Monday, February 4, 2013

Recipe Box Revival - and Walnut Burgers

Another Meatless Monday! Let's get this week started with some fun inspiration and something good to eat...

Like many of you, I have an ancient recipe box, stuffed full of ragged little cards, handwritten with recipes that tell the story of my early cooking life. Most are written in my own handwriting, and many are in my mom's, which always makes me feel a sense of happy connection to her, even though she's been gone for over 20 years now. And I still laugh every time I see the comic she clipped and mailed to me back in 1989. It's lived in the lid of the box all this time. Sigh... food has such magical powers to transport us back in time.

I've been flipping through this little metal box lately, with an idea to update and veganize some of the old recipes. I suppose there could be a book in it, but first things first. I need to see how much usable material I have here, and then start working my way through it. It sounds like what could be the start of a really fun project.

Part of my idea is to recreate these recipes in a handwritten format, because it continues the tradition of re-writing favorite recipes on cards to share with friends. There was a time when you might take a dish to a party, and when several people would ask for the recipe, you'd go home, and hand copy it onto a 3x5 card for each of them, knowing that everyone else stored their recipes in a little metal box, just like you did. Writing recipes by hand now also adds another layer of creativity to the cooking itself, which i find rather lovely.

If you google "hand drawn recipes," you'll find that a lot of people are making wonderful art out of written recipes. I don't really know how to draw, so my personal style in this will be less artful than some. Still, I love the idea of drawing, and I always have a stash of colorful pens, pencils, and pastels around. I've moved them to the kitchen now. It seems like where they really belong. And I always love an excuse to buy a brand new "64" box of crayons. Very exciting.

I brought a sketch book to the kitchen with me last night when I tackled my old recipe for Walnut Burgers. I always make notes when I cook, but the sketch book felt really wonderful and different from a regular lined spiral notebook. I never stay in the lines anyway. What I ended up with for my first attempt at "drawing a recipe" is more of a doodle gone wild than a drawing, but I kind of like it anyway. And the best part is, the burgers were terrific. Possibly my best yet. I want to try some variations, so this might very well turn into "burger week" at my house, but I don't hear anyone complaining. Here's my first "recipe card" for you. If you click on the photo, it should enlarge to a more readable size. And no, that is not a banjo at the bottom - it's a frying pan. I trust that my drawing skills will improve over time.

And in case you can't read my handwriting, here's a transcript...

Walnut Burgers
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 T dry basil
1/4 tsp powdered sage
1/4 tsp powdered thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp vegan worcestershire
3 T tomato paste
3 T flaxseed meal mixed with 3 T water

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Shape into 3 or 4 patties, and fry in a non-stick pan over medium heat, until browned on both sides.