It was another fabulous week in food. Although I enjoyed some of my routine fare, like plenty of Texas grapefruit, homemade all-local soups (canned over the summer), steamed vegetable medley (broccoli, potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower) and an all-local stir-fry or two; I also tried a few new things this week that I'd like to show off...
Black bean patties with fried sweet potato - While on the road to and from California in December, I fell in love with the black bean patties at Chili's. Being a big chain restaurant, they were pretty easy to find since most of our travel was along the interstate. I was pretty sure there wouldn't be anything complicated about making a black bean patty from scratch so last weekend, I set out to make my own. I read maybe a dozen recipes on-line. Each recipe was different. Some were complicated, others had a ton of ingredients. My goal was to make something simple with mostly local ingredients and without having to buy anything new. The result, though it was a complete experiment, was delicious and made enough patties to keep me supplied for lunch for almost a week. Never one to keep a good recipe a secret, here's my version of black bean patties:
SGF's Black Bean Patties
- 1-1/2 c. cooked black beans (I soaked mine overnight and cooked them for 75 minutes in a saucepan over low heat - be sure to measure the beans after they've been cooked)
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 4 small mushrooms, chopped
- 1 c. oatmeal
- 1/2 tbs. whole wheat flour
- 2 tbs canned tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
While the beans are cooking, shred the carrot and chop the green onion and mushrooms. Saute them in a little olive oil until soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When beans are thoroughly cooked, drain well (I saved the water to freeze and use later in soup). Then place beans into a medium size bowl and smash them gently with a fork. Add sauteed veggies, oatmeal, flour, tomatoes, and seasonings. Mix well. Form into patties and heat thoroughly in a frying pan (with just a little oil) until browned on both sides (a few minutes on each side).
Once the patties were cooked, I placed one on a slice of my homemade whole wheat bread, added a little organic ketchup (not local unless you're from PA) and some pickles (from our farmers market); and topped it with a second piece of homemade bread.
With a side of fried sweet potatoes (sweet potato, onion, and mushroom cooked in a little olive oil), this was an absolutely fabulous and hearty meal. Even better, it was almost all local: black beans (DiIorio Farm and Market), carrot (farmers market), green onion (backyard), mushrooms (grocery, but grown in Madisonville about 40 miles from home), canned tomatoes (farmers market tomatoes canned over the summer), sweet potatoes (farmers market), bulb onion (farmers market) and olive oil (Sandy Oaks). The only things that weren't local (salt, flour, and oatmeal) were purchased in bulk from our local, natural food store. Mouthwatering would be putting it lightly. I'll definitely be trying these again!
Fruit salad - Having nibbled on mostly grapefruit for the better part of the last few months, I was ready to enjoy the last of summer's goodness. With one quart of blackberries left in the freezer and one quart of peaches canned and in the pantry (both local), I decided to break the winter fruit monopoly up with a fruit salad. A cup of summer fruit salad each morning has made for a wonderful break. I don't foresee any problems making it through the rest of the winter on fresh local fruit (which is great since this marked the last of the fruit I put up over the summer), but you can bet I'll be looking forward to berry season this spring. Strawberries are only a month or two away!
Pizza - I know, I know. Pizza isn't really new for me. I've both made and blogged about it a few times. It just makes great food porn! So here it is. Another of my homemade pizzas. I made my homemade, all-local sauce as I usually do with local onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms (cooking instructions here). The crust, however, was different. This time I tried a commenter's recipe (Kerrie from the comments section of one of last week's posts). Some local mozzarella cheese from Sand Creek Farm topped 1/2 the pie (Dave's half). Mine just had that fabulous homemade sauce. Mmm, mmm, mmm! Another home run on the pizza. We're still working on our ideal pizza crust recipe, and with enough pizza sauce in the fridge for another pie, be looking for more pizza next week.
Even now in mid-January, moving from market to table is pretty easy, too easy. Sure, when you eat locally, the market and season decide what you eat rather than any predetermined menu plan. But good food is made so much better by eating in season, eating fresh, eating local. And trust me on this, it just doesn't get any better.
Even if you don't have a farmers market open this time of year, chances are you can find some local food in a natural food store, a nearby farm, or even your local grocery. Be sure to check it out, and as always... Happy (and mindful) eating!