I’m lucky. I have a patient, kind and understanding spouse who supports and respects my obsession with cooking. And since I’ve started blogging she has kindly waited, time and time again, until late in the evening for me to finish photographing whatever it is I’ve dreamed up in the kitchen, only to finally sit down at the table and discover that everything is a bit cold. I’m still new to food blogging and still figuring out the best way to time things so that I get the best of both worlds: excellent photos and a piping hot meal.
My point is that blogging takes planning. (Although a really awesome spouse helps too.) And while I’m still working out the kinks of preparation/photography/serving, I feel like I’ve got menu planning down. Each week I spend time looking through my cookbooks and recipe archives and searching online to get ideas for posts. I always want to come up with something really interesting and unique, something that no one else is making, something that will make readers say, “Wow!”
Last week my search led me to Black Bean Veggie Burger Sliders on homemade buns. I thought a veggie pub-food theme would be fun: Since pubs are so often full of meat, meat, and more meat, veggie eaters often miss out. Plus spring is almost here and soon it will be time to fire up the grill and enjoy eating on the patio. In short, the veggie sliders made the grade: interesting, fun, delicious. I made my grocery list, did the shopping, cooked the black beans in the crockpot, and even made the sesame seed buns from scratch.
That very same afternoon my Vegetarian Times magazine arrived in the mail. And guess what’s on page 65? Black Bean Edamame Sliders. Seriously!? Why this week? I was disappointed and considered bagging my sliders post and figuring out something else to do so that I wasn’t “copying” Vegetarian Times. But then I thought, waitaminute… I decided to roll with it and have my own little competition! The Great Black Bean Veggie Burger Slide-Off of 2011. I mean, hey — I basically took on Real Food Daily last week, so why not continue my competitive streak? It’s on, Vegetarian Times!
This week, my version of sliders: a spicy black bean burger topped with melted cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes and greens on a homemade sesame seed bun that’s been toasted and slathered with tangy mayo, served with a side of roasted potatoes and a cold beer. Next week, the Vegetarian Times version. We’ll see who prevails, and may the best slider win!
Get ready, honey! You have more tepid, well-photographed burgers to look forward to! (And thank you. And I love you.)
Black Bean Veggie Burgers
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 cup bread crumbs
¼ cup oats
In a food processor combine the bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the black beans and pulse until beans are mashed and well integrated. In a separate bowl combine the egg, chili powder and cumin. Mix well and add to the food processor. Pulse to combine. Remove bean mixture from the food processor and stir in the bread crumbs and oats. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350˚. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Form 10 circular patties about 2 inches wide each with the bean mixture. Place patties on the baking sheet. Bake for about 14 minutes- turning once. Remove from oven. At this point you may build and serve your sliders, however if you’d like the patties to be further browned and slightly crisp, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray skillet with cooking oil and cook patties for about 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
Sesame Seed Buns
½ cup lowfat milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 packages of active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water (105˚-115˚)
5-6 cups all purpose flour
Combine the milk, sugar, salt and butter in a small saucepan. Warm over low heat until the butter is melted and sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.
Warm the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine the warm water and yeast and allow yeast to dissolve. Add the milk mixture and about 4 ½ cups flour. Using the dough hook mix ingredients on low speed for about 2 minutes.
Continue mixing and add the remaining flour until dough cleans the sides of the bowl forms a ball around the dough hook. Knead for about 4-5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.
Punch down the dough. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Continue to divide each half in half again and again until you have 32 pieces. Form each piece into a ball using caution to not overwork the dough. Place the buns on a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to rise for about 15 more minutes.