Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Houston's Veggie Burgers

I swear I never intended to orphan the blog...and yet...So, here we go with renewed vigor!

One of the best veggie burgers I've ever had is at Houston's (unless you're in Newport Beach, where it's Gulf Stream, and in NY where it's been renamed Hillstone--they're all the same company). It's black beans, something else yummy and just a little zing.

I found this recipe online, and it worked out pretty well. Then I read this article and figured out what would make it even better. So, I follow the recipe with the following modifications:
  • I brown the onions
  • I up the oat bran to 1/4 cup as one of the comments recommends
  • I add 3 chopped prunes to the whole mix before the egg
A couple of tips:

  • Start the rice very first thing (unless you have enough leftover in your fridge). I often forget & then the mix sits for 20 minutes while the rice finishes. In my experience, if you get the rice going and then start assembling/chopping, it's finished right after you've gotten everything else done.
  • I use a spoon to mash the beans. It's because I don't have a dishwasher and don't want to have to clean the food processor. By the time I'd get it out of its tucked away corner of the cabinet, put it together, process the stuff and clean it, I could have mashed them with a big spoon and worked out my triceps.
  • I find the beets and jalapenos to be problematic--neither is an ingredient I really use anywhere else, and it's wasteful to me to buy a whole can of beets for 1 T. So, I've made beet & jalapeno ice cubes (not together, though next time...): Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap (neatly...if you can...) and pre-measure your chopped stuff in it. Freeze it up & then thaw what you need batch by batch. If you're not neat with the plastic wrap, the creases will freeze into the cubes & you'll have to let them thaw on their own (instead of microwaving) to make sure you don't accidentally mix some plastic into your burgers.
  • I make 6 burgers from this recipe, even though it says 4. It's a perfectly satisfying size, and the recipe goes a lot further. To make sure they are similarly sized, I flatten the mix in the bowl & score it.
  • The barbecue/honey mixture is the key to a nice crusty outside to the burgers. Don't be skimpy (in fact, I often end up making a little bit more so there's enough to go around). On that note, make sure your griddle/grill is HOT, otherwise the burgers won't get firm enough to flip without disintegrating.
  • If you're vegan, you could probably do without the egg, I'm just not sure if it would impact the binding of the burgers. They are a little delicate if you don't let them cook long enough.
  • I love these sandwich thin buns. Lots of different companies make them--we get ours at Trader Joe's. About 100 calories, and just enough to hold the burger together.
Dress it any way you like (pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, ketchup, mayo, whatever strikes your fancy) and enjoy!
With kale chips...recipe coming soon!