Thursday, July 21, 2011

There's a new burger in town

Summer is the season of BBQs, and the king of the BBQ is the burger.  Veggie burgers are a staple among many vegetarians and vegans in BBQ season (and beyond) because they are easy - easy to find, easy to transport, easy to integrate into the BBQ scene because you won't find yourself explaining your food to skeptical omnivores because it looks "normal". 

Veggie burgers are not without their problems.  Most veggie burgers found in the freezer section of the grocery store are not vegan, and those that are vegan tend to be quite pricey and they aren't always tasty.  Some of us have tried our hand at homemade veggie burgers to varying success.  The greatest problem plaguing the homemade veggie burger is stability, aka they crumble, therefore making them not suitable BBQ fodder.  Not to mention that they often just taste very... uhh... homemade.

Vegan culinary goddess Dreena Burton has forever solved my homemade veggie burger woes with her Mushroom Pecan Burgers!  I made them exactly as she instructed and they were perfect!  Held together amazingly well (though I might grill them from frozen if I were taking them to a BBQ), and they were mega tasty.  I thought that they were a bit like a yummier version of a Lick's Nature Burger (which I do recommend if you're in a pinch).  My only complaint is that they are too big and too filling!!  Dreena recommends making 6 patties, which I did.  Next time I'll be making them into 7 or 8 patties, because I like to have room for side dishes or dessert.  Four hours after dinner and I still feel stuffed.

We topped our burgers with Daiya cheddar style shreds and No Meat Athlete's Vegan Bacon to create the most amazing VEGAN BACON CHEESE BURGER!!  Om nom nom!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vegan Birthday Brownie!

This year I am celebrating my birthday at bluesfest, and I just polished off this decadent vegan (and gluten free!) brownie courtesy of B. Goods bakery. Mmm! Happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tis the season

Farmer's Market season is well under way, and, here in Ontario, July and August offer the widest variety of fresh local produce for you to plunder.  Don't believe me?  Check out the availability of produce on Foodland Ontario's website. One of my favourite market buys is green beans.  Whether you eat them raw or steamed, green beans are tasty, low-cal morsels of goodness.  A cup of green beans offers 30% of your RDA of vitamin C, 15% of the RDA of vitamin A, and 4g of fiber, among many other vitamins and minerals.[1]

It may surprise you to know that green beans belong to the same species as black beans, navy beans, pinto beans and kidney beans (to name a few).  Phaseolus vulgaris was domesticated in Central America as early as 7000 B.C. [2] .  If you're thinking to yourself "Wait, green beans look nothing like kidney beans!" , that's because green beans are "immature" pods.  Just like pea pods, inside the green bean pod grows the round bean that would one day mature and harden into the "dry bean", which is the seed of the bean plant.  Unfortunately for the hard-working bean plant, and fortunately for us, we harvest green beans long before they mature, while they're still crisp and tender.

July and August is also prime BBQ and picnic season.  Potato salad, often in the form of a mayo-laden mush, is ubiquitous at such events.  But this is neither vegan nor is it healthy (or remotely tasty, in my opinion).   For your next summer potluck event, why not bring a big bowl of Green Bean & Potato Salad?  With local green beans and new baby potatoes available at the markets (or maybe even in your own garden, you lucky duck), it's a fresh and tasty departure from the old standby mayo-mush.