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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

So, we've been in Seattle for 19 days now. (Well, 17 days actually. We took a weekend to head up to Whistler, British Columbia.) So far, the time is going. . . okay. I can't be ecstatic about the "adventure" so far because I'm still muddling around  feeling completely and utterly displaced. It's almost like I keep wondering when we are going to return to Minnesota and be done with this vacation. For some reason, I had this false sense of security when we planned the move; almost like I was going to settle in instantly as soon as we arrived. I'm certainly not a nomad by any means, but I have lived in so many different places and apartments/houses (16 different houses, 4 different states, 7 different cities or towns) in my 28 years of life that I just assumed that I would saunter right in to warmth. But this is false.
I vaguely remembered - and my mom reminded me of - how I felt when we moved in Minnesota. During first semester, I used to park outside William Mitchell, on Summit Avenue, and just cry in my car! I had no idea if I'd made a smart decision and I barely ever saw Ron. Law school was hard and confusing. We'd both left our childhoods behind with our family and friends for this journey and school scared the pants off of me. I remember driving away from Pittsburgh with the city skyline in my rearview mirror. I had no idea what was in store and on those nights when I would leave Mitchell feeling so defeated, I was certain that I had made the worst decision ever.

But, it turned out I didn't. I grew to love Minnesota. I grew to love Mitchell. I fell into a role in the admissions office with coworkers who I absolutely love. My passion for recreation soared and biking, not running, became my favorite thing to do. I could hope on my bike and explore the area for miles and never have to share the road with a car! I taught myself how to cook, and bake, and frequented farmer's markets for the best ingredients. Our desire to eat better turned us into mini-foodies and we spent a lot of time enjoying some of the best dining in the city. And I can't discard the opportunities that Minnesota presented to us. I was an underdog entering Mitchell, but I did well. I surprised myself. And I grew confident. And law school did to me what I had been desperately craving in my life. And Ron? Let's just say that Ron is turning into the next Bill Gates.

So, I need to keep these things in mind as I sit around miserable and mopey. Sure, it's a bit cloudy and cold out right now and I miss Minnesota sun. But I need to remember that the only place as humid as Minnesota is right now is the Amazon rain forest and I'd be complaining my butt off if I was there. Sure, the hills are pretty effing ginormous around here. But my backside doesn't mind; no squats or lunges could equal the workout I've been getting! And sure, I still have no idea what's going on with school or my graduation, but at least I know it's going to happen. Three years ago, when I was sitting in my car crying on Summit Avenue, I was convinced I was going to fail.

Change is good. It's good for progress and growth. But I am glad to have some consistencies to keep me sane. And one of those consistencies is my love for food. We've been doing a ton of shopping at farmer's markets, but I finally found my go-to grocery store. For the first few days, I spent a lot of time just walking around the aisles. I think it's because I felt a sense of comfort to be back in an area I'm familiar. The other day, I was picking up ingredients for these amazing black bean burgers and I kept entering the same aisle as a worker who was taking inventory. He asked, multiple times, if I needed help finding anything. At first I said no thank you. But after the 6th aisle and 6th question, I kindly replied, "I'm just trying to get inspired so I tend to stare at the products. I enjoy spending time in grocery stores. You'll probably see me in here a lot." He smiled and replied, "We like customers like you. Welcome to our kitchen." It made me happy.

I've posted a recipe for black bean burgers on my blog before. But these ones are 100 times better. Ron went out with a buddy the other night and ate dinner out. So, I had free reign to go balls out with vegetables and whatever else I wanted to do! (Ron never restricts me in my eating, but he does tend to make funny faces when I present him with a solely vegetarian or vegan dish.) I settled on these healthy and flavorful black bean burgers because I wanted a quick and lite dinner. These burgers are so good and so easy to mix up. I didn't pan-fry them like the original recipe suggested, but I did bake them in the oven for 20 minutes. I also used an egg instead of the vegan substitute (1 T ground flax + 3 T water) but would easily try out the flax if it was in the pantry. I mixed up a quick broccoli salad to go along the side but any vegetable or starch accompaniment would do. Enjoy!
Black Bean Burgers
from Eat, Live, Run
Yield: 8 burgers
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt (or less)
  • 1/2 cup corn (fresh or frozen and defrosted)
  • avocado, ketchup, mustard, etc. for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees if deciding to use oven for burgers. See alternative directions in #5.
  2. Seed and roughly chop jalapeno. Add it and the garlic cloves to a food processor and mince finely.
  3. Add one can of beans to the jalapeno/garlic mixture and pulse to combine. Add cumin and salt and pulse until mixture resembles chunky black bean dip.
  4. Transfer the mixture in the food processor to a large bowl and stir in the bread crumbs, tomato sauce, egg and corn. Stir well until everything is combined. Add remaining black beans.
  5. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Form black bean mixture into patties and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, carefully turning once. (Alternatively, you can add olive oil to a skillet and fry burgers over medium high heat for about 4 minutes per side.)
  6. Serve burgers with desired toppings of choice. Enjoy!

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