Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mini-Burgers


Here's a little cookbook that I love but don't hear mentioned very often: Vegetarian Burgers by Bharti Kirchner. She uses an amazing array unexpected ingredients to create her veggie burgers, almost all of which are vegan or can be easily veganized. For example, this burger patty is made from carrots, red lentils, millet, and sesame seeds. Three of our other favorites are made with quinoa and black beans, kasha and lima beans, and beets and mushrooms.
While I was making larger patties for last night's dinner I formed a few into mini-patties and set them aside in the fridge to broil in the morning. I also baked some whole wheat buns -- big buns for dinner and mini-buns for the mini-burgers. This morning I spread them with a touch of Vegenaise and packed them alongside pear slices and a Thinkorganic! Cashew Pecan Bar.
Verdict: I was worried that this wasn't going to be enough, but he couldn't quite finish the second burger so it was just about right. It's hard sometimes to know how much is enough, how much is too much. I think it changes, too, depending on the day and mood of the child. Oh, and can you tell St. Patrick's Day is coming up? 4 stars.

43 comments:

Twilight said...

i've been curious about this: do you get nervous about certain foods going "bad" before he eats them? I'd be worried about some things that are not kept on ice or in a thermos (which i see you use!). Do you use ice packs or anything?

I also made veggie burgers the other day for a pack lunch at work. I'd never made them by myself before, so it was quite the experience! But it was fun! :)

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Twilight -- The lunch box slips inside an insulated carrying case with space for a reusable ice pack, which I use when needed.

Taleia said...

I think Jennifer mentioned that the lunchbox has an ice-pack to keep everything cool. But, I've done a lot of food safety courses for work, and I can't think of anything off-hand that she's served that I'd be afraid of eating after 2+ hours. Most things that are problematic, temp wise, are animal products! (eggs, meat, etc)

I used to love making my own veggie burgers... I had my own recipe, though I don't think I ever wrote it down, so I'd have to start from scratch now. But hmm, hmm good!

Btw, what time zone is this blog in? I have to wait all day to see that morning's lunch... It just refreshed for me, and it's 7:22 PM!

Jennifershmoo said...

Pacific Time Zone -- it's only 4:30pm here!

Anonymous said...

has little shmoo been raised vegan from the start?

Taleia said...

I still wonder why it takes so long to show up... if you posted at 9:30, it's still several hours late.

Dreena said...

I love veggie burgers and patties, but I don't make them that often (always seems faster/easier to make a soup or casserole)! :)

That's the first I've heard of that cookbook, but what a great theme... thanks for the info!

shinyruby said...

i tried to make some patties the other day but they were waaaay too sloppy (and when i tried to cook them, they were burnt on the outside, sloppy on the inside!) eek!

does anyone have a good, failproof mini-burger recipe they want to share?

yours in hope!
shinyruby x

Taleia said...

I remember I always used a lot of broccoli... Need to go back and experiment... Oh, and zuchini!

Elena said...

I just love this blog. I don't have kids, but I'm getting great ideas for me and the partner.
One of our favorite last-minute meals that you might find to be shmoo-friendly: Prepare a box of Road's End Organics Shells and Chreese, then stir in a can of veggie chili and heat through.
I don't like the Chreese products on their own, but with the chili it's delicious!
And thanks for the links to the soy articles. Those folks have an agenda for sure.

michellejoe said...

I never make homemade veggie burgers because like shinyruby they always end up too "sloppy" and not the right consistency for a burger. Jennifershmoo, did you bake them or fry them on the stovetop?

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I still wonder why it takes so long to show up... if you posted at 9:30, it's still several hours late.

I've been wondering for so long when someone was going to notice that! The time listed on my posts is actually the time when I downloaded the image and began the text, usually in the morning after I get shmoo off to school. I wait until shmoo gets home to add on the "Verdict" and then publish the post. I just never remember to go back and change the time!

whiteteeth said...

Hi Jennifer:

Congrats on winning the bloggie. I voted for you. I visit your blog everyday but this is my first comment. I am not a vegan but I admire what you are doing. so much so that I even tried the silk lime yogurt. :)
I have a question... how hard is it to make sure that lil shmoo is able to handle peer pressure/curiousity/impulses when it comes to eating non-vegan foods. my friend's son is rationed sugary foods at home but when the parents are out of sight, he goes berserk. i have caught him eating spoonfuls of sugar straight out of sugarbowls. it is like a drug to him and he is also becoming quite clever in manipulating situations.

Veggie Mom in California said...

I was wondering what annonymous up there said^^. Was schmoo raised vegan from the start? If not how did you get him to go vegan? Any advice would be much appreciated! I have two little girls and I really want to incorporate more veggie items into their menus (I'm a vegetarian). Thanx, Jennifer!! And I love your blog, I have used several of your ideas and they have all worked great!!

R2K said...

Very Cute :)

R2K

Taleia said...

Hey, here's a quick question: Does anyone have a good recipe for curry? My boss makes a mean vegetarian curry, with potatoes, carrots, etc, and I can't find a curry sauce recipe.

Shelly said...

As to the food in the lunchbox going bad thing...it would be rare that a vegan meal would go 'bad' after only a few hours. I pack mine and my son's lunch at around seven in the morning, and neither one of us eats before noon...and there have been no problems. I think the problems arise when you're packing meat or eggs or dairy.

Jennifershmoo said...

He was not raised vegan from the start -- he was omni like his dad until he made the choice to go veggie last year. So I guess meat holds no big attraction for him. "Been there, done that". When offered, he politely refuses, and knowing it's a dead animal kind of grosses him out, it seems.

Sugar, now that's another story!

>>Jennifershmoo, did you bake them or fry them on the stovetop?

I broiled them in the oven.

Sara Sullivan said...

Great site Jennifer! I check every day and have incorporated some of your ideas into lunches for my husband. We are not vegan but have slowly been cutting out animal products. Everyone at his office is absolutely bowled over when he comes in with fresh, healthy food and they are ordering in sausage pizza every day. I think they are actually sort of in awe of him and his "ways."

As for mini-burgers, a good recipe I like is called "Two-Bean Burgers" from Cooking Light. You basically combine a can each kidney and black beans with some corn kernels, breadcrumbs, and chopped onion. They call for an egg to keep everything together, but you could easily use something else as a binder. Cook them in a little oil until brown and crispy and serve them with spicy ketchup (add honey, lime juice, chili powder and cumin to regular ketchup). They are easy and delicious.

Sara Sullivan said...

Oops! I forgot honey is not vegan. Some other sweetener such as brown rice syrup would work just fine in the spicy ketchup as well.

choirfiend said...

Jennifer, maybe this is something you should keep updated b/c you're sure asked it a lot, but do you have a timeline on the cookbook coming out? I have recommended your site to many people who are trying to fast Ortho-style, and I know that I'm dying to get my hands on your recipes.

Also, I have been experimenting with recipes from "When You Fast: Recipes for Lenten Seasons" by Catherine Mandell, which is a cookbook created over a decade or two of food that is in accordance with Orthodox fasting practices. It's not entirely vegan, but there are a lot of recipes that are. So far, I have liked everything that I have made--and so have others! She has a great TVP Falafel and a wonderful scalloped potatoes that disappeared like Houdini tonight after Presanctified. You may want to check it out!! Let me know if you try it!

jessica sue said...

i've been a long time lurker, first itme commenter-- but i couldn't take it any longer! why do you use paper napkins instead of cloth ones? wouldnt it be more environmentally friendly to use cloth? just curious!

Angela said...

Ooh, I've never heard of that cookbook! (And my husband would attest that I avidly collect veggie cookbooks.) Sometimes there are great ones that slip by without a lot of attention.

Lately I've been making the walnut-lentil burgers out of Vegan Planet (called something modest like 'the best veggie burgers ever' or such). They're held together with flax and gluten, and stay together better than even the store-bought seitan burgers we can get here.

For many years I shied away from making my own because my first experiments, back when I was 12, were a total disaster. In retrospect, a lot of my cooking went wrong then because my parents used to love vidalia onions so much that those were all they bought. (These are fairly huge sweet yellow onions) For a long time I thought a 'small onion' was about 3" in diameter! So anything loaf- or burger-like I made with them turned to mush.

Anyway, the lunch looks great! Thanks for the mini-burger idea, I am always looking for meals that can be eaten mostly by hand on the go without a lot of mess. (My husband has class for 7 straight hours with no lunch break once a week.) Maybe I'll try making faux veggie sliders again!

melissa said...

Thank you so much for this idea! Thanks to you, I'm getting much more creative with our vegan meals (we eat mostly vegetarian, but with some omnivorous tendencies). Also, you've helped me realize our family was missing something big...a decent lunch! In three days, our late night after-dinner cravings have disappeared and we're feeling so much better. I've even started our own lunch diary (linked with my name). Again, fabulous job and thank you!

Anonymous said...

Overly sloppy veggie-burger mix can be salvaged by adding instant mashed potato powder to the mix.

Yeah, it's a pretty trashy ingredient, but nothing else I've used is quite so effective at saving dinner.

Anonymous said...

I like this lunch. Cute little burger patties. The buns look great. My homemade buns always turn out into little round balls. Doesn't matter how I make them. (lol)

Marjolein said...

Thanks for explaining the time thingy on your posts.
Since I live in the Netherlands I calculated which time you'd usually post in my timezone but it's never there at that time. I always have to wait till the next morning to read it.
Mystery solved!

Christine said...

Just wanted to let you know that I am mentioning your blog in Parent Line, a parenting tabloid serving the Southern Maryland area, in April 2006. Keep up the fun, yummy work!

peas n onions said...

I've been reading your blog since the beginning, but finally got around to commenting. Obviously, great blog, great food, etc...etc... but I have a question:

What type of vegan food do you bring on trips? I have packed in a bag for a sports tournement 6 mini rice milks, 9 luna bars, some carob chips, banana chips, and trail mix. The hotel gives free breakfast of bagels, fruit and cereal. I can't really think of anything to bring (I also have 200 canadian dollars) but last time I brought this ammount I starved. Help?

Kourtney said...

peas n onions -- how much of an issue is extra weight in your luggage? If it's not a big deal, a big bag of apples and another of carrots is a good idea. Also, dry roasted soy nuts are a great source of protein on the road.

Anonymous said...

how long is the trip...

erica said...

Hi Jennifer! I was just wondering what recipe you use to make your buns?

thank! Looks awesome!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>They call for an egg to keep everything together

One of the big things I like about the recipes in "Vegetarian Burgers" is that they don't require eggs, where so many veggie burger recipes do.

>>why do you use paper napkins instead of cloth ones?

I had a beautiful collection of fun kid-sized cloth napkins that I used in the lunch box (thanks to Dee!), but he lost/threw away every single one of them (as well as all four lunch box spoons and at least two of his plastic containers -- sigh). I just haven't had time to make any to replace them.

>>What type of vegan food do you bring on trips?

Well, last summer we took a train trip across the country and had to pack all our own food. Let's see, I remember rice crackers and a jar of Garden of Eatin' hummus (doesn't require refrigeration), oat bran pretzels, a big tub of peanut butter, trail mix, breakfast bars, apples, fruit cups, soy milk and juice boxes, tofurky jerky, and some muffins. The main part of each meal, though, were the individual serving-sized pop-top cans of vegetables: lima beans, corn, green beans, beets, spinach, peas, and mixed veggies. We drained off the water and ate them cold. You can find them at most grocery stores. If you have access to hot water you can also buy dry cereal and soup cups.

>>what recipe you use to make your buns?

I didn't follow a recipe. Most of my bread baking now is a rather impulsive throwing together of this and that, unless I'm writing a recipe.

shannon said...

i seriously think you are so cute/wonderful. when i have children of my own i want to pack lunches like this (maybe not vegan) everyday!!

- shannon

Beth said...

A couple of hints for great veggie patties that stick together thru the cooking process:
-First, make sure everything is really really dry. Squeeze the juice out, drain ir blot everything well.
-If they still don't hold together, you could try adding a tsp or two of vital wheat gluten (I use Bob's Red Mill). It's a powder that acts as a wonderful glue (for those of us that are not wheat intolerant.)
-If all of this still doesn't work, try refrigerating the mix until it's nice and chilled. And if you're pan frying - don't mess with them in the pan - the more you move them around or flip them, the more likely they are to fall apart.

Jennifer - I love the blog! Keep up the good work.

Coyote said...

Hi Jennifer,

Wonderful blog! I'm curious about the buns as well. How do you get them into "bun" shape? Do you use muffin cups? Or is there a special pan or tray? Thanks!

Autumn said...

hi there,

just came across your blog. i am also a vegan and we are raising our two year old the same :) your sites cute (hope you don't mind that i linked you on mine) - wanna come over & make lunches for my family?

autumn :)

Jennifershmoo said...

>>How do you get them into "bun" shape? Do you use muffin cups? Or is there a special pan or tray?

No, I shaped them with my hands, kind of rolling them into a ball then flattening them out.

Sexy Vegan Chick said...

They look yummy. Shmoo is one lucky kid.

rosemaryfromoregon said...

Seriously, Jennifer, what ARE all of us going to do over summer vacation?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer, Wondering where you buy the ThinkOrganic bars from?

red said...

thank you








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