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Bird-Friendly White Bean Burger (GF) with barbecue sauce.

Bird-Friendly White Bean Burger (GF) with barbecue sauce.

Well, this is #3 in my bean burger series.  When I discover a formula that works, I go with it!

Burger #1 had a Mexican flavor.  Burger #2 had an Italian quality.

Now, burger #3 has seasonings that most people associate with poultry (i.e. dead chickens and dead turkeys.)

In December 2008, I was newly vegan but the rest of my family was still eating animals.  My niece was 4 years old.  While preparing dinner for Christmas, my sister made a comment about the “bird” in the oven.  A few hours later, my little niece sat down to eat and said,

“But mommy, I don’t want to eat a bird.”

I’ll never forget that.  Fortunately, that was the last turkey that my niece had to eat.  My family no longer cooks birds.  We have Vegan Holiday Meals

Here is a savory burger that you can enjoy without causing chickens and turkeys to die.

I’d like to stop seeing the chicken trucks regularly, when I drive to work.

Bird-Friendly White Bean Burgers (GF)

Bird-Friendly White Bean Burgers (GF)

WET INGREDIENTS

2 C (or 1- 15 oz can) white beans (Cannellini (white kidney) or Great Northern beans)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/3 C chopped onion
1/3 C chopped celery
2 T tahini
1 T tamari (GF)

DRY INGREDIENTS

1/2 C oat flour (GF)
1/4 C ground sunflower seeds
1 T nutritional yeast
1 t EACH:  dried parsley, thyme & sage
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t EACH:  ground *rosemary, celery salt & black pepper
dash garlic powder

(*I grind dried rosemary to a fine powder using a coffee grinder)

ASSEMBLY

Use a small food processor to puree the wet ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the wet puree with the dry ingredients.

Divide the burger “dough” into 4 balls or 4 portions.  You can do this right in the bowl using a spoon, or you can pour a drop of olive oil on your hands to handle the balls manually.

The burger dough will be very sticky and soft- don’t panic!  Create 4 patties (see the other burger recipes for pictures of this phase).  If you want to keep your hands clean, just spoon the dough balls right onto parchment paper and flatten them there.

Refrigerate the patties on parchment for at least 30-60 minutes before cooking.  The time will allow the excess moisture to soak into the oats, which will bind the burgers.    Trust me!

Cook the patties on medium heat in a saute pan using the oil of your choice (I use coconut oil).  It should take about 10 minutes per side.  Shake the pan periodically to make sure they aren’t sticking.

Try these with some barbecue sauce or mushroom gravy.

Thank YOU for caring about birds of all kinds.

Kauai Chicken - May 8, 2011

Kauai Chicken – May 8, 2011

Mates, I think I’ve discovered a secret to really good vegan cheese.  My hunch is yet untested, but I think I’m onto something BIG!  Let me explain…

I bought some Marmite today.  I’d never tried it before, so I said “What the heck!” and grabbed a jar while shopping at my local food Co-op.

Ingredients:  Yeast Extract, Salt, Carrot & Onion Extract, Spice Extracts, enriched with B Vitamins – Niacin (B3), Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), and Cyanocobalamin (B12).

Before trying Marmite for the first time, the only thing I knew about it is that it’s very salty.  Just like umeboshi paste…a little goes a long way.  The jar states “Delicious when spread thinly on toast or for a treat try Marmite on a crispbread with cottage cheese.”

I put some on a piece of toast.  Hmm…Salty, yes.  It’s hard to describe, but I would use the words salty, smoky, and bitter.  It was okaaay…not repulsive (the Marmite website says you’re either a lover or a hater), but I felt it just needed something else in order to satisfy me.  (I think it could grow on me, though…)

Of course, I didn’t have cottage cheese in my fridge, but I did have some vegan cheese.  Last week I made homemade vegan Muenster cheese, from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook (page 164), by Jo Stepaniak.

 

Marmite + Vegan Muenster on toast = Ding, ding, ding!  (Wedding bells!)

Marmite by itself..it’s okay.
Vegan Muenster by itself…it’s quite good.
Marmite and Muenster…better together!

The Marmite gave the Muenster that little somethin’ somethin.’  It amped up the flavor;  it gave it depth and richness.

That little “somethin’ somethin” has a name:  Umami.  It’s that little-known fifth taste sense.  It’s not just salty.  It’s not just bitter.  It’s savory but obscure.  You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know it when you taste it.  Ooo-mommy!

Apparently, it’s the glutamic acid in the Marmite that imparts the umami sense.  Glutamic acid is associated with fermented or aged foods of plant and animal origin…aged meats, fish, soy sauce, certain vegetables (mushrooms, tomatoes & others), and aged cheeses.

So here’s what I’ve concluded:

Animal-based cheeses have a distinct sharpness of flavor.  It can be difficult to find this robust flavor burst in a plant-based cheese.  (Difficult, but not impossible!)

So, if glutamic acids contribute greatly to the pungent taste AND if Marmite adds that umami quality, then it only makes logical sense to add a little bit of Marmite to vegan cheese recipes.

I’m going to try that.

So…Whereas, the recipe for Muenster Uncheese calls for:

 

Paprika, water, agar flakes, tofu, cashews or Brazil nuts, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, tahini, onion powder, salt, dry mustard, garlic powder, and ground caraway or coriander

 

…I’m thinking it would be wise to add a drib or a drab of Marmite, too.  Just a wee.  What do you think?

(Paprika makes Muenster Uncheese pretty and smoky)

(For more on using umami in the vegan cooking arsenal, read this blog article by Ginny Messina, the Vegan R.D.)

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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