Thursday, February 21, 2008

tex mex cakes

this morning i had the pleasure of fixing one of my favorite things to eat - black bean cakes. the first time i ever had black bean cakes was at a local restaurant here in greensboro called lucky 32's, which is another fave. they have an awesome wine list and are nationally recognized for it- having won quite a few wine and spectator awards. the food is equally top notch and consists of Southern- creole fare. the menu is based on local seasonal ingredients and it shows through in dishes like shrimp and grits, sweet potato hushpuppies, cormeal crusted catfish and ketucky ribeye to name a few. i bet you're hungry now- i know i am.
when i first ordered the black bean cakes, they came topped off with a dollop of sour cream and a sweet yellow corn,onion and pepper medley as well as a side of star pasta and steamed green beans. i may not have their exact recipe but i do think mine comse pretty close. i have fixed them once before but omitted the pasta and replaced the green beans with steamed broccoli. both my mouth and my wallet were equally satisfied.

this morning my girlfriend asked me to fix them so she would have something to take with her to work since she was going to be working from 2:30 till 11 tonight. who am i to deny her? first i'll start out with my ingredients:
  • 1 whole red pepper, minced
  • 1 whole green pepper, minced
  • 1 red onion,minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced with some of the seeds left in to retain heat
  • 1 cup of corn, frozen works fine if you don't have fresh as that's what i had to use
  • 3 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 can of black beans - i'm a goya fan - drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • a few cracks of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of crushed tortilla chips- i personally prefer the baked tostitos
  • 2 tbs of prepared salsa

start out by heating the 1 tsp of olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet till smoking. once it reaches that point, add your peppers, onion and jalapeno. season with the 1/4 tsp of cumin and coriander, and add salt and pepper to taste.cook the peppers and onion until they are lightly browned. take your pan off the heat, and reserve half of that mixture for your black bean cakes. return the pan back to the stove and add the cup of corn. cook until the corn is heated through - 3 to 5 minutes. remove from heat once more and set aside. you can save that same pan for sauteeing the cakes.

the next step is to go ahead and mash up about 1/2 the beans. this step can be accomplished with the following tools:a food processor,a pastry blender, potato masher, very heavy hand and spoon. your choice. once done, go ahead and add the reserved pepper medley as well as the 2 tablespoons of salsa and about 1/2 of the crushed tortilla chips. combine all your ingredients with a large spoon and then separate into quarters. form each quarter into a small patty-like form and then dredge each one in remaining corn chips.

using the same pan from earlier, heat your remaining 2 tsp of olive oil over medium heat. once the oil has some shine to it, add your black bean cakes into the pan, being sure to leave some room in between each one- this will make the flipping process easier. cook on each side for about 4 minutes- you just want the coating to be lightly browned. after the 8 minutes are up, it is now time to dig in. transfer the cakes to a plate and top off with sour cream and corn and pepper medley.
here are some more ideas for sides:
  • yellow mexican style rice
  • avocado salad- romaine, sliced tomatoes, white onion, diced avocado and a dressed with corn oil and white vinegar
  • roasted asparagus / broccoli
  • bowtie (farfalle)/ penne rigate/ rotini pasta tossed with a cilantro/basil/parsley pesto - pick your p's
  • for tonight, i decided to make some couscous and mix it with the corn and pepper medley. this is how it turned out...

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