning!!

chris said...

sorry my suggestion didn't work out. way to hang in there, though. congratulations on your victory! lookin forward to the recipe.

Unknown said...

Chris --

It was a good suggestion. I think maybe I screwed it up somehow? I ordinarily love them as 'gyro' meat. Thanks for the help!

VeggieGirl --

Try making some! You might surprise yourself.

evolution said...

Congrats on your victory! Those Marsala potato burgers from TJs are pretty tasty so you must have came up with something really, really good.

Unknown said...

evolution -

I really liked those Masala burgers, too. They brought some mango chutney to put on it that added a sweet Indian tang to it, too, that was also from Trader Joe's.