Sunday, June 21, 2009

Miniature Vegan Veal, Black Peppercorn and Basil Burgers with Artichoke and Avocado Tapenade

I tend to hide my vulnerabilities from the public eye...said "public" referring to the old people at the grocery store and patrons of various LA farmers markets. I've exposed a few of my idiosyncrasies here in the past from a place of acceptance. This week, I'm facing one head on:

My hair style.

Friends, family and even casual acquaintances know that I don't ever change my "do". It is long enough to hit the past-boob point. It is the most natural blonde coloration within a 5 mile radius of the 90210 zip code. I like to think it is the straightest thing about me (pun very intended), and it's parted down the center Ala Wednesday Adams.

My hair has been a hotbed of controversy for ages. I popped out of my mother's womb with enough hair for the nurses to stick a pink bow on my head. I assure you it was the only "pink" and the only "bow" I ever sported. My parents parted my hair down the middle and slicked it down, and I never did a damn thing to alter their decision. At an age when most teenagers dye their hair more times than they lie to their parents, my best friend had to make it her mission to retrain the part that now adamantly refuses to disappear from dead-center scalp. After several fervent attempts with combs, gels and even sweat bands, she eventually forced me to lay on the floor for over an hour with a pile of books holding my hair down to the left side. My hair, being the living creature that it is, took it upon itself to fall right back into place when I finally stood up. My friend waved her white flag, and I smiled with sweet satisfaction. She wasn't the last to try, and she wasn't the last to fail. The part is here to stay. The style, for once, is not.

It took me over a decade to grow aggravated with my hair. It is a long, unruly mane. The time has finally arrived to tame it. I have been called "Avril" one time to many. I have burned the pieces that fall in my face on candles, with lighters and over my stove. I have had enough passionate kisses ruined by my lady having to stop and spit a piece of hair out of her mouth. I have unknowingly had pieces of food get caught in my locks after hours in the kitchen, then gone out into public and been laughed at by passersby. Enough is enough.

I am cutting my hair.

In the past, when I said I was getting a hair cut, it meant that my friends would usually ask, "Wait, you cut your hair?" after I asked them how it looked. I am scared shitless to change it, but it's something I have to do. To me, it's a dramatic change. It will probably take me about two weeks to work up the balls to actually "Do the Do", but I've made a promise to myself. I will not pansy out of this one.

Okay. On to the recipe. I am a self-proclaimed Veggie Burger elitist. The best I've ever had was at a restaurant called "Cooks Double Dutch" in Culver City. Their patties were perfectly cooked and seasoned. The buns were more perfect than J Lo's. Unfortunately, the restaurant closed. I often times don't even order a veggie burger out at restaurants even if it's my only option on the menu. I usually end up disappointed. I like my veggie burgers meaty and delicious, and I don't care what you have to say about it ;)

To date, the only Vegetable-ish burger (aka one that actually has chunks of veggies in it) I like can be found at O! Burger. It is flipping amazing, and all organic to boot. With summertime picnics in our midst, I thought I'd try out a recipe that could seduce the hunky carnivore pool boy your aunt Gloria invites to the next family soiree. Enjoy!

Miniature Vegan Veal, Black Peppercorn and Basil Burgers
with Artichoke and Avocado Tapenade

Vegan Veal, Black Peppercorn and Basil Burger Patties
  • 1 batch Vegan Veal Chops (Recipe Follows)
  • 1 Flax "Egg" (2 TBSP Ground Flax Seeds mixed with 2 TBSP Water)
  • 1/3 cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 1/8 cup MimicCreme
  • 1/4 cup fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1/8 cup Shallots, finely diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Dijon Mustard
  • 1 TBSP Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Truffle Oil (or Olive Oil)
  • 1 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
Additional Burger Incidentals
  • 8 Shittake Mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 8 miniature Buns, Bagels or Dinner Rolls
  • 8 slices Vine Ripened Tomatoes
  • 8 small pieces Red Leaf Lettuce
  • 8 slices Vegan Cheese (optional)

Allow the "Veal" Chops to drain well, then dice the Chops into about 1/2 inch size pieces. Place the pieces in a food processor, and run the machine until the "Veal" is almost pureed...about 2 minutes. Move the ground "Veal" to a large bowl, and carefully drain off about half of the excess liquid by pressing firmly on the ground "Veal" while tilting the bowl over a sink.

Add the Flax "Egg", Breadcrumbs and MimicCreme to the ground "Veal", and use your hands to combine well. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to set.

Remove the ground "Veal" mixture from the refrigerator, then add the remaining Burger Pattie ingredients. Use your hands to combine well, then taste for salt.

For the mixture into 2-inch wide, 1 inch thick patties, and set aside.

Preheat and grease your grill well. Place a small skillet over the flame (or over medium-high heat if using stove top), and warm the 2 tsp of Olive Oil until hot. Quickly saute the Shittake Mushrooms until cooked, then season with salt and pepper. Set them aside.

Cook each burger patty about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through to your liking. At this point, I like to grill the buns over the flame while melting a small slice of Vegan Cheese on top. Serve patties on grilled Buns with the rest of the Burger Incidentals and the Avocado Artichoke Tapenade.

Avocado Artichoke Tapenade
  • 1 16oz can Artichoke Hearts, drained well
  • 1 small Haas Avocado
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves fresh Garlic
  • 1/2 TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 TBSP Lime Juice
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
Note: You can use 1 TBSP Lemon Juice if you don't have limes lying around

Puree all of the ingredients in a food processor until pureed. Taste for salt and pepper. Squeeze a little lime or lemon juice over the top, cover tightly with a lid, then place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Vegan Veal Chops

1 1/2 cups Vital Wheat Gluten
1 1/2 cups + 1 TBSP Water mixed with...
1 tsp Better Than Bouillon's No Beef Broth Paste
1 1/2 TBSP MimicCreme

6 cups prepared Better Than Bouillon's No Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Tamari
1 cup prepared Better Than Bouillon's No Beef Broth
1 bottle of Dark Stout Ale
1 cup MimicCreme
Handful of Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder

Combine all of the broth ingredients in a large pot, and bring to a boil.

While the broth is heating up, make your Seitan Dough by mixing and kneading the Vital Wheat Gluten, Water/Bouillon blend, and MimicCreme until it's completely mixed. It will be a little more wet than most seitan doughs. Squeeze out the excess liquid, and form the mixture into a ball. On a cutting board, flatten the ball out, and use kitchen shears to cut into eight "Chops". Before putting in boiling broth, flatten each part down by pressing it firmly between your hands, then drop them into the pot.

Cover the pot, reduce heat to simmer, and let the seitan cook for a little over an hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

Remove the "Chops" from the broth with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain/cool.

You can reserve the broth to re-use another day. Hey..the economy is shit. We gotta get by somehow, right?


Jes said...

I've never tried making a burger with seitan or any "meaty" substance, but this looks kinda tempting.

But the important question is, can you promise post-cut pictures?!

Gina said...

They sound amazing!!

And you'd better be posting pictures of this haircut :)

iRaw said...

Wow, that burger looks awesome!! And I love the sound of avo artichoke tapenade - I bet it's absolutely delicious!

Anonymous said...

Yum--that sounds fantastic!

I am the same way about my hair! I NEVER cut it (aside from a trim every once in a while)...until recently. Depending on how short you go, you could look into donating it to Locks of Love (or a similar type of organization) that makes wigs for kids who are receiving chemo for cancer. They DO require a minimum of 10 inches, though (some of it gets lost in the weave, so that way they can have semi-long wigs). I have done it does grow back :o)


Anonymous said...

Oh no.... your beautiful hair!

Leaves of Artichoke said...

It looks amazing and yummy and delicious. I find artichoke very tasty. It is good for health. It is rich in iodine. It reduces cholesterol and improves blood circulation, it is also helpful for diabetic people.

Mihl said...

I have to admit that the thought of veal makes my stomach turn. But I am totally in the mood to try your "veal" version especially because there are black peppercorns involved! Every seitan dish should have a generous amount of them :)

About the hair...I am a memeber of the long hair but don't know what to do with it. I've been thinking about cutting it for so long now. Only problem is, I change my opinion every five minutes.

quarrygirl said...

omg dude, only YOU would think to veganize veal. and i REALLY wanna try your version. i have never had the real thing, but that picture looks great. you are a rebel.

now WHAT THE HELL are you gonna do to your hair?

Jenni (aka Vegyogini) said...

First of all, YOU'RE CUTTING YOUR HAIR? How short? Are you getting a different style?

Thank you for creating an onion-free vegan burger recipe (I will pretend there aren't shallots involved)!

Adriana said...

It's like mini sirloin burgers with out the sirloin and add vegan veal instead...

Change is good! I'm sure your hair will look great. Can be any worst than a blue ear. Yeah, blue dye rubs off on me ear. Greeeeeat!

Sophia said...

I'm sure your hair will look great, I never change my hair style either. Mine poofs out. That burger looks great, especially that artichoke tapenade. I LOVE artichokes.

¡Yo Soy Liz! said...

RIP Cooks Double Dutch!!!!!!!!

kim g. said...

I'm all for the haircut. My hair used to always be long but once I took the plunge and cut it I was glad I did.

And I've never eaten veal, but I think I might have to try this burger. All your food looks so amazing!

Lovlie said...

Some excellent recipes here! I'm coming back soon to check out some more! That burger look delicious!

the twins said...

that looks delicious!
i've passed on a blog award to you, come by my blog to check it out.

Fenke said...

why do you still have to call it veal? it has absolutely nothing in common with the meat - luckily. i am sorry, but even the word alone made me never eat that - even before i was a vegetarian. still looks delicious though ;-))

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

WHOA! You're cutting your hair?! I can't wait to see what happens.. seriously, WHOA.
As usual, everything looks crazy good.

Turtle Dove said...

Ugh, veal. The name makes me sick. Reading the word taints the recipe that follows....however tasty it may be.