Many cuisines–including that of our own counter-culture–are
vegetarian by choice, not necessity. Vegetables are now really in, and
parents no longer need resort to specious political morality
(“Children in India would love that parsnip”) to persuade the
young to eat vegetables. We remind ourselves of all this during
September’s garden-vegetable deluge–and honor the chef who makes
creative use of the seasonal plenty.
Charles Cuningham goes so far as to make fresh vegetables instead
of meat the mainstay of his burgers. He rounds out the protein content
with eggs and a peanut sauce. The approach may be untraditional, but
it’s honest: unlike most commercial “meat substitutes,”
his burgers don’t contain unfamiliar ingredients that have been
stabilized, hydrolized, or amended to retard spoilage.
Cunningham prefers to make his recipe in one behemoth patty. Our
tasters preferred it in individual patties, but the choice is yours.
You’ll find canned tahini (ground sesame seed paste) in the
imported foods section of your market. Behemoth Burger
4 cups finely diced stale whole-grain bread (about 7 slices)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 large red or green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup each shredded carrot and zucchini
2 tablespoons tahini or salad oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter, margarine, or salad oil
Peanut sauce (recipe follows)
Break eggs into a large bowl and beat to blend. Mix in bread,
onion, bell pepper, celery, carrot, zucchini, tahini, soy, and pepper.
Divide into 10 to 12 portions; pat firmly into patties about 3/4 inch
Melt butter in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat.
Add 3 or 4 patties at a time and cook, turning once carefully, until
browned on both sides. Lift from pan and keep warm until all are
cooked. Offer peanut sauce to top individual servings. Makes 4 or 5
servings of 2 patties each.
Panut sauce. Stir together 3 tablespoons cream-style peanut butter
and 1/3 cup salad oil. Mix in 1/4 cup each soy sauce and sugar, 4
teaspoons white vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons minced
green onion. Add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cayenne to taste.
The bizarre name of this slaw requires explanation. Arthur Vinsel
(who has already earned our Chefs’ toque) noticed, on a trip from
Tijuana to Ensenada, a number of signs with the strange advice No Tire
Basura. The phrase haunted him until he learned its meaning–Don’t
Throw Garbage–and it returned to his mind when he sought a name for a
salad that contained a little bit of everything. It’s name refers
only to the diversity of the ingredients, not their quality. Yo Tire
1 small head (about 1-1/4 lbs.) cabbage
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
6 medium-size carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large (about 4-in. diameter) mild red or white onion, chopped
1 large red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jar (8 oz.) pimiento-stuffed Spanish-style green olives, drained
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves
3/4 cup salad oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon each sugar and Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Condiments (suggestions follow)
With a sharp knife, finely shred cabbage; you should have 6 cups.
In a large bowl, mix together the cabbage, cilantro, carrots, onion,
bell pepper, olives, lime juice, and oregano.
In a small bowl, stir together the oil, vinegar, sugar, and mustard
until sugar is dissolved. Pour it over the vegetable mixture and mix
well. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or as long as
To serve, mix salad well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Offer 2 or 3 condiments to spoon over individual servings as desired.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Condiments. Choose 2 or 3 of the following and serve in separate
bowls: 1 or 2 small tart green apples (cored, diced, and mixed with 1
tablespoon lemon juice to prevent darkening), 1 cup roasted sunflower
seeds, 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts, 1 medium-size cucumber (peeled,
seeded, and diced), 1 medium-size zucchini (ends removed and diced), or
1/2 cup seeded and diced canned jalapeno peppers.
Zucchini is a particularly engulfing crop about now, and another
recipe is always welcome when supply so overwhelms demand. Bob
Martin’s zucchini relish is especially useful in that the zucchini
harvest far outstrips that of cucumbers–the more usual ingredient in
such preparations. Chef Martin disposes of excess zuchini in a relish
that’s a zesty accompaniment for hamburgers and frankfurters. Dill
6 pounds zucchini (about 24 medium-size)
6 large onions, cut into chunks
4 red Anaheim (California) chilies (about 3/4 lb.), seeded and cut
1/2 cup salt Cold water
2 cups white distilled vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons each dry mustard and celery seed
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup chopped fresh dill
Trim and discard zucchini ends; cut zuchini into chunks. In a food
processor, chop the zucchini, onions, and chilies, a portion at a time,
with on-off bursts until vegetables are evenly chopped but still have
some texture. Or force vegetables through a food chopper fitted with a
Place chopped vegetables in a large bowl. STir salt into 1 quart
cold water until dissolved, then pour over vegetables. Add enough cold
water just to cover vegetables. Cover and let stand 4 hours or
refrigerate as long as overnight.
Drain vegetables, rinse under running water, and drain well again.
In a 5- to 6-quart pan, combine vinegar, sugar, mustard, celery seed,
garlic, and dill. Stir in zucchini mixture and bring to a boil over
medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Lower heat; simmer, stirring
often, until reduced to 4 quarts, about 20 minutes.
Ladle hot relish to within 1/4 inch of rims of 8 hot, sterlized
pint-size jars. Wipe rims clean and top with sterilized lids; adjust
bands. Set jars on a rack in a canning kettle, cover with boiling
water, and process in a simmering water bath for 15 minutes. Let stand
on a cloth to cool. Press each lid to test seal. If lid pops up, jar
is not sealed; store unsealed jars in refrigerator. Makes 8 pints.