The I-10 burger (or a version of it) has been around since Bloom’s first pop up in November of 2019! In this post, I’ll be sharing with you the journey of the burger and how it showcases the principles of Bloom.
When trying to decide what to sell at my first pop-up, I went to the Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market for inspiration. My Saturday morning ritual included (and still does include!) a visit to the farmers market, where I marveled at the array of delicious, local foods. I never strayed from new or daring finds–I found it fun to trust in my cooking abilities and instincts to put create a delicious and local.
The past few Saturdays, I had bought fresh beans from Gundermann Acres, and had especially been enjoying their purple-hull peas the past few weeks – they were new to me and I couldn’t find a lot of information on how to prepare them, so I had the pleasure of relying on my intuition to make them!
One day, I decided to make a burger using purple-hull peas and other whole, plant-based ingredients. I looked at about 20 different recipes in books and blogs, and used this research to come up with a “formula” for the perfect veggie burger. I determined it had to have a filling (beans, rice), a wet binding (egg, flax egg, tahini), a source of fat (coconut oil, olive oil, nuts), and a dry binding (flour, oats, bread crumbs).
At this point, my chemistry lab experience kicked in: I grabbed my lab notebook and started planning out controlled experiments to come up with a great burger! To start, I tried different combinations of fillings, bindings, and healthy fats to make four different burgers. I hand-crafted and tasted all of them, and tweaked some changes. In my next batch, I successfully created a burger held together well, looked appetizing, and tasted great! I was ready to go to market and get customer feedback on my product.
The next Saturday, I excitedly went to Urban Harvest to get purple-hull peas, but was soon disappointed when I was told that I the last bag had been already sold! I tried to remain calm, but it was tough to swallow the fact that I would have to repeat all of my experiments with a new recipe. But I didn’t give up—I purchased red beans after learning that that would be available for another few months.
After hours of testing and 16 burger recipes…I came out with the Fall Bloom Burger! A red bean burger with arugula-pecan pesto, summer squash ketchup, and roasted serrano hot sauce. Finally: a local, delicious burger that I could be proud of and that tasted great.
That next weekend, I took samples of my burger to Eleanora’s Market for the people to taste. The customers loved the taste of the burger and gave me great feedback for how to further improve my burger. To figure out how to make it hold together, I looked at recipes for “Indian cutlets,” a type of dish a dear Indian friend of mine had introduced me to, and is held together by potatoes. A lightbulb went off in my head– potatoes could replace the binding in my patties, add a ton of health benefits and flavor, and make my recipes that much more local with the abundant potatoes I always saw at the Gundermann stand!
Soon after, I tested my new burgers with red beans, sweet potato, ginger, and turmeric. The burgers held together incredibly well and they tasted even better! Feeling even more confident, I headed to Eleanora’s the following week, where people’s reacted overwhelmingly well to the taste of my burger.
I served the 1/4 lb red bean and sweet potato burger patty as a sandwich for a few months, but I eventually decided to make the burger bigger and better. So I got back in the lab, increased the burger size to 1/3 lb, and tested local vegan buns from around Houston to find the one that would go best with my burgers! (By this time, I had made two more burgers – with pinto and black beans.)
I love all three burgers that are currently on the menu, but the I-10 Burger – Red Bean and Sweet Potato Burger with Arugula-Pecan Pesto, Roasted Beet Ketchup, Verdegreens lettuce, and grilled onions – has a special place in my heart because of the journey it has taken with me through the start of Bloom. I love this burger because it is extremely local, made with whole ingredients, and completely plant-based! It tastes like nothing you’ve ever tried before, and it is undeniably delicious and healing.
Right now, to adapt to COVID-19, I am delivering my patties and burger kits (comes with our house-made sauces/cheese) on Saturdays around Houston for customers to cook and enjoy in their own kitchen. Check out the website to order today!