No qualifiers there. He simply is. And his articles about food, recipes and videos make my day. He makes me smile, laugh, hungry, and happy that he is in the world.
Other New York Times food writers don't do as much for me. Of course the cards are stacked against them, but they seem to really fall really short when compared to my god. But this recipe is the one that proves the exception.
Usually I'm pretty skeptical about Melissa Clark. Not to be a hater, but since making the mistake of listening/watching her in video form, her voice runs through my head when I read her recipes...and it's not a pleasant one. So my emotional reaction has often prevented me from making her recipe suggestions.
But I knew this one was worth overriding my emotional quirks. It was complex and sounded like she'd realllly worked out the kinks to make what she called "The Ultimate Veggie Burger." So I gave in.
Yeah! Cooking Stubbornness Conquered Again!
Make a double batch, totally worth the extra efforts, and they freeze well!
Best Veggie Burger (from the New York Times)
(makes 6-8 burgers)
4 oz extra firm tofu, drained and patted dry
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 cups kidney beans, cooked and drained
1 medium beet, peeled
3/4 cup tamari almonds or cashews
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 oz cotija cheese (I used mizithra, hard salty Greek sheep cheese)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 oz tempeh, crumbled
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice tofu into 1/4 inch slices and arrange on one end of a large baking sheet. Spray with olive oil. Toss mushrooms with a little olive oil and salt and arrange next to tofu. Pour kidney beans into a bowl and grate beet into the kidney beans and toss to blend well. Spread bean beet mixture on the remaining space of baking sheet. Bake bean beet mixture 15-20 minutes until beans split open and beets start to dry out; remove from sheet and place back in mixing bowl. Flip tofu and stir mushrooms to make sure they roast evenly; cook another 10-15 minutes until mostly baked but still tender to the touch. Remove from oven.
In the bowl of a food processor pulse nuts and cashews to create fine crumbs. Add all of the baked items, eggs, mayonnaise, scallions, garlic and paprika and pulse to combine until mixture looks like raw ground beef. Add salt to taste and pulse in tempeh and brown rice just to mix, not puree like remaining mixture.
Chill mixture for at least 1 hour and then form patties and either pan fry or grill. Make patties by forming balls and flattening to 1/2 inch width. The patties freeze well when parchment paper is placed between patties; it also freezes like ground beef, solid, but needs at least 24 hours to thaw in the refrigerator. Serve with your favorite burger toppings!