Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mushroom Pecan Burgers

These are my Mushroom Pecan Burgers from TEV, and the photo is courtesy of Nancy. (Thanks Nancy!)

You see, Nancy e-mailed me the other day to tell me that she made this recipe and they really enjoyed it, though hers "didn't come out as perfectly shaped as the photo in the book".

Well, I had to e-mail her back to say "great, yours are EXACTLY how they should look!!"

You see, food styling can be very deceptive! When these photos were done for TEV, I was surprised by how much may be removed/added to a recipe just for the looks, or artificial things used in place of real food.

With these burgers, the food stylist really wanted to make them look like a "real burger" (because we all miss those, don't we?!!!). I usually serve them without a bun and instead top them with Mi-So Good Gravy from TEV. But, 'burger on a bun' was the plan. I was preparing the burgers and remember saying "we're missing hoisin and some other ingredients". The food stylist explained we didn't need it, but that we needed to make the patties very stiff so add more breadcrumbs and whatever to firm them.

After the shoot they decided to eat the burgers and the stylist said "they are a little bland, need some onion or something". Now, being too polite for my own good I didn't say much, when what I should have said was "well, you are eating a 'breadburger', afterall!"

Funny, I learned a lot about food styling that day, though the next food stylist I worked with for a TV spot didn't change my recipe ingredients at all, which was so cool, because everything on that tv appearance looked just like it came from my own kitchen.

So, if you ever make a recipe inspired by a photo in a cookbook and it doesn't come out quite like the pretty picture... now you know why!

Cooking Tips: When you make veggie burgers/patties, there are a few tricks to help them stick and hold. First, if you if they are too moist, add some breadcrumbs or something like quick oats. If they are not moist, but a little crumbly and not holding, a nut or seed butter does the trick - try a tbsp or two of tahini, almond, or peanut butter - also, a little miso helps. Next, it does help to refrigerate them before shaping. And finally, your hands usually get sticky after shaping 4 or 5 patties, so rinse your hands, pat dry and keep going!


jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Wow, those look amazing. I've only made tofu burgers before, and they were good, but plain. Thank you for the burger forming tips, they are very much appreciated!

Harmonia said...

Thanks for the tips! I actually had my first attempt a while back and panicked because they were soupy! Not knowing...I actually did add more bread crumbs and they DO make a difference. Little did I know that that was what I was supposed to do until now! How ironic! LOL

Dreena, check out my 2 posts for today! I received a gift of tea...that is my newest post...I think you will enjoy!

Harmonia said...

Yup! My layout is for spring! Only a few days and I will switch it again! LOL

The tea is great!!! Very flavorful! :)

Sweet Pea said...

Thank you for the cooking tips. I often find that my burgers are too dry and I'm never quite sure how to improve the texture.

Christine said...

I have also been trying all the "patties" what am I doing or should I be doing if they are not holding together. Yes I am a VERY new cook. As in I have to have a recipe because I don't know what I am doing!

Dreena said...

No problem, Jess... glad you found it helpful! :)

See, again Harmonia, more proof that you are more of a cook than you'll ever admit to being!!

You're welcome, sweet pea... I hope it helps you a little when you make your next batch of veggie burgers. Sometimes a little mashed potato/sweet potato/yam will help too to make the mixture more moist - but you have to play around with the seasonings/flavors with the sweeter potatoes in there.

Ah, I bet you're doing better than you think you are, Christine. For most folks 'cooking' is pulling a pizza out of a box or a frozen entree. It's all about trying and working with things you like here and there and you build up your confidence with it as you go. I have more confidence with cooking in certain areas than others for sure (certain ethnic cuisine, for example), so we are all learning in this game of cooking! :)

Danielle said...

Okay, I must order TEV RIGHT NOW. I love mushrooms, and those burgers look yummy!

Chris said...

Great story Dreena. I think it was just last night that I saw a story on some food network show about a company that makes life-like fake foods for photo shoots, commercials, etc. It might look like a perfect fresh tomato, but it's really made out of plastic!

Dreena said...

Finally, Danielle... someone else that appreciates musrhooms!! I love them, esp the more pricey shitake, portobellos, oyster mushrooms, etc (just the best when grilled just right). So much disdain for mushrooms from some folks on the blogs, I just couldn't believe it!

EXACTLY, Chris!!! Fake ice-cubes, fake ice-cream (so it doesn't melt of course), fake veggies, and then ingredients put into recipes to make them look a certain way - very odd stuff!

EatPeacePlease said...

I always laugh when I see tomatoes on tv and they have those fake water spots that are really glue!!!

I love patties and maybe this will inspire me to buy some mushrooms. Then I just need someone to force me to eat them! They do look good though.

Thanks for sharing with everyone about the fakeness of food photos.

Harmonia said...

LOL and if the bread crumb thing made you think that...just wait until you see what I did with almonds last night! In today's entry. AH-Ha! *giggles*

Nancy said...

As a former mushroom hater I can attest to the fact that these patties are wonderful! I seriously went to work on liking mushrooms and now use them a LOT. I think these patties would be a great place to start for someone who doesn't like mushrooms :-)

Harmonia said...

I just ate my stew from lunch...did you check out the recipe? It was good but next time I will add 1 additional cup or less of veggie stock and at least 1 more tablespoon of tomato paste if not more. It isn't much for color but it was a tad better that I thought it was going to be (I was somewhat afraid, actually).

So, I pimped your blog on my Thursday Thirteen and just posted again about a great deal I found on the Vegetarian Times Cookbook. SWEET.

Can't wait to see what your next post will be!


Dreena said...

Thanks, Leslie... so, did you have a nice birthday?... lots of treats enjoyed I hope!

Nancy, that's very nice of you to say, thank you... though from what I know of Leslie, she has serious distaste for mushrooms, so I'd be surprised if she goes for these!

Hi Harmonia... thanks for the plug again, I'm going to get my next post on now! :)