First of all, I want to thank all of you for the words of encouragement you sent to us through your comments and emails. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful and caring readers, and I appreciate you letting me tell Clara’s story. To those of you that shared your personal stories with us, thank you. Your words have touched us in ways I can’t begin to describe.
Since Earth Day is this weekend, I want to share a few of our eco-friendly habits with all of you. Being green is important to us. We’ve reduced our garbage to only one bag a week because we recycle everything we can. Now that we own our own home, we’re hoping to reduce our waste even more by composting. We’ve got plans to set up a rain barrel soon, which will hopefully provide enough water for our garden. We’re also hoping to grow even more produce this year, possibly in a raised bed garden. Also, when the season is right, we try to buy local foods whenever possible. Virginia is rich with agriculture, which means we have easy access to local produce, dairy, meat, etc. There are so many small things that each of us can do to reduce our impact on the planet. Perhaps the biggest change we’ve made this year is to use cloth diapers and wipes on Clara. It’s been fantastic, and she looks darn cute with her fluffy bum. (You may have seen a few pictures of her in them if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram.) I won’t go into the details here; this is a food blog after all. But if you ever want to know about our experience, feel free to send me an email or a message on Facebook. We’re also into refurbishing old furniture and giving new life to things so that they don’t end up in a landfill. Check out this before and after of Clara’s dresser:
One easy way to make a difference is to eat less meat. Eric and I have significantly reduced our meat consumption over the past few years. We used to have meat with almost every meal, now the opposite is true. At first, our meatless meals were mostly pasta dishes, but this changed as our tastes and skills developed. We’ve got several vegetarian recipes in our repertoire now, but these burgers are my favorite. I posted a recipe for black bean burgers a couple years ago, and that was my go-to recipe until now. Those are delicious but probably work better for lunch. These burgers are thick and hearty, making them perfect for a meatless dinner. They’re moist and flavorful, just like any burger (even a meatless one!) should be. Not only are they delicious, but they’re healthy to boot! Bonus: they can be made ahead of time and cooked later. This recipe just wins all around. I made a batch of these to freeze before Clara was born, and they reheated wonderfully in the oven. I haven’t tried letting them thaw and cooking them in the skillet, but I’ll update this post if I do.
- COOK TIME:
- YIELD: 6 burgers
¾ cup panko
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 shallot, minced
Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Using a fork, toss together the panko and 2 teaspoons of oil in a small bowl. Add to the skillet and stir frequently until light golden brown and toasted. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Set aside ½ cup of the beans and place remaining beans in a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher or fork until mostly smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1 tablespoon of oil, cumin, salt and cayenne. Add the egg mixture, toasted panko, remaining beans, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro and shallot to the bowl with the mashed beans. Stir until evenly combined.
Divide mixture into 6 equal portions, about ½ cup each. Shape into patties about 1-inch thick. (If not cooking immediately, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Alternately, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze, then store in an airtight plastic bag.)
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully place three of the patties in the skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, 8-10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate, tent with foil and repeat with remaining oil and patties.