A lot of people have been posting their happy spring pictures, but things get started a little bit later up here in Minnesota. I noticed buds on the trees and new grass about a week ago, and above you see the start of some herbs for a container garden I’m planning to tend this year. I love fresh herbs, but hate having to buy those little plastic containers when you need far more or far less than they contain. This will be perfect for adding to salads or seasoning soups or garnishing dishes. Yum!
Another thing I’ve been getting back into after the hubbub of zine activity and health recovery is testing for Terry’s upcoming Vegan Latina cookbook. This weekend I made Black Bean and Plantain Pupusas with Simple Latin Tomato Sauce:
These were so fun to shape! It was very therapeutic. They’re lovely with a side of Pickled Red Onions or Salvadorian Slaw and some avocados. I also took a stab at tamales for the first time today. They’re definitely not quick to make, but they didn’t take as long as I was expecting… plus you make so many, you get to freeze the delicious leftovers for later! This is the Sweet Potato and Black Bean version, spiced up with some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce; I had mine with a big green salad.
As a result of some mis-preparation for a weekend of testing recipes, we ended up with a potful of adzuki beans (in fact, you can see a couple above in the tamale that I had to use to make up for a bit of black bean lackage). I’ve been trying to come up with different ways to use these little fellas, since a lot of cookbooks don’t include recipes that make use of them. Or enough use, anyway. Red bean paste is a big hit when googling, but I didn’t feel like deep-frying sesame balls (although I have fond memories of them). I though, instead of making red bean paste and stuffing something, why not just add some beans to a cake batter? Crazy? Perhaps. I made a small batch in case it was horrible, but it was quite delicious to my surprise. The texture is definitely different, and I’m not sure how much the idea of beaned spice cake appeals to anyone, but I’m gonna tweak this a bit and post a recipe soon if it works a second time. I made an orange glaze and sprinkled the mini cakes with toasted sesame seeds, and we ate all of them except this one before I thought to snap a photo:
Another thing I ended up making is a burger of sorts. This isn’t the kind of firm burger you can hold in your hand and shake at people (not without pieces of it flying at them, anyway), but it’s super flavorful and a nice change from “meaty” or Mexican-style bean burgers. There’s kale and bell peppers for color, ginger, garlic, and tahini for flavor, and more sesame seeds for a little crunch – I went with a mix of white and black, just for fun. If you wanted something firmer you could probably add breadcrumbs or gluten, but I was trying to stay gluten-free and soy-free, and I thought it was just fine as a light lunch with some leaf lettuce. As an added bonus, it doesn’t have any added salt, either (the celery and kelp flakes take care of the sodium). A simple Asian style sauce would go well with it, but it’s pretty moist on its own. This isn’t the best picture, but it gives you a sense of what you’re in for should you take the plunge!
Spicy Sesame Adzuki Bean Burger (makes 6-7 patties)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 lb. yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 an onion)
3 stalks celery, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3 c stemmed, chopped kale
2 2/3 c cooked and drained adzuki beans, divided
3 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp water, or as needed
1/2 tsp kelp granules
1/4 c or more sesame seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 and lightly oil a baking sheet.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion, celery, jalapeno, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and beginning to brown (about 5 minutes). Stir in the bell pepper and kale and cook, covered, until kale has wilted (another 5 minutes or so). Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, puree 2 cups of the adzuki beans, tahini, and water in a food processor. It doesn’t have to be completely smooth, but make sure the ingredients are well incorporated. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the veggie mixture, kelp granules and remaining 2/3 c whole adzuki beans. Sprinkle sesame seeds on a large plate, if using. Using wet hands, scoop out about 1/2-3/4 c of the mixture and form into a ball. Flatten slightly and press into sesame seeds if using, then transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through, or until a slight crust has formed.