Thursday, March 31, 2011

Island Inspired Eating

I don't know why, but I've really been into fruit laden, spicy foods recently. From this craving, came the following two recipes. I made them for my parents while I was visiting them, and they got good reviews (*hopefully* not just because they are my parents). I think I might sub pineapple juice out for the water in the burger next time, and definately add hot sauce (I didn't when I made it). The burgers are super easy to throw together. The fries are more work, but if you have a good quality veggie peeler, like the OXO brand, and a very sharp knife (yes you, go sharpen your knife), you won't be slaving away for very long.

Caribbean Black Bean Burgers (makes 6 patties)

Burger n Fries

Oven at 375F
Beano* at the ready

1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion flakes
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup finely diced mango
1 TBS Cornstarch mixed in a small bowl, separately, with 1 TBS water
4 scallions, rinsed, sliced thinly (white part and first 2 inches of the green part)
1/2 tsp hot sauce (if you like things spicy)

Since mango is a chore to peel and chop, you may want to save time by purchasing frozen mango and thawing it. I buy the larger green and red mangos because you get more mango for your peeling and chopping effort than the smaller, yellow variety.

Chop your red pepper, mango and scallions, and drain your crushed pineapple. Mix the water in a small bowl with 1 TBS of cornstarch and set aside. Put your black beans, bread crumbs, salt, onion and garlic seasonings in a medium bowl. Use a pastry cutter or a potato masher to mash the beans until there are no whole beans left, but its not a complete mushy paste, there will still be half beans in there. Add the cornstarch/water mixture, and hot sauce if using, and mix well. Then add your mango, pineapple, and scallions, and red pepper and mix again.

Use your hands to form patties, on the small side for a normal 'burger' size. They won't stick together terribly well until they are cooked, so be gentle with them. Spray a bit of oil on a cookie sheet, and arrange on the sheet.

Cook for 15 minutes in your oven which was preheated to 375, then carefully and gently flip them (they should looked dry and somewhat hardened on what was previously the bottom side, you need them to form a crust). Then give them 10 more, and check them. You can always flip them again for a few more minutes if they weren't quite done on the first side.

Usually english muffins aren't vegan, but these were a store-brand that happend to be vegan - yay! I sure do miss a crispy, crunchy, margarine soaked english muffin every now and again. The mister just doesn't dig 'em, so its not usually worth the trouble of hunting down a vegan english muffin.

*word to the wise: healthy eating means eating more veggies and beans, and that can result in some uncomfortable bloating. Beano is an enzyme that assists in your digestion and prevents gas. I contacted the company and their new product, beano meltaways, is VEGAN! Halelujah!

Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato "Fries"
Well spaced fries
(fries prior to baking)

Oven at 400F

Chipotle Spice Mix (a bit of kick to it):
2 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Alternative Spicing (not 'hot' spicy):
1 TBS Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1 TBS Chili Powder

Few Sprays of Oil
3 Sweet Potatoes

Make sure you have a really good vegetable peeler, and peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into uniform matchsticks 3/4 inch wide and a little less than 1/2 inch thick. If there are any very thin parts where it tapers off and gets too thin, cut that off because its going to burn (you can put the misfits into a bowl and microwave with a bit of water till cooked through, and eat as a snack the next day). Put the good matchsticks into a bowl, spray a few sprays of oil, toss, then a little more oil, and then add your spice mix and toss until they are evenly coated. Place on a few cookie sheets - don't crowd them otherwise they will steam each other and wont' get at all crispy. Put into the 400 degree oven and check them at 20 minutes - if some of the edges look a little burned they're done, but otherwise you can poke them with a fork and it should slide in with no resistance - if not, give them 5 more minutes. Mine took 30 minutes till they were done. Some might get a little black on the bottom (that's because we didn't flip them at the 15 minute mark), but I just didn't want to fuss with flipping, they are already enough work! They were still super tasty.

Do you care about how many calories are in this meal? Yeah, me neither, but just in a service to you, here ya go:

Calories in one Patty: 130
Calories in English Muffin: 120
Calories in 2 TBS Salsa: 20
Calories in 1 med. sweet potato: 103

Total Calories: 373