slight equinox (veggie burgers)

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My spring is all cracks and slits of warmth. I am begrudgingly letting light in by conceding to the pleasure of falling asleep with the windows open to a chorus of frog song. Living on an estuary has its benefits. But, I am experiencing none of my usual excitement about each tiny stage of my most favourite season: making perfume from popular bud preserves, stalking the progress of skunk cabbage poking through the damp soil, picking crocuses blooming across the lawn, delighting in the return of takeaway lunch over a windy picnic table. As I prepare to head up to the arctic in a couple of weeks I am trying to convince myself that its fine that I planned myself an extra long winter; its ok that I am about to be ensconsed in snow and ice for another couple of months. Enough cold that when I brought my new giant parka home yesterday my north-hardy house-mates were utterly convinced it wasn’t big enough and that I am definitely on the road to freezing to death. They were polite about it, but I think I need to get a different coat. I am a little frightened that the largest puff-ball I have ever bought is still unacceptable for what is about to be my immediate future. My life is on the prepice of being placed in boxes again, my heart a little shattered at the triple loss of squamish, love, community, a fantastic job, my favourite running trails. My emotional core a wee bit flat from all the change.

But, its not all downer-downer over here. Over the weekend there were 200 dolphins in the estuary channel and a pod of orcas chasing them down for dinner. The entire town came to check it out. I have never seen a larger traffic jam in such a tiny city. My friend Kaz was out in the middle of it all in her yellow kayak, dolphins passing back and forth across her path. It was heart warming. A scene of colourful umbrellas in the middle of the desolate log boom, kids jumping with excitement about the gift of dolphins feeding on the once in a decade herring run. True to Squamish form, there were dogs everywhere. It made life joyful on a day heavy with rain and hail. Its in this sense that my hands are hopeful about the potential for arctic light to twist in blue sky-icy bay-glory to find a sense of settled in this new path with a new home once again.

In starting to pack Ive been sorting the books I bring with me every time I repeat my personal ritual of chronic moving. Eight moves in eight years means I am highly efficient at moderating the physical items that border my life. The tattered copies of the Rebar and Moosewood cookbook survive every move. Kate, Sarah and I cooked from those almost every night during our happy undergraduate life in our quadra house. When we would feel as overwhelmed as I might admit to being today we would come home, lie flat for hours on the kitchen floor and- when ready to sit up again-find solidity in warm cups of kate’s rebar-led homemade chai. Sarah would make bombay wraps with gingery hummus, and I would respond with yam-peanut soup. Ive cooked my way through both of them, but in times of transition there is nothing like returning back to where you first learned to stir onions to exactly the right degree of caramel, the place you made brownies religiously for your weekly history seminars in order to woo friends and potential lovers, and the soup that carried you through potlucks, degrees, new continents, and quiet nights alone in your first solo studio apartment.

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And, they gave me these veggie burgers- a melded classic of four different recipes that scream spring. They will bring a little easy bbq to your cast iron in times of dire need. I am sorry there is no picture. We ate them so fast last night I didn’t manage to snap anything except a photo of an empty plate. Oh well. Imagination is important. We had them with roasted sunchokes with lemon I picked up last weekend from the winter market and a tiny pile of new sprouted greens. Happy equinox everyone. Have a burger on me.

Veggie Burgers 

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, finely diced.

10 mushrooms, chopped finely.

1 carrot, grated.

1 red or yellow pepper, chopped into tiny pieces.

Bean: 1 can of refried beans or 1 can mashed black beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils.

1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa

1 egg

Spices: 1 tsp each chili powder, oregano, curry powder, red pepper flakes.

1 tablespoon balsamic vingegar.

1 cup cornmeal.

 Method:

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in a pan until gently carmelized.
  2. Add the mushrooms, pepper, and grated carrot and cook until soft.
  3. Add the herbs and vinegar, cook for 60 seconds.
  4. Place vegetables in large bowl. Mix together remaining ingredients: breadcrumbs, egg, bean of your choice, brownrice. Mash with a potato masher if you need to, or combine with your hands. You may need to add another egg, or a little more breadcrumbs to get an idea texture that can be formed into patties without acting too dry.
  5. Put the cornmeal on a plate.
  6. Form patties with your hand, and dip each side of the burger in the cornmeal to form a crust.
  7. Cook veggie burgers on a nice hot cast-iron pan, or over a bbq.
  8. Enjoy with burger toppings: salad, tomatoes, avocado, mango salsa, ketchup, you name it.

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