healthy vegan junk food: homemade veggie burgers and oven baked fries
yes that flat white disc is a rainbo white hamburger bun picked up from the corner liquor store...
sometimes you just want a burger and fries, even though you know it's bad for you and even though we all saw or read fast food nation and suspect that bits of manuel's arm may be in mixed in with the ground beef, and even though you may be a vegetarian. if you are one of us birkenstock-wearing, patchouli-scented, cornroll-sporting, caftan sewing, stevie-nicks worshipping, arm-pit hair sportin' animal lovers, there may be times that you just don't want a damn boca burger or a greasy crumbly veggie patty or a pile of mashed beans hiding in a bun. or perhaps you're too broke to buy the aforementioned premade. so for all you who are watching your wallet or your cholesterol or your mad cow spongiform intake, here is a good homemade veggie burger. they are firm enough, once cooled, to grill and eat without falling apart and have a pleasantly cohesive and slightly toothsome texture due to the use of vital wheat gluten, the stuff that seitan is made from. praise seitan.
the following recipe is basically a blueprint. if you like a smoky flavor, add some liquid smoke or chipotle; if you prefer a chicken-ish flavored patty, substitute chicken flavored broth for the cooking liquid and add poultry seasonings to the mix. they are pretty versatile. you can even form them into little balls and make fake meatballs out of them. or perhaps form into a star shape to top your christmas tree with. the possibilities are endless. many thanks to bryanna clark grogan, that amazing vegan chef who so generously shares her recipes with us. the recipe looks complicated but it isn't really. don't be afraid. and don't forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for the crispy oven fries secret.
2/3 c. pure gluten powder
1/3 c. soy or chickpea flour
4 T. oatmeal
1 tsp. dry marjoram
1 tsp. onion powder
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. ketchup
1 T. sesame seed oil (optional)
plus enough cold water mixed with the above to make 7/8 c.
1/2 c. textured soy protein granules (tvp) soaked in 1/3 c. boiling water or broth
1 c. hot water
3 T. soy sauce
1/2 T. sesame seed oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
preheat the oven to 325 degrees. mix the dry ingredients and set aside. combine the wet mix, adding in the reconstituted tvp. in a large bowl combine the wet and dry mixes and blend well. be sure to wait until the reconstituted tvp is completely cooled, otherwise the wheat gluten flour may form strings and become clumpy. form into 4 or 6 hamburger shaped patties and in a lightly oiled 9X13 baking dish. pour cooking broth over the patties and cover with aluminum foil. bake for 15 minutes. carefully flip the patties over and continue baking for another fifteen to twenty minutes. remove from heat. they will firm up once they cool. once cool you can fry, grill or freeze them for later use.
and what is a burger without fries? especially when it's not even really a burger. less than nothing i say! my fries are crispy, golden brown, less bad for you but every bit as delicious as those other deep fried lard ass bad boys. the secret is to parboil them taters before putting them in the oven, cooking at a very high heat, not crowding the pan and using enough olive oil to encourage browning. easy, you'll see.
carefully scrub but do not peel 2 russet potatoes. cut in half lengthwise then cut each half into 6 to 8 wedges of equal size. bring a pot of salted water to a simmer and carefully cook the potato wedges until just soft but not mushy. you want them to maintain their shape. pour enough olive oil in a roasting pan to generously coat the bottom and place in a hot oven (475+) until hot. if your oven doesn't get quite hot enough, raise the rack to the higest level. toss parboiled potato wedges in a bit of olive oil and place, flat side down, in the hot roasting pan. cook for 15-20 minutes, turn over and cook for another 10 minutes until golden and crispy on both sides. sprinkle with salt and serve.