January 13, 2009

Hippie Science

Burger, Burger, glowin' bitchin'
On the counters of my kitchen,
If you give me one last taste
I'll glow green in outer space.
"Glowing green" is good I hope,
But if it's not I'm sure I'll cope.
I'm glad I got this off my chest;
Please consider my pale request,

Clementine Zesterton

This poem was written for a very special veggie burger. A burger whose utter luminescence could only be scientifically engineered by the most new agey of hands. How does a burger glow without radiation, you might be asking? You add as many green-and-glowing vegetables and legumes to the mix as you possibly can, that's how. The superfood miracle I designed in my kitchen last night was so green, in fact, that it did have the power to make my body shine. Metaphorically speaking, that is. It shined with the light of holy, kale-fondled goodness.

Veggie burgers, in my opinion, have so much untapped potential. Often, veggie or bean burgers sold in the frozen food sections at most grocery stores are more fluff than nutritious, more bark than teeth-in-your-thigh. And, most often it seems like these frozen patties try so hard to look and taste and smell like their meaty counterparts that they lose all sense of who they really are, you know? I'm all like, "don't compromise yourself, girl," but the veggie burger just doesn't listen. She continues to mope in a self-medicating, meat-mirroring state like a girl who can't get over her first boyfriend. The thing is, that dude was never good for her anyhow. He lied, cheated, wore her bras, and thought work was something he "just couldn't connect with in a spiritual way." God--why doesn't she just get over him already and find herself! Why doesn't she become the veggie burger we all know (or, at least we think) she can be!

This is why I decided to experiment with some veggie-heavy variations of the traditional veggie burger last night in my own labratory. Since it is hard to find a veggie burger that does not don a soy mask in the name of "meat substitute," I decided to create my own green-glow monster. Before diving head-on into the realm of science, there were a few things I needed to assess:

Madness? [Check]

A method to that madness? [Say wha'?]

Science is tough, eh? It's not all lab coats and cute scientists. So, before jumping into the lab, I guess I needed to devise a scientific plan. Usually I say "ah, criminy" when it comes to devising plans, but this research was, well, how should I say this...this research could mark a shift in the path of hippie history. May no other hippie man, woman, or child be forced to consume another frozen disk infused with liquid smoke!

So, after eating a banana and pondering real hard, I came up with a research plan:

Research Question: Is it possible to put the "veggie" back in "veggie burger," or must one continue to remain in a vacuous state of greenlessness?

Research Tools: Lots of green stuff, beans, and state-of-the-art kitchen shit (like a bowl, skillet, and burger-flipping device).

Method: Mix loads of random stuff together, try to press said stuff into a patty, and grill said-said stuff.

Measure of Success: The following things will signal the acceptance of delicious molecules: my tongue, nose, brain. Neurons will probably fire. Other cellular functions and things will fire, too, I'm sure.

Margin of Error: 2%, give or take a few

Final Result: Wow, +/-2%

The experiment went off without a hitch! Well, until my eyes became a little blinded by all the brilliant green materials glowing from beakers and bowls. Confused and blurry-eyed, I accidentally added cloves (eeek!) to the mix instead of cumin. However, the end result was still delicious despite this research error. Whether or not the resulting success was at all affected by this error can only be determined by future research. Here's to a bright (hehe) and sexy future in veggie burger research, folks!

Veggie-Heavy Veggie Burgers
(makes about 5 or 6)


1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
3 ribs of celery
2 jalapenos, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 TBS olive oil
1/2 tsp. of cloves
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
dash of turmeric
2 TBS. sesame seeds
2 slices of toasted wheat bread, crumbled into pieces
1 package frozen peas
1 can black beans
a few handfuls of kale cut into small strips
salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute first five ingredients in the list in olive oil for 7-10 minutes on medium heat. When onions become slightly transparent, then you can add the cloves, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper. Coate veggies in spices, and then add the sesame seeds and kale strips. Saute for another minute, and then remove from heat.

2. In a large bowl, mash together your black beans and peas. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked veggies and toast to the mashed legumes. Stir until combined.

3. Form mixture into patties, and then grill over medium heat. My burgers sort of fell apart, which is what future research in this burgeoning field will hopefully rectify. However, don't fret. Just eat the pieces that fall up during the flip. Cook about 2 minutes on both sides, and then serve on your bread of choice!

(Unfortunately, the brilliance of these burgers was so intense that the pictures developed all blurry and postmodern. And I take yet another step toward digital photography...)


Hadley Gets Crafty said...

Dude... I am so excited about this. I'm totally going to give it a try this weekend.

I may omit the celery, though. For some reason the stuff freaks me out when it's cooked. Cover it in mayonaisse, cheese, and walnuts and I'm cool. Put it in my soup and I'm angry. At any rate, do you have any suggestions for celery replacement? Do you view it as necessary in terms of texture?

Paul Allor said...

Damn, that sounds good. Now I know what I'm doing this weekend.

Regarding the "falling apart" problem, when I make Salmon Patties I use raw oats to help keep them cohesive. That could work here as well. In fact, when I make oatmeal I use Steel-Cut oats, but I always keep some pressed oats in the house for just this purpose.

Jada Ach said...

Hadley: Maybe carrots would work instead of celery? You'd be losing some green, but can you imagine the awesomeness of green and orange combined?! Let me know how your experiment goes, whatever the ingredients may be!

Paul: Thanks for the advice! These were really crumbly. In fact, they were probably more sloppy joe than burger. I should have crushed the toast into crumbs...maybe that would bring everything together like the oats would.

(Mmmmm. Steel cut oats. Love 'em.)

Hadley Gets Crafty said...

I will totally let you know how the experiment goes.

Also, your tart name wins, hands down. It is now officially Jewelry Tart. We should have joint contests to name our recipes. So fun!