I don't typically click over to articles that people post on Facebook, Twitter etc. but every now and then a title catches my eye. It was a piece in New York Magazine recently called The Day I Started Lying to Ruth - written by a cancer doctor husband who lost his wife to cancer. We know a few close people struggling with the disease themselves and when I read things like this, I'm both sad and shocked that there are countless people fighting this fight. It may not be mine personally, but it is always someone's mother or child or parent and it's gut wrenching. The article was thoughtfully written, he draws you into his story. There is a line in the beginning that made me think, and not even about cancer or illness like the article leads. "It was a warm night for early June, the beginning of the winter in Argentina. People crowded the sidewalks, returning from work, stopping for dinner. All the everyday stuff that fills our lives, neither adding particular meaning or taking it away." And I thought about what most of my days are composed of - it isn't really a routine, but something similar to one. Not everyday can be filled with moments like dream travel, getting married, job promotions, the birth of a child, or achieving some huge goal and the like... but is everything between not adding or taking away meaning? I know he was speaking in general terms, but it just made me think of the in-between and how I actually truly value that time when I give it due credit. Hugh and I stayed up late hanging some things in the baby room last night (I am a recent fan of these wall appliques, I'll post a picture on IG when the room is slightly more finished). I'd consider it an "in-between" evening, nothing particularly special happening, but I will remember us trying so hard to make a special room for the wee ones arrival. Hugh was using a level to place the stickers and my non-crafty self was making a mobile out of a lucky dream catcher I was gifted. The in-between of the big stuff is still good stuff, you just have to pay closer attention, make note of it. In reading the article, his story was marked by all sorts of "normal" moments, the details that make the whole piece interesting really. I don't want to forget that next time I feel in a rut. The in-between has it's own subtle remark.
I have a little extra time this week and wanted to put together some freezer meals for when the babe is here and I don't have time nor want to cook. I ripped out this recipe for a quinoa burger out of the local paper and figured it'd be worth a shot. I'm aware veggie burger recipes are not hard to come by, which is why I think they interest me, like a chocolate chip cookie, always being changed just a little bit to be different or better. I threw this one on a bun with avocado and cheese and a generous slather of mustard. Ask me in a few weeks and it will likely be back on a big mound of salad with an egg on top while I am trying to get back into my pre-baby clothes. Either way, a general veggie burger recipe is always nice to have on hand.
VEGETABLE QUINOA BURGERS // Makes 6
Adapted from The Los Angeles Times from Cafe Pasqual, New Mexico
These are not veggie burgers to be grilled - they are delicate and moist and could not handle a flip on grates. I make a note at the end of the recipe, but they are best pan seared or baked. They would be adorable small and on mini sliders.
Nutritional yeast can be found at health food stores or online. It is a vegan alternative to a somewhat cheesy flavor. It offers depth of flavor here, but you could certainly make these without it. These are a very basically seasoned burger which I like - add flavor in sauces, spread, slaw, cheese etc. as you wish.
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 1/3 cups broth or water
- 1 small zucchini
- 2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large shallot or 1/2 a yellow onion, minced
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne
- 2 tsp. soy sauce, tamari or Braggs aminos
- 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 cup coarse ground oats or breadcrumbs
- 3 Tbsp. flaxmeal
- 2/3 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
- sea salt and pepper
avocado, cheese, mustard, greens and buns of choice for serving
Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer. Bring the quinoa and broth or water to a boil in a pot. Turn it to a gentle simmer and cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked, about 13 minutes. Stir, leave the lid ajar and set aside to cool.
While the quinoa cooks, grate the zucchini. Spread it on a kitchen towel and ring out the extra moisture.
In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot or onion and sauté for 3 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, generous pinches of salt and pepper and sauté another 5 minutes until cooked down and much of the liquid has been cooked out. Stir in the oregano, cayenne and soy sauce and turn the heat off to cool.
Transfer the quinoa to a bowl, add the nutritional yeast, oats or breadcrumbs and flaxmeal. Once the vegetables are cool, add them to the bowl as well and stir everything to mix. Mash in the cooked sweet potato and another pinch of salt and pepper and stir everything to mix. If it looks super dry, add another drizzle of oil or more mashed yam, but if it is *too* wet, they won't stay together. I know we are making veggie burgers, but you want it to be the same sort of thickness or texture or ground beef or turkey, not wet.
Heat a layer of oil in a large skillet (I find non-stick works best for delicate things like this). Make patties about 1 1/2'' thick, and cook until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Alternatively, you may form your patties, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle a little oil on top and bake them at 375' for 20 minutes. Put your cheese on one side after you flip the patty. Prepare your buns with mashed avocado, spread, greens or whatever you wish and serve warm.
* I overdid it on the yam and mine were very soft throughout. I find that when I do this with veggie burgers, baking helps dry them out better so they stay together better between a bun. If you're eating it plain and you want a crispy crust, pan works great, for something in a sandwich, I prefer to bake them for a sturdier result. You're preference on texture.