Remember last week’s threat to make that recipe I shared with you all using kale? Well, I tried it and while I was at it, mixed it all up, using rice noodles instead of just rice and then because I had some mushrooms I had to use up, I threw those in as well as some onions for flavor.
I rather liked it.
I did not blanche the kale, rather sort of loosely chopped it before throwing it in the saute pan. I did however, boil the tofu, but did it in the same pot I did the noodles in, saving a pot. I cooked the tofu first, then scooped it out with a slotted spoon before dumping the noodles in. I felt rather ingenious when I did this. Not that my clean up crew noticed I had been efficient in my pot choices, but I knew I had been, so there was that.
Another recent successful dinner experiment were some vegan bean burgers. I used beans that are sort of soft to begin with – great northern and pinto beans – so I didn’t need to add any additional liquid to make the burgers hold together. I cooked the beans for a few minutes, then smashed/stirred them with a wooden spoon, slowly adding flour until they reached a good consistency. “You could feel it as you stirred that the mixture was getting stiff”is my professional description of when to stop mushing the beans with the back of a wooden spoon/adding flour.
I topped them with baby greens from the garden, but then canceled out the vegan with big fat slices of cheese and cancelled all virtuousness of the dinner by serving it with tots. I had been working in the yard, digging up the hellebore/blue hostas bed (which was way harder than I thought it would be and no wonder I don’t thin the hostas as much as I need to), when I had to stop to pick up Edie at soccer practice at school which meant dealing with UVa hospital traffic at 5:00 on a Friday, which made me late, (always fun when your kid is the last one to get picked up at soccer practice) so on the way home I stopped at Reid’s and picked up a six pack of Rolling Rock for myself (which by the way, is not nearly as good I as remember it being) and while we were there, I took suggestions for dinner and as we walked past the freezers, Edie sort of longingly stared at the bags of tots, so I grabbed one, which shocked my daughter to no end. They were the organic ones, so there was at least a shred of nutritional value in them and served with organic ketchup probably made a good half serving of actual vegetables, right? And they balanced out the virtuousness of the homemade vegan bean burgers with my uber local arugula on a Friday night, which is exactly how it should be, since everyone at my house winces when I make anything vegan.
Vegan Bean Burgers
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, shredded
some minced garlic
two cans beans, at least one soft, like great northern or pinto beans
a few teaspoons flour
In olive oil, saute onion, carrot and garlic for a few minutes. Add beans and cook for a few minutes more, mashing the beans with the back of the spoon as you stir. Add salt, pepper and any other spices (I like chili powder). Remove from heat and add flour until mixture feels sticky to spoon. Let cool for a few minutes, then shape into patties. Dip patties into cornmeal, then drop into preheated pan with oil. Fry on each side for 8-10 minutes or until crispy. Serve on buns with your favorite burger fixings.