Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bacon Cheeseburgers and Roasted Potatoes

It's the 4th of July weekend.  I cooked out on the grill yesterday.  I made some food for my sons (courtesy of my youngest leaving the door ajar to my deep freezer), some food only for me, and potatoes for both of us.  I've been searching my vegan cookbooks for two weeks looking at all of the burger recipes. I wanted to make a new type of burgers. I finally chose Bacon Cheeseburgers on page 89 of The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, and BOY-OH-BOY, I'm glad I did.  Thanks to Joni for putting the recipe on her blog, so I can share the link to it with all of you. :)
The first step I took was to make Imitation Bacon Bits on page 185.  I've not made imitation bacon bits before, and the recipe for this was very easy.  I just boiled some water and Liquid Smoke (I used half hickory flavor and have mesquite flavor), marinated TVP in it for 10 minutes, and then cooked the TVP until it dried out.  The recipe called for red food coloring, which I didn't have, but I didn't miss that.  I was a little apprehensive on how the finished product would taste, but it was good.  It doesn't taste quite like bacon, but it does have a "smoky" flavor that is vaguely reminiscent of bacon.  I think it is a decent substitute.
I compiled all of the ingredients for the burgers.  If it looks like a lot, it is.  I made a double batch of burgers.  My intention was to freeze a good number of burgers so I can take some to my brother and sis-in-law later this month when I see them at a family gathering.  (I will be making another type of burger in the next week so I can take them a couple of different types of burgers.)
I have to say, I didn't know how well the burger dough would come together with the peanut butter, maple syrup, and BBQ sauce in it, given that I had to use my hands to mix it up.  The recipe said to knead it for 5 minutes.  I can't stand that part and I'm ALWAYS watching the clock for the time to be over, and that's when I only have to knead for 3 minutes.  When I made these, I figured since I had to knead a couple of extra minutes, I'd set the timer when I began and not look at the clock.  The time went by quicker than I thought it would.  However, one of these times, I'm going to get my stand mixer out and the dough hooks and see if that works as well as hand mixing.
I always use my trusty Tupperware hamburger press to make my burgers.  They come out so uniformly shaped.  Note the bottom right burger looks thicker than some of the other burgers.  That's because the recipe states that it makes only 4 burgers, so I thought I'd get 8 burgers.  I divided the dough in half and then divided one of the halves in fourths.  I quickly realized that the burgers were going to be GINORMOUS.  So, I cut some of the burger away from the original three that I made and made smaller burgers.  The recipe will easily make 6 burgers (about the size of a quarter pounder).  I ended up making 10 burgers, but easily, I could have made a dozen with the double batch.

As for the taste, you ask?  These burgers have a BBQ flavor that is mellowed a bit by the nutritional yeast.  I absolutely love these burgers.  They held up exceptionally well on the Weber grill.  I wasn't sure they would because they weren't steamed or cooked in any manner before I slapped them on the grill.  I coated the burgers with BBQ sauce and let them sit on the grill for another couple of minutes before removing them.  I made 3 burgers and froze the remaining 7 burgers.  I will DEFINITELY be making these again!  They ROCKED!
As the side, I cut up four Yukon gold potatoes in 1" chunks.  I drizzled 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the potatoes and added 1 teaspoon of Northwoods seasoning (Penzey's) and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.  I also minced 1 sprig of fresh rosemary and 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (cut a minute beforehand from the plants on my deck) and added that to the potatoes.  I sealed the potatoes, herbs, and spices in tinfoil, and put it on the grill to cook for about 45 minutes.  It made a very tasty side dish.

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