For someone that lists cooking and baking as her two favorite hobbies, I’m probably not as much of a food snob as I should be. I love going out to a fancy dinner, but when I’m cooking, I’m mostly interested in something that’s healthy and relatively quick.
Thus, my favorite cookbook is Everyday Food: Great Food Fast, From the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living. Several of the recipes found in this book are staple dinners in my home.
Last night we enjoyed Spicy Black-Bean Cakes (hey, they’re DINNERCAKES!). These crispy bean cakes are broiled rather than pan-fried, and the recipe doesn’t use much oil (click here for more information about using the broiler on your oven). My only complaint is that the prep time lies, lies, lies! If you can grate a large sweet potato, finely chop and thinly slice your ingredients, drain, rinse and mash two cans of black beans, and flatten 8 patties in 20 minutes, then my only explanation is that your kitchen is magical like Fantasia.
Ghost Baker’s verdict and serving suggestions:
I’m a garlic lover, so I upped the recipe to 8 garlic cloves in my garlic press instead of 6 (just make sure you have a toothbrush handy for after dinner). If you like your food hot, don’t be afraid to add a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne, though these cakes are already quite spicy as is.
The recipe calls for a lime sour cream sauce to pour over the cakes, but in the interest of cutting down on fat content (and because I don’t love sour cream to begin with), I just cut this part out. I served these cakes over a leafy salad with a side of corn.
Spicy Black-Bean Cakes
Makes 8 cakes, Prep time around 45 minutes, Cook time about 15 minutes total
adapted from Every Food: Great Food Fast
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, pressed
2 jalapeno chiles, finely chopped (you can remove the ribs and seeds if you like less heat)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne (optional)
2 cans (15 oz cans) black beans, drained and rinsed
Coarse salt and
fresh ground pepper
1 large sweet potato, peeled and coarsely grated (about 2 cups, be prepared for tired arms!)
1 large egg, lightly beaten 1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
In a small skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cook scallions until softened (about 1 minute).
Add the garlic, jalapeno, cumin and optional cayenne – cook about 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring continuously. You may want to make sure you have some ventilation – all the spices combined on the stove got to me a little. Transfer contents of the skillet to a large bowl.
Add the rinsed and drained beans to the bowl. Mash beans with a potato masher or fork, leaving about 1/4 of the beans whole. Season with salt and pepper.
Move an oven rack to the top of the oven and heat the broiler, leaving the oven door slightly open.
Fold in the grated sweet potato, egg and breadcrumbs. Divide into 8 balls of equal size, then flatten into patties.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, and brush the paper with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Place the patties on the sheet about 1/2 inch apart.
Broil on the top rack until golden brown, about 10 minutes. With a thin metal spatula, carefully turn the cakes after 10 minutes. Broil for another 3 minutes, then serve!