Friday, May 28, 2010

Black Bean Cakes

This dish earns major points in my book as it requires little time, dirties few dishes, reheats well for lunches, boasts great nutritional benefits, and is versatile. I served the black bean cakes atop a green salad adorned with avocado, cherry tomatoes, cheddar cheese, jicama, sour cream, salsa, and lime wedges. Before building the salad I tossed the greens in olive oil and lime juice. You could also use the black bean cakes as a taco or burrito filling, a soup accompaniment, or a veggie burger if you made the patties bigger. 

Black Bean Cakes

2 15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
6 scallions, white parts removed, green parts thinly sliced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup grated sweet potato
1 small onion, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
vegetable oil

- In a large bowl, coarsely mash the black beans with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Add scallions, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, sweet potato, onion, salt, cumin, and mix to combine. Add the egg and just enough whole wheat flour to help the mixture stick together. Roll the mixture into balls and press into patties. The patties will still be very delicate but will start mostly hold their form when cooked. Place the patties on an oiled cookie sheet and broil* 5-7 minutes per side depending on patty size.
* The patties can also be pan-fried if a broiler is not available.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chili Lime Edamame

This recipe was inspired by a recent trip to my favorite sushi restaurant where I ordered their edamame trio. The standout of the bunch was their 'togarashi lime' flavor which I've recreated below using kosher salt, crushed red chili flakes, and lime juice. A quick and easy spin on a classic healthy snack, I would use the recipe below as a guide and season to your own personal taste.

Chili Lime Edamame

1 package frozen edamame, in shell
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (preferably crushed into small pieces)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds (optional)

-Heat edamame according to package instructions. In a large bowl, toss edamame in lime juice, pepper flakes, salt, and sesame seeds. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thai Red Coconut Curry

It's hard for me to choose my favorite aspect of this recipe as it is quick to make and accommodates many seasonal vegetables that you enjoy or have on hand. The amounts of seasonings I've listed make a medium spicy curry but can be adapted to suit your own personal taste preferences. If you use different vegetables add them based on length of time needed to cook and use the separation of sweet potatoes and bell pepper as your guide. Here are a few other curry addition suggestions- shrimp, bok choy, carrots, mushrooms, thai eggplant, etc.

Thai Red Coconut Curry

1 lemongrass stalk-  remove ends and roughly cut into 1 inch pieces (do not eat!)
1-2 tablespoons red curry paste (I use Mae Ploy Curry Paste)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 can coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves- pressed or minced
2 inches of ginger- peeled and finely grated (~2 tablespoons)
2 sweet potatoes- peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 package extra firm tofu- cut into ~1/2 inch cubes
2-3 bell peppers- diced into 1 inch cubes
1 bunch of asparagus- ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch stalks
1 bunch of thai basil- 1+ cup of leaves

Place coconut milk, stock, lemongrass, curry paste, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, and ginger in a large saucepan and whisk until it is well combined. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and add the sweet potatoes. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Once the sweet potatoes are fork tender, add the tofu, bell peppers, and asparagus and simmer. Gently stir occassionally until the vegetables are tender but still slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Taste curry sauce and adjust flavors as necessary. Remove from heat and add the thai basil leaves. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kale and Black Bean Tacos

 Lighter than classic taco fillings, black beans and kale are a great alternative taco filling that is packed with nutritional benefits. This dish requires little time and stove prep which makes it optimal for the summer evenings when the last thing you want to do is stand over the stove. I'd like to thank Kevin J. as I was inspired to write this post after hearing about his kale burritos.


Kale and Black Bean Tacos

makes 10-12 tacos

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1-2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp cumin
kosher salt
2 small bunches of kale, destemmed and torn into 1 inch pieces
1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed

small tortillas
grated cheese
diced tomatoes
sour cream
hot sauce or salsa
limes, quartered

-Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, chili flakes, and cumin. Sautée until the onions soften, about 2 minutes.
-Add the kale, toss with the onion mixture, and season with kosher salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, about 6 minutes. When kale is almost ready, stir in the black beans and cook until the beans are heated through.
-Pour the kale mixture into a large bowl and serve with your favorite taco additions.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Panna Cotta with Mango Purée

After a visit to my favorite Thai restaurant where I enjoyed their panna cotta with mango purée, I decided to recreate the dessert at home. Light, creamy, and slightly sweet you could serve this panna cotta with many toppings besides a fruit purée- fresh fruit, chocolate, caramel, mint, syrups, etc. If you don't have ceramic ramekins don't despair. I made this batch, pictured below, with small juice glasses. Granted, I'm sure the ramekins are easier to use and probably release the panna cotta more easily before serving, but a bowl of hot water and some shaking encouragement also does the trick.

Panna Cotta with Mango Purée

-Panna Cotta
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/4 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar

-In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the few tablespoons of water and let it sit for ~10 minutes.
-In a medium bowl combine 1 cup of the whipping cream with the yogurt and vanilla
-Heat remaining cream and sugar in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar until the cream just begins to simmer. Remove the saucepan from heat and add the gelatin mixture and stir until it dissolves. Mix hot cream-gelatin mixture into yogurt mixture in bowl. Divide mixture among six 3/4-cup ramekins, using about 1/2 cup for each. Refrigerate desserts uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
-To serve invert ramekin onto a plate to release the panna cotta. If the panna cotta does not release easily, briefly soak the ramekin in hot water and try again.
-Mango Purée
2 small mangoes (I used Manila mangoes)
granulated sugar (to taste)
~1 tablespoon lemon juice

-Peel and cube the mango. Blend only adding enough water to allow a smooth purée to form.
-Add lemon juice and sugar to taste, depending on the sweetness of the mangoes.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

I'm not a fan of dry baked goods and I think this draws me to recipes that promise chewy cookies, moist cake, and fudgy brownies.  This cookie recipe stands up to its promise, but be sure to pull them from the oven when only the edges of the cookie are golden brown. You can omit the nuts and cranberries or substitute them for raisins if you'd like.

Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

-Makes about 30 cookies

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup all purpose and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups rolled oats
1-1 1/2 cups cranberries
3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

-Set oven to 350° F and line two cookies sheets with parchment paper.
-Combine flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
-Cream butter until creamy, add sugars and beat until creamy, and add eggs one at a time.
-Stir dry ingredients into the butter mixture using a wooden spoon or spatula. Stir in oats, cranberries, and nuts.
-Spoon generous 1 tablespoon balls of dough on to each cookie sheet. Lightly flatten each ball if you'd like a flatter cookie, as these cookies maintain their shape during baking.
-Bake until the cookie edges are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Rotate cookies sheets halfway through cooking time to ensure even baking.

Adapted from The Best Recipe, Cook's Illustrated