Thursday, June 21, 2012

Atlanta Vegan Quest...or, how I cemented my idea of what constitutes a "Jerk Burger"

In March 2012, I tagged along with my better half on a work trip to Atlanta, which spawned some fascinating cuisine experiences. I found a hip vegan bakery/cafe, visited a crazy "Farmers Market," ate at a vegetarian Buddhist restaurant, and tried a vegan "soul food" restaurant run/inspired by the African Hebrew Isrealites of Jerusalem organization...all of which will figure into the next few blog entries!

The first, Jamaican Jerk Burgers, was modeled after a sandwich Russ had at World Peace Cafe, the aforementioned Buddhist establishment ( I'm no restaurant reviewer, so I'll leave out the critique and just say that I knew I had to try to make a better version when I got home, and I did! The jerk seasoning paste keeps well in the fridge, so now I try to have some on hard for whenever the mood strikes. This isn't a quick meal, but it is so worth it...

Liz' Jamaican Jerk Burger:

Okay, here are all the components. I suggest starting the lentils and quinoa, then making the salsa and slaw (make the jerk seasoning paste in advance and have it in your fridge, that's easiest - or make it first). 

Jerk Seasoning, adapted from The Ethnic Vegetarian by Angela Shelf Medearis:
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, including seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Pulse first five ingredients in a food processor to chop finely. Add the rest of the spices and mix well. I've been known to splash a little apple cider vinegar to help smooth out the paste. Store in a well-sealed glass jar in your fridge...

Jerk Patties:
1 cup red lentils, cooked until starting to get mushy, drain & let cool
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well, and cooked in 2 cups of water until soft, about ten minutes of boiling followed by ten minutes of sitting covered. Drain if necessary and mix with lentils in a large bowl.
3/4 cup shredded carrots
Mix the following together and then mix well in bowl with the first three ingredients:
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 tablespoon Jerk seasoning paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Form into patties and gently fry in a non-stick pan.

Mango Salsa:
2 ripe mangoes, diced (or pineapple if you can't find nice ripe mango)
1 small red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno

Mix all ingredients together.

Coconut-Cilantro Slaw:
1 small head green cabbage, cut as for slaw
Pulverize in food processor or blender:
1 cup cilantro stems and leaves
Juice of one lime
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut, soaked in 1/4 cup very hot water for 10 minutes (do not drain)

Mix dressing and cabbage well, allow to sit to let flavors meld for 30 minutes, then adjust salt.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Back to the Blog

Good is crazy to think about how long it has been since I posted anything here! Not that I haven't been busy having lots of culinary adventures - I simply got out of the habit of blogging about them. I think I'll choose to blame my lack of motivation on being the parent of teenagers. EVERYTHING is THEIR FAULT!! :-)