I honestly can’t believe we’re down to the last week of July. It’s shocking to think that I’ve been on summer break for almost the same amount of time that makes up a full semester of college. I guess that’s just what happens when days are filled with work instead of classes and nights are accompanied not by highlighter ink and florescent lights, but gin and tonic. And fireflies. While a lot of my good friends from high school are home for the summer too, everyone is busy with their own lives. It’s an interesting change, but I can’t say I dislike sitting by myself in the backyard of my parents’ house. I would say I could do without the mosquitoes, though. This is my last real “summer break”, which is strange on a million levels. I wonder where we’ll all be next summer at this time. Knowing myself, I’ll probably be here again. No matter how hard I try, my bank account balance never seems to crawl to a large enough number for me to feel confidence in leaving home for good. But hey, who knows, maybe next summer that will change! Maybe I’ll have a real job? I think I’m ready to take a break from school. Not that I’d be able to afford to put myself through grad school in the next few years anyway, but I’ve been going nonstop for sixteen years- granted, at this point I’m willing to bet a solid year of that has been spent with my BFF Netflix <3. Yes, I watch tv. Probably too much. I like it. But I’m ready to try a new kind of stress. I’m a little frustrated with living a half-adult life. This past school year was rough, for a myriad of reasons. I overbooked myself academically, and let myself take for granted some really important elements to my life. I’ve learned nothing is constant. I’ve learned that the concept of trust isn’t as black and white as I once thought. I’ve learned that friends surprise you, in good ways and bad.
Stress is an odd thing. I’ve come up with an analogy to describe the past ten months because I always find comparisons comforting. Bear with me. First science: Pearls are formed inside the shell of some mollusks as a defense mechanism against a potentially threatening irritant (sometimes sand, often a parasite inside the shell, or an outer attack). The mollusk then creates a pearl sac to seal off the irritation. Now me: had I not been ripped apart by stress this year, I would not have made Dean’s List or been awarded a prize in Costume Design. I would not have worked as hard on this blog. I would have lost someone important to me probably forever. Without the irritants, I would not worked as hard in defense, and likely would not have been rewarded with pearls of success. The victories may seem small, but they are not meaningless. I’m not a glass-half-full person, and sometimes I really like to complain, but I think I know myself better today than I ever have. Anyway, that’s the point of this rambling post. I don’t blame you if you skimmed it!
Time to switch gears. Let’s talk about veggie burgers! My mission this summer has been one thing: to perfect intriguing recipes so I can have a nice repertoire of meals next year in my apartment. I’d say I’m a vegetarian about 80% of the time. I love burgers but I really detest touching raw meat. I like what I like. So wut who cares. So, ta da! Vegan veggie burgers! Uncooked they have texture akin to ground beef but you can remind yourself that it’s only ground chickpeas and cauliflower! In terms of taste, these bad boys are sort of like falafel crossed with crab cakes (thanks Old Bay!) I guarentee that even if you’re not a vegan you’ll go back for seconds.
Burgers (makes 4-6 patties; from The First Mess)
2 c. cauliflower florets
2 c. cooked chickpeas
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and rough chopped
1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tbsp. olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
salt + pepper
1/4 c. chickpea flour
3 tbsp. oat flour
1/3 c. chopped chives
Place the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket over an inch of water. Once the water in the pot is simmering, steam the cauliflower until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Run some cold water over the florets. Dry them off with a towel then place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the chickpeas, garlic, Old Bay, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse the mixture until you have a mixture that clumps together, but you should still see little bits of chickpeas. Dump the chickpea and cauliflower mixture into a large bowl and stir in the flours and chopped chives until your mix is fully combined and the flour is absorbed. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Divide the mix into equal portions and form patties with your hands. Place the patties on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Let them chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Fry until one side is golden and then gently flip them over (they can be a little quick to fall apart). Serve hot with lettuce, avocado, red onion, tomato, and of course the following mayo!
1 cup Vegenaise or mayo
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. lemon juice
dash chili powder
salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients well in a bowl and serve dolloped on burgers!