Home again, really good bean burgers

After 8 weeks in Portland, we are back home in NH, and it’s good to be home.  Portland is a great place, very scenic and bikeable, at once big enough to have real city character (unlike Flagstaff, where we used to live) but with a much homier feel than Boston (where we lived before that).  The waterfront and Old Port districts are fun, and there are a lot of young people in town.  Ships and trains came and went, giving a real sense of commerce and vitality.  I could walk to the bus that goes to Boston (useful when I go there once a week for work), walk to a hardware store and any number of restaurants, and walk or bike to several groceries.

We arrived home to find the remaining lawn almost high enough to harvest for hay; I beat it back with the mower so that the laundry on the line wouldn’t dangle in the grass.  I also did some weeding; the squash, corn, and beans are up, and the potatoes are almost ready to flower.  The tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants don’t look so good; a friend was keeping them while we were out of town and we transplanted them the one weekend we were back, so they never got hardened off.  Most of the maters look like they will make it through, and I will get peppers and eggplants at the garden store to replace the fallen.

The first cabbage and broccoli transplants are starting to get some size, and the first lettuce was ready to harvest, so I picked a bunch to go with dinner.  That got me in a cooking mood, so I started a big batch of the usual Sherwood Inn multigrain bread I’ve described here before, and I made some bean burgers.  These are really good, so I’ll post the recipe here.  We pretty much never buy frozen veggie burgers at the grocery anymore; these are tons better and more substantial, and probably a fifth of the cost.  I’ll give a double recipe, which makes 18 or 20; enough to freeze a big tub for microwaving on a whim – the amount of work is not much more to make a passel of them all at once.

Alexis’ Favorite Bean Burgers (not sure where the recipe is from, and we’ve modified it somewhat)

  • 2 big onions – chop finely
  • 4 tbs oil – as much or as little as you want.  Heat in a frying pan, sauté till translucent
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced (maybe 2 tbs?)
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1.5 tbs cumin
  • 1-2 c grated carrots (I usually use 2 big ones; it makes a substantial difference to use a fine grater, with maybe 2mm openings, so the carrots act like reinforcement rather than weak points in the burgers)
  • 2 tbs tamari
  • 4 tbs ketchup – add these ingredients after a while and cook for a while longer
  • 4 cups of cooked black beans – I do these in the pressure cooker; substantially cheaper than buying in a can and they aren’t salted.  You don’t want salted beans if you can help it, since the ketchup and tamari have plenty.  It helps if the beans are cool/cold to start, to avoid cooking the egg too soon.  I mix the beans with the cooked up onion mush using the kitchenaid, then add
  • 2 eggs (omit for vegan, they won’t hold together as well but will still taste fine)
  • 4 cups regular rolled oats – mix till the eggs and oats are good and mushy.  You want to adjust the amount of bean liquid you include so that the mix seems just a bit too wet; as the oats hydrate it will stiffen up
  • After it sets 10 or 20 mins, form into burgers (of whatever size you like) and cook in a frying pan with a little oil over medium low heat (30% on our stove).  Cook until nicely browned on each side; maybe 5-7 mins per side.

I really like these bean burgers, they are super convenient once you make them, and everything in them can be grown in New England (except cumin maybe, and olive oil is tasty).  Last night I turned a quarter of my bread batch into buns, and we had the bean burgers on warm whole grain buns with sharp cheese and lettuce from the garden.  At the grocery I had noticed that they were starting to have local fresh strawberries, so I bought some rhubarb and made a big 12″ strawberry rhubarb pie with the last of the berries I froze from the organic pick-your-own place over in Vermont last year.  In a week or so it will be time to go picking again.

I also learned a new waltz on the fiddle, a really beautiful, harmonious Swedish tune called Josefin’s.  It’s in the Waltz Book 3, or you can get it on http://www.thesession.org/  I also have been picking around with the mandolin a bit; since it’s tuned the same as a fiddle I figure it will only be about half as hard to learn as another instrument.  This afternoon I went for a walk up the hill across the road from our house; it was a perfect early summer day in the 70s with a light breeze; you could almost smell the trees photosynthesizing, and imagine that all was right with the world.  At the top is the remnants of an old granite quarry, which if one is in a philosophic frame of mind offers a quiet commentary on the works of man.

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One Response to “Home again, really good bean burgers”

  1. Vance Says:

    Those burgers sound delicious. Keep the recipes coming.

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