The challenge: To cook all the recipes from the first Thug Kitchen cookbook within a year. Today is the last day of that challenge.
And these are the last two recipes from the book: White Bean and Red Lentil Burgers with Root Veggie Fries.
Cooking can be a delight, it can be blissful and relaxing. It can be therapy for your soul. Or it can be a goddamn stressful nightmare.
I went in with good intentions. This was going to be fun, right? These were the last two recipes after all. I mean, I should be fucking celebrating and dancing in my kitchen, right? No, of course not. The procrastination monkeys had been running riot all day inside my head getting me to do all sorts of fun, irrelevant things instead. Watching cartoons with my son, painting a huge canvas in the garden with my kid, eating ice cream in the sunshine.
I’d left cooking to the last-minute and now I was feeling the clock’s angry eyes staring down at me. Judging me. I swear I think I even heard it whispering that I was a bad mother because dinner would be so late tonight. It’s such a bitch.
So of course I was trying to do everything twice as fast as usual. Who knows, maybe I was having some sort of subconscious reaction to the fact that it was the last recipe and (maybe?) the ending of the blog. Self-sabotage comes in many forms. Either way, whatever it was, less than ten minutes into the recipe I had burnt the shit out of the red lentils and had to start all over again.
Yes, that is a picture of my trash. Yes, I know it’s weird to have a picture of garbage in a blog about food, but it’s fucking authentic real life shit here, okay? And if you take a closer look all it’s got in there are red lentils, my fire alarm and of course obligatory banana peels. Let’s just say I don’t know how the fire alarm ended up in there, but I certainly felt much calmer afterwards.
So on we go. I mashed the beans and added the cooked lentils and all the other yummy stuff. The lime zest was the prettiest.
Then I formed the bean burgers. I made one for my son that was jalepeno-free and tried my best not to mix it up with the others. Freaking out about time, I thought fuck the instructions and veered off into unexplored, totally unknown, possibly psychotic territory. I threw the bean burgers in the freezer rather than the fridge thinking desperately that I could hurry things along and stop that fucking clock from judging me.
Rather than 30 minutes in the fridge, they could have 10 minutes in the freezer. Or so I thought. Of course suddenly my son needed a shower, and sometimes he gets scared of the shower hose so he needed someone to hold his hand. Then I peeled all the root veggies and before I knew it time had flown and the burgers had been in the fridge for at least 30 if not 40 minutes. FUCK. Would they be rock solid? (By the way did I mention that my kitchen was a complete mess by now? There was nothing zen about this workspace.)
Anyway into the oven they went. I happily noticed that the fries and the burgers needed the exact same cooking time: 30 minutes. Nice. I was nodding my head in appreciation of the Thugs’ awareness of timings. Slow clapping them inside my head even.
However, the very next minute I reread the recipes and realised that they needed different cooking temperatures. What the fuck?! My oven is not magic, but it’s very, very old. I spent a few seconds trying to work out if I strategically placed the veggie fries in the top of the oven would it be hotter there? If it is a shitty old oven, there is a chance that this may actually be the case, right? Factor in the frozen burgers, and…well…chances are this will not be good.
My son kept running in to the kitchen to do what can only be described as alien break-dancing. Cute as this may be, this was not the fucking time. I glanced into the living room to see toys and total mayhem. I was fairly close to snapping.
But then I decided to let it all go. I was so stressed that I was beyond being stressed. If I’d had a shot of tequila in my hand I would’ve slammed it. If I had a joint I would’ve smoked it. But I did not. I thought fuck the time, fuck the mess, let’s just breathe deeply, take the food out of the oven at the instructed time and see what happens.
I lit some incense. I set the table, and out came the burgers and fries.
The burgers looked okay. I flipped those golden bastards and gave them a squeeze. It felt good. By the time we sat down, zero fucks were given.
We dressed those bastards up with spinach, tomato, and raw red onion. There was also some ketchup…but shhhh, don’t tell anyone. They were stacked like the leaning Tower of Pisa, and had to be squished down to even fit in our mouths. And fuck it, if they weren’t delicious.
And the fries were just crunchy enough. I think it was the funky flour coating (which I’m sure you can try with gluten-free flour if you’re coeliac. Give it a whirl.) The mixture of potato, sweet potato, beetroot and carrots made the fries very fucking interesting.
I mean, come on! My son was happily eating beetroot! Praise be to the Thugs and may their Thuggish lives be full of bean burger and beetroot blessings!
These burgers were so good. I will make these time and time again in our household now. My son has never been into burgers, of any type. Meat, non-meat – doesn’t matter. He is a burger-hater. But not with these.
And you get to enjoy them more than once. Because, as with all good vegetarian food, these burgers will make you fart like a trooper the next day. Trust me. I speak from experience. Noisily walking down the road experience, and silently in the elevator experience.
But each time you will be left feeling satisfied because you know it’s your body’s way of thanking you for the fucking burgers.
On a side note, my son loved the little jalepeno-free burger that I made him. He loved it so much that he begged to have a left over one in his lunch box today. My pre-coffee mommy brain was delighted, so I wrapped one up for him and sent him on his merry banana-eating way. Then later, once my brain had been doused in coffee and awakened by life in general, I suddenly stopped. I realised I’d only made one jalepeno-free burger, and he ate that one yesterday.
So today I’m half expecting a small phone call from the kindergarten. And maybe social services.
On a different note. I did it.
All 115 recipes have been cooked and blogged. 115 Down, 0 to go. A whole year has passed. I cannot believe it. And out of 115 recipes there was only one that I didn’t love like my own children. (Horchata, you can go fuck yourself.) (page 138 in case you were wondering)
Thank you for reading along with me. I feel like we’ve taken a crazy journey together. Some of you have asked me what I’m doing next. I will tell you exactly that next week when I come back to list what I think are the top ten Thug Kitchen recipes from this book, and to laugh at the shit that went so horribly wrong along the way. Until then have a spectacular time cooking from the best cookbook ever, because the food is so good that Thug Kitchen swear by it.
I’m off to celebrate by eating some of these melt-in-your-mouth-truffles and drink some chilled bubbles.