Smarter Than Pancakes

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Veggie Burger and Veg-o-Matic Fries

The other day, I decided that I wanted to create the ultimate vintage diner meal; except a healthier, vegetarian, and homemade version.

I present to you–Veggie Burger with Homemade Bun and Veg-o-Matic Fries!

The bun recipe is tried and true. I found it on a cooking site that I frequent, and it is always good. I’ve never managed to screw it up, which is saying something when it comes to yeast bread!

Burger Buns

3.858 WW points for 1 bun if you make 10 / 3.215 WW points if you make 12

1 cup water
2 Tbs butter or margarine
1 egg
2 1/4 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp instant yeast

1. Place all ingredients in your bread machine. Select dough. Allow to run cycle

2. Dump out onto lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 pieces. Slap each piece into a bun shape. (Usually 4 or 5 slaps will do it.) Place on greased cookie sheets or your bun pans, cover; rise about 30 to 40 minutes.

(I used my muffin-top pan, and it worked really well—except that it only has 6 holes.)

3. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes until golden. Cool on wire racks

Food Processor Directions for buns:

Place flour, sugar, salt and yeast in your 7-cup or larger food processor bowl fitted with the metal blade.

Pulse to combine, add the egg and butter and pulse again to combine.

With the motor running, add warm water (90-95 degrees F) through the feed tube until it starts to form into a rough ball. Stop the machine and check that the dough is slightly sticky. Add a little flour or water if necessary.

Place in a bowl you’re either oiled or sprayed with a cooking spray like Pam. Cover loosely with some sprayed plastic wrap, and let rise for about an hour.

From that point, follow the bread machine directions for shaping.

(Someone told me that they sometimes add 1 tsp onion powder and 1/2 tsp dehydrated minced onion. I did that this time, and it added a light onion-y flavor that was really good.)

Servings: 10

Unfortunately, I forgot about the buns and they got a little more brown than I prefer, but they were still soft and very tasty. I’d made the burgers before, and we love them. I try to keep some of the burger patties in the freezer for quick lunches.

Chicago Diner Burgers

2 WW points for 1 burger if you make 12 out of the mixture

Vegetarian Times Issue: July 1, 2007 p.69

3 stalks celery, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos because I didn’t have a lot of soy sauce.)
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
12 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
(I also threw a couple of dashes of liquid smoke into the water with the veggies.)


1. Bring 4 cups water, celery, onion, soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and liquid smoke to a boil in pot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in oats, mushrooms and flour, and cook 5 minutes more. Transfer to bowl, and chill. (I put mine in the fridge overnight.)

2. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape mixture into patties, and bake on prepared baking sheet 15 minutes. Flip, and bake 10 minutes more. Cool. (At first I put these on parchment. That was a mistake because it kept the bottoms soggy. The next batch I put on sprayed foil, and that worked much better.)

3. Heat grill to medium-high. Place foil on grill, and coat with cooking spray. Grill burgers on foil 7 minutes per side.
(I re-used the same foil that I baked them on.)

Homemade French Fries

(No idea how many points for the fries. I use Living Cookbook to calculate calories/fat/fiber, and I don’t know how to calculate how much fat is soaked in when you deep fry the potatoes. Sorry.)

Making french fries from potatoes is kind of an inexact science, in my opinion; but I think I’ve found a good trick! I do actually fry my fries in canola oil. I know it adds more calories from the oil, but I’ve heard Alton Brown say that if your oil is hot enough when you put them in, they really don’t absorb much; and I believe him. (Of course, I still try to never eat more than a small potato’s worth–just in case.)

Here’s how I do it:

Use one potato for each serving you’d like to make. (I like to use the mealier rather than waxy potatoes because I’m going for crispy outsides and fluffy insides with my fries.)

I’ve heard many people recommend frying fries twice. The first time on a lower temperature to soften and cook the potato, then put them back in again on a higher temperature to crisp the outsides. The problem with that method is that if I believe Alton Brown, the first low-temp fry might make them greasy–which I obviously don’t want.

The trick I’ve figured out is to give the outsides of the potatoes a cursory wash, poke steam holes in them, and bake them in the microwave until just before they’re fully cooked. (I put my potatoes uncovered on a plate for about 3 minutes a potato. I kind of give them a gentle squeeze; and I’m going for when they’ve softened a little, but aren’t yet fully done and squishy.) I then drop the potatoes in cold water to cool them quickly, and then you can pull the peel off really easily when they’re cool enough to handle.

After they’re peeled, cut them into fry-sized sticks. (A Veg-o-Matic is a delightful way to achieve that, but I realize that not everyone has a Veg-o-Matic so a knife works just fine.)

Heat your oil to about 375. (A little higher is ok because the oil temp will drop a little when you add the fries.) I use my handy-dandy deep fryer that I got a few years ago at Costco, but you can definitely use a large pan or dutch oven and a thermometer that goes up to 375.

Drop in your fries, but keep in mind that it will lower your temp so you might not want to put in too much at a time. (Mine has a basket, so I fill the basket about half full at a time. If you’re using a regular pot, I don’t think I’d put in more fries than would cover the entire top of the oil with one layer of fries at a time.)

Let them fry until they’ve reached your desired degree of golden and they’re done. You’ve already cooked the insides, so you pull them out throw them on something to drain, and give them a little salt and ketchup. (And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Heinz Organic ketchup has no high-fructose corn syrup, and we actually prefer the taste over the original. It is a little more expensive, but we aren’t huge ketchup eaters so a 10 oz. bottle lasts us a while.)

Ladies and gentlemen, the Veg-o-Matic!

Ok, so the receipt in the box says 1962, but I still love it!

I live in a wonderful 1940s ranch house that used to be my husband’s grandparents’, and is filled with character. I would absolutely love to be able to undo the modernizations that have been done to it, and return it to it’s full 1940s kitchy splendor. For now, I just delight in things like the vintage Veg-o-Matic that I got from my grandma when she moved out of her home and in with my aunt years ago. I had forgotten all about the Veg-o-Matic until I was recently cleaning out my basement, but I’ve used it several times since then!


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