Today’s ingredient I’ve never tried before: Seitenbacher Veggie-Burger-Mix #2. Sounds promising, doesn’t it?
The last time I made any sort of thing from a mix like this was in college, before I was even really vegetarian. I was dabbling with the idea in a half-hearted sort of way, and had bought a box of “falafel mix.” I mixed it up and formed little balls, which promptly disintegrated into sad little falafel piles the second I put them into the oil. I think I let them cook anyway and scooped out all the falafel crumbs and tried to eat them anyway. They tasted pretty good but eating food that is crumbs is never appealing. So that experience put me off using mixes pretty much ever since.
This one certainly did not bode well from it’s initial appearance- weird, greenish, powdery, with little chunks of oats visible. My impression of it did not improve upon adding one cup of water, which made it look like something unspeakable. It was way too moist at first to form patties, so I let it sit for a while while making some oven fries.
I think I can safely say these were the best oven fries I’ve EVER made. For starters I cut the potatoes much smaller than I usually do. Usually I just cut rounds, like really thick potato chips. But this time I made little mini-fries. I read somewhere that the secret to good fries is to blot them with paper towel to sop up some of the water so they crisp up more. So I did that, then drizzled some olive oil, seasoned salt, and pepper over, then baked them for a while.
By the time I got the fries in the oven, the burger mix had solidified enough to make patties. They fried up nicely, and didn’t taste at all as bad as I had feared. I was seriously imagining the kind of awful bland beany burger from the 60′s that I’m sure everyone instantly thinks of when you say “vegan burger.” I also fried up some tempeh bacon that I had on hand.
I made some sauce with veganaise, ketchup, pickle relish, vinegar, salt, pepper, and a little hot sauce. Fixins included deli dill pickles, spicy greens and onion from the CSA, and tomato.
These burgers were really good, and I think I’d probably buy the mix again. The texture and flavor were both nice and melded well with the bacon and veggies and sauce. And the fries! I only wish I had made more of those, although it’s probably best that I didn’t because I could have eaten a seriously unhealthy amount of them.