Wednesday, March 31, 2010

D.A.R.E. to keep kids off drugs!

hello all!  yes, i am still alive.  i am not hidden in some faraway craft room bleeding out after an unfortunate pin to the heart (or important artery), but i can see how you might have been mistaken.  i've been enjoying the downright tropical temps invading iowa this week, practicing making some awesome desserts for upcoming events and catching up on my favorite showtime features, which have recently started up again (as of last monday).  ahhh the life i lead.

but anyway, do you know what heroin looks like?  i don't.  well, i might have an idea from years of watching a & e's "intervention," but i have never seen the stuff in person.  anyway, a few weeks ago, during an intial client interview, a gentleman asked me the aforementioned question.  of course my response was no.  he proceeded to explain, in a roundabout way, that it looked like potpourri (which doesn't seem to make much sense, but it was his story).  anyway, he continues on with his tale, and gets to the part where he happens upon lots of little baggies in his basement (where his adult son lives) that contain this potpourri-looking stuff.  he claims he didn't know what the stuff was, and i'm thinking, is this guy for real???  what, did he think his ne'er do well son who hasn't been employed for at least the last three decades had suddenly taken up an occupation as a independent yankee candle salesman?  really?  but this is a public service announcement for you.  if you happen upon baggies of potpourri, don't be so sure that someone's trying to make their house smell nice.  something far more sinister might be in the works.

in other news, last night i cooked dinner without the use of a staple ingredient: meat.  meat is pretty much the glue that ties together meals at my house, and my husband wouldn't be too keen on me turning him into a vegetarian.  and i wouldn't do that anyway because i love meat, too.  i have to say that i love RED meat, but i do try to watch our weekly intake.  i decided to try an experiment with a recipe i found in my april 2010 edition of cooking light magazine: black bean burgers.  (i did not use the mango salsa; i had made chipotle pork soft tacos on monday night and i used the apple/pineapple salsa leftover from that instead).  here's the recipe:

Black Bean Burgers with Mango Salsa

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 burger)
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided     (*I did not use any cilantro)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)  (*I subbed regular plain old breadcrumbs)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt  (*I subbed kosher salt)
1/2 medium jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (*did not use; I'm not a fan of jalapenos)
2 large egg whites
Cooking spray
1 1/4 cups chopped peeled mango (about 1 medium)
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
6 (2-ounce) whole-wheat hamburger buns, lightly toasted
6 green leaf lettuce leaves

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Place black beans in a medium bowl; mash with a fork. Stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro and the next 7 ingredients (through egg whites). Shape bean mixture into 6 (1/2-inch-thick) patties. Arrange patties on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, carefully turning once.
3. Combine remaining 1/4 cup cilantro, mango, and the next 4 ingredients (through minced garlic) in a medium bowl. Place a patty on bottom half of each hamburger bun; top each with 1 lettuce leaf, 1/3 cup salsa, and top half of bun.

the burgers were excellent!  i LOVED them, and didn't even miss my beef!  even john's picky self gave this experiment two thumbs up.  if you're interested in the pineapple/apple salsa recipe i used to top my burgers, here it is:

(from May 2007 issue of Cooking Light magazine -- taken from the Chipotle Pork Soft Taco Recipe)
2 cups minced pineapple (*i just buy the crushed, canned kind; cuts down on time because you don't have to cut it up)
1 cup minced apple
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. I'm a fan of red meat also! My husband likes chicken - I feel that particular protein is much too healthy for my taste, however. Anyway, I'm looking forward to trying your Black Bean Burgers! They sound delish! (My husband loves any sort of frijoles!)

  2. oohh! That sounds amazing sister!