Pan-fried Veggie Sliders

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I recently got a cookbook out of the library: The Clueless Vegetarian. I’ve been trying to think outside of the box when it comes to daily meals and cut down on the meat we eat – both for my grocery budget and for health. I found the cookbook disappointingly simple (although, really, what did I expect from a book that’s clearly for beginners? And when did I become that snob where recipes just aren’t complicated enough?)

But I did find it useful to help me face one of my culinary fears: tofu. The stuff just kind of gives me the creeps. I know, that’s wrong-thinking, but it’s taken me awhile to embrace one of the hallmarks of vegetarianism. Until I saw a recipe online for fried tofu (pfft to healthiness). I decided to try to figure out this food.

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Can you blame me for being put off by tofu? Not exactly appealing. No less so, though, than ground meat, I suppose.

I also don’t have a good veggie burger recipe, so I used the Tofu Veggie Burger recipe in the book as a base. Normally, I’d give you the recipe as is, with some of my changes, but in this case I went so far off base that it doesn’t really resemble what I started with. Part of this is because I’m still missing a lot of refrigerator “staples” that you just assume will be in your fridge, since the flood knocked out our power for a week. Hence, I don’t have barbecue sauce, but I just assume I do and therefore will never go out and actually buy any. No barbecue sauce means I used a Major Grey chutney instead, and that just took these things in a whole other direction.

Pan-Fried Veggie Sliders

Ingredients

1 12-oz package of extra-firm tofu

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 tbsp garam masala spice

1/4 cup white wine

1 medium carrot, grated

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup Major Grey mango chutney

2 tbsp cornstarch

salt and pepper

1 cup frozen peas

2 eggs

By hand, squeeze as much of the water out of the tofu as possible and crumble it finely into a large bowl.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the chopped onion and mushroom and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is beginning to brown slightly (8-10 mins). Add garam masala and wine, cook until liquid has evaporated again.

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To tofu, add grated carrot, rice, bread crumbs, chutney, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Mix gently.

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Put the peas into a bowl and blend with the eggs until eggs are beaten (I used a hand mixer – admittedly, a food processor would likely have been a better, less messy way of doing this). Add to the bowl and stir until everything is well combined.

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Form burger mixture into patties. I made them small for sliders, so it made about 24, but if you do larger burgers it should be about 8.

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Pan-fry the burgers in olive oil in a skillet, until cooked on both sides. I served on slider buns, with a little bit of cheese. Really good! For the leftovers, line a baking tray with wax paper and freeze overnight – then place into a storage container until ready to thaw.

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Word of the day:

Syllogism: deductive reasoning; an extremely subtle, sophisticated or deceptive argument; a logic argument that basically goes like: “All A is C; all B is A; therefore all B is C”

 

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