Monthly Archives: April 2010

>How it All Went Down

>Okay, so this is what happened.

Around December I became suddenly interested in making my own veggie burgers. It’s normal for me to go through food phases of this kind.

There was a year in college of being obessed by hummus; I made every flavor of hummus you could imagine with every kind of legume you could imagine… I suspect I have some friends who still can’t eat hummus after that year.

There was a year when I couldn’t find a real job and decided to say “Fuck it all, I’m just going to open an ice cream shop.” I made ice cream every week for a year… for some reason my friends didn’t mind that phase.

Last year it was waffles. Not over that yet.

The veggie burger thing hit hard. I made some very successful and tasty Kasha Burgers (taste’s GREAT when fried in butter). There were very successful (and fat-free) Lentil and Sweet Potato Burgers. Then I tried to make a Japanese-esque Edamame Burger.

I was inspired by an old Vegetarian Times recipe that I love for a Miso-Edamame Spread that goes on wasabi rice crackers. It’s super fast to make and is spiked with pickled ginger juice and scallions. Top it with pickled ginger…. LOVE LOVE LOVE. For many years.

While researching I discovered this Food Network recipe for Edamame Veggie Burgers. I read it and of course never followed a single direction… cause I know so much about cooking I can make a veggie burger on my own, right? No prob!

In the end I cooked about 1/2 bag of edamame and made a batch of brown rice. I finely diced some scallions, radishes, and carrots. I put about 3/4 of the edamame into my beloved food processor with some soy sauce, pickled ginger and ginger juice, bread crumbs, an egg, sesame oil, sriracha sauce, and miso and made it into a paste. I transfered the paste to a mixing bowl and stirred in the rest of the edamame and all the veggies. I wanted to eat them on english muffins with a spicy mayo, avocado, and alfalfa sprouts.

I tried to form it into patties for frying. They completely disintegrated but were pretty tasty. In frustration and self-loathing I quickly lost interest and froze the rest of the mix in lumps. Promptly forgot about it. I think that was in February.

……… now in April.

Yesterday I was trying to figure out what the heck I wanted to do with an avocado that was nearing the end of its natural life-span. Plus I had discovered that Grand Rapids has a local tortilla-making company and had a huge bag of soft-taco shells on hand. I had everything to make my famous Plantain and Black Bean Quesadillas on hand, but I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately by the amount of cheese that I eat. Then I remembered the ol’ Edamame Burger Mix, still in the freezer. I remembered how well traditional French and Vietnamese foods combine to make Bahn Mi sandwiches. I remembered a radio article I’d heard on a groundbreaking hybridized Korean Taco foodtruck that tweets its location as it moves around Los Angelas at 2am.

Now I give you Japanese Soft Tacos! I thawed the Edamame Burger mix and then fried it (as the structure disintegrated) in a hot skillet w/ a tiny bit of peanut oil. I mixed up a small batch of Spicy Mayo (reduced-fat mayo, sriracha sauce, squeeze of agave nectar). I heated another skillet and lightly toasted flour tortillas on each side. I then filled the tortillas with Edamame Mix, sliced avocado, Spicy Mayo, and micro-greens lettuce. I had enough of everything to make 3. I ate 2 with some strawberries, packed 1 for lunch.

Holy crap these were freaking GREAT! This was the best and most innovative meal I’ve made for myself in a long time.

See… I couldn’t even get a good picture because I was too busy EATING THIS AWESOME THING!

When I cook for myself I know exactly how unhealthy my fat intake is, I know exactly how many veggies and carbs I’m getting. I get to be innovative, hell I get to be downright playful. I never have to worry about whether my food is truly vegetarian. I can sample all the classic world foods that aren’t vegetarian. I never have an unexpected run-in with American cheeze.

Cook guys. Cook for yourself. Save the mistakes for later success.

>From field to table.

>Hello long-lost friends,

I think I’ve lost the drive to foodblog because there is so little interest in my cooking round these parts. Let’s be frank, everyone thinks I’m a hippie freak, eats a ton of meat (and is pissed that I don’t), and doesn’t cook anyway.

In spite of this social climate my super-cute boyfriend has become a willing conspirator in my latest plan to: a)become more familiar with wild edibles, b) find and forage said edibles, c) clean and prepare said edibles, and d) cook the results in traditional or innovative and always tasty recipes.

First of the year:

Stinging Nettles

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I spend a lot of time rollerskating on local trails and I always keep an eye out for edibles as I go. It took a few weeks for the nettles to appear but now that they’re up I can’t possibly harvest all that I’ve found, especially since they’re going totally crazy in Big Rapids. But it turned out that tracking down the nettles south of Howard City was difficult. We finally found a few patches along the White Pine Trail. In fact, P. spotted the first ones!!

I’ve now put together a forager’s backpack that I can take with me on skates. It has plastic bags, gardening and latex gloves, scissors, and a forager’s handbook. I can stick my shoes in the bag and skate to the area where I found the edibles (saved on my phone’s GPS), then switch to foot. Kneepads are actually useful for kneeling to harvest plants. It’s perfect!

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Stinging nettles heartily fulfill the promise of their name and you cannot touch them with your hands. I wear a glove on one hand to pick up the plants and cut them with scissors in my other hand. When cooking I wore gloves and used tongs, never touching them.

After harvesting the nettles needed to be separated from various other weeds and dirt that ended up in their bag and the leaves themselves had to be removed from their stems. This was an incredibly time consuming process.

Leaves were then cleaned in a salad spinner:

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Then they were transferred to a steamer and cooked for about 5min.

The cooked leaves were transfered to some cheesecloth and all moisture was squeezed out.

The remaining tiny parcels of cooked leaves went into the food processor and were pureed.

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Part of the puree was added to the blender and became part of some crazy dutch baby batter. It came out great! And green!

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The rest of the nettle puree stayed in the food processor and I added ingredients to make a pesto: garlic, asiago cheese, brazil nuts, salt, lemon, olive oil, butter.

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Truthfully I was worried that we wouldn’t like the actual nettle flavor and I added too much garlic and salt. It tastes great! But it’s a bit much. Luckily I have 1 bag of nettles left to clean and cook, I’m going to add them to the pesto after they’re done. Hopefully it’ll take the intensity down a notch.

Now, that was a lot of work, but not too nettlesome? Eh? Delicious!