Best Ever Big and Wheaty Burgers

So you know I’m on a freekeh mission, and here’s another installment in the Whole Grain Sampling Day series featuring the amazing grain. I’m also a huge fan of burgers, and I consider myself to be a burger snob, but I’m ok with that. I like burgers to hold together, to have some bite, tons of flavors, and a crispy outer texture. The bun should be soft, not the burger!

With all that in mind, I think these are truly the very best burgers I’ve ever made. As an added bonus, they are super easy to make. If you only try one freekeh recipe in my mini series, let it be this one!

Best Ever Big and Wheaty Burger

Best Ever Big and Wheaty  Burgers

These burgers are juicy and full  of flavor  – a true vegan dream burger! As written, this makes 10 burgers, but for Huge and Wheaty burgers, divide the mixture into 6 burgers instead. They are a little more juicy (and I think slightly better– but BIG) when made into 6 burgers.  Note: the freekeh will want to fall out of the burgers. When making the balls, I stick my thumb in the center of the portion and pack some of the renegade freekeh in the center, and also smash it into the rolled burger. It’s what really makes the texture of these burgers, so incorporate as much as you can without being obsessive.

For the burgers:

2 cups vital wheat gluten

1 cup cooked cracked freekeh

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon onion powder

1 cup vegetable broth

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari

2 tablespoons organic ketchup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Neutral-flavored oil, for cooking

For the cooking broth:

3 cups vegetable broth

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari

1 tablespoon organic ketchup

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Salt and black pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 300°F .
Stir together the vital wheat gluten, freekeh, garlic powder, and onion powder in a medium-size bowl. Stir together the broth, tamari, ketchup, and liquid smoke. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Add an additional tablespoon of broth or vital wheat gluten, if needed, to form a cohesive dough. Knead a few minutes, then divide into 10 equal portions, about 2. 7 ounces each. Sandwich the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, and roll out to about 3 inches across, and 1/2 inch thick. You may need to pinch parts of the burger together, or “patch” them. As the dough sticks together well, it shouldn’t be an issue. (For 6 burgers, roll them slightly larger than 3 inches – obviously, they will be thicker!).

Heat a thin layer of neutral oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers (in batches) for 3 to 5 minutes, until browned. Turn over to cook the second side, for 3 to 4 minutes, until browned.

Stir together the cooking broth ingredients in a large roasting pan. As the burgers are browned, put them into the broth. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven for 1 hour longer. Let cool in any remaining broth. The burgers can be wrapped airtight and frozen, or refrigerated for up to 3 days.

When serving, be sure the burgers are thawed if they have been frozen. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook for 3 to 6 minutes, until browned and crisp. Turn over to cook the second side in the same way, then serve on buns with your favorite toppings.

Yield: 10 burgers, at a cooked weight of 4 ounces each

 

Advance copy!

And this happened this week! The book is available for pre-order  now. Be ready for some fun surrounding the book, too! In the meantime, I’ll be perusing this advance copy.

 

Tempeh Lentil Soup with Freekeh

I know, I’ve brought up the topic of freekeh on my blog before, and I hope you’ve checked it out. But if you haven’t tried it yet, now you can take part in the Whole Grain Sampling Day!  Even that day might be new to you, as it was to me.  It’s a day set aside to encourage all of us to eat more whole grains.

As you might have guessed, I’m taking on freekeh as a personal mission. First off, it’s fun to say! According to what I’ve read, it’s an ancient Middle Eastern grain that is popular in  many regions, with many different pronunciations. I’m taking that to mean you can’t go wrong in how you say it, which adds to the fun factor. The grain comes from young, green wheat, which is sun-dried and rubbed to yield small grains that remind me of barley. It’s available in a whole form and a cracked form. In my experience, they can be used interchangeably, as long as they are cooked according to the package directions. The taste is a little smoky and slightly nutty, and it’s packed with protein and fiber. I’m fortunate in being able to pick it up at Whole Foods locally, but if you can’t, it’s worth buying it online. Check out Freekehlicious  and Freekeh Foods for more information and recipes. And check back here every Friday in March for a new recipe featuring my latest favorite find.

Although Celine and I know our way around most whole grains (yes, we wrote Whole Grain Vegan Baking), it’s always exciting to encounter new vegan ingredients. Join others on April 2nd in trying new whole grains! And join in a discussion on whole grains and Whole Grain Vegan Baking with the Dr. Don Show, Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 6 PM Eastern!

 

Tempeh Lentil Soup with Freekeh

Tempeh Lentil Soup with Freekeh

Lentil soup is always a favorite, but with a tempeh bacon base layer and the addition of the toothsome freekeh, the lovely lentil soars to new heights.  With soups being such a comfort food, this is an ideal way to try freekeh. Keep in mind that cooked freekeh can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 8 days, making it ideal for quick and easy meals throughout the week.

1 tablespoon high heat neutral-flavored oil

1 (6 ounce) package tempeh bacon, chopped

1/2 medium onion, minced

1 large carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 cup small cauliflower florets

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup French green lentils

6 cups water

2 teaspoons vegan  vegetable bouillon paste

1 tablespoon tamari

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional

1/2 cup cooked cracked freekeh

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the tempeh bacon and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the onion through (and including) the tarragon. Stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the lentils, water, bouillon paste, tamari, and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Stir in the freekeh, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

 

 

Tahini and Radish Freekeh Salad

I’ve been cooking with feekeh a lot lately. It’s an amazing ancient grain that I’ve just recently been seeing in stores. Freekeh is made from young green wheat which is roasted and thrashed to remove the berries.  It’s slightly nutty in taste with a texture similar to barley. For the full nutritional breakdown, check out the Freekehlicious page. 

I’ve been able to find freekeh in both natural food stores and well-stocked groceries, but I wouldn’t hesitate to order it online if that was my only source. I’ve fallen in love with it, and think you will, too. I’ve been using whole freekeh, but if all you can find is cracked (like some of my West Coast friends), get it! Just follow the cooking time on the package.

Expect to see more recipes for it here on my blog, as well as in the book  that Celine and I are currently writing which is a protein book. I wish I’d known about this wonder grain when we were writing Vegan Finger Foods!

Tahini and Radish Freekeh Salad

 

Tahini and Radish Freekeh Salad

Healthy and satisfying, this protein-packed salad will keep you energized for hours. I love the pairing of the roasted radishes, which become almost sweet, with the crunch of the fresh ones, all made better since it’s on peppery arugula.  If you prefer a spicier dressing, feel free to add 1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha to the salad dressing.

1 large scallion

2  watermelon radishes, about 8 ounces  (can also use breakfast radishes, or the spicier red radishes)

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon tamari

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups prepared whole freekeh, cooled

1 medium carrot, grated

1/2 cup (1/2-inch pieces) snow peas

Salt and pepper

4 large handfuls baby arugula

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Chop one of the radishes into 1/2 inch cubes. Put the scallion and the chopped radish into an 8-inch pan. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until the radishes are very lightly browned and starting to look slightly shriveled, 25 to 30 minutes.  The scallion should be limp and a dull green. It may take slightly less time than the radishes.

Put the roasted scallion in a small blender. Add the vinegar, tahini, tamari, sugar, and garlic. Process until smooth. Put the freekeh, carrot, and snow peas in a medium-size bowl. Pour the dressing over the freekeh mixture and stir to coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, thinly slice the remaining radish. Put a handful of arugula on each plate. Place 3 to 4 radish slices off center in a line. Divide the salad evenly between the flour plates, also in a line.

Yield: 4 servings

 

Kite Hill Cheese: White Alder Mini Review with Stuffed French Toast

To say I was excited to learn that our “local” Whole Foods (it’s an hour away) started carrying Kite Hill cheese would be an understatement. I’ve been a fan of Tal Ronnen since he was the consulting chef for Chrissie Hynde’s VegiTerranean restaurant, which sadly, has closed. Personally, I don’t care for Gardein (Tal Ronnen helped in creating it) for all the reasons that many others are: it’s too “real” for me. However, that is what makes it such a successful gateway food, and I’m sure it has helped to influence some vegan-curious eaters, as well as being an convenient and easy go-to for busy vegans.

So when I heard he was tackling cheese, I was particularly hopeful. If his Gardein was too much like the real thing for me, would his cheese also be a close duplicate? At least as far as this brie-style cheese goes, my answer would be a resounding yes. With a perfect rind, and a delightfully French tasting funk (thanks to the aging of the cheese, I think), this creamy cheese is the ideal bread and spread brie that I remember from the old days.

The cheese is a little pricey ($11.99/6 ounces) at our Whole Foods, so I’d probably save it for special occasions. The homemade version are a fraction of the cost, but for authenticity and old world flavor, it’s totally worth the splurge. Make this decadent and delicious french toast for your sweetie: with it’s creamy and slightly sweet filling, it’s a sure way to show your love.

Stuffed French Toast

 

Brie-Stuffed French Toast

6 (1-inch) slices stale french bread

6 slices White Alder Cheese (or other vegan brie-style cheese)

2 tablespoons natural organic jam of choice

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons nondairy milk

Neutral flavored oil, for cooking

Pure maple syrup, for serving

Using a sharp or serrated knife, cut a pocket in each slice of bread parallel to the cut sides. Do not cut all the way through the bread. Tuck a slice of cheese in the pocket and spread the inside of the pocket with 1 teaspoon jam. Squeeze closed. Continue until all the french toast is stuffed.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in shallow pan. Add the milk and stir together. The batter should be thick and may be lumpy.

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge each bread slice in the flour mixture, then put into the skillet. Cook for 3 to 5  minutes, until golden brown. Turn over to cook the second side in the same way.  Serve immediately.

Serves 2 to 3

Jammin’ Quinoa Crumb Cake

You can tell when I’m nearing the end of writing recipes for a book. I tend to go in a different direction, and also show up here on the blog again. Celine and I are putting the finishing touches on our protein book, and are eagerly awaiting the release of Vegan Finger Foods. 

Coming soon!

So I’m playing in the kitchen, not always writing the recipes down. Luckily, I did have a pen nearby for this one! Although the cake looks very decadent (and tastes it!), it’s a wholegrain treat with the perfect texture. Just look at that crumb!  For the jam, I used a pomegranate-raspberry blend that added a sweetness and a bit of tang, all made better by the crunchy quinoa streusel on top of it all. I don’t think you could go wrong with any natural, organic jam.  Enjoy a piece for breakfast, or as a the ideal side to a cup of tea in the afternoon.

Jammin’ Quinoa Crumb Cake

 

Jammin’ Quinoa Crumb Cake

Cake

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup quinoa flour

1/4 cup almond meal/flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup plain unsweetened nondairy milk

1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

2/3 cup natural and organic jam

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

3 packed tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons quinoa

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted refined coconut oil

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Whisk together the flours, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl. Stir in the milk, coconut oil, and vanilla until combined. The mixture will be thick. Spread and press it into the baking dish evenly. Spread the jam evenly over the dough.

To make the streusel, combine the flour, sugar, quinoa, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the oil, and stir until mixed. Spread the mixture on top of the jam layer, gently pressing it in. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, the center should not be jiggly. Pull a bit of the paper away from the crust to be sure it is lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting.

Yield: 1 (8-inch) cake