Thursday, August 2, 2012

"How Do You Like Your Burger?"

My father cooked all the time.  He made simple meals, with quality ingredients.  I have to admit that I learned a thing or two from him when I was young, even if I wasn't trying to at the time.  He loved to grill, and to entertain.  On most summer nights you could find anywhere from 5 to 15 people on his back deck enjoying a beverage, anticipating his char-grilled greatness.  When burgers were on the menu, dad took orders.  He asked everyone how they wanted their burger cooked, and what kind of cheese was going on top.  I was asked was part of the show.  When he got to me he would slap his forehead, dramatically roll his eyes, and announce to the crowd "Oh wait, I don't need to ask Jen how she wants her burger cooked because I started it before you all arrived, and I'll let it cook another 10 minutes past when we sit down to eat!"  He often teased me about my preference for well done meat.  He'd wonder out loud why I didn't just save him a couple bucks and eat a charcoal briquette drowned in ketchup if I was going to ask him to ruin a perfectly good burger by drying it out.  Some of my picky childhood food hang-ups really irked my father.  These days, I am disappointed if I get a burger that is cooked even a hint beyond medium rare.  I sure do wish I could sit down and enjoy one with him, so he could see just how sophisticated my palette has become!  He'd be so impressed to see juice running down my chin from a burger, and know that now I wouldn't have it any other way...unless it was meatless of course!  Cue dad rolling over. 

Oh man, I just realized that apparently I have a lot of feelings about burgers.  In spite of my fond memories of being ribbed by my dad for preferring grey meat as a kid (and my appreciation for medium rare goodness as an adult,) I am also a nutritionist.  That tiny detail makes me question whether or not a blog post about burgers is really even a good idea.  The typical American does not have any trouble meeting their burger quota, in fact, ground beef is often on the "only once in a while" food list for most people.   That being said, I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend, the Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger.

I found this recipe on a blog called Sweet Pea's Kitchen, which I love.  I first made them for our Fourth of July BBQ this year.  While most of us enjoyed slow smoked brisket that Matt had carefully tended for the entire day, our friend Dave (a vegetarian) raved about these burgers.  I had no room left to try one that day, and we sent him home with the extras, so I had to make them again to see what all the fuss was about.  Dave was right, they were fantastic!  Matt and I both have a healthy skepticism of meat stand-ins, substitutes, or imposters if you will, that pose as items typically made with meat.  These were an exception for sure.  They were flavorful and filling, had great texture and were really easy to make.  As you can see, I wound up with monstrously huge brioche buns from our local bakery, so next time I might flatten the patties out a bit before cooking so there is a better burger to bun ratio.  

According to the blog where I found these, they contain 7grams of protein 4 grams of fat, and only 210 calories  (before buns and toppings of course.)  Not too shabby for a weeknight meal.  The only change that I made to Sweet Pea's recipe is that I boiled my sweet potatoes instead of microwaving them.  Just a personal preference.  I also loved making these because it left me with about 1 1/2 cups of leftover quinoa already made, which I used for salads and breakfast for the rest of the week!  Bonus!  The recipe made 6 burgers so I threw the 4 extra in the freezer for future use.  Oh, just had a great idea for a "how things freeze" post.  Check back for that one! 

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