Sunday, June 27, 2010

Manic Monday takes a Serious Turn

First of all, I want to send out a big thank you to everyone who took the time to pass along your lunch ideas on Friday’s post. I can’t wait to put these to use this week. And for any of you who didn’t have a chance to join the discussion, go ahead and pop on over to Friday’s post for some great recipe ideas to take the monotony out of your lunch bag.

Alright, on to today’s post. But first, a warning. This post may be a bit of a “Debbie Downer”, but I figure Monday’s are always a little depressing so I’m not in danger of really spoiling anything, and I promise you that the recipe at the end of all this will redeem today’s subject matter.

Browsing through Borders last week, I happened upon a book titled Skinny Bitch. Okay, I know that on principle I should have never picked up a weight loss book written by models, who actually earn a paycheck by being thin (I’d love that kind of motivation), but we had an hour to kill before our movie started so I took the bait and started carelessly leafing through the pages.

The authors of the book are vegans and one way they attempt to recruit readers into their ranks is by discussing the subject of animal cruelty in slaughterhouses. If this topic is at all of interest to you, I suggest picking up their book and taking a look, but I caution you that I wouldn’t do it if you prefer to eat meat with a guilt-free conscience. What I briefly read in their book both shocked and disgusted me to the point that I’ve barely touched meat over the past week, and I’m contemplating how to cut more meat out of my family’s diet.

On that premise (and with all that nasty seriousness safely behind us), I present to you today’s Manic Monday recipe. And although it’s vegetarian, it's hearty and filling enough to satisfy the appetite of my dad, and believe me, that’s saying something; this is a man who has been known to polish off a 9x13 pan of enchiladas in one sitting.

In the above picture, the black bean cake is pictured with salsa and sour cream, but right now I’m envisioning them atop a Kaiser roll with all the traditional burger fixins. The variations are innumerable. Let your imagination run wild.

Black Bean Cakes

2, 15 oz. cans black beans, drained (or you could take the Laura Ingall’s route and soak a pound of dry black beans overnight and then cook them till their tender. But really, that’s uncalled for on a Monday.)
3 green onions, finely chopped
½ c. red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
¼ c. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno chili, minced (This is totally optional. If heat isn’t your thing, just leave it out.)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons plus ½ c. yellow cornmeal
Olive oil for frying

Put beans in a large mixing bowl and mash them up. Add green onions, pepper, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and salt. Mix in egg and 2 tbsp. corn meal.

Put ½ c. extra cornmeal in a small bowl. Divide black bean mixture evenly into 8 balls. Drop balls in extra cornmeal and coat. Flatten balls into disks. Heat ¼ inch of olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Fry cakes till firm and crisp, about 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and serve however you desire.

Let me now put all your carnivorous fears to rest. I will still be passing along plenty of meaty recipes for those of you who go all sweaty and nervous at the mere mention of the word “vegetarian”. But I figure the occasional meatless meal can’t do any of us harm, and it buys Bessie an extra day on the farm so it’s a win/win for everyone!


  1. If you come up with some yummy vegetarian meals PLEASE share! I've been looking everywhere for some good ones.

  2. this sounds absolutely amazing!!thank you for the idea... and yes dad has been known to eat quite a large quantity in each sitting. Example: his absolutely enormous salads that are too large for any bowl, and must be eaten out of the largest tupperware container on the east coast! haha

  3. Yea...I've been looking for a black-bean burger recipe...can't wait to try it!!