Cooking Club Chronicles Update: Part 3 of 3

Ahh burgers. I know how much people like their beef burgers, but it is one thing I can truly say I do not miss anymore as a vegan. This has not always been true. When I started cutting meat out of my life, I tried a lot of nasty processed veggie burgers and wondered how anyone could choke them down. I would occasionally give in to cravings and get myself a beef burger. But I quickly discovered that once you go off meat, it does not taste like what you remembered anyway, and so I could not go back. I was a little resentful- stuck, it seemed, in a burgerless void (talk about your first world problems!)

I’ve moved on- commercial veggie burgers have improved tremendously, but I have also learned two important things. First, you need to cook non-meat burgers differently than meat burgers. They aren’t all full of fat, so you need to use cooking methods that retain the moisture and give that satisfying fullness in your mouth (some of us who tend toward the synesthete’s spectrum would call it a “round” taste). Second, non-meat burgers aren’t supposed to taste like meat burgers (though one of my cooking methods brings them pretty close). Once you let go of that expectation, the possibilities open wide and deliciousness ensues.

Be prepared- the veggie burger that Sarah made at cooking club is a keeper. Although she used her own bread in it, she got the recipe from Angela Liddon’s website “Oh She Glows”, so rather than reproduce the recipe here, I will provide the link here so that you can pop over afterwards and see it right on the original page. (You may want to check out Angela’s site at the same time, I’m sure she won’t mind).

So what will I write about in this final part of the latest Cooking Club Chronicles? Well, let me tell you about what I did with Sarah’s contribution. First of all, I had been waiting for a while to try out some goofy little gadgets I’d picked up and this was the perfect opportunity. Does anyone remember the 70’s commercials for the “pattystacker”? I actually bought one of those at that time and it was a dismal failure for me. When I dropped the discs in and pushed down on the burgers, everything came squishing out the sides and it all melded together into large mass of hamburger. I had to claw it all apart to dig out the slippery plastic discs hidden inside (which sort of defeated the purpose of the whole thing didn’t it?) Well, this summer I saw that they have revived this gadget (though I think it has a new name), and I was taken by the version that makes mini patties. I don’t know if they’ve improved it or if it was because the texture is different for veggie burgers, but it worked great for the burgers. After Sarah made the recipe, the club members took their portion and made burgers to use at home. I made uniform little mini burgers with the stacker, and then I put the whole thing in the freezer for the next week.

Here is the gadget thingy with three of the burgers taken out. Although they are nicely compacted together, they separated really well.

In the past I’ve found that veggie burgers can sometimes thaw a little crumbly, but these burgers were nicely compressed and they separated and cooked to moist perfection.

So, anyway, since it seemed that I was having a bit of a K-Tell moment, I decided to pull out the other gadget I’d recently bought on impulse (you can see where my weakness is- shoes, pshaw! jewelry, whatever. But fiddly little kitchen gadgets- oh my!). I try to use my pre-frontal cortex to talk myself out of these things and I am usually successful, but this month I’ve been pretty weak. So, out came my new microwaveable potato chip maker, and in addition to potato chips, we made some yam chips and even some beet chips.

Here are the yam and beet chips before nuking them, in the strange little gadget. (Like a mandoline with a circular toast rack of many slots). Although I cooked the beets a tad too long, all the chips were actually quite delicious- no fat and low salt, yet quite as good as storebought chips- go figure. The possibilities are endless- I plan to try other veggies like carrots soon. And, hmmmm- I wonder what daikon would be like? Dill pickle?So here are the chips above, and here is the meal below, as it was finally put together- very 70’s overall, and delicious for all that.And, to finish off, here is the snack my daughter put together later, after her kung-fu class. Keep in mind that these are little mini burgers with slider buns, and the plate she used is actually the saucer from an old set of dishes. All she needs is an even tinier plate of Dolly Mixture beside it to make a wee doll’s meal. Comfort food at its cutest.

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