You know the saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person?” Well in the past month, I have found that this saying is pretty much spot on. Somehow when I was working 10-12 hour days, studying for shelf exams, running, being a wife, and taking care of a puppy, I had time to post all these new things I made. Then second semester fourth year happened, and for the first time since I can remember, I have a lot of free time, yet I have posted almost nothing on this blog! It’s really true, when you are busy, you just get more done! That being said, it’s not like I haven’t been in the kitchen. I have been trying out lots of fun recipes – everything from making my own greek yogurt, tiramisu cupcakes, shrimp enchiladas and the very delicious but dangerous blackberry pie bars– I just didn’t get any pictures! So finally, here’s a new recipe just in time for the summer-like weather.
I loved this dinner because it’s healthy enough that you feel good about eating it, but the avocado cream sauce gives it just a touch of sass that still makes you feel like your cheating. And if you really feel like being rebellious, I think it would go great with these cookies.
Black Bean Patties with Corn Relish and Avocado Cream Sauce
– Makes about 18 patties
For the patties:
- 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided in half
- 2 roasted red bell peppers*, divided in half
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2/3 cup cornmeal or panko (plus more, as needed)
- Salt and pepper
- Canola or vegetable oil
For the corn relish:
- 2 tsp. canola oil
- 2 cups corn kernels
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the avocado cream sauce:
- 1 avocado, pitted and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup greek yogurt or light sour cream
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt and pepper, to taste
*To Roast the Red Peppers: Preheat oven to 475°. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil Coat the outside of each pepper with olive oil. Cook the peppers for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until the skin is lightly browned. Remove from oven and pull aluminum foil around the peppers. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes, then peel of skin and remove seeds. Can be done several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
1. To make the bean patties, place half of the beans in the bowl of a food processor with 1 coarsely chopped bell pepper, the eggs, oregano, cumin, and chipotle. Process until smooth. Finely chop the remaining bell pepper. In a large bowl, lightly mash the remaining beans. Stir in the bell pepper, onion, and smooth bean mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper
2. Stir in the cornmeal or panko, a bit at time, mixing lightly just until the mixture firms up. (Pick up a bit and see if it can be easily molded into a ball. If it is too sticky, add a little more. I ended up needing at least 1 cup). Chill the mixture for 30 minutes.
3. While the bean mixture is chilling, make the corn relish. Heat the canola oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn to the pan and sauté briefly until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and jalapeño and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Stir in the tomato, lime juice, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. To make the avocado cream sauce, combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until completely smooth.
5. Form the bean mixture into patties approximately 3½ inches in diameter. Heat about 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the patties in batches, cooking until lightly browned and firm, about 3-4 minutes per side. Serve the patties warm topped with the corn relish and drizzled with the avocado cream sauce.
Source: Annie’s Eats
Being on away rotations, I haven’t been up to my usual menu planning and weeknight meal routine. Between applications, scheduling interviews, and overall crazy hours, I haven’t missed it too much, but I’m not sure I can say the same for John (who has been eating chez chef Boyardee). But to make up for it, I was able to rationalize this fancy weekend meal. (It also didn’t hurt that Mom was buying :-)). After apple picking, running and hiking in the park, this chowder was the perfect end to a fall themed day. It is really one for the record books. It will make you feel like you on dining on the set of barefoot contessa and it would be the perfect fall meal for company, or if you just feel like indulging yourself.
This was my first time ever cooking with lobster, and I don’t pretend to know much about it. I did learn that it is very easy to overcook it, and for such an expensive meat, that is really something you don’t want to do. So err on the side of undercooked, because it will inevitably cook a bit more once you add it to the stew. Also, while this soup still tasted wonderful the next day, I did notice that there was a bit of color separation, which didn’t make for the most gorgeous photograph. If you want to see what it looked like the first night, check out this blog. Despite the work, and the amount of cream (once in a while..) this is definitely something I will be making again. In fact, it almost makes me wish I actually lived in New England, which is saying a lot for a girl who hates the cold :-).
Lobster Corn Chowder
- 3 (1 1/2lb) cooked lobsters
- 3 ears of corn
For the stock:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 cup sherry
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 4 cups milk (skim works fine)
- 2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
- 1 cup dry white wine
For the soup:
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 1/4 pound bacon, large-diced
- 2 cups large-diced unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes (2 medium)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
- 2 cups diced celery (3 to 4 stalks)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
- 1/4 cup sherry
- Remove the meat from the shells of the lobsters. Cut the meat into large cubes and place them in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reserve the shells and all the juices that collect. Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and set aside, reserving the cobs separately.
- For the stock, melt the butter in a stockpot or Dutch oven large enough to hold all the lobster shells and corncobs. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat for 7 minutes, until translucent but not browned, stirring occasionally. Add the sherry and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk, cream, wine, lobster shells and their juices, and corn cobs and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and simmer the stock over the lowest heat for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in another stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and cook the bacon for 4 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the potatoes, onions, celery, corn kernels, salt, and pepper to the same pot and saute for 5 minutes. When the stock is ready, remove the largest pieces of lobster shell and the corn cobs with tongs and discard. Place a strainer over the soup pot and carefully pour the stock into the pot with the potatoes and corn. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the cooked lobster, the chives and the sherry and season to taste. Heat gently and serve hot with a garnish of crisp bacon
Unfortunately, I can be a bit of a perfectionist. A lot of times I will plan on putting something on the blog and after making it decide that it is just not tasty enough to share. After all, I am putting my personal endorsement on all the items on here, and I don’t want to lose your trust. Other times I will make something that is delicious but so un-photogenic that I can’t seem to get a nice picture of it, and I don’t want get some kind of ugly photograph reputation. Well in an effort to worry less about the small stuff, I decided to post this recipe even though my camera was just not cooperating with me. It should tell you something that I thought it was special enough to share even without a perfect picture.
I would describe this as a comfort food dinner. It’s especially handy to have in the recipe repertoire because it uses ingredients that I can store in my pantry or usually have on hand. I thought it was just going to turn out like a bunch of flour tortillas layered with beans, but something magical happens in the baking process. The cheese melts and the tortillas soften, and the whole thing solidifies into a concoction that actually does seem like a pie. For some reason I didn’t think about the fact that there is a lot of food going into this “pie” and it is way more than John and I could even try to eat. This is a filling pie, so I’m definitely adding it to my list of good dinners to make for company.
Speaking of company (such a sly transition :-)), last weekend our family got together to celebrate my Grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary. They have certainly started a wonderful family to be a part of! Here’s a picture from our weekend:
Happy Anniversary Grandma and Grandpa!
Bean and Tortilla Pie
Makes: 6-8 servings
- 4 9-inch flour tortillas
- 2 T. Olive Oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 t. ground cumin
- 1/2 t. chili powder
- Pinch of Salt and Pepper
- 2 – 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup water (or you can use beer if you didn’t drink what was in your fridge)
- 1/4 cup salsa
- 1 – 15 oz can refried beans, warmed to spreading consistency
- 2 cups frozen corn (about 10 oz)
- 4 scallions, thinly slices plus more for garnish
- 2 1/2 cups mexican style shredded cheese
- Garnish: Scallions, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro, black olives
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. In a large saucepan heat oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions, jalapenos, garlic, cumin, chili powder and salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 6 minutes.
3. Add in the black beans, scallions, salsa and water, and stir until well mixed. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low to simmer. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until most of the water has evaporated.
5. Lay a flour tortilla in the bottom of a 9-inch springfoam pan. Spread the tortilla with about 3 T. of refried beans. Then continue layering by spreading about 1 cup of bean mixture on top of the refried beans. Top the layer with 1/2 a cup of shredded cheese.
6. Repeat this layering with the 3 remaining tortillas. On the top layer, cover the beans generously with cheese.
7. Bake the “pie” for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Remove the sides from the springfoam pan, and top with garnishes of choice. Slice into wedges and serve warm.
Slightly Adapted from The Curvy Carrot