Guys! Remember when I used to run a blog? Haha, just kidding, no one remembers that. That was way back in 2011! And now it’s 2012, which means it’s time for some HONESTY: My move to New York has tried its hardest to derail this project. This city is a very demanding mistress. (Did you know there’s stuff going on here ALL THE TIME? And that it’s VERY HARD TO SAY NO TO ANY OF IT? I’m pretty sure my dog starved to death 10 days ago, can someone go to my house and check on him, please? I’ll just be at this comedy show tonight.) But, fear not, I will keep at this nightmare of a project until either I’m dead, or all of us are. Anyway, I made some stuff!
One recent weekend, I woke up and decided that pancakes were NECESSARY. Thankfully, Gwyneth provides me with two pancake recipes! One of them, however, requires you to make the batter the night before (naturally), so instead I went with the very literally named Morning Pancakes. Unfortunately, my camera battery wasn’t charged, so I don’t have any pictures. You know what pancakes look like, though, right? That’s what these looked like. I don’t think any of us are missing out on anything here.
To make the batter, I mixed an egg (organic), almond milk, vegetable oil, and some flour. Gwyneth specifies “any kind of flour will work,” but you can just FEEL the Jewish (or semi-Jewish, or whatever she is) guilt washing over you if you dare to use anything but spelt flour. I risk the wrath of Gwyneth and use all-purpose flour. I’m a pancake rebel. Oh, you also throw some baking powder in there. She also includes an optional seed mix, which is a whole other recipe in itself, but I wasn’t about to go wandering about Brooklyn in my pajamas on a freezing cold Sunday in search of goddamned goji berries for some stupid pancakes. So I left them out. We’ll make the seed mix some other day, and I’m sure it’ll be just wonderful.
Oh, and there’s one other thing in the mix: yogurt. WTFFFFFF???? Is she INSANE? She clarifies in the introduction that the yogurt gives the pancakes a buttermilk flavor, since buttermilk can be hard to find (especially in London), which I just find hilarious. For someone who lives her life bathing in a never-ending supply of DUCK BACON, I doubt buttermilk is that hard to procure. But whatever, I stirred some yogurt into my pancakes, feeling like an escaped mental patient.
Then you fry them up like pancakes. Exciting! She tells you to fry them in a little bit of vegetable oil, which seems very unlike Gwyneth. Whither the safflower oil? I take a page out of Paula Deen’s book (diabetes be damned!) and fry them in butter instead, because DUH. It quickly becomes apparent that these pancakes are some soggy little bastards. I mean, they are just DRIPPING with liquid. With later batches, I removed most of the butter from the frying pan, which helped a bit. But, really, batter filled with yogurt does not seem to make for sturdy pancakes. Lesson learned!
That said, they were actually pretty good. The yogurt taste was slightly disconcerting, and lacking a lot of the richness of buttermilk, but they were definitely more interesting and better-tasting than pancakes you make from a box. SO. Not too shabby, I guess.
Moving right along, I also recently cooked Homemade Veggie Burgers. And I have pictures for this one! They were supposed to only take 25 minutes, but, in true Gwyneth fashion, one of the ingredients is “cooked brown rice,” just casually slipped in there, which adds another 30-45 minutes. So dinner was at practically 10:30. Fun! Working mothers would LOVE that!
Anyway, I cooked the stupid rice. Once it was almost done, I then sauteed some finely diced onions and garlic with a bit of cumin. After letting the onions sweat for a while, I added the rice, a can of drained and rinsed black beans (organic, of course, and also transported cross-country from Portland; I always insist my canned beans be driven 3,000 miles before I eat them), and some salt and pepper. I stirred it all together and then proceeded to mash it all with a potato masher. Excepppppt we don’t have a potato masher. But shitty improvisation is a hallmark of the Danny/Gwyneth Project, so I grabbed a slotted spoon and went to town on the mixture. And it actually worked quite well, if I may say so.
I let the mashed mixture cool for a while, and then shaped it into four patties. It quickly became apparent that these were not going to stay together very well, but Gwyneth suggests you put the patties in the fridge for a few hours, so I did that for as long as I could stand the hunger (about half an hour). I then removed the patties from the fridge and checked on their consistency: slightly drier than before, and not any more cohesive. Ah, well, whatever. I dusted the patties with flour and placed them in a skillet with olive oil, struggling painfully to prevent the patties from crumbling into some sort of a mashed rice and beans saute.
This is what a Gwyneth veggie patty looks like, before it falls to pieces.
And flipping these burgers? Ohhhh boy. Not fun. You need to guide the patty back onto the skillet with your free hand and gently lower it, even though the hot oils may be burning the skin from your fingers. Just ignore the pain! This pain is much less than the hell you’ll pay if Apple has to eat a store-bought veggie burger!
Three hours later, I managed to flip the patties with minimal crumbling. I then sliced some cheddar and placed it on top of the patties, mostly to ensure these were veggie burgers and not vegan burgers, out of spite. Once the patties had browned slightly, I scooped them onto whole wheat buns (of course), at which point they all basically collapsed and turned into the consistency of sloppy Joes. WHATEVER. I got it on the buns, that’s all that matters. (That’s what she said.)
When it’s 11 pm and you’ve been making veggie burgers for 3 hours, you just kind of pile stuff on top of it.
Gwyneth gracefully allows us to top with our favorite toppings, so I simply went with lettuce, tomato, and the non-brown parts of an avocado from our shitty, shitty corner store. (I can’t overemphasize how truly awful the store is; a friend recently asked, “Would you rather spend a month in your grocery store, or in a public restroom?” I chose the restroom.) Also some ketchup and mustard, OBVIOUSLY. And, you know what, these weren’t that bad! They were hard as hell to eat, but not any more difficult than a typical juicy, meaty burger. The patties probably need more flavoring than some cumin and garlic, however. And there definitely has to be a way to make the patties more patty-like. But, all things aside, not too shabby.
AND WE’RE BACK.