Food and Recipes


Years ago I bought my ex a cookbook designed for men who hate to cook. In it was a recipe for meatloaf four-ways: you would make a triple recipe of a ground beef and pork and whatever mixture and use it four different ways: as a meat loaf, stuffed peppers filling, meatballs and something else.
So now I present to you Umami Mix Three Ways. Burgers, Scotch Eggs, and Meatless Balls.
The basic recipe makes 12 hamburger patties. If you make a recipe and a half, though, you can have Burgers one night, then Scotch Eggs another, and Meatless Balls another, and quite possibly have some more for stuffed peppers/eggplant/zucchini or kibbe, too!
UMAMI BURGERS
Mexican-Style UMAMI BURGERS with mango salsa and guacamole.

Mexican-Style UMAMI BURGERS with mango salsa and guacamole.

With mushrooms, miso and soy, these vegetarian burgers are full of umami.
Makes 12 hamburger patties

  • 1½ c. dried shitake mushrooms
  • ½ c. lentils
  • 1 c. bulghur
  • vegetable and sesame oil
  • ½ c. onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 c. bulghur
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ tbsp red miso paste
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ground pepper, thyme
  • 2 pieces crumbled whole wheat bread
  • buns
  • topping
  1. Rinse dried shitake mushrooms in water, then place in a large bowl to soak in 2-3 cups of water. Rinse lentils, then soak. Soak for 1-2 hours.
  2. Cook the lentils until just past al dente. If possible, cook them in some no/low-salt vegetable stock for additional flavour. If they get mushy, that’s fine.
  3. Heat up a mix of vegetable oil and sesame oil (I find sesame is too overpowering on its own, and expensive, and tends to smoke) in a medium pot. Fry the onion.
  4. Lightly squeeze out the water from the mushrooms. SAVE THE WATER! Remove any hard stems or other parts of the mushroom that didn’t hydrate properly. Dice the remainder and add to the onions.
  5. Chop up 2 cloves of garlic and add to the pot. Cook until there’s no liquid left.
  6. Add 1 cup of bulghur to the pot. Straining out the mushroom water through a fine sieve first, add 2¼ cups of the mushroom liquid. Bring to a boil, then drop the heat to the lowest, cover, and let cook for about 20 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. Stir once every five minutes or so to prevent it from sticking to the pot and to check consistency.
  7. In a bowl or measuring cup mix: 2 eggs, 1½ tbsp red miso paste, 2 tbsp soy sauce, ground pepper and 1 tsp of thyme.
  8. Once the bulghur mixture is cooked, you COULD spread it out onto a cookie sheet or something to let it cool. Or you could do what I did, and just proceed to the next step and just be careful with the making of the patties.
  9. Add to the bulghur mixture 3 pieces of crumbled whole wheat bread. I guess you could use actual breadcrumbs, or crush up some crackers, but that’s what I had available. Add the lentils and egg mixture, too. Now grab your food processor (I have one of those hand blenders) and mush the crap out of the mixture until it’s a thick paste-like consistency.
  10. Take a large scoop and form into a 1cm thick patty. Fry in a mix of sesame and vegetable oil until browned. I’m sure it would be better grilled, but we don’t have one.
Since it’s got a very Japanese flavour profile with the miso, soy, and shitake mushrooms, some sort of interesting sauces would go nicely. For example, Japanese mayonnaise (a mix of chili-garlic sauce and Hellman’s – and maybe a bit of Miracle Whip), or something with wasabi.
To make a Mexican themed meal, throw together some guacamole (avocados, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, olive oil) and salsa (diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, mango and/or corn and/or cooked black beans, cumin, cilantro, lime juice, chili powder) and serve with tortilla chips.
Vegetarian Scotch Eggs

Vegetarian Scotch Eggs

VEGETARIAN SCOTCH EGGS

Scotch eggs are an artery-hardening tasty treat traditionally using sausage meat wrapped around a hard-boiled egg. They go great as part of a ploughman’s lunch, and I used to love eating them. But then I converted to Islam, so no more pork for me! So I came up with this vegetarian variation. The cheese and rosemary help mimic the greasiness and flavours of the sausage, methinks, though the texture is different: and that’s fine with me!
  • Six eggs
  • 2 cups umami burger mix
  • ½ cup grated cheeses (cheddar would be best)
  • 1 tbsp each chives, thyme, and rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying

COATING:

  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
Eggs went into hot water and brought it to a boil. Ten minutes later, cooled them off. They weren’t quiiiiiite hard-boiled, which is just fine with me, even though it meant a right mess when it was time to peel them. But that’s OK, because they were going to get covered up anyhow, and the “sausage” mixture hid any irregularities.
I threw all the “sausage” ingredients and hand-blended them until it was fairly uniform.
I then coated my hands in vegetable oil (otherwise the mix would’ve stuck to my hands!) and grabbed a handful of mash. Rolled it into a ball, then squished it flat. Put the egg on it and wrapped the flattened mixture around the egg, pinching it shut around the ends.
Then I rolled it around again to try and return it to some semblance of roundness, and dredged it in a breadcrumb mixture I’d prepared before (whole wheat breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika) and fried it in vegetable oil until dark brown. It would’ve been nicer to be able to put it into a proper deep-fryer, but a centimeter of oil in a pan and frequent turning did just fine.
Once it was done cooking, I let it drain on a paper towel. If you let it sit for about ten minutes, it’s easier to handle.
UMAMI Meatless Balls

UMAMI Meatless Balls with cheese

MEATLESS BALLS
Take 2 cups of the UMAMI MIX and add ¼ cups of breadcrumbs, some extra spices. I used garlic, but would also suggest an Italian spice mix and/or fresh basil. Because I ran out of basil, I ended up using a tablespoon of basil pesto and two tablespoons of a spicy pesto mix. Break out the old handblender and mix it up, then form into small balls. Fry, turning frequently. Serve with spaghetti and tomato sauce. Melted cheese optional- and TASTY!

If you try any of my recipes out, please let me know how it turns out for you! Don’t bother leaving a comment here, though, it’s 99.99% spam here. Instead you can email me at coeurinsomniac at that wonderful place called gmail.com.

This is a variation on a recipe my nutritionist gave me.  I didn’t have exactly the ingredients, but made do for a nice, rich soup.  I think this would go great on a fall afternoon.  We served it with grilled cheese sandwiches on 12-grain bread for a hearty dinner.

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 medium/large potato, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1″ of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups home-made, salt-free vegetable stock

1 cube of vegetable stock

¼ cup of vegetable cocktail

1¼ cups boiling water

1 can of lentils, rinsed

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil.  Add the sweet potato and onion and cook 2 minutes, then add the garlic and ginger.  Cook until the potato is soft.

Stir in the curry powder and cinnamon.

Add the stock and lentils.  Bring to a boil, then drop the temperature to medium-low to low and simmer 30 minutes.

If I’d had more of my regular veggie stock I wouldn’t have had to use the bouillon cube.  The original recipe called for 1 cup of dried red lentils and 4 cups of veggie stock and 2 tbsp of tomato paste and some sea salt.  Not having the dried lentils, I reduced the amount of liquid by half a cup.  Not having the tomato paste, I used the vegetable cocktail in the fridge.

It turned out fabulously.  The curry and cinnamon were a great combination.  I might try making a main dish of this by adding rice and some raisins and almonds sometimes.  mmmmmm

I’m still doing this cleanse thing which says I’m not allowed vinegar or sugars or dairy.  But vinegar is an essential component of most mayonnaises, and many commercial brands include sugar in theirs, and many recipes call for cream.  What’s a girl to do to get some flavour in her gluten-free sourdough sandwich?  Make her own mayo, of course! 

I was really intimidated by the prospects, but honestly, it was ridiculously simple.  I remember my grandmother making her own mayo and me whining that I wanted the commercial salad dressing type.  Ah, the folly of youth!  Fifteen minutes, common ingredients and a blender resulted in over a cup’s worth of fabulousness!  

1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk (room temperature)
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
1 tsp salt
1 ½ c olive (NOT virgin) or canola oil
3 tsp lemon juice (room temperature)

-In a blender or food processor, mix the eggs and spices together until frothy.
-While the blender or processor is still going, drizzle in the oil slowly- and I mean SLOWLY, so slow that if you eased up, it’d be coming out in drops.  Keep on mixing, only stopping once or twice to swipe down the sides of the bowl or blender.  This should take about 10 minutes, possibly 15.
-Add your lemon juice and mix in.
-Voilà!

Keeps in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

I made this with my teenage daughter helping: I poured in the oil, she moved around our hand mixer (the kind with the whisk attachment) until she got bored, then I managed to do it myself.   I refrigerated half immediately, and then mixed in some unsweetened soy milk and made a tasty hollandaise sauce variant for brunch.

If you want to simulate the white garlicky sauce from your fave shawarma/gyro/falafel place, add 1-2 cloves (2 small ones or one big one) of  minced garlic at the same time as the lemon juice.  Goes great as a dip for roast potatoes as well as being a zesty sammich topping!

I am not actually a vegan, but I recognize that animal fats are generally not very healthy for me.  Plus, I have vegan friends, so I like to stock up on recipes for when they come to visit.  But right now I’m on a no-dairy (and a bunch of other stuff that’s off the table) cleanse.  So here’s a super tasty dessert treat that can also double for breakfast!  This makes about 4 ½-cup servings.

  • 2 cups cooked, brown rice
  • ½ cup coconut milk, unsweetened, stirred
  • 3 cups soy milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla (or if you’re really awesome, ½ a vanilla bean, diced)
  • ½ tsp cardammom (ground)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Sweetener:  I use 6 individual packets of Stevia.  Maple syrup would also be a lovely treat for the non-diabetic crowd.
  • ½ tsp salt: use only if your rice was cooked without salt. 

Combine all ingredients in a pot.  Simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally at first, then constantly for the last 10 minutes as it starts to thicken.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken up a bit more. 

I like to spoon it out into a funky dish (martini glasses are a popular fave, or a tea cup) and sprinkle with cinnamon.  You can even garnish it with a cinnamon stick.  By the way, did you know how good cinnamon is for diabetics?   It’s fabulous! 

Anyhow, this recipe is sugar-free and uses high glycemic-index brown rice, so it’s good for you, fine for those on candida cleanses or other non-gluten diets, and tastes great!  I like to serve this with fresh fruit on the side, but for the more traditionalist types, raisins or dried cranberries could be quite lovely.  If you really want to make this into a special dish, you could hydrate your raisins in some rum, and/or and top with a few slices of baked apple.  Or slices of banana and coconut flakes.

But for me?  I’m keeping it simple and healthy!

PS- if you don’t have any coconut milk, you can just use regular/soy milk and a bit of coconut extract.  Heck, the other day I didn’t have enough soy milk, so used all coconut milk, and it turned out just fine.  So long as you’ve got 3½ cups worth of liquid, you’re fine.