Come find yourself...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A fantastic Meatless Chipotle Burger (and yes, it's actually good)

WARNING: This is blog has been disowned from the
American Society of ADD Readers.

If you cannot read more than 500 words in one sitting,
log off now!
You've been warned.

I had a comment a few days ago (meaning, someone other than my sister).

The Anonymous reader wrote:

"Food Therapist.... a word of advice: try working on concision! Most of your posts seem interesting, but they're too long. Just think "short, sweet, and too the point" Don't lose your personality, just lose some of the fluff."

I did a simple search for the word 'concision' on the web.

Here are the first two hits:

"Conciseness: terseness and economy in writing and speaking achieved by expressing a great deal in just a few words..."


Concision - (Gr. katatome; i.e., "mutilation"), a term used by Paul" contemptuously of those who were zealots for circumcision (Phil. "3:2). Instead of the warning, "Beware of the circumcision" "(peritome) i.e...".

I had two reactions when I read their post:

#1 - "Cool! Someone read my blog!"

#2 - "Screw you."

Let me explain in my most concise prose.

I've been writing for years and one of the first things a teacher told me was 'you write way too many purple prose. Be sparse, direct, to the point. Cut to the chase."

In the writing program at NYU (where I graduated), the teachers said, "Cut to the chase, get to it. Stop the purple prose. Get to the point, but be yourself. Kill those babies."

'...your posts SEEM interesting..."

Breathe, breathe...

In junior high, high school, community college and the university, there was rarely any 'I like this' or 'I like that' or 'This is effective'. Simply, 'get to the point' and 'stop writing so much' and 'I'm bored' and 'kill those babies.'

I've come to realize people who comment in this manner are assholes, but I can't get mad at them because they don't KNOW their assholes.

It's like having a retarded relative at a summer barbecue who thinks flinging raw sausages at the guests is the right thing to do, when, in fact, it's horribly rude. To him, the tossing of raw meat is going to better those around him and he feels good doing so.

In the theater (where I worked for years as an actor), the protocol after seeing another actor perform was to praise them and tell them how good they were. Why? Because it was the polite thing to do and it was showing respect for someone having put themselves out there. Would it help them become a better actor? Of course not. But telling them then and there they were destined for dinner theater in Cleveland wouldn't either.

Oh, sorry. Let me be concise.

This thinking is crap and this is why: People need to hear what is good, so they can be receptive to what is not. I know, radical idea.

I won't continue for fear of not 'cutting' to the chase or 'killing' my babies on a blog which 'seems' interesting (implying a possibly passive interest or the fact it was never read in the first place - there are so many other more concise blogs out there!), but on this I am certain -- I could help the reader make a mean sausage patty out of the raw meat they unintentionally flung, if they would give me a chance.

Not sure that is such a good idea.

A definition of the word detour: "An alternate path of travel used while a regular path of travel is temporarily closed."

I find the alternative path the most interesting. Just like life. You never know what is around the corner and by embracing this, you embrace the new.

So if you are open to exploring new, unstructured lands, come with me...if not, I am sorry. You will (perhaps) be missed.



I love how meat makes me feel.

Get your minds out of the gutter.

I find meat very satisfying. I grew up in a house of meat and potatoes. My mother would make meatloaf, roast beef, beef kabobs, ragu meat sauce over pasta, sirloin steaks drenched in butter and name it, she'd cook it. She could get huge cuts of cheap beef. We were a house of very modest means, so cheap meat was essential.

Whenever I would eat red meat as a kid, I'd always be full. I wouldn't feel the need to snack or eat anything beyond what was served me. Meat = feelings of comfort and safety.

One of my mother's favorite meals was taking ground chuck, making it into a patty and shoving it into a freezer, one atop the other. When she would come home from her nursing practice (I loved my mother was a nurse; she could take care of everyone, except herself...big life lesson for me), she would take a patty out and throw into onto the frying pan.

It would make a sickening THUD as the frozen meat sat on the pan and slowly cooked.

My mother would then open a can of green beans and a container of cottage cheese. She's warm up the beans on the stove and put the open cottage cheese container on the counter, a spoon shoved in the center. As she cooked the meat patties, she'd press down on them with all of her might, ensuring the well-done cooked patty would resemble cardboard left out in the rain for a week.

Needless to say, my Dad and I ate at Wendy's a lot.

I know how to cook a mean turkey burger, chicken burger and, yes, the dreaded hamburger. It's never what goes ON the burger it's what goes IN the burger and HOW SLOW IT'S COOKED.

My husband is a fanatic about meat. He hates it. UNLESS it's masked deep inside of sauce or vegetables. I have to agree the pure thickness and grit of meat is gross. I don't like meat tasting meat. So I am always on the hunt for a meatless burger which will give me the same sense of comfort and safety my childhood burgers often did.

Not eating me isn't political for me. I know lots of meatless people join protests and sign Internet blogs to stop killing animals...too much energy for me. I am not a fan of meat unless it's prepared well. That's it.

I have tried every veggie burger you can name. Bulgar, chickpeas, green beans, red kidney beans, black beans, toasted wheat germ, Tahiti...all with the same result. TOTALLY GROSS. I know vegetarians love to say how eating healthy and meatless can't always taste good. Screw that. I don't live my life like that.

So what to do?

Last night I finally came upon the perfect combination for a truly meatless burger even I like. We all know they are loaded with fat, can be filled with antibiotics and steroids if you don't buy organic and for the long haul, not great for us to eat often.

This will fill up and satisfy even the most rural guys in Montana.

I call it:


This recipe is the perfect example of the kind of meal I'm about - cheap, solid, inspired and very tasty food made on a budget which fills out emotional needs while keeping out money in stocks, where they belong!



* 2 tablespoon canola oil
* 1 large white onion, chopped
* 5 garlic cloves, sliced
* 2-3 large chipotle peppers, chopped
* 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper sauce - optional
* 2 can no-salt canned black beans, drained and rinsed*
* 3/4 large yam, peeled and grated
* 2 jumbo eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/2 cup plain low-salt packaged bread crumbs
* 1/2 whole wheat low-salt Pakno bread crumbs
* 1/3 cup mixed low-fat Mexican cheese

(* I often use re-hydrated black beans. They taste better and are more plump. Rinse a 1-pound bag of dry black beans in cold water, taking out any discolored ones. Soak in a bowl of cold water overnight on the kitchen counter at least 3 inches higher than the lip of the dry beans. The next day, cook for one hour in simmering water and you are all set!).

I use yams instead of white potatoes, or, the most common choice, sweet potatoes. Yams have 1/3 less calories than sweet potatoes, 50% LESS CARBS, with the same amount of fiber as sweet potatoes and lots of potassium. Yum!

And they look great in the cakes.

Here is what you do:

Dice up the onion and set aside.

Dice up the garlic and chipotle (watch touching the chipotle - very hot) and put them into a small bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt. I put in three chipotle peppers and the sauce...if you don't like really spicy food, only put in the peppers and NO sauce.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch non-stick pan for 2 minutes over medium heat.

Throw in the onions...cook 5 minutes, but don't brown...throw in the garlic and the chipotle and salt and cumin...cook 2 minutes...pour out into a LARGE BOWL.

Into this large bowl add your beans, shredded yam, two beaten eggs, both versions of bread crumbs, lots and lots of fresh pepper, a bit of Kosher salt and lightly mix with a rubber spatula so until JUST combined (get those bread crumbs off of the side and the bottom).

Now, turn your broiler on.

Take out your broiler pan and line it with aluminum foil.


Shape the patties into six shapes and put them onto the foil-lined plate.

Broil them for 10-15 minutes on one side...flip, broil for 10 minutes more...

While they broil, make the SOUR CREAM.


* 2/3 cup of fat-free sour cream
* 2 chopped chipotle peppers, + 1 teaspoon sauce, if desired
* 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
* 1/2 scant teaspoon lime juice

Mix all of these up and set aside.

I serve these with a nice side salad of crouton and balsamic vinegar...with a dollop of the FAB sour cream.


Mikey Bryan
YOUR Concise Food Therapist

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