Here’s Finn’s Baby Song, it’s been stuck in my head for days!
Actually, this was our first attempt, and it worked, and we had so much fun making it, and were so thrilled that it worked that it’s just silly. The burger is made of roasted beets, shallots, and garlic, basmati rice, bread crumbs, roman beans, and seasoning. That’s it! Simple, cheap, and really tasty! We seasoned ours with sage, rosemary, smoked paprika, and just a smidge of chipotle and marmite, but you could easily use any seasoning you like. You could make spicy burgers with more chipotle, you could make curried burgers. You could also use a different bean, pinto would be nice! Try these even if you think you don’t like beets, because beets that are roasted/toasted, and then mixed with other stuff, and then grilled, would probably appeal to just about anyone, be they a beet lover or a beet hater. If you really really can’t eat beets, I think these would work with roasted mushrooms instead. I’ll try it and let you know!! Can I just say that this particular combination, when being mixed and mushed, looks disconcertingly like ground beef! Very strange.We ate these with flatbreads, which we also grilled!! They were browned and crispy on the outside, and soft and flavorful inside. We cut them in half, lengthwise, and put a burger and lots of lettuce and tomato inside. Very fun to make, very tasty! We also ate these with a slice of sharp cheddar melted on top. The burgers may be vegan, but we’re not! I’m sure it would be good with vegan cheese, or no cheese at all.
We wanted to use the beet greens as well, because they were so pretty, so we boiled them for a few minutes, and then sautéed them with zucchini, garlic and red pepper flakes. Then we tossed a small handful of chopped roasted cashews, and a small handful of grated coconut (the sweet kind!) and a few fresh basil leaves. Delicious!
Here’s George McCrae with WE DID IT! What a happy song!
But let’s get back to the food, man. I remember when it was all about the food. I went to Whole Foods a few weeks back, and I stocked up on black grains. Black barley, black rice, black quinoa… (What, quinoa is not actually a grain, it’s a “pseudocereal”? Good god.) I like black grains and grain-like products because they’re very pretty, and because they usually have a nuttier, meatier taste than their paler cousins. Black quinoa is no exception. It stays a little crunchy, it turns a lovely garnet color, and the little pale squiggly spiral comes out to tell you that it’s done. I thought the quinoa would taste nice (and look good!) with beluga lentils. I wanted to try something a little different with the seasoning, because I feared I was getting stuck in a rut. So I opted for tarragon, fennel seed and ground coriander in a sauce made from white wine and orange juice. Fruity, citrus-tart/sweet, and anise-y! I thought it was nice! I thought it would go well with sweet potatoes and carrots, so I added some of those, too. And I threw in handfuls of baby spinach at the end, because everything is better with baby spinach! We ate it with basmati rice and a salad of arugula and more baby spinach. The rice is probably overkill with the quinoa, but it was one thing I was sure the boys would eat. I grated some sharp cheddar on mine, and I thought it was a nice addition.
We had some quinoa mixture left over, and some extra beluga lentils, so I decided to make them into burgers. I added a little smoked paprika and tamari, for that smoky, meaty edge. I added an egg and some bread crumbs, for substance, and I fried them in a little olive oil. Delicious! They’re a little delicate, but very tasty. I wanted to make rolls for my burgers, so I made some out of semolina. I wanted to keep them simple, but I kept thinking how nice the chinese dumplings we made were, with a little extra sugar, and a touch of vinegar, so I added that. The rolls were tasty, but quite dense. Which was a funny combination with the delicate burgers, but I liked it, although I concede that nice soft store-bought hamburger buns might make more sense in this instance. I heaped some lettuce and fresh spinach and fresh sliced tomato on, and I ate my whole burger! The boys ate them with barbecue sauce, and we made some oven roasted fries to go with them.