Katie's Musings

A blog about cooking, knitting, books, and parenting

Black Bean Burgers

I’ve been pretty busy recently– classes have started for the spring semester, and I’ve had some gigs recently, so between school, music, and taking care of Emmett, I am staying really busy! Our suppers recently have been mostly easy, quick-to-put-together meals. One of my favorite easy vegetarian recipes is bean burgers. My favorite actual bean burger recipe is the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon (by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero). I’ve made that recipe so many times, and have adapted it freely to suit my tastes. First, I’ve found that canned chickpeas are too hard to mash up with a potato masher, so I usually use either black beans or cannellini beans instead. Also, I like to add other things– usually onion, some kind of veggies, and seasonings. I’ve never made these burgers the same way twice– I like to have fun with adding new things every time. My bean burgers now only vaguely resemble that original recipe– the only main resemblance is the liberal use of vital wheat gluten to hold it all together. Here’s how I made them tonight:

Black Bean Burgers

  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • about 1/2 cup (or slightly more) vital wheat gluten
  • about 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or to taste)
  • about 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 small leek, finely chopped
  • a dash of tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • about 1/3 cup Italian-flavored breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • generous dashes of garlic powder and paprika
  • sliced avocado and mozzarella cheese
  • sesame oil (or olive oil) for greasing the pans

Preheat the oven to 400. Mash up the beans with a potato masher, and then mix in the nutritional yeast, salt, mushrooms, leeks, breadcrumbs, cottage cheese, and seasonings. Finally, mix in the vital wheat gluten; it should all start to cling together. Add tomato juice if you need more liquid. Shape into patties, and put in a greased pan (I used sesame oil). Coat both sides of the patties with the oil. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the patties are starting to look crisp on the outside. Put the sliced avocado and mozzarella cheese on top of the patties, and leave in the oven until the cheese is melted.

And, there’s an exciting new development in our household: Emmett now is extremely interested in food!! It happened almost overnight. As I’ve mentioned before, he was having a really hard time getting used to the taste and texture of pureed foods. Finally we decided to just move on from pureed foods, and instantly he has been a wonderful eater! He likes being able to pick the food up with his fingers, and put it in his mouth. First, he got used to eating the little “puff” baby cereal, which melts on your tongue. Once he got used to that, he quickly moved on to other foods! He still can’t really chew pieces of food yet, so I’m mashing up his food or giving him only really tiny pieces of mushy foods, but he is doing great!! It is so exciting. Tonight he ate mostly the same food as we did: mashed black beans, avocado, green beans, and brown rice. He loved the black beans!! (He really only ate the black beans, ignoring everything else on his plate, even when I tried turning the plate around so he would notice the other things.) And today at lunch, I gave him some very tiny pieces of strawberry, and he completely devoured them! I think that was his favorite food yet!


February 10, 2010 Posted by | baby food, food, parenting, recipes | , , , | Leave a comment

Baby Likes Mango!

emmett mango

I guess the title of this post is deceptive. As I’ve written before, Emmett (now 8.5 months) is having a really hard time getting used to food. No matter what I try feeding him (brown rice cereal, banana, sweet potato, broccoli, apple, avocado…) he makes the most disgusted, agonized face and pushes it away. “Really mom, come on, this is just gross!!”

This weekend, however, we had a food “success”: he ate something and didn’t make his “grossed-out” face! I wouldn’t say he really liked it, but he definitely didn’t hate it. So what was it? An apple-mango puree!

This past weekend I bought a new bread machine. I’ve been really wanting to bake some bread again (it used to be a favorite hobby of mine, way back in high school and college). I know that using a bread machine is “cheating,” but as a busy mom, I don’t mind using shortcuts. So, I tried out my new bread machine over the weekend, and I loved it! So far I’ve made a basic white bread, a 7-grain bread, and apple-mango jam. I reserved a little of the cooked apple-mango mixture (before adding sugar to make the jam), and pureed it for Emmett. Success!!


February 1, 2010 Posted by | food, parenthood | , , , , | Leave a comment

Baby Food Blues

baby food

When Emmett’s pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start introducing food, two months ago, I had no idea that it would take this long for him to start getting used to it. I eagerly scoured baby food recipes on webpages and blogs, determined to be a savvy mom: no canned baby food for me, thank you! I was so excited to be able to feed my baby local, organic fruits and veggies. As a food lover myself, I assumed Emmett would eagerly devour the butternut squash puree and organic brown rice cereal that I made for him. However, it’s been much more difficult than I’d imagined it would be.

We started, as our pediatrician recommended, with organic brown rice cereal. We introduced one new food a week (to watch for potential allergies or reactions), and saved fruit for last (so he could get used to savory tastes first). He’s had brown rice, butternut squash, broccoli, apple, banana, avocado, and sweet potato purees.

However, it’s been much more difficult than I’d anticipated: he hates food!! When we started feeding him brown rice cereal, he would tentatively taste the food, think about it, and accept a couple of spoonfuls. Within a few weeks, though, he began rejecting all food completely. Now he shuts his mouth tight and pushes the spoon away. If I manage to get any food in his mouth, he makes the most pitiful face– “Mom, this tastes awful! Why are you doing this to me?!” Of course, I don’t try to push it; I don’t want to traumatize him about food, or make him have any bad associations with food! So, I’ve resorted to just letting him play with the food. He squishes it in his fingers, gets it in his hair, and very occasionally (usually by accident) gets some in his mouth. I figure that if he plays with it long enough, he will stop being afraid of it, and will maybe start to enjoy it.

I’m not worried about him getting enough nutrition right now; he’s gaining weight normally, and he’s completely healthy. And, the flipside of this is that the breastfeeding is going great! I’m so glad that he’s still breastfeeding; I’m hoping to be able to continue it until he’s at least a year old (or, as long as he wants to). I feel very lucky that the breastfeeding is going well; I’m enjoying it, and he’s enjoying it, and we’re both healthy. Which is a lot to be thankful for! One of my friends, who has a baby older than Emmett, suggested that maybe he just doesn’t like the texture of food yet. That makes sense, and I will continue to keep letting him play with his food, until he’s ready to eat it!

January 19, 2010 Posted by | parenthood, parenting | , | Leave a comment