Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm losing faith

Mixt Salads recipe #3: Heaven

Heaven: a frisee aux lardons salad plus chanterelles. Has everyone eaten the classic frisee aux lardons? If not, briefly, it's frisee lettuce tossed with small chunks of bacon, optional croutons, a vinegary dressing, and a poached egg. The yolk breaks and melds with the tart dressing to coat the bread cubes, salty bacon and crispy pale green frisee, which somehow manages to keep this salad lively and refreshing. It's an incredible treat, a perfect dish.

Does this exquisitely calibrated salad really cry out of chanterelles ? It does not. Is it in fact diminished by chanterelles? I would say, sadly, yes.

I was very excited about Heaven, because I love frisee aux lardons and I love chanterelles. Chanterelles are wonderful sauteed and then mixed with cream, because they're soft and slippery and sweet and love to be coddled. They were not meant to be tossed in an assertive salad where everything has to hold its own. Every element of the frisee aux lardons supplies some absolutely necessary component -- salt, fat, crunch, acidity -- and there's just no role for a tender, mild-mannered mushroom. The pieces of mushroom clung limply to the frisee and got in the way. What a waste of an $8 bag of chanterelles.

I don't like saying punk things about a book day after day, and I'm sure if the authors knew about it, they wouldn't like it either. I feel like maybe I should abort if the next couple of recipes don't turn out great.

Because I doubted Isabel and Owen would like the salad, I also served tempeh burgers from my old friend Gourmet Today. Practically every non-meat product in the kitchen-- seed, spice, grain, tempeh, canned chile, dried tomatoes, fresh vegetables, herbs -- went into this dish and each seemed to require toasting, grinding, simmering, soaking, chopping, chilling, or shredding. I'd forgotten how much work vegetarian cooking requires.
But the results were very tasty, if not as chewy and dense as we would have liked.

Does anyone have a veggie burger recipe they love and can recommend?


  1. what a disapointment on the salad. poor chanterelles!

    I love these veggie burgers. A decent amount of work, but they have a great texture, tons of flavor, and are gorgeous!

  2. We're big fans of doing bean burgers. black bean particularly. We modified an old Gourmet recipe for a pinto bean burger. Canned beans are easier than reconstituting, but either will do. We puree the beans, add a smidgen of garlic, salt, finely chopped cilantro, cayenne, paprika, pepper, hot sauce, and oat bran. You can use wheat germ or spelt, but it's mostly if the patty is too moist. Pan fry it over medium heat. You really can eyeball the ingredients. We always make a ton with sweet potato fries. Good luck with the salads!

  3. Thanks! I'll try both of these.

  4. I agree that usually veggie burgers with black beans tend to have great flavor. Vegan dad blog has several recipes using tempeh, or TVP, garbanzo flour, etc. posted a recipe a few months ago, but did not try it (was put off by the use of egg as binder in a burger)


  5. I think I made the black bean burger Julia wrote about, but much easier and unbelievably great is the Smitten Kitchen black bean taco recipe.

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