My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summertime! "Beanwa" Burgers! Random Pics!

Happy Summer Solstice!

The first day of summer is being celebrated at Chez Laloofah with tasty, easy, vegan, low-fat, optionally gluten-free black bean quinoa ("keen-wa") burgers (hence my shortened name "Beanwa Burgers") that we've really been enjoying lately but which I failed to photograph. Oops!

Beanwa Burgers
(makes about 12-15 burgers)


2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed and roughly pulsed (one can at a time) in food processor
2 cups cooked quinoa (I prefer
Inca Red)
1/4 cup + 1 TBSP whole wheat flour (or chickpea flour for gluten-free)
1/3 cup chopped soft sun dried tomatoes*
2 rounded TBSP minced garlic
1 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 TBSP water (microwave for 20 seconds or let sit for 5 minutes till thickened)
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 rounded tsp smoked paprika


Stir all ingredients together (add a little water if the mixture is too dry) and form into patties.

Heat a dry, non-stick skillet over medium heat (adding the patties to a heated skillet will prevent sticking).

Place patties in the pre-heated skillet, press them slightly with a spatula, and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side over medium heat till nicely browned.

We make our patties about 3 1/2 - 4 inches in diameter and about 1/4" thick and get a dozen or more out of one batch of "beanwa batter." Your mileage may vary. ;-)

Store leftover batter in a tightly covered container in the fridge. Will keep for up to a week.


*Since we don't use or eat oil, I use the soft, dry-packaged sundried tomatoes I can get at Safeway, which work like a charm. But the hard, really dessicated ones we get at the health food store work fine too, as long as you rehydrate them by soaking them in hot water for about 15 minutes before chopping them. You may want to add a teaspoon or two of the soak liquid (or just plain water) to your burger mix to add a little moisture so the patties will hold together better. (If the tomatoes packed in oil are all you can find, I recommend rinsing them well first).

Chilling the batter for 30 minutes or so sometimes helps the patties hold together better while frying, but isn't mandatory. We usually have no problems unless we've made our patties too thin or too wide.

We enjoy our burgers on toasted whole grain sandwich bread with the typical trimmings ~ brown and yellow mustard, dill pickle slices or relish, and some sliced tomatoes and/or lettuce. I also love to sauté Vidalia onions and Crimini mushrooms together to throw on our burgers. Yum!

The leftover mix stores well in the fridge, making quick and easy meals during a busy week! (Which has come in especially handy lately!)
Since I've got no Beanwa Burger photos for you, and a blog post without pictures just isn't acceptable at Mehitable Days, here are some recent random photos. (I took the first three with my awesome new camera on our Father's Day hike yesterday)...
BW found this butterfly resting on this pretty rock with his wings folded up, and called me over to take a photo. I confess to gently prodding the little guy awake so I could get a photo of him with his wings open. I didn't know what they'd look like, but when he obliged my nudge by spreading his beautiful wings, I knew interrupting his Sunday snooze had been worth it!

There were interesting clouds in the sky all morning (prelude to some wicked afternoon thunderstorms), and so I was gazing up at the sky a lot while we hiked and was therefore able to notice and capture this beautiful cloud, sky and sun tableau...

Remember my lament in my Lupine post that I'd missed photographing a bunch of all-white Lupines because I'd neglected to carry my (old) camera with me that day? Well, yesterday I made sure to bring my (new) camera, and was rewarded with an even bigger and prettier bunch of white Lupines in an even lovelier setting! Thanks, Universe! :-)

Ever been mooned by a hummingbird before? Well, now you can say you have. (No need to thank me). ;-)
(Calliope (L) and Broadtail hummers)

And finally, my adorable (if sometimes goofy) girls...

The three of them had been lined up in a perfect row taking in the view, but just as I snapped this photo Willow flopped down in the grass to roll and bask. (Well, sometimes Summer just feels so good you have to give into its temptation to laissez les bon temps rouler!) :-)

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days...
~James Russell Lowell

Happy Summer!


  1. I will indeed thank you for the hummingbird mooning. :) Your photo of the clouds is awesome. I tried taking some cloud pics last night...I need to try again another time.
    Beanwa Burgers. Must confess I am not vegetarian so not a clue what all that stuff is in the recipe, but I'd be willing to try them. I suppose ketchup is out...huh?
    I actually need to change my eating habits. Being down in the dumps for nearly a year has NOT been good for the waist line. Often times this particular cook doesn't wish to cook and "bowl of cereal" is the handiest meal. Other times the meal is red wine, salsa and chips. Yes I need to make some changes and as I'm starting to feel better I think I can and will. Beanwa burgers will be down the road a bit....too big and abrupt a switch to jump from bran flakes to beanwa.
    Happy is my favorite day of the year.

  2. Happy Solstice Laurie!

    I like to dream of spending this day hiking through fields and picnic-ing late into the evening...but alas, I'm stuck here in a drab office, and any late evening picnic-ing would have to involve an umbrella or two round here today. I guess I'll have to settle for being mooned by a hummingbird as the closest thing I'll get to a solstice celebration today, which is ok too.

    Anyway, it looks like everything is perfect in your parts. Those clouds are foreboding, but very beautiful. And the lupins (don't mention the lupins) are lovely.

    I like the sound of the "Beanwa" burgers. Your variations sound great, and I like the Inca Red quinoa's the kind I buy most often.

    VVs blog is good; she comes up with some tasty dishes. I used to have her in my blog list, but just realized she's not there anymore...where did she go? I don't know--I"ll have to add her back in.

    Your girls seem like they make great buddies for each other. Happy Day!

  3. The hummingbird mooning and dog basking pictures made me smile! So cute. :-)

    By the way, what brand of no-stick skillet do you use? Been looking for a good one.

    Thanks! Happy Summer Solstice!

  4. Sue ~ Well, if you insist... you are welcome for the hummingbird mooning. :-) I was really pleased with how that cloud photo came out! I didn't even have to do an "auto fix" on it. I love photographing clouds, and hope you get some cloud pics that please you on your next attempt!

    I think you'd really enjoy the Beanwa Burgers. I wish you were here, I'd cook you one (with organic ketchup!) and we could eat on the deck! :-) But honestly, they're incredibly simple to make. I'm guessing the ingredients that have you puzzled are the quinoa and chickpea flour, and maybe the smoked paprika and liquid smoke? Those last two items you can find in grocery stores. The quinoa (red or regular white) you might find in a grocery store that carries specialty items, but it would definitely be in a health/natural foods store, as would the chickpea flour. But the chickpea flour was to make these gluten free, so you could just use regular whole wheat flour.

    I highly recommend giving quinoa a whirl. It's nutritious, delicious, easy and versatile. Get the kind you don't have to rinse first, dump it and water into a pan and cook for 15 minutes. That's it. You can eat it hot or cold, sweet or savory, in all kinds of ways and recipes. Great stuff!

    You're in such an exciting phase of new experiences, awareness and growth, it seems a perfect time to make those changes to your eating habits. I can't encourage you enough, and there's no time like the present! When it comes to positive and empowering changes, the sooner the better - our only regret about the changes we've made is not making them much earlier. The benefits are greater and more far-reaching than you realize. And eating this way can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. We almost always opt for simple, believe me! :-)

    Speaking of which, here's a book we own that I think would inspire, entertain, educate and assist you, written in a delightful curmudgeonly style by Helen Nearing, who homesteaded for years with her husband Scott in Vermont and Maine. (In fact, it's their homestead in Harborside that we're visiting on July 3rd!) She's blunt and funny, and her recipes are indeed simple. As you'll see, your library's got it, so next time you swing by to photograph yet another treasure in the faerie garden you could check it out! :-)

    Simple Food for the Good Life

    How can you resist a title like that? :-)

    Double Happy Summer to you, since it's your favorite time of the year! I love it too (but I also love Winter Solstice, which makes me a rare bird!)

  5. Rose ~ I'm so sorry you were stuck in a drab office on Summer Solstice. If I ruled the world, the Equinoxes and Solstices would be mandatory holidays. (As would every Monday!) :-) I hope you'll get to enjoy a sunny weekend. You're a very good sport for cheerfully accepting being mooned by a hummingbird as a substitute for enjoying a sunny day off! :-)

    I was so excited when I saw those white Lupine, especially with the blue ones and the aspen grove as their backdrop! And those clouds were very foreboding. We had violent storms all over this neck of the woods that evening. We were spared the worst of it, but it hailed in town and damaged a lot of Robyn's veggie garden, and her sister's house in Billings was nearly leveled by a tornado that took the roof off the civic center and destroyed a casino (both were empty at the time, amazingly!), along with damaging other homes and businesses.

    Red Inca quinoa rocks, it's the only kind I buy anymore. In bulk, no less, from Amazon! I've heard it's tastier and more nutritious than the white, but I haven't bothered to check. I just think it's prettier! :-)

    I haven't had time to check out the rest of VV's blog yet. I can't remember how I found this particular recipe... I think I followed a comment of hers to her blog and this was the post that day. Lucky timing!

    Our girls are great buddies, they really have fun together. We've always been lucky that way, since we've adopted packs of dogs! :-)

    Vegan Wheekers ~ Hi, VW! I'm glad those photos gave you a smile to start your official Summer! :-)

    Our main non-stick pan, which is a sauté pan that does double duty as a skillet, is a Berndes Signo-Cast, which are made in Germany. Berndes is the brand that all four chefs who taught the cooking classes at Camp McDougall recommended. I bought ours at a kitchen store there in Santa Rosa (they gave us McDougallers a good discount!), but they've got it on Amazon too, w/free shipping. They've got other sizes, but we find the 11" most versatile for us. I made lots of different dishes in this along with sautéing onions and mushrooms or frying Beanwa Burgers :-), and really like it.

    We also have a regular skillet for sweet foods like French toast and pancakes, and it's this non-stick stainless steel Farberware I got at WalMart for $30! It's heavy, and though we use it far less than our Berndes, we've had it over a year and so far it's held up great and cleaning it's a breeze. They have smaller ones, but again I find the 12" very useful.

    Hope that helps!

    XOXO to the wheekers! :-)

  6. Thanks for the cookware suggestions! After reading about the dangers of Teflon, I've been looking for some non-stick that doesn't use it. I tried out Cuisinart GreenGourmet line but they all stick after half a year of use. I'm thinking of going cast iron but the special maintenance required seems daunting, not to mention the weight! :-)

    The Wheekers send Auntie Laloo their kisses and crunchy hay. :-)

  7. VW~ You might find this article interesting and helpful...

    Non-Stick Pots and Pans: Are They Safe?

    We got rid of our cast iron pans when we stopped cooking with oils. Even though they were well-seasoned, and I guess some people have luck with food not sticking, we didn't. And you are right about the weight! I know some people who also cook w/o added fats who swear stainless steel works fine, but stuff stuck like crazy in the s/s sauté pan I used to have. That was a long time ago, though, and I've learned some things since, so one of these days I might spring for a small s/s pan and try again.

    I was interested in those Green Cuisine pans when they came out, but have read too many bad reviews. Hopefully they will perfect it someday soon.

    I have great non-stick bakeware made of silicone and of glazed ceramic, too bad those surfaces don't seem to work for stove-top skillets! :-)

    Mocha finds out I'm getting crunchy hay from the Wheekers, he's going to be jealous! LOL Tell Bert and Belle I send them lots of kisses and cuddles!

  8. Oh yes, I heard about the tornado in Montana...didn't realize it was the offshoot of the same storms. Tell Robyn I deeply empathize about her veggie garden being damaged by hail.

    It's the color that gets me with the Inca Red's really crimson I think.

    Have a great holiday!

  9. Lalu,

    I've not had much time for enjoying your blog but dinner was ready and the troops weren't so I took a minute to enjoy this one. Loved the recipe - as I'm hungry, they especially sound wonderful. But I'm glad a mehitable day post always has photos. My absolute favorite was the cloud photo. And I'm truly happy for you that the universe obliged with the Lupine - great photo!

  10. Rose ~ Quite right, the color of Inca Red is incredibly rich. I think it makes the prettiest salads! I've heard there is also a blue variety, but have never seen nor tried it. Have you?

    Jo ~ Ya gotta try these! They're incredibly easy and would work great for your busy schedule.

    I can't imagine ever publishing a post that didn't have pictures! My posts are almost always built around pictures! :-) I'm glad you loved the cloud photo so much. I was thrilled with it when I downloaded it to the computer! So many times I'll see something like that, but the photo I take of it doesn't do it justice. But this time I think it sure did! (And yeah, thrilled again to see that field of beautiful white lupines! That was a great photo-op hike!)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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