Saturday, February 07, 2009

Protein Deprivation

I've been functionally starving these last few days. Good thing my boyfriend took me to a meat extravaganza today. It's not that haven't had anything to eat, or that I was attempting not to eat solid meals. This heat just takes all the energy and hunger out of our bodies. More than once I've come home, drunk a liter of water and crashed under the fans. Dinner, at best, would be a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Because of the ant swarm that inhabits the house, nothing can take advantage of the ambient heat, so all food preparation requires, at minimum, turning the stove on for a few minutes for defrosting purposes. Not a fun prospect when the inside temperature is so hot that thermometers left on the counter think they're measuring body temperatures and refuse to reset to "lo."

Since one of my New Year's resolutions was to severely limit my consumption of factory farmed meats (and in the process, all those hormones and who knows what), I've been eating very little animal protein at home. I'm trying to cook up proteins that store well in the freezer: black beans for soup and the classic Brazilian rice-n-beans, chickpea patties (falafel), lentils, peas and now, black bean burgers.

I'd been dreaming about burgers for ages but hadn't gotten up the willpower to make them. Tonight, though, I had some free time and it was raining, so I decided to take the plunge and turn on the stove. I thawed a loaf of honey-wheat bread I'd made last week (still need to work on my patience; the loaves are too heavy because I can't wait for them to rise sufficiently) while heating the oven. I pressure-cooked nearly a pound of dried black beans, which took about twenty minutes.

These babies are here to stay! The basic recipe is here, but I made a few changes. I made my dry mix out of some homemade English muffins that were a bit too hockey-puck for my tastes, along with whole oats and flax seed. It went in the blender for a few seconds to try to crack up the flax seeds. (Note to self: I need a better method!) Then I added salt, black pepper, chili powder, cumin and red pepper flakes to taste. The wet mix was: two eggs, a few cloves of garlic, half of a minced onion and a small carrot, grated. To this I added two cups of cooked black beans without liquid, well mashed. The texture was like a slightly wet cookie dough. Since I was planning on freezing them, I formed patties on greased baking sheets and put them in the oven for about 10 minutes on each side.

The one I ate tonight I then pan-fried with a hunk of homemade cheese--love it when it's browned--and ate with a wedge of bread and plenty of ketchup. If anything, I might have overcooked them...they'll tend toward dry if you're not careful.

Next week I won't be going hungry!

1 comment:

JC said...

Hi Jenna!
I think you've just caught me re-reading your blog ; )-
I do enjoy it!
Can you tell me how you make cheese? I can make a lame attempt at quijo fresco by making yoghurt, draining the whey by placing it in muslin, then compressing the curd (which sometimes results in cream cheese but there you go), but am curious to hear your method!
Hope you're well - just saw your email - vou responder depois.
God bless. Bjs!