Friday, December 23, 2011

Nothing Says Vegetable Alchemy More than a GREAT Burger

I am looking for a way to bring my views on plant based eating to market as a commercial venture. In addition to background in restaurants and hotels, I am very familiar with food production, manufacturing, teaching, and media. I consult for small to enormous companies. I found myself in a dream last night doing an ideation on Vegetable Alchemy! How about that! I kept asking a circle of people, what do they think about a plant based diet, looking at them for comments. Almost ALL said they did not get it; that they liked how they ate now; that other people will take care of the planet; that even if we are going to 8 billion people there are those paid to figure it out; that they do not want to cook. Most said it was not worth adding more vegetables or a plant based lifestyle to their day when other foods were cheaper. Clearly to me this is very short sided, especially not taking into account the health care costs later in life from a damage eating model.

In the dream I kept asking more questions but slowly one by one, half of them left! Half, not bad. All I can keep thinking now is how to turn this love for plant based eating into an economic opportunity and a platform to attract others to follow. The platform means educating people on eating, and helping them to rethink for many reasons. When in doubt, ask true friends for opinion. One returned my thoughts with and email saying, "Too many people in the present system benefit from the way food and cooking are now addressed. They have no motivation to change. But it doesn't mean it won't happen. If you start reframing our thinking under a new basic premise, that a plant based diet is best, we have so much to gain just as other industries have reframe consumer thinking from communications and clothing to architecture and social media."

Present ways are causing many health challenges. Present ways have a food chain and production seeded with environmental issues that many are shading. We live under a false pattern. We have to change that pattern. In a world of 1 or 2 billion people missing evidence was not as apparent as it is now becoming at 7 billion and growing. Economic Opportunity is there and I know I can find it. For now, back to putting on the thinking cap while I make a little dinner for friends. I give you one of my favorite's burgers from Vegetable Alchemy, in honor of a great place to start!

Farm Styled Wild Rice Burgers
1 medium onion, cut into fine dice
4 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons parsley, freshly chopped
2 tablespoons rosemary, freshly chopped
2 tablespoons sage, freshly chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup wild rice, cooked
1 cup brown rice, cooked
2 acorn squash, peeled, diced into 1/2 inch cubes, steamed
2 medium eggs
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground white pepper to taste
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs, or as needed

6 pieces of boston or iceburg lettuce
6 slices of ripe or oven dried tomato
1 jalapeno, sliced into thin pieces
6 (2 oz.) slices of pepper jack cheese
6 sesame or other favorite burger bun

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 10 inch saute pan. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the parsley, rosemary, sage and garlic. Cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cool. Mash half the acorn squash in a 2 quart bowl with the back of a spoon. Add the rice, the cubed squash and the chili powder. Stir. Whisk the eggs with the yogurt and add to the bowl. Add just enough bread crumbs to make the mixture workable. Wet your hands with water and form the mixture into patties. If the mixture is still too sticky, you can add a little more breadcrumb..

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet. Cook the patties for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until they start to brown. Serve on toasted buns garnishing with any or all on the list.