Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 136- Challenge Results part 2

Mine, this time.

So, I cooked and I cooked, and I cooked, and then I ate. And cleaned up and took pictures, too! Yay, right?

I still only made it about 2/3rds of the way through what I planned. If I'd managed the last of it, I wouldn't have gone back for seconds of anything. Not bad, I thought.

Magic plate-o-food

So what'd I make?

  • Homemade black bean burgers on
  • Homemade buns/ bread with
  • Sweet potato/ mango salsa and
  • Fresh mayo-free, hand chopped coleslaw
What'd I miss? Haven't quite managed the mango "sticky" rice yet.

I made 8 burgers, and have enough mix left for at least 4 more. So I'm gonna start there.

Black Bean Burgers
idea from MELOMEALS
  • 1lb dried black beans, cooked and 1/2 smooshed
  • 1T +/- salt
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 onion, diced small
  • 1/2 to 1C bean cooking liquid
  • 1C flour
  • 1/4-1/2C vital wheat gluten
Just dump everything into a bowl and mix it up. If it's still too sticky to work with (mine was but I didn't care by then) add extra flour no more than 1/4C at a time until you can shape them. Put patties on a nonstick baking sheet and cook in the oven at 350*F for about 25-30 minutes. I didn't, but flipping halfway through cooking might help get the insides crispier.

Oh, yeah- No added oil in this part! Just the salt. These could probably also be fried or grilled after some pre-baking so they hold their shape. Takes more time, though, so I baked them.

Homemade Buns/ Bread
  • 3.5C flour
  • 1T salt
  • 1tsp yeast
  • 1/2tsp sugar
  • 1.5C warm water
  • extra flour for dusting/ kneeding.
Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl, and the yeast, sugar, and water in a separate bowl. When the yeast is dissolved, pour into the flour and mix in. when it gets too tough to mix with a spoon or fork, switch to kneeding, just until everything's mixed in. Let rise 1 hour. Add extra flour, maybe 1/4C, and kneed some more until the dough is nice and smooth, and holds together like a baloon or rubber band, that same kinda give. Cover the bowl and let it rise until it's at least doubled in size. The longer you let it rise, the better the flavor. Mine didn't sour at all, so tasted like white bread. When you've let it rise, chop the ball of dough in half, then either into chunks for buns (should make about 12), or into halves for bread. Shape, slice the tops, and let them rise a bit more. Bake in a 400* oven for about 25 minutes, or until they're a little browned on the top, and don't sound "wet" inside when you thump the bottom. Wrap and refrigerate extras.

Sweet Potato Mango Salsa
  • 1 Sweet potato, peeled and diced (I only had 1 tiny one, so added 1 carrot, also peeled and diced)
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1T oil
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced (directions all over the interwebs)
Fry the onion and sweet potato in the oil with salt until they're just about done cooking, and lightly browned and extra sweet. Turn off the heat and add the diced mango, stirring and letting it cook just a little bit. If your mango is *actually* ripe, you won't need to do this, you can just toss ripe mango chunks in cool veggie mix and have magic. This just mixes the flavors and softens the mango a bit.

Note- After almost a week on top of over-ripe apples on top of my fridge, the mango still wasn't ripe. It didn't taste like soap (like totally unripe ones do to me) but it was pretty woody. This could also be because it was so huge- anyone with more mango experience than me know? I'll be picking up a smaller mango from save-a-lot for the sticky rice. For some reason I trust them more for "exotics."

Mayo-free, Hand Chopped Coleslaw
First off, DON'T DO THIS! If you don't have a grater, it takes for forking ever!
  • 1 small green cabbage, cored and chopped into ribbons
  • 1/4 onion, sliced extra thin
  • 1 carrot, peeled and "shredded" (with a veggie peeler and knife- don't do this, booooriiing)
  • 1C vinegar (approx)
  • 1/4C veg oil (approx)
  • 2T sugar
  • 2T salt
  • 2T +/- spicy mustard
Mix veggies together, so they're all evenly distributed, and not clumpy. Add everything else and mix until evenly coated and combined. Best after at least 1 day. I love vinegar, so vinegar haters might want to cut that to start. Also, original recipes I looked at had 1/2C or more of sugar, but I thought it was almost too sweet with 2T. Maybe tomorrow it'll mellow, but if I make this again, I'll be cutting the sugar even more.

Ok, so that's it for what I actually made. Prices? Of what I used yesterday, only the wheat gluten, garlic, yeast, and veggie oil were (I think) over $1 a pound. I'll figure out how much a serving works out to when I figure out how many I have, and after I make the sticky rice (coconut milk was $1.02 a pound, so just over).

Out of pocket spend was a little over budget at about $5.30, including tax. It would have been lower (and had cilantro or another mango), but black beans are only available in 2lb packages where I get them. I think I'll have used about $2 of pantry stuff as well by the time I'm done, so round up to $8 for all supplies plus extras (won't use all the carrots or beans, for example).

And it only took me 5 hours!
floured j. Flour coated, scrawny looking j

So, anyone else (other than me and super challenge-doer Allie) make a meal out of stuff that's less than $1 a pound? Also, are either of these photos randomly huge for anyone else?


  1. That looks good! Take that, fail days!

  2. It even tasted good. Not making the coleslaw again, though. Not without a food processor, anyway.

  3. wow, that all looks awesome, you bounced back very nicely! I never thought of baking black bean burgers, I always fry them but they fall apart (and taste sooo good), I'll have to try it next time. And I can't wait to have a functioning stove at some point to bake buns!

    I wasn't thinking of the challenge, but I did finally master dal - lentils, earth balance, the right amount spices, half a can of tomatoes and peppers... I believe they are all less then 1$ per pound! and I'm not gagging so that's a good sign...

    I'm also going to inherit a free pound of bitter lettuce today, have no idea what to do with it but make crostini--it's from our campus garden but I pay in labor, so it technically meets the challenge? :3

  4. Wow, I'm impressed with your buns...never tried making them. I'm inspired, but it's 90+ here at the moment. Maybe later.

  5. theresa- I'd been planning it, and figured I probably couldn't blow off *two* of my own challenges. That'd be extra irresponsible, even for me. Food that doesn't make you gag is a very good sign, but was it good? You shouldn't put your cooking down. You can tweek it, or play with it, but that doesn't make it horrible (unless a dog or pig won't touch it, then...). I dunno if it counts as paying in labor- you get exercise, experience, *and* veggies. Sounds like all win to me.

    Cyndee- if you mix them up now, the should get huge and sour for you- the yeasties like heat. Not the same developed sour from a real sourdough, but something.

  6. Oh, and I think buns are usually a richer dough than this- it turned out about artisan sammich bread texture- maybe swap some or all of the water for scalded milk?

  7. Your dinner does look extra yummy. Good job on the buns! I am yet to attempt those. The salad looks particularly nice.

    So. I went ahead and joined the challenge. I'm not at home right now, so I dont have access to the exact broken-down pricing and calorie thing, but I made pizza. The highest-cost items were flour (of course) and chicken pieces at .89c/lb that I already had on hand. I added 1 tomato, substituted condensed milk and butter for water in the dough (wouldnt do it again!), and used tomato paste with a bit of oregano and garlic for the sauce instead of store-bought sauce. Everything was really yummy, except for the dough being a bit flavorless and a bit tough. Proof:

    So it was made a bit healthier, but flavor paid the price. It wasnt bad, but just not as good. Also cut back on other spices to keep the cost down. Out of pocket expense was under $5, so that was good. :) Thanks for the challenge!

  8. TJ- your pizza looks good, even if the dough wasn't quite what you hoped for. Wait, so you used condensed milk and butter instead of water, or water instead of milk and butter, I'm confuzzled (easily). Cutting back on spices is def'nately un-fun, but it's interesting to play with what you've got, and see how much that bit of whatever is really costing.

  9. I'm definitely going to try your rolls, I'm planning on roasting a chicken for sandwiches (instead of buying sodium and preservative filled cold cuts), and homemade rolls just make it sound that much better.

    I also made homemade bagels for the first time today. They came out amazing, were totally vegan, and took less than 2 hours. Really easy, too! You might want to consider them as an oatmeal alternative.

  10. Kim- I've actually been giving bagels some thought since the beginning, but they seem so, i don't know, scary somehow. i think it's the two step cooking thing that freaks me out. What happens if i spaz after boiling them and putting them in the oven?

    Really, they're easy?

    here's the URL, tiny-ized, for people who can't get into my email (not an invitation).

  11. They were SO easy. The great thing about that recipe is that there are loads of comments from people who tried them, and the blogger is great about responding, so there is a whole list of the most common errors and how to avoid them. I'm so excited at the prospect of never having to buy store brand bagels again.

  12. I guess I'll have to get more serious about trying them then.

  13. I am normally not a meat-free-burger-eater, but those things look incredible. Wow I want. Might need to invest in some vital wheat gluten.

  14. You don't need the gluten, it just made it stick a bit better. Instead of egg, ya know?

  15. Oh, good to know. I'll definitely be trying these soon!