Archives for the month of: September, 2012

Really, there are few things in life more satisfying in life than a burger, fries and a beer.  One good thing about burgers is they don’t have to be made out of ground beef to be delicious.  You can make a burger out of anything! I’m not too interested in the idea of trying to “recreate” the taste of beef.  But, I am interested in creating something super delicious and filling that I can stick in a a hamburger bun and dress up with some mustard and greens.

This recipe for veggie burgers was based on the recipe over here, from the Post Punk Kitchen.  One nice thing about veggie burgers is that you can kind of throw in whatever you have, or whatever you think would taste good (which is what we did).  From the CSA, we used our garlic in the burgers, and some arugula as a topping.  One neat tip we learned from Isa over at the PPK was using a round cookie cutter to form your burgers. It was pretty much revolutionary.  Our burgers went from awkward-falling-apart-lumps to professional in seconds!

We also made us some garlic fries, based on Isa’s recipe for curry fries, also compliments of Post Punk Kitchen.  We just subbed in garlic powder for curry powder.  The cool thing about these fries is that they are actually not fries at all.  No, they are actually baked!  Not only is it healthier, it is waaaay less of a mess in the kitchen to just thrown everything on the baking sheet (vs frying everything and all the oil and oil splatters all over, etc).

And finally, we completed the meal with some of our all-time favorite local brews.  A Modus Hoperandi for Ryan, by Ska Brewery in Durango, CO.  I had Longmont’s own Oskar Blues’ Mamma’s Lil’ Yella Pils.  I actually work just a few blocks from Oskar Blues, which is pretty neat!  Colorado has such awesome breweries!

Here is what we put in our burgers:

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 portabello cap, chopped
1 tsp thyme
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 egg
2 cups cooked lentils (1 cup uncooked)

We food processed the garlic, onion and mushroom while we cooked the lentils.  Then we mixed the thyme, soy sauce, egg, cooked lentils and mushroom mixture together ahd formed the burgers.

Ryan found us this recipe in our favorite most versatile veg cookbook.  We were stoked to be able to use so many items from our CSA in one dish.

It was pretty delicious, but also heavy.  Next time we make this, we will just not fry the eggplant pieces, and reduce the amount of cheese.  Frying each eggplant slice also took way too long, especially since we had such small pieces.

Oh, and for everyone wondering out there, “Aubergine” is Eggplant, and “Courgette” is Zucchini… We had to look those up. 🙂


Aubergine and Courgette Bake

  • 1 large aubergine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 lb tomatoes, peeled and chopped (we used canned diced tomatoes)
  • handful of basil leaves
  • 2 courgettes
  • 5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 12 oz mozzarella
  • 1 oz paremesan cheese

Slice aubergines and courgettes

Heat olive oil and fry onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes

Stir in tomatoes, half the basil and bring to boil

Reduce heat and stir, cooking for 25-35 minutes until thick.

Head sunflower oil in a different pan.  Dust aubergines and courgettes with flour and fry in sunflower oil until golden brown.  Set aside on paper towel.

Preheat oven to 350F and butter an 8×11 oven proof dish.  Put a layer of aubergines, and then courgettes in the dish.  Pour over half the sauce and scatter with half the mozzarella.  Sprinkle over most of the remaining basil and a little parsley.  Repeat the layers, ending with mozzarella.  Sprinkle Parmesan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Here is what we got for week 6:
Yellow Summer Squash
Palisade Plums
Asian Eggplant

Here is how we used up everything for Week 5:

Carrots – Spicy Carrot Chutney
Zucchini – Courgette Bake (coming in Week 6)
Pablo Head Lettuce – PF Changs Lettuce Wraps
Bunched Swiss Chard – Lentil Burgers (coming in Week 6)
Fresh garlic – Pizza

Since going vegetarian 2.5 years ago, there are surprisingly few things I miss.  Every now and then I get a craving for a nice steak, but one thing that really gets me are those lettuce wrap appetizers from PF Changs.  Oh man, so delicious!

So I set out to re-create those bad-boys, veg-style.  I basically just googled “PF Changs Lettuce Wraps Vegetarian” and tried the first recipe that came up.  It wasn’t difficult to make, just time consuming and requiring little bits of many kinds of sauces, so that was kind of annoying.  I couldn’t find those cool white crunchy noodle things that the wrap-filling is served over, so I just left them out.

They took a really long time to make, but they were pretty close to the way I remember the PF Changs Lettuce Wraps!  Unfortunately, I had been so wrapped up in making these guys (haha look at that pun), that I forgot that they are… you know… just an appetizer.  So I set the platter down at the dinner table and immediately realized that I was an idiot: I hadn’t made anything else for our dinner!   We ended up eating the entire platter, which was delicious.  But, we left the table with stomach aches (it was pretty oily) and still hungry. Not a very good combo…. So now I’ve learned to not be dumb, and next time I will at least make up a pot of rice or something.

Click here for the recipe.


So just for the record I have no clue what I’m doing.  Sometimes I go into the kitchen and I think about how far I’ve come and wow I’m getting pretty good at this.  Then there are times like this recipe, when I fail at nearly every step.  But then I learn and will try to not fail again.  Okay, that’s my disclaimer.

When I first became a vegetarian 2 years ago, I was determined to find hearty meals where I wouldn’t ever feel as though I were “missing the meat.”  After a chance dinner with a friend at Tandoori Grill in Boulder, I realized I had found my starting point with Indian cuisine.

My first step was finding an easy recipe for Channa Masala online.  Next I purchased “Classic Indian Cooking” by Julie Sahni, who explains many details of traditional Indian cooking to us Americans  (focusing mostly on Northern cuisine), and with her amazing explanations and hand-holding I was able to create some fantastic dishes.

Then my sister then bought me a cookbook “Cooking with Pedatha” for my birthday about a year and a half ago.  It has been awarded ‘Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the World’ and details the Andhra cuisine of Southern India.  Many of the recipes had been passed down for hundreds of years before being written down in this book!  No shortcuts are taken, there is no sacrifice in the interest of saving time.  It was written for Indian cooks, by Indian cooks who compiled the recipes of their “Pedatha.” This cookbook is probably worth its weight in gold.  It is also really freakin scary.

Because, you see, I am not an experienced Indian cook.  I have never even *eaten* Andhra cuisine before so I have nothing to go off but the words in this book.  Nearly all the recipes require special ingredients and take 4 hours apiece.  So many weekends I would stare at the beautiful photos in the book, mark all the food I was going to make, and then chicken-out at the last minute.  I seriously have had this book for a year and a half, and half probably sticky-tabbed every page at some point, but have never made a single thing.

So this weekend I decided it was time.  I pulled out the book and as if it were fate, there was a sticky tab on “Carrot Pachchadi”, and we had just gotten carrots that week in our CSA.  I had to do it.


My first issue, was that the recipe calls for “Red Chilis.” In the photos in the book it looks kind of like a serrano pepper, but red (though even that was guesswork, as there was no way for me to determine scale).  But really  I had no idea what kind of chilis I was supposed to get.  (This is probably common knowledge that I’m somehow not getting….)  So I literally just went to my grocery store and walked up to the peppers and grabbed the only red peppers they were selling.  They were Fresno Peppers, which I later found out are a “red compliment” of the Serrano Pepper, thanks to some panicky wikipedia-ing.  That made me feel a little better about my choice.  Also, she calls for “20-25 peppers, or less if you aren’t brave.”  Because I still had no idea how big my peppers were supposed to be, or what size, I opted to play it “safe” with just 12.

So her instructions continue to soak peppers and mustard seeds in water for 3-4 hours, or if you are short on time soak them in hot water for 1 hour.  So being the lazy American I am, I opt for soaking in hot water.  But wait….soak the peppers….surely she doesn’t mean just soak them whole?  Should I chop off the lids, or slice up the peppers?  Wait, am I supposed to seed the peppers?  She doesn’t say!! I am missing so much of this common knowledge ahhhhh!!!!!


Despite my sister talking to me about always seeding the hot peppers, my brain was apparently in meltdown mode and the peppers got sliced but NOT seeded.  They were thrown in the hot water with the mustard seeds for 1.5 hours just to be safe.  Then it was time to “grind to a paste.” At this point I knew that what Pedatha means is actually physically grind with a pestle and mortar, but I was forced to resort to my food processor. This usually isn’t an issue, ever.  But for some reason this stuff just would not turn into a paste.  I’m sure if I had a pestle and mortar I could have ground up those mustard seeds to dust, but my little food processor just couldn’t take it.


The recipe says its better if it sits in the fridge for a day, so I let it sit for 2 days before trying it because I was so afraid.  We finally tried it, and it was just a little…. strange.  I know it was me, not the recipe.  I think it was a combo of maybe burning the mustard seeds and the whole thing being really way too spicy.  It was really disappointing after spending so much time on it.

I haven’t given up on Pedatha, though!  I know I just need more practice.  It was definitely disappointing, but I’m glad for the learning experience. Next time will be better!


Here is the finished product, mixed into some basmati rice.  We ate it with some Greek yogurt to help with the heat….

Carrot Pachchadi

I include the recipe as it is printed in the book, since I can add no further explanations on this one….

  • 3 large carrots
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • 3/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3/4 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 20-25 red chiles
  • 0.5 cup mustard seeds

Dice the carrots into 1/4 cm bits.

Soak the chiles and 0.5c mustard seeds in 1 cup water for 3-4 hrs (1hr in hot water).  Strain and grind into a fine paste, using as little of strained water as necessary.

In a skillet or wok, heat oil for tempering.  Pop the mustard and then add the fenugreek. Switch off the flame and with the browning of the fenugreek, add the asafoetida.

Add the carrots, lemon juice, chile paste, and salt.