Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Last Night's Dinner: Crispy Black Bean Cakes

Last night was Vegetarian Night at our house. A few days before, I'd found a recipe in the new Food & Wine for crispy black bean cakes, and I thought they'd make a nice addition to the piles of food I was making for my dad's birthday on Saturday. I bought all the ingredients, but once I started cooking, I realized we were going to have way too much food (and we did), so I put the black bean cakes on hold, and I made them last night instead.

In the F&W recipe index, there are all kinds of color-coded dots denoting different recipe attributes - staff favorite, fast, healthy, make-ahead, etc. (As an aside: I do love a good color code.) The black bean cakes were loaded up - vegetarian, healthy, fast and a staff fave. Since the staff rarely steers me wrong, I figured I was in the clear.

And they were really good. We ate them with sour cream, avocado, green onions and a light salad of romaine, red pepper and tortilla chips dressed with the salad dressing Erin got at Libby's wedding shower this weekend (a really nice, light lemon basil red pepper dressing).

However, they were not quite as easy as I'd hoped. Or maybe I just did something wrong. Here's the thing: putting everything together was no problem. But the cakes themselves were really gloppy. I don't know if I didn't drain the beans well enough (that could explain it), but even though I added a step to help them solidify (I stuck them in the fridge for an hour before cooking), when I dredged the cakes in the flour, egg and bread crumbs, they mostly came apart in my hands. In the end, they tasted good, but they were kind of, well, a hot tranny mess.

So I don't know. If I'm feeding a bunch of vegetarians, they'll be perfect. But they might just be too messy a preparation for a regular weeknight.

(Plus, our garbage disposal died last night. That's right, less than three months after its installation. My sink is a disaster. Sigh.)

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