burger test #2.

The quest continues. Burger components, and believe me I know it sounds like a mess conceptually: KRISTY! Turner's "BBQ bacon burger" (whatever, it's beet, brown rice and red lentils); her tempeh "bacon"; my barely lemon version of her cashew ricotta; a splooge of Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce; some tomato marinated in fresh garlic, salt, and truffle oil; a swath of homemade mayo; a ploop of a kind of weak red slaw (sugar, vinegar, red cabbage).

The eating part: more satisfying/less gloomy than the pure, ascetic healthfulness of Contestant #1, which probably has everything to do with the accouterments, which never looks spelled right does it. Maybe it's not. 

Anyway we really need a new bun. The patty itself was initially Nelson's "least favorite burger" so far structurally, any exposed rice became a bit crunchy in the oven like the bottom of a Korean stone-pot dish (the second round today was almost zero amount of crunchy and overall considerably better I thought). 

The tempeh "bacon" is a nice concept, ruined a bit by 1) calling it by a name it can never ever possibly live up to and 2) requiring me to use the dregs of my 2-year-old bottle of Liquid Smoke. Cough, cough.

The keeper components were a) duh, the tomato on the burger, b) less duh, the lemon cashew ricotta, I may try to make a scallion/jalapeno version of this to see if that kicks up the 4d3d3d. Oh and maybe c) slaw, but not this one.

I think Contestant #3 will be either a black bean burger (maybe look here for tips), or maybe Serious Eats' extravagant vegan effort from The Food Lab or we go back to Anna's quinoa burger plus all of the exciting ideas from Ottolenghi's exorbitantly non-vegan quinoa burger (scallions, green chile, and romesco sauce).



here's the goddamn pancake recipe.

I don't mean that spitefully, I mean holy jesus I can never find "the good vegan/GF pancake recipe" when I'm looking for it.


buckwheat and hazelnut pancakes. 

dry stuff1 cup / 125 g buckwheat flour
a good pinch of salt, i like to think of this as something around 1/2 tsp
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda

wet stufftwo options here:
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk + 1/2 cup water
1 cup almond, hazelnut, or oat milk
2 tbsp maple or agave syrup
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice (i would say use lime if you're using coconut milk, and use lemon otherwise)
1 heaped tbsp hazelnut or almond butter, preferably soft. if it's not soft enough you can heat it up in your milk first and whisk til it dissolves

2 ripe bananas, cut into eights (optional)

1 or 2 tbsp coconut oil for frying.

Combine your dry stuff in one bowl, stir to combine everything. In another bowl combine your wet stuff. Pour the wet stuff into the dry stuff, whisking as you go, until you have a smooth mixture. If it seems too thick you can add 1 or 2 tbsp of water.

Then, heat your coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat and pour a few tbsp of batter into the pan, optionally dotting your pancake with 4 of those optional banana pieces. Fry on one side until the bubbles appear, this should take 2 minutes tops. Flip, fry the other side for 2 minutes. Serve with date, pear, or maple syrup. And a big pat of butter, mwaahahahaahahahahaha.



burger test #1.

This one, Anna Jones' chickpea and quinoa burger, gets a 7/10. Not bad in any way, but not juicy or spicy or generally decadent enough, needs something like the vermouth/jalapeno/pickle mayo hinted at here to sex it up. On the burger this time was an anemic version of her tomato/onion relish bolstered by Heinz ketchup, spinach leaves, and a quick cucumber pickle. Just not as exciting as the last time we made it, which I think is because last time I made a lot of tomato relish and threw some butter in it, maybe even some chili peppers.....that's why we test recipes I guess isn't it.



for posterity.

Because, you know, the future needs vegan lemon ricotta too. Goddamn when is someone going to come up with the lexical equivalent of "cheese" to describe all of these creamy processed nut concoctions that hundreds of thousands of people are making at home to substitute for cheese.

I made this ricotta substitute to put into a noodle-less zucchini Parmesan, which also doesn't have any Parmesan, so goddamnit we're going to need another name for this as well. Cashew in Italian is "anacardio"....and I basically made this.

By the way, some airbnb guests left three pieces of real cheese last week, it was really good.


zucchini al forno con anacardio e pomodoro. 

3 zucchini/courgettes, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch planks
1 cup of lemon cashew ricotta (below)

2 cans tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves
2 splashes red wine
2 glugs olive oil
pinch smoked paprika
2 tsp sugar
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1 cup cooked green/brown lentils

1 good handful of fresh basil leaves, torn


lemon cashew ricotta. 

1 cup unroasted cashews.
2 cups water

3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp miso
zest of one lemon
juice of one half lemon

So, put the cashews and water in a pan and boil for 10 minutes. Drain the cashews, reserving the water you've drained off. Then combine 1/2 cup of that water and the cashews themselves in a food processor and process til it looks like ricotta. Then add your salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and miso, and process some more. If it's too thick, add a little more of the cashew water. If it's not, well don't do anything. Just chill.



This is always improvised, and I always worry it's going to fuck up, and it never does, but just in case:


gluten-free vegetarian gravy.

1 tbsp tapioca flour
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 vegetable bouillon cube
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
pinch thyme
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp butter

Mix the tapioca and the water in a small bowl, before heating anything. When tapioca is dissolved, put the mixture in a small saucepan and add everything but the butter. After it comes to a boil, let it simmer for a minute or two until it's the desired thickness, then add butter. Salt and pepper to taste.



black bean bitterballen.

Nelson/Hoogte Labs produced this bit of wonder over the past couple of days. It's a real, delicious, vegan vegetarian bitterbal made with black beans and pureed/whipped pozole, rolled in panko, deep-fried, and served with an outstanding vegan piccalilli mayo. Really impressive if I do say so myself, which I can because I only did half of it.

Why isn't it vegan? The chick running the deep-fryer couldn't get the panko to stick without an egg, so we need to look into a replacement technology here. And anyway, unbeknownst to the deep-fryer chick, the asshole running the blender had already added butter to the whipped posole so veganness was out the window.

Additionally, the whole concept was fucked with so much on its way to greatness that reproducing it will be a challenge. Leftover Rancho Gordo posole won't always be in the freezer for example. But I'm thinking if you roast a bag of corn (do they even have bags of corn here?) in the oven for 15 or 45 minutes and then whip it in a blender with oat milk and coconut oil that you might get close. Should also figure out if heating the oat milk is actually thickening the whole thing or if that's a myth.

The Labs also pumped out this alien looking thing today.

The internets told me it was the best thing to do with leftover pasta, and indeed it was pretttttttty good. It's Mark Bittman's recipe plus a handful of chopped spinach, one scallion and one clove of crushed garlic.