Flipping through Esquire last week, I found a recipe in the letters section from the Next Iron Chef’s Dominique Crenn. A reader had requested a vegetarian option from a recent food feature. Esquire decided to oblige. The Falafel Burger with yogurt sauce sounded too promising to ignore, so I ripped out the page, searched for harissa paste in the Reading Terminal Market (Jonathan Best had it, cheaper than the Spice Terminal!), and got to it. Go fetch a copy, it’s some of the best writing I can find lately.

This was my first time working with harissa and it definitely packs more depth than a common chile paste. I have nearly a whole can left over. Any ideas? Harissa tofu hoagies?

The patties turned out very mushy. I got a bit pulse-happy with the new food processor and may have overdone it. Most bean burgers are high on the mush scale, but I kind of enjoy it. These needed more structure, however. I’m going to bake the leftovers to crisp them up a little.

I’m not sure that the yogurt sauce (made with Fage) and mixed with harissa, lemon, and lime, did much for the burger. The beans seemed to grasp all of the heat and stabilize the spiciness.

While ingredient-hunting at the Terminal, I found a new ketchup from Oak View at the Fair Food Farmstand’s expanded quarters. Labeled as vegan and sweetened with agave and cinnamon, the condiment is closer to a tomato jam. It’s missing the acidity of Heinz and could use double the vinegar. My search for that great umami ketchup continues.