Monday, November 30, 2009

Lightening up

There is not much time before the next round of eating holidays roll in. This week I am going to try to reverse some of the damage I have done to my waistline on the last feast. I am starting to get a little tired of Leftover soup (by poplular demand on the homefront I made a second batch from the very last of the last of the leftover goodies). I am ready for something else.

Black eyed peas are one of my favorite beans (peas?). I love the woody/grassy flavor. There is a depth to them and a lightness. They have a complex flavor for a bean, I guess I am trying to say.

Canned beans work fine in a pinch. I rinse them thoroughly before using.

Bean cakes are very versatile and easy to make and not too heavy in the belly. These come in at just over 100 calories a pop, more or less. Eat them with some salad and even a dollop of that leftover cranberry sauce.
For bean cakes mince the vegetables very small.

Today I used parsley, garlic, onions and celery. Cilantro, bell pepper, jalapeno, chives would work really well too. Grated carrot and zucchini should also be considered.
Mash the peas/beans up and add the chopped vegetables and seasonings.

Form into a patty, roll in breadcrumbs and pan fry in a scant amount of canola oil.

These bean cakes are REALLY good on their own or with a little of the leftover apricot-ginger chutney from Thanksgiving.

Black eyed pea cakes
1 cup of cooked black eyed peas, rinsed, drained and roughly mashed with a potato masher
3 Tbs. onion finely chopped
3 Tbs. celery finely chopped
2 Tbs. cilantro finely chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1 teas. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 Tbs. canola oil

Combine beans with the chopped vegetables and herbs. Taste to make sure there is enough s &p. You want them to have a bold flavor. Form into two patties and roll in bread crumbs. (If you use a 15oz can of beans you will have enough to form 3 patties)
Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet and pan fry the bean cakes till golden, about 6 minutes per side.

serves 2

Those cakes are right up my alley! I make black bean burgers that I read about on an online website that I absolutely love, but I'm ready for something new! When I make the black bean burgers, I double the recipe which comes out to about 12 small patties. I wrap them individually in plastic wrap, and freeze them. Then, I can just take one or two out in the morning before work and thaw them out for dinner. Deb - do you think these would freeze well? Could I freeze them without the panko, and add it once they are thawed? Would love to hear your thoughts on this since freezing portioned-out dishes is my usual M.O.

As for wine - I am definitely feeling inspired! I would love to add jalapeno to this dish because I love a little "kick" to patties like these. I'm thinking a California Zinfandel would work well. I believe there is a context for which all wines are consumed. Different wines are appropriate for different occasions. I would not serve a $100 bottle of Burgundy at a backyard barbeque, no matter how delicious the wine, or savvy the guests. In that context, I would much rather drink a straight-forward, "fun", easy-drinking wine. These patties, to me, are fun and would be wonderful for an impromtu get-together with some friends. Easy to make in a pinch, this recipe is great for last minute plans. A simple, fruity crowd-pleasing Zinfandel would be great. The inexpensive Temptation Zinfandel from Alexander Valley Vineyards is a delicious, food-friendly wine. It has lots of berry flavors, as well as pepper and a bit of earth. A touch of Sangiovese is added to this wine which contributes to the lively fruit quality. The lush fruit will work well with the "zip" from the jalapeno that I would add. The "earthiness" of the wine will also pair well with the "woody/grassy" quality of the Black-Eyed peas that Deb describes. The apricot chutney condiment should also work well in conjunction with this wine choice! Alexander Valley Vineyards wines are readily available. The Temptation, in particular, retails for about $11.99. Can't wait to try this pairing!


  1. I have to admit that I am not the best person to comment on freezing. My own inclination would be to complete the recipe, including pan frying and THEN freeze. I would then bake the frozen or semi-defrosted bean patty in the oven to reheat it. Kinda like the frozen fish sticks I occasionally buy for my kids.
    The idea of completely defrosting the uncooked patty makes me think it would be wet and mushy. Amanda, you have experience with your black bean patties so you probably know better than I do how it would work out.

  2. Funny you should say that. The first few times I froze the black bean patties, it went well. The last time I did it, when I defrosted them, they were extremely wet and mushy! I had a very difficult time with them. I wound up adding more bread crumbs before cooking, once they were thawed. It never occurred to me to cook them first, then freeze them. I will have to try this in the future!


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