Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vegan Virgins

Ok. So we forgot. Today was the day were starting our commitment to our Once A Week Vegan blog contribution. We had turkey sausage with our eggs this morning. We will do better next week!
We are two Art Teachers and housemates, Nan and Miki living in the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia. This is a city with a great heart, beautiful architecture, lots of Art and a burgeoning farm to table community. Farm markets, organic food co-ops and great health food stores and restaurants using organic local produce are sprouting up!

Tonight we made a great dinner that we choose from The Vegan Chef/Beverly Lynn Bennett. Baja Black Bean Cakes with Spicy Sweet Potato Sauce. Delicious! On the side we added diced avocado and swiss chard which grows among the pansies and ornamental cabbages in the front garden. The Black bean cakes were excellent, the sweet potato sauce more like pureed sweet potato brimming with bright flavors. Green Chile and Almond cream was a good topper...next time we will make that with the safflower oil it calls for and we did not have on hand. Surprise ingredient..Culantro a new alternative to Cilantro? It worked for us.

Spicy Sweet Potato Sauce:

2 cups sweet potato, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup Red Chile Sauce
2 T. lime juice
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. freshly chopped cilantro
salt, to taste

Black Bean Cakes:

1 - 15 oz. can black beans, drained, and rinsed
1 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and finely diced
1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
2 T. jalapeno pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and finely diced
3 T. freshly chopped cilantro
2 T. lime juice
1/2 cup unbleached flour, divided
2 T. cornmeal
dash of chili powder
safflower oil
1 recipe of Green Chiles and Almond Cream

Begin by preparing the Spicy Sweet Potato Sauce: place the cubed sweet potatoes in a steamer basket and steam them for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer them to a food processor or blender, add the tomato juice, Red Chile Sauce, lime juice, cumin, and cinnamon, and process until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan, add the cilantro, season to taste with salt, and stir well to combine. Warm the sauce over low heat while preparing the Baja Black Bean Cakes.

In a medium bowl, place the black beans, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Using a potato masher or fork, roughly mash the mixture to combine. Add the red pepper, green onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, and lime juice, and stir well to combine. On a plate, place 1/4 cups flour, cornmeal, and dash of chili powder, stir well to combine, and set aside. Add the remaining flour to the black bean mixture and stir well to combine. Using a 1/4 cups measuring cup, portion the mixture into 8 patties, and place them on a large plate. Chill the bean cakes for 30 minutes or more in the refrigerator.

Lightly oil a non-stick cookie sheet with a little safflower oil and set aside. Coat the chilled cakes in the reserved flour/cornmeal mixture and place them on the cookie sheet. Brush a little safflower oil on the tops of each bean cake. Bake them at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp on the outside. Top individual servings of the bean cakes with some of the Spicy Sweet Potato Sauce and a dollop of the Green Chiles and Almond Cream.

*Note: the Baja Black Bean Cakes can also be served with a little Red Chile Sauce drizzled over the bean cake and then topped with a spoonfuls of Avocado, Black Bean, and Tomato Salsa.

Yield: 8 bean cakes or 3-4 servings

A fun time and good outcome for our first try...we look forward to next week!

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