Sweet Potato Patties with Black Beans and Greens

Every now and again I find myself in a food rut. After all the holiday hullaballoo (which officially ended with twin birthday number 7 last week), it seemed that I had forgotten how to cook all but a few of our standard and semi-standard recipes.  Once I cycled through those a couple of times, I confess even I was having trouble finding my enthusiasm for our usual healthier fare.

Thusly uninspired, I applied my tried and true tactic for waking some enthusiasm for healthier eating.  I went to the library and found my way into the aisle with healthier cookbooks, looked for a couple that I knew of and found a couple of new titles to peruse.

One of the books I picked up this time was The Cleaner Plate Club: Raising Healthy Eaters One Meal at a Time by Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin. I should say, before explaining how this led to dinner, that this is a lovely book for a home cook who’s trying to get out of the habit of relying on processed food and who needs some sage advice on how to make that shift, what kinds of foods to purchase, and what to do with those ingredients.  It also includes a section that describes the way that children, in particular, eat and how to more comfortably address dietary change with kids. A great book, that also includes lots of yummy recipes, as well as a slew of non-recipe suggestions, one of which led me to create this fabulous dinner.

IMG_0116 The authors suggested baking sweet potatoes and then topping them with black beans.  I had cooked sweet potatoes on hand (for baking purposes)… and so, I admittedly made it more complicated, but with surprisingly fabulous results.

Sweet Potato Patties with Black Beans and Greens (DF, GF)

The Black Beans

  • olive oil for the panIMG_0100
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped fine
  • 2 1/2 c cooked black beans or 2 cans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 t Bragg’s or soy sauce
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • dash garlic powder

In a small pot, warm olive oil on low-medium heat.  Add onions and cook for a few minutes, stirring periodically.  When onions are translucent, add the other ingredients and simmer over low heat while you prepare the rest of the meal.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.  Add water if necessary to get the consistency you prefer.

The Patties

  • 2.5 cups sweet potato (cooked until VERY soft)IMG_0097
  • 1 c cooked grain (I used quinoa)
  • 1.5 c chickpea flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1 t orange zest
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • olive oil for the pan

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Warm oil in the pan at slightly less than medium heat.  Preheat the oven to 225. Use a mixing or soup spoon to spoon large dollops (sorry for the technical term) into the pan.  Allow to cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until brown.  Flip and brown the other side.  Transfer to a baking dish and allow to rest in oven while cooking the rest of the patties.

The Greens

  • olive oil for the panIMG_0116
  • about 8 ounces of your preferred dark green leafy
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • toasted nuts (opt)

Warm the olive oil on low-medium.  Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).  Add greens and cook until wilted, stirring to ensure all greens make contact with the hot part of the pan. Remove from heat when they are just starting to look ready.  Add nuts (we used walnuts).

When it was all said and done, we served the beans over the patties, added a dollop of Annie’s cashew cream, a spoon of our favorite salsa, and added the greens to the plate.  The dish tasted best when all the elements were on the fork together, regardless of what Ms. Picky Pants (who would dearly love to have a plate with sections) says.  Delish.

IMG_0108 IMG_0112 IMG_0110

Summer Awesomeness Fritters

What to do, what to do….  I really like to cook.  More importantly, I really like to eat.  But even I, with my pretty broad palate and spirit of culinary adventure, run into a case of the “I Don’t Knows” every once in a while.  When this happens to me, I take a good long look in the fridge.  What is in there that is either 1) so fresh that I will hate myself if I don’t eat it while it’s awesome OR 2) a little long in tooth and must be used now before it becomes a science experiment?  Better still, what to do when you’ve got a little of both?  This was my conundrum. My reluctant zucchini plants produced a couple more squash and while picking them I realized I hadn’t yet used the last surprise squash (powdery mildew is a pain in the patootie).  While I dug out the less fresh zuke, I came across some cobs of grilled corm from two nights prior – now that’s not going to get tastier there in the crisper.  What to do with this varied bounty?  Why, fritters, of course.  I’m so glad you asked.

I came across this little beauty while searching for “kid friendly zucchini” recipes.   Frankly, the idea of kid friendly zucchini is hysterical to me as mine will not touch it in any form in which it is recognizable, thus the recent zucchini stealth move on the mac ‘n’ cheese, but I’m always willing to believe that someone has gotten their child to eat a vegetable that mine won’t.  So I was game for the fritters, but of course I had to mess with the recipe, because who wouldn’t?  Ok, maybe a lot of people wouldn’t, but if you’ve been here before you realize that I simply don’t follow the recipe, ever.  Sometimes it’s a matter of stupidity and disorganization (a recent cashew cheeze debacle comes to mind), but most of the time it’s just orneriness.  And so Ms. Music, I see your Kid Friendly: Zucchini Fritters, and I raise you a whole mess of corn and a few other bits to reveal (drumroll, or something…)

Summer Awesomeness Fritters with Tomato and Avocado – makes enough for several adults for one meal or two adults for one dinner and a few lunches

    • 5 c shredded zucchini, drained
    • 1 c grits (I used semolina, but would use grits or coarse corn meal next time)
    • 1.5 c whole wheat flour
    • .5 c all purpose flour
    • 1/4 c nutritional yeast or parm
    • 1/2 t Old Bay seasoning
    • 4 t salt (or less if you’re not like me)
    • 1 t baking powder
    • 4 eggs (I used flax)

  • 2 c buttermilk (I used soured almond milk)
  • 2 c corn (preferably leftover amazing grilled corn)
  • 1.5 c fresh chopped tomato
  • 1 T chopped fresh basil
  • 1 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 avocado cut into pieces
  • drizzle rice vinegar
  • drizzle balsamic

Prep Notes: Shred your zucchini, either in a food processor or using a grater.  Place in colander or sieve and salt lightly.  Allow to sit (in the sink) for at least fifteen minutes.  Your zucchini will drop a lot of water and your fritters will be lighter and better cooked through than if you skip this step, trust me. If you’re making flax eggs, this is a good time to go ahead and get on that as well.  Soured almond milk?  Sounds gross, yes, and frankly, it wasn’t pretty, but it did the job.  I used a 2c measure, put 2 T of white vinegar in the bottom and then filled to 2c with UNSWEETENED PLAIN almond milk.  Got all curdly and separated a bit, still worked just fine and tasted superb (I mean in the fritters, no I’m not that hardcore, I did NOT drink the soured almond milk).

In a large bowl, combine flours, yeast or cheese, Old Bay and salt.  For those of you who aren’t from around these parts: if you haven’t heard of Old Bay, I am VERY, VERY sorry.  It is a seasoning mix that is used in this area  mostly in seafood dishes, and in particular on steamed blue crabs.  If you don’t have any in your area (and again, this would be VERY sad), I imagine you could sub out some other spice blend intended for the steaming of seafood. You could also leave it out, but you’d be missing out on some awesome.  Stir to combine.  If you’ve not cut the corn off the cob, go ahead and do that to give the zucchini some more time to drain.  Press the top of the pile of zucchini to release more liquid.  I’ve even gone so far as to wrap it in a tea towel at this point and squeeze more liquid out… this was probably unnecessary, but kind of cool to see.

Add eggs and butter or soured milk to dry ingredients.  Stir to combine without over mixing.  Add zucchini and corn and gently stir to distribute.  Let rest for 10 or 15 minutes.  Cook as you would…  if you know what I’m about to say, you’ve been here before… pancakes.  For me this means a cast iron skillet on medium with vegetable oil heated in the bottom. Flip when firm on edges and some bubbles have formed.  Cook in batches and keep warm in oven.

While cooking fritters, assemble avocado tomato goodness by combing the remaining ingredients.  Serve fritter with tomato avocado goodness on top sort of helter-skelter – ilke so:

Delish. A big bite of summer in every forkful. As for kid-friendly… not so much for us, but that meant I got to have more for lunch.