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Friday, May 31, 2013

Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

Because everybody needs a good black bean burger recipe!  Seriously.  It's mandatory.

It's summertime, so that means burgertime!  I know that literally everyone out there in internet land has their own version of black bean burgers (kind of like scrambled tofu), but I still decided it was time to make my own.  Because hey, the more the merrier!  This one combines black beans, corn, and wild rice.  Need I say more?

I've made plenty of BBB's in the past, using other people's recipes.  However, most of them need to be baked, since BBB's have a tendency to fall apart upon flipping.  So today, I set out to solve that problem!  And the results?  The burgers did not fall apart upon flipping.  However, the burger I just devoured was pretty fall-aparty and super messy upon eating.  But still delicious!  To compliment the southwest flavors, I topped mine with enchilada sauce, but feel free to change it up.  Some suggestions: salsa, guacamole, hot sauce, vegan queso, or plain old ketchup.  I'm putting you in charge.  Choose wisely.

15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked wild rice
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup canned sweet corn with green peppers
2 Tbsp flax meal (ground flax seeds)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, mash black beans.  Stir in the rice, oats, and flax, and stir to mix well.  Add the cumin, onion, garlic, chipotle and soy sauce.  Stir to combine, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium.  Drop the bean mix into the pan, about 1/4 cup at a time.  Flatten with a spatula or the back of a spoon.  Or both.  [Note: I do not recommend that you use your hands. This stuff is super sticky.]  Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until browned and heated through.  Repeat with remaining bean mixture.

I got 6 burgers out of this, which seems like a good amount, right?  I can still only eat one at a time.

A couple of notes about cooking the burgers:
*To speed the cooking time, I made these burgers thin-ish.  I think that may be why my burger fell apart when I was eating it.  Maybe try making your burgers thicker.
*These would be equally lovely baked, and if you do that, maybe pour on some enchilada sauce before you throw them in the oven, to keep them from drying out.  (However, it was already hot and muggy in my house, so there was no way I was turning on the oven today.)
*Last but not least, while the burgers held together well in the pan, I definitely wouldn't recommend grilling them.  I just see that ending in disaster.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stuffed Sweet Potato Waffles with Sweet & Spicy Pecans

Whew!  That was a mouthful...  Of deliciousness!

New recipe contest required me to get creative with sweet potatoes.  I love sweet potatoes because, like pumpkin, you can make them either sweet or savory.  While I suppose I could have come up with a savory soup, I couldn't get waffles off my mind.  These waffles use the sweet potatoes in two ways: In the actual waffle batter, and as the filling.  And you know what?  These waffles friggen' ROCK!

The ingredient list looks long, and the directions look time consuming, but that's really just very misleading.  I guarantee that you can whip this impressive dish together in 30 minutes or less.  For each component, you'll be using similar ingredients (syrup, sugar, cinnamon, etc).  If you make the pecans first, which will take 5 or 6 minutes, then the rest will come together pretty fast.  Once you have made the batter, you can throw together the filling while the waffles cook.  Yay, multi-tasking!

For the pecans:
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne *Note- these were kind of spicy. I liked it, but use less cayenne if you're not so sure about the heat (start with 1/8 tsp and add more as you see fit).
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp maple syrup

For the waffles:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp nutmeg
15 oz can sweet potatoes, drained
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp almond milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar

For the filling:
15 oz can sweet potatoes, drained
1 large ripe banana
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the pecans:  Line an 8x8 cake pan with wax paper and set aside.  In a medium saucepan, combine sugars and butter and melt over medium-low heat.  Stir in spices and remove from heat.  Add pecans and stir to coat well.   Dump the pecans into the baking dish and refrigerate while you make the waffles.

For the waffles:  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices, and stir to combine.  In a food processor, puree the sweet potatoes with 2 Tbsp milk.  In a medium bowl, combine potato puree, the remaining milk, oil, and brown sugar, and whisk to mix well.  Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir to mix well.  Heat your waffle iron according to it's instructions.  Cook bater until golden.  This will yield 10 rectangular waffles.

For the filling:  In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, mash the sweet potatoes and banana until mushy but still a little lumpy.  Stir in the syrup and cinnamon, and mix well.  Heat the filling in the microwave for about 2 minutes until filling is heated through.

To assemble:  Place one waffle on a plate.  Top with about 1/4 cup filling, top with another waffle.  Top that waffle with another dollop of filling and sprinkle with pecans.  Drizzle with additional syrup, if desired.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Makes 5 servings.

One last note:  This is a unique contest in that the prize is, well, generous, to say the least.  And I could really use the extra cash right about now.  I can't ask you to vote or anything, but any positive thoughts are warmly welcomed!  Thanks, lovies!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Shameless Plea for Votes

Because if you can't count on your imaginary internet friends, who can you count on???

Over at the betterrecipes website, the weekly contest theme is "Best Vegan Recipe Ever."  Jackpot!!!  I have submitted several recipes, and am now asking for all you lovlies to head over there to vote for your favorite- or all of them!  Any recipe by deekoala89 is mine (if you follow this blog, you'll recognize most of them).

The link to the contest page is http://www.betterrecipes.com/contests/best-vegan-recipe-ever  You can vote once a day, every day, through Saturday, May 26.

I appreciate all the love and support, my imaginary friends!  Oh yeah, and if there is a recipe from this blog that you loved but that I haven't submitted, let me know and I'll add it.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring Green Risotto

It's Michigan, and so far this spring, the weather has been... unpredictable, to say the least.

I actually have a cold.  In May.  So not fair.  I was tempted to make soup tonight, because that's always what I want when I'm sick (Who am I kidding?  I just always want soup, no matter the conditions!), but I also wanted to make something blog-worthy.  And boy, did I!!!

OK, I'm feeling pretty punky, so this is going to be short and sweet.  I love risotto.  It's so creamy and comforting and filling!  The peas and spinach make it cheerful, and I will definitely make this again, perhaps with fresh thyme.  Feel free to change up the veggies as you like.  I happened to have these on hand, and thought they complimented each other well, but hey, get creative!

Mmm, looks good enough to eat!

4 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white cooking wine
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (or vegan Parmesan, if desired)
3 cups packed fresh baby spinach
Salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat veg broth on low heat.  Spray a large pot with cooking spray and saute onion and garlic on medium heat for about 4 minutes, until onions are soft.  Add mushrooms and cook for about 2 more minutes.  Add rice and stir to combine.  Stir in white wine and thyme, and stir to combine, cooking for about a minute.  Turn heat to medium-low.  Add one cup of warm broth, stirring constantly, until all broth is absorbed.  Repeat this process, one cup at a time, until all broth has been added.  [This process will take about 30 min or so, but is totally worth it, trust me.]  When you add the last cup of broth, also add the peas.  Stir to combine.  When the last of the broth is absorbed (it will look soft and creamy, but not runny), stir in the vinegar and nutritional yeast, and add salt and pepper as desired.  Stir in the spinach and let cook until just wilted.  Serve hot and enjoy!

OK, I'm heading to bed now with a cup of tea.  Happy Spring, y'all!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Chickpea Melt with Roasted Red Pepper and Dill

Introducing the world's BEST chickpea melt!  (In my most humble opinion, anyway.)

The recipe I posted quite some time ago for a chickpea melt has by far gotten the most hits of any recipe on this blog.  And I really half-assed that recipe.  So I felt the need to give you a proper chickpea melt recipe.  You're welcome.

I need to be honest: I totally made this up on the fly.  Seriously, I opened the can of chickpeas knowing only that I was going to add stuff that I don't normally add to chickpea salad.  This is not an exact science, people!  But I actually measured everything, and came up with a better way of heating the sandwich so that the filling actually gets warm, so that's awesome, right?

There really was no rhyme or reason as to how/why I decided to add ingredients.  But I must say, this stuff is fantastic!  I'm actually pretty pumped about this filling.  The tang of the vinegar and roasted red pepper really give the sandwich a lot of umph.  Check it out for yourself and let me know how umph-y you think it is.

A couple of notes:

*After mixing all the ingredients, I heated the filling in the microwave.  Why?  Because the last time I made a chickpea melt with the intent to post it here, the filling didn't get warm just from grilling the sandwich (which is part of the reason I never posted that particular melt experiment).  This method worked better.  I realize it's a bit unconventional, but just go with it.

*I tried a new vegan cheese today.  The Follow Your Heart brand was cheaper than Daiya, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  On the plus side, it was cheaper and lower in fat than Daiya.  On the down side, Daiya tastes waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy better.  Choose wisely.

*I submitted this to a recipe contest.  You should definitely go HERE and vote.  Thanks, lovies!

15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried dill
1/2 cup fresh peas
1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh baby spinach
12 slices hearty grain bread 

In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, mash chickpeas with a potato masher, until beans are broken but not mushy.  To the beans, add the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, and dill, and mix well to combine.  Stir in the peas, peppers, and cheese.  Microwave for about 1 minute.  Stir in the spinach.
Heat a skillet on medium-low heat.  Pile about 1/3 cup of filling on one slice of bread.  Top with another slice of bread, and spray with cooking spray.  Place sandwich on skillet, cooking spray-side sown.  Spray top of sandwich with cooking spray.  Heat for about 5 min on each side, until bread is toasty and filling is heated.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.

P.S. The contest form asked me to state how many servings this makes.  I said 6, but I have absolutely no clue.  Come on, I can only eat one sandwich at a time!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Beans and Greens- The Smoky and Spicy Edition

Quick!  There's still kale in the fridge!

When I first tried kale, I was afraid I wouldn't like it because I thought it was going to be bitter.  I mean, dark greens are bitter, you know, compared to iceberg lettuce.  But I was impressed with the flavor and crunch when it's lightly steamed.  I'm trying to eat more dark leafy greens these days, and kale is my go-to, so be prepared for more kale recipes in the future.

[Note: I do not eat kale raw, because I'm still scared it will be too bitter.  I'll put that on my list of goals for the year.]
[Other note: I tried it in a smoothie once and it was awful.  But I'll try that again sometime, too.  And I'll post it here, because that's what I do.  You're welcome.]

So anyway, after my excellent pasta dish last week, I still had about a half a bunch of kale leftover.  Thankfully my crisper does an outstanding job at keeping things crispy, since I have not had time to cook until this morning.   Oh yeah, I definitely made this for breakfast today.  Because that's totally normal.  Right?

Beans and greens go together like... um, beans and greens. I think beans and greens is kind of a southern dish, but made with a variety of greens like collard greens, mustard greens, and the like.  Or I totally made that up.  You decide.  I flavored it with chipotle chili powder and vegan Worcestershire sauce (the non-vegan kind has anchovies.  Gross.), and a little liquid smoke.  Add some onion, garlic, and tomato, and you've got yourself a tasty pot of love!  This is really more of a side dish, though, not super filling.  It would be great served with wild rice or grits or something of the sort.  Add some pan-fried tempeh and you've got a darn good meal!

[Dang it, now I have to put tempeh on my list of things to make for the blog.  Man, I need to stop typing!]

1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
15 oz can black-eyed peas (or beans of choice), drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder (if you're not a fan of spicy food, start with 1/4 tsp and add more as desired)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves torn into smallish pieces

In a large pot, saute onion and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until onions are tender.  Add tomatoes, beans, chili powder, cumin, Worcestershire, and liquid smoke, and stir to mix well.  Let cook for about 5 minutes then add the kale, stirring to combine.  Cook the kale for about 5 minutes until wilted   but still bright green.  Season with salt and pepper to taste (although I didn't have to add either, I thought the flavor was perfect.)

More notes!  I am on a roll!
1. Vegan Worcestershire can be found in health food stores.  At least, I've been able to find it at every health food store I've been to.
2. If you can't find vegan Worcestershire, you can omit it.  I'm not even sure how much flavor it added, but I wanted to use it because I saw it in the fridge when I was looking for something else.  Yay, spontaneity!