September is here and fall is on its way!
I love fall and the food that goes with it, but before the leaves start to fall and the ice builds on our windshields and we break out our winter coats, a lot of people are tying to squeeze in a few more picnics before Autumn.
This weekend I will be doing that myself as my teammates and league members of the Susquehanna Valley Derby Vixens will enjoy a team picnic at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg.
Burgers and dogs will be there for the carnivores and veggie dogs for the veg-heads (I am one of three vegans in the league). In a picnic setting where I normally wouldn't have many food options, it's nice to know there are others with similar eating habits, so we can share our concoctions with each other and have a full plate and not be left hungry.
Another end-of-summer tradition has begun - tailgating - a pre-game fan favorite to start the football season.
So, I thought I would give a few recipes for your picnics or tailgate parties, while there still is some warm weather left to enjoy the outdoors.
What is a picnic or tailgate party without the burgers? There are so many variations of veggie burgers out there, so hop on Google and surf the Internet to find different options. Some people like to use lentils or black beans, others like rice or white beans. There are many others out there, so try a few to find your favorite.
My personal favorite includes brown rice and mushrooms.
Brown rice veggie burgers
3 cups brown rice, pre-cooked
4 slices of bread (for breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables, finely chopped (I like to use mushrooms, onions, green peppers and corn)
1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
3 tablespoons warm water
1/8cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook rice according to directions on package. Microwavable rice also works fine.
In a food processor or coffee grinder, grind flax seeds.
Put ground seeds in a small bowl and add warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
This will act as your binder in place of eggs.
To make breadcrumbs, heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Tear bread into small pieces and put in pan and saute in butter.
Heat until bread gets a little crispy and brown on the outside and remove from heat.
Place all ingredients except oil in a large bowl and mix together.
Form patties, about 3/4 inch thick.
Fry in oiled pan on medium-high heat for about 8 minutes on each side.
You also might like to try baking patties in the oven to eliminate oil.
Heat oven to 400 degrees and bake patties for about 8 minutes on each side. (Times may vary depending on oven).
If you plan on grilling the burgers, you can either pre-cook them and warm them on the grill or form the patties and use the grill alone.
I would suggest grilling the patties on some tin foil with a bit of olive oil, so they don't fall apart and fall through the grill grates. Top with vegan cheese, mayo, ketchup, lettuce and tomato, or toppings of your choice.
Another favorite picnic food of mine is cucumber salad. I never liked it when I was younger, but I can't seem to get enough of it now. And, it's fast and easy to make.
4 medium cucumbers, finely sliced
1 small onion, finely sliced
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dried dill (optional)
Slice cucumbers and onions and toss together in a large bowl.
Combine vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over cucumbers and onions.
Stir in dried dill if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and put in refrigerator for at least an hour so the cucumbers can absorb the flavor. It is best to be served cold, but can be left at room temperature.
If your grill has a burner, baked beans always are a good choice of side dish at a picnic.
1 16-ounce can vegetarian baked beans
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
Combine all ingredients in a pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
Add sliced veggie dogs if desired.
For larger quantities, just double the recipe.