Friday, February 22, 2008

"Giardino" Burgers

My kids love Curious George. We watch him everyday, sometimes more than once a day. I'm convinced that the creators of Curious George must be vegetarians. On more than one occasion the man with the yellow hat has referenced vegetarian dishes, and on Curious George the Movie, Ted makes reference to the "meatless meatloaf" that is served in the museum cafeteria. There is one episode in particular in which George tries to help Chef Pisghetti make vegetarian burgers for the fire-fighters picnic. Well, in typical George fashion, he of course gets into some mischief and the burgers turn out awful. And, also, in typical George fashion, he explains it all to the man with the yellow hat, and all is made right.

So, Chef Pisghetti's vegetarian burgers are called "Giardino Burgers". When flipping through Vegan Planet last week, I ran across a recipe for Great Grain and Vegetable Burgers, and just knew I had to make my kids "Giardino Burgers".

This was one meal that I've both been looking forward to, and nervous about all week. I knew it would either be a huge success, or a huge flop. The burgers call for brown rice, bulgur, shredded zucchini, shredded carrot, onion, garlic, roasted red pepper, and YIKES, vital wheat gluten. I was really nervous about working with the vital wheat gluten, I've read about it being stringy, and it just reminded me of the dreaded seitan incident.

Well, it turns out, that you make this entire mixture in the food processor, and I didn't have to really deal with the wheat gluten at all. As a matter of fact, there was no stringiness to this burger what so ever. As soon as I whizzed it all up in the processor, I knew it was going to be a hit, the smell of this mixture was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!

I fried the patties in just the tiniest bit of EVOO (only thing I'd do differently is to bake them a bit first to firm up the middles before frying). Then, I topped them with some baby spinach, sliced onions, a red pepper and garlic aioli that I made with some left-over roasted reds. Alongside the burgers I served some julienned sweet potato fries, and some sauteed red chard.

Wow, what an incredible meal. I plan on making up a bunch of these patties and freezing them for lots of quick lunches and dinners. I'm not a fan of any of the commercial veggie burgers on the market, but always want the convenience of them. Problem solved.

If you have Vegan Planet you have to try these burgers ASAP, they will knock your socks off!! Even my picky children loved them.........although I'm sure it helped that they thought they were straight from Chef Pisghetti's recipe!!

With all the raving I've done about the burgers, I almost forgot to mention that for dessert we had some vegan brownies made with Cherrybrook Kitchen's mix. They are some of the best brownies I've had. And, an added bonus, they are allergen free and I don't have to make them from scratch. Thank you Cherrybrook Kitchens!!!


Jenny said...

Now I am really really going to get up and go get my (library) copy of Vegan Planet and pick some recipes for next week. You've made two awesome ones in a row!

Oh yes, and I love the Cherrybrook brownies as well. Yummy!

carrie said...

Jenny - If you don't try anything else from Vegan Planet, you have to try these!! But, like I said, I think I would bake them a bit first before frying, as they are a little mushy in the middle. Anyway, mushy or not, they are DELISH!!

The Dalai Mama said...

That is so cool! I'll have to start Tivo-ing Curious George. We have lots of the old books, but my kids have never seen the show.

carrie said...

DM- it's a cute show, and one of the few that I don't mind letting my kiddos watch over and over. We have loads of episodes saved on our DVR, so I just pop one on when I need a break!!

These were the burgers I referenced on your black bean post...I thought they were bean burgers, but they weren't, just grain and veggie.