Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What We've Been Eating, Part 4: The Eggless Binder Edition, featuring Flax Egg, Soy-Based Mayo, and Bonus (updated) Curry Tuna Burger Recipe!

"Eggless Binder". Do you like that? I liked it. I went with it anyway. As well as every other word I could think of to throw into the epic title of this post. I was going to try to share the information in this post in three different posts, i.e. Flax Egg post, Soy Mayo post, and then - aha! let's put it all together! - Updated Egg-Free Curry Tuna Burger post. But I've not been that good at posting generally, let alone regularly, so I thought a three-part mission was too risky.

So here we are. Bear with me. I have a lot to say, mostly stemming from this sad fact:

I miss eggs a lot.

Like, I miss eggs more than wheat. Which surprises me at first. Until it doesn't, when I think about it, because I eat a lot of eggs, and my favorite meal of the day (or week anyway) is brunch, and you can avoid wheat at brunch with a little thought but eggs are far trickier. They're more pervasive at the Sunday table. Even at French Meadow Cafe, where they are super accommodating and have endless gluten free and vegan options - finding a gluten free AND vegan (or merely gluten free and eggless) option was hard. (But what I ended up with was delicious and made me feel good after: a platter of brown rice, grilled tempeh with balsamic reduction, roasted winter squash, and some steamed kale.)

So, anyway, while I don't care enough for tofu to start eating vegan scrambles in a (certain-to-fail) attempt to satisfy my omelette craving, I have turned to soy and flaxseeds as egg substitutes in non-brunch recipes, both with great success.

Let's talk egg-free mayo first.  I know people have issues with soy - if you do, you can stop reading or skip to flax egg part - but we handle it well, i.e. nobody in this home is at risk of anaphylaxis from soy consumption. And I really like it in some forms. I love miso and tempeh, I like soy milk (homemade recipe to come soon!), I enjoy edamame (especially covered in dark chocolate, available at your trusty Trader Joe's of course), and I find tofu and soy yogurt v. useful ingredients when we're addressing multiple food allergies at one meal (two important children in our life are allergic to milk). (As I hinted at above though, I don't really like tofu v. much.)

This recipe - just barely adapted from an unglamorous but super useful cookbook lent to me by a friend, The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook by Majorie Hurt Jones - is excellent. It tastes way better than real mayonnaise (which, incidentally, I H-A-T-E) and its consistency is creamy and homogenous and, well, bind-y. I have been known to frequently swap cream cheese or plain yogurt for mayo in the past, but I really wanted something with a decidedly mayo-y texture, and this totally has it.
  no egg mayo in food processor
Here's the recipe.

Tofu-Dijon (Eggless) Mayo
Adapted from The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook*
Yield: about 1.5 - 2 cups

3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dijon
1/3 cup oil (I used blend of olive oil and grapeseed oil)
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons honey (or agave, if you'd like)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
8 ounces firm tofu, drained

In food processor or blender, combine lemon juice, mustard, oil, honey, salt, sesame oil, and half of the tofu. Process until smooth. Stop, scrape down the sides of the container, add the remaining tofu and 2 tablespoons of water. Process until smooth. Add more salt or otherwise adjust seasonings to your taste. Pour into a glass container with a tight-fitting lid and use within a week.

*My version uses less oil, greater amounts of the flavorful ingredients, and a little water. Go ahead and dip a carrot in it. It's that tasty. (Said the girl who doesn't like tofu.)

stored mayo
Now - flax egg!
  flax seeds in farflax egg 
So, I've totally done the flax egg thing for a while. But this approach was different, using whole flaxseeds rather than flax meal, a significantly greater amount of water, and the stove. I don't know why this method is not wildly more popular. It is WILDLY better. Seriously - WILD. My previous flax egg recipe - whisk together 1 T flax meal with 3 T water and allow to sit for 10 minutes - worked okay. It thickened a bit. Whatever. THIS version though - SERIOUSLY - results in a substance that is almost exactly the consistency of egg white. It's kind of amazing. (I'd show you a picture but it's also kind of gross on camera, perhaps because of the associations that come along with the words "egg white" when you've spent the last 3.5 years being hyper-mindful of your fertility. (Yep, I went there. Huge apologies to those of you who are just here for the food! I can't keep my mind out of the gutter all the time.) These should give you a good (but not too graphic) idea:
  flax "egg" shots 
Flax Egg Replacer 
From The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook (although I adjusted the cooking time, as mentioned in recipe)
Yield: about 1/3 cup, to replace one egg used for binding, e.g. in baking/burgers/meatloaf; easily doubled 

1/2 cup water 
1 tablespoon whole flaxseed 

In a small saucepan, combine the water and flaxseed. Bring to boil. Scrape sides of pan with a heat-resistant spatula to prevent mixture from sticking. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the consistency of egg whites. (Original recipe says 5 minutes but it took mine closer to 10. It continued to get thicker as it rested.) Stores in refrigerator for a week or so, so you can double or triple the recipe so you have some on hand. Just measure out 1/3 cup per egg being substituted. 

And, finally, what you can do with your egg replacers... Make all kinds of burgers! Like tuna burgers! I used oat bran instead of breadcrumbs and these were as good (better maybe?) than the original version from way back.
  oat braneven bettereggless tuna burger plated 
I forgot how much I loved these. And now Beckett can too! 

Curry Tuna Burgers Revisited (No Eggs or Wheat) 
The original version is HERE 
This version yields about 8 small burgers (and by small I mean I ate three in one go) 

12 oz canned tuna, drained 
1/3 cup tofu "mayo"  
1 tablespoon dijon mustard 
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
1 heaping tablespoon curry (I used muchi, but any kind you like will do) 
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Zest of one lemon 
2 scallions, finely chopped 
1/2 cup finely chopped celery (2 ribs) 
1/4 cup chopped parsley 
2 tablespoons minced chives 
1/3 cup flax egg replacer 
1/4 cup oat bran 

Mix all ingredients except oat bran until well-combined and still quite wet. Add just enough oat bran to make the tuna mixture tacky and malleable. Form into patties about 4-5 inches in diameter. (My mix made 8 small burgers.) In a nonstick skillet coated with a little oil, in two or three batches, cook the patties over low heat and for 5-6 minutes on one side, or until starting to brown. Gently flip the burgers and cook them for 3-4 minutes on the other side, until browned and cooked through. 

Serve with or without a bun, topped or not topped with yogurt and a little Cholula.  Eat three in one go. It will make you miss eggs less.

1 comment:

  1. So proud of you for being so creative! That burger looks amazing! I know you will come up with tons of new recipes! I've said it before but if anyone is up for it, you are! xoxo