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Oat Burgers with Hazelnuts

Monday, November 5, 2012 13 comments

We discovered these at my a family reunion last year.  My wife's cousin (Jeff) brought these amazing oat burgers that may have been more popular than the regular burgers.  Since discovering them I've literally made hundreds of them.  For a while, I'd fill the freezer with a double batch every couple of weeks.  I've made some alterations to the original recipe (which was gluten free) and the result is a great tasting burger with a wonderful texture and surprising bites of hazelnut.  This is by far, my girls' favorite burger.

Oat Burger with Hazelnuts

Oat Burgers with Hazelnuts (aka Jeff Burgers) 

3/4 cups hazelnuts (or chopped walnuts)
3 cups water  
1 medium onion, chopped  
2 cloves garlic  
1/4 cup soy sauce  
1 tsp Marmite (or beef flavored bouillon)
3 Tbs nutritional yeast  
1 tsp rubbed sage  
1 tsp dried basil  
1 tsp liquid smoke  
1/2 tsp salt  
2.5 cups oatmeal  
1/4 cup ground flax seed  
1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
1-2 Tbs vegetable oil for baking 

Toast the Hazelnuts.  Put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until the hazelnut skins begin to split.  Take them out of the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Wrap them in a hand towel and rub them together so the skins come off.  Pick the nuts out and throw away the skins.  Pulse in a food processor until they are coarsely chopped.  If you don't have a food processor, you can put them back in the towel and whack them a few times with a mallet or the side of a hammer.

Combine the water, onion, garlic, soy sauce, Marmite, nutritional yeast, spices, liquid smoke and salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the oatmeal, hazelnuts and flax seed.  Set a site and allow to cool to room temperature, about half an hour.  Stir vigorously to break up the oatmeal a bit.  Stir in the vital wheat gluten.

Now you are going to have a thick, sticky pan of stuff, a little thicker than oatmeal cookie dough.  From here spray oil will be your friend.  Spray it on your hands (or whatever you use to shape the patties) on your spatula, on the chop block and anything the dough may come in contact with.


Put a cookie sheet into the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Divide into 12 balls (about 1/3 cup per ball).  Form each ball into a patty.  Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and add 2 tbs vegetable oil.  Swirl around to coat and add the patties.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Take them out, brush the tops with oil (or spray with cooking oil) and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Serve hot, or refrigerate/freeze.  

12 Servings:  227 cal (9g fat, 27g carbs, 11g protein)

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Roasted Butternut Squash Curry Soup

Saturday, October 27, 2012 1 comments

I went into the kitchen today with a plan to roast some squash. I decided I'd roast the squash and aromatics and decide from there what flavors were talking to me. The blended squash had a sweet and roasty flavor and was screaming for mustard. I sizzled some mustard and ginger in oil and blended in the last batch. This is an easy soup to make and the sweet squash with subtle hints of ginger and curry powder are perfect for a rainy fall day.

Indian Squash Soup

Roasted Squash Curry Soup
Roasted Veggies:
3 tbs vegetable oil
1 large butternut squash (about 3 lbs), cubed
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
Other:
15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp amchur (dried green mango) or 1/2 small lemon, juiced
Tarka*:
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs brown mustard seed (yellow is fine too)
1 tbs ginger, roughly chopped
1 tsp curry powder

Roasted Veggies:
Add the vegetables and squash to one or two 9x13 casseroles and drizzle with vegetable oil.  Cook in an oven preheated to 400 degrees.  Bake until the the veggies begin to carmelize in places.  Remove from the oven and add the can of chickpeas to the veggies.  Blend in batches with enough water to keep the blender going.  Pour into a soup pot.

Tarka*:
Heat 1 tbs of vegetable oil in a small frying pan.  Add the mustard seed until it sizzles, then add the ginger.  Fry just until the ginger becomes aromatic.  Remove from heat and stir in the curry powder.  Add to the blender with some of the pureed soup.  Pour some water into the fry pan and swirl to get the last bits of spice.  Pour into the blender.  Blend thoroughly.

Add the salt and amchur or lemon juice to taste.  Heat to a boil, remove from heat and serve.

8 Servings:  337 cal (9g fat, 67g carbs, 8g protein)

Note:  a tarka is a cooking method used to flavor Indian dals.  At the end of cooking, spices are fried in oil, then folded into the dal.  This worked great for this recipe.  You can adjust the flavors by adding bits of the last blended batch at a time until you get the flavor you want.

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My wife is allergic to peanuts, which sometimes puts a damper on my Thai cravings.  So, when I set out to make tofu satay, I decided to make a tahini based 'peanut' sauce.  This sauce turned out to be a winner for sure.  It was an amazing dipping sauce for tofu.  Then, I took the leftovers, added a little water and used the rest for salad dressing.  Since then, I've made two more batches for salads and we just can't get enough.

No Peanut Sauce

Thai No-Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup tahini (preferrably roasted)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tbs golden mountain sauce (or soy sauce)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs ginger, minced
1 tbs red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen)
1/4 cup water (1/2 cups for salad dressing)
1 tbs agave syrup

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

10 servings:  87 cal (6g fat, 4g carbs, 3g protein)

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Perfect Light Wheat Bread

Sunday, January 1, 2012 5 comments

My kids are hooked on the soft-puffy grocery store white bread.  They've even turned up their nose on home made sandwich bread . . . especially if it has whole wheat flour.  I've been working for months to find a recipe that pulls them away from WonderBread.  Finally, I found it.  This bread is soft and sweet and full enough to hold up to a pat of Earth Balance.  It's great for pull apart rolls or burger buns or bread loaves.  The real test, though, is the grocery store bread going stale in the bread drawer.

I usually double this and make one loaf of bread and one batch of buns.

Note:  I've been using King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour.  It is much lighter typical whole wheat flour.  If you've got kids who run from anything whole-grain, this flour is well worth the cost.

Italian Sandwich Bread

Light Wheat Bread
2 cups (9 oz) unbleached bread flour
1 cup (5 oz) whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp instant yeast (see note below)
4 tsp vital wheat gluten
1.25 tsp salt
1.5 tbs agave syrup
1.5 tbs non-hydrogenated shortening or coconut oil, melted
1.25 cups unsweetened soy milk (heated to room temperature)
1.5 tsp vinegar


Note:  Instant yeast has a smaller grain than standard active dry yeast, and doesn't need to be dissolved.  If you're using Active dry yeast, dissolve it in the soy milk and use 2 tsp.

Mix the soy milk with the vinegar and set aside for five minutes.  Stir together the dry ingredients.  Add the shortening, agave syrup and soy milk.  Stir with a large spoon until the flour is absorbed and the dough forms a ball (with a stand mixer, a couple of minutes on low with the dough hook).  If the dough is especially tacky, add a little flour.

Sprinkle a little flour on a counter top and knead for about 10 minutes (with a stand mixer, six minutes on medium with the dough hook).  The dough should be slightly tacky, but not sticky and pass the windowpane test.  I use a stand mixer, but I always finish kneading by hand.  It's easier to get the dough to the right consistency.

Grease a large bowl, add the dough and cover with plastic wrap (or a plate).  Set in a warm, dry place until it doubles in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  If you're thermostat is set low, or if you have a drafty kitchen, you can put the dough in a cool oven with the light turned on.

Remove from the bowl and follow these links for instructions on shaping the dough:  Sandwich Loaf, or Pull Apart Rolls.  For hamburger buns, follow the pull apart method with a larger ball of dough, then press the dough so that it flattens.  This recipe will make 1 loaf, 12 pull apart rolls or 8 burger buns.  Place rolls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet or loaves in a greased bread pan.  Mist the with with spray oil. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and and set aside until the dough nearly doubles in size (1 to 1 1/2 hours).

For Loaves:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after about 20 minutes.  The loaf should be golden brown and the internal temperature should be 180 to 190 degrees.  Take out of the oven, shake out of the pan, brush the top with soy milk and cool on a wire rack.  Cool at least an hour before slicing.

For Rolls:  Preheat in the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for 15 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown.  Remove from the oven, brush the tops with soy milk and cool on a wire rack.

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Sri Lankan Curry

Saturday, December 3, 2011 2 comments

I've been reading about Sri Lankan cuisine lately. I tried a couple recipes and finally decided to take the plunge and make something myself. This curry is a fusion of different influences. I wanted to use marinaded, fried tofu. I would be using a lot of oil to fry the tofu, so I used soy yogurt instead of coconut milk to save calories. I added coconut water to get a little of the coconut flavor and some sweetness. Finally, I added cabbage to the stir fry. The sweetness of the cabbage and the yogurt's tartness nicely complemented a very pungent curry powder. Sri Lankan food is traditionally very hot. This is not.

Sri Lankan Curry

Marinade:
1 lb tofu, drained & sliced (4 or 5 slices)
1 1/2 cup soy yogurt
3 tbs Sri Lankan Curry Powder
1/2 tsp salt

Stir Fry:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seed
1 onion, halved & sliced thin
1 lb large mushrooms, sliced thick
1/2 small cabbage (about 1 lb total), sliced
1-2 inches ginger, cut into thin batons
1/2 cup coconut water (or 1/4 cup apple juice & 1/4 cup water)

The day before, mix together the curry powder, soy yogurt & salt. Place the tofu slices in the marinade, making sure the top has a slurry of marinade. Leave in the refrigerator overnight, turning a couple of times.

Heat the oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat. Add a little more if it doesn't cover the pan. Scrape the yogurt off of the tofu slices and fry in the oil, turning once until both sides are browned. Remove the tofu, cut the slices into cubes and set aside (preferably in a warm oven).

In the same oil, add the mustard seed. When they begin to sizzle, add the onion and saute until soft. Add the mushroom and continue sauteing until the mushrooms have given off most of their moisture. Add the ginger batons, stir fry for a couple minutes, then add the cabbage. Saute just until the cabbage wilts.

Stir in the yogurt marinade, coconut water and the tofu. Bring just to a boil and simmer until the tofu is heated. Serve over rice or with naan, chapatis, etc.

4 Servings: 319 cal (19g fat, 16g carbs, 14g protein)

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