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.

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