Black Bean and Mushroom Cakes

Everyone loves a crab cake right?  No, I’m asking… I’ve never had one but I’ve heard that they’re pretty darn tasty.  This has nothing to do with crab cakes… 

Oh, and before you read on, I’m becoming a better foodie… I remembered to take pictures this time!

I wanted to make my own veggie burgers tonight but then I realized that I had no interest in eating the bun… hard to have a burger with no bun (hard, not impossible!).

So I thought long and hard and came up with a better way to have the ‘burger’ part that I wanted without worrying about condiments and bun.  I give you:

Black Bean and Mushroom Cakes

Chop up approximately 8-12 medium sized Crimini Mushrooms (the brown ones).  Once you slice them, go at them with a knife until they’re slivers and small chunks.

Finely chop 1-2 cloves of garlic (I used Russian Red and boy did that smell good cooking!)

Saute mushrooms and garlic until browned.

Rinse one large can of black beans.  You MUST rinse them…. dump from can into a strainer and shower with water until there’s none of that horrid waxy goop left… (THAT is what gives you gas!)

Take a fork and smash up the beans a bit… you want about 3/4 smashed and 1/4 not so much smashed.

Mix your saute’d mushrooms, one egg, less than 1/4c of breadcrumbs, around 1 tbsp of mustard powder and salt and pepper into the beans.  (if I had had fresh rosemary, I would have chopped that up into the mixture)

Now, with slightly damp fingers (and keep dampening them during this process), make small patties, about 1.5-2″ across.

Heat up your olive oil in a pan (I used the same pan as the mushrooms… didn’t even wash it!) and gently lay the cakes into the pan.  Cook until browned on the first side, flip and cook until browned on the second side and hot in the middle.

Serve with crumbled goat cheese and a kale salad.


Kale Chips

Today Sam and I went to the Richmond Country Farms Market.  I bought many bags of vegetables, including but not limited to:
Golden Beets
Swiss Chard
Spagetti Squash
Purple Potatoes
Roma Tomatoes
Other tomatoes which I can’t remember the name of
Russian Red Garlic
Crimini Mushrooms
Multicolored Peppers
Pink Lady Apples

Doesn’t that all sound yummy?  It’s all locally grown… I bought so much I couldn’t carry it and it only came to $38!

There are a few things in that list that I’ve never tried before, one being Kale.  If you don’t know what Kale is, it’s often used as garnish in average sit down restaurants… it’s the really curly, sort of rubbery green leaf that sometimes holds your condiments…

Well, it’s not only a garnish, it turns out you can actually eat it! One way is to steam it and eat it as a hot side vegetable.  One other way is to rip up the leaves, massage them with olive oil and sea salt and let them sit… the salt and oil helps break down the fiber and it becomes a bit less rubbery.  The third and so far my favorite way, is to bake it into chips!  That’s right, KALE CHIPS!

Here’s how!

Rip up a few big handfuls of kale.  Rip them right off that stalky stem.  I did four stems worth.  You don’t want more than will fit in a single layer on your baking sheet (which you’ve covered with tin foil).
Wash the Kale.  If you have a salad spinner, you can make the chips in a single session.  If you don’t, you need to do this part first and then let them dry.  It’s not just ‘suggested’… the kale leaves must be BONE DRY before baking.  If you have a salad spinner, spin like crazy and then take them out and dry them some more.  If you don’t have the spinner, you’ll need to pat dry, leave, turn, pat dry… you get the picture…. BONE DRY!

Once they’re dry, put in a bowl and massage with Olive Oil… I used about a table spoon… you don’t need much…Once coated, lay out on baking sheet and then sprinkle with seasalt.  At this time, you could use any other seasonings you like… garlic or onion powder, curry, paprika… any and all… I put Trader Joe South African Smoke Seasoning on mine… 

Pop into a 350 degree oven for about 12 min, turning half way through… now, here’s the tricky part… you want to cook till they’re crispy and dark dark green but you do NOT want them to turn brown at all.  It’s a very small window when they change, so don’t wander away… 

The other thing I did tonight was to make a salad by softening with olive oil and salt and then I tossed in some sliced mushrooms and purple pepper and drizzled balsamic over the whole thing.

Some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

 Four stalks, leaves ripped off
 This is the drying time… don’t skip this step!
Once they’re cooked… they shrink down quite a bit
Salad, all dressed and ready to eat.

Stealing for your own enjoyment

I stole this from my friend Amber. I don’t feel bad about it because she stole it from someone else πŸ˜‰

Age: 32 years, 9 months, 7 days
Bed size: Enough room for me and the kitty… which is never big enough!
hore that you hate: Is it weird that I like them all?
Dogs: Kitty… I wish I had two.  Current kitty does not share the dream!
Essential start to your day: Stupid Smurfs!
avorite color: I don’t have one… I’ve discovered that everything I like is a favorite and everything I don’t like I hate… black or white what??
Gold or Silver: Silver..
Instruments you play: I used to play the flute.  And the piano.  Now I just sing.. poorly!
Job title: Project Coordinator
Lived: Kitimat BC, Prince George BC, Chilliwack BC, Langley BC, Surrey BC, Vancouver BC, in that order.
Motor vehicle:Chevy HHR.  I wish it was an Austin Mini!
Nicknames: I don’t have any that I didn’t give to myself 😦
Overnight hospital stays: Yes, once when they thought I had Menengitis… that was HORRIBLE!
Pet peeves: Oh, are we really going THERE?
Quote from a movie:”Remember who you are” by James Earl Jones in The Lion King

Right or left handed: Right
Siblings: Twin!
Underwear: What about them?
Vegetable you hate: I don’t hate any of them!
What makes you run late:Dilly Dallying and sometimes the kitty…
X-Rays you’ve had: My knee and my wrist
Yummy food that you make: Well I try and make sure that everything that I make (especially if it’s a remake) is yummy.  Most things I’ve made in the crockpot!
Zoo animal: Lives in a zoo

Untouchable Textures

Yesterday as I was driving home from work, I saw what would seem to some, an absurd connection to my past… A child of about 4 in a stroller, being pushed by her dad, walking along in the rain.  Now, from the best of my memory, this never actually happened to me, just my dad and I, walking along in the rain… but that’s not the memory that the sight triggered.  It was a memory of untouchable textures.  Of the feeling of getting home, just a little bit damp… of all the lights in the house being off and the air having a bit of a chill… As tho the house was asleep… resting up for the evening ahead… as the lights turn on, the air warms and my memory goes to my heart feeling full… of love, of comfort and of warmth… As sure as I was sitting in my car I was having this amazing flashback to an untouchable texture of warmth.

Textures are a huge thing for me… Especially soft… soft to me is warm, cozy, loving, inviting… comfort. Soft soothes my soul.  It could be one explanation for the many MANY blankets and throws that live year round in my home.  For my incurable fascination with toss cushions, and duvets.. coffee mugs (while certainly not soft, they are the epitome of warm)… I’ve stopped purchasing ‘soft’ every time I’m feeling down, because it becomes a second job rotating the blankets and coffee mugs, but there I’m drawn.

The other thing that will stop me in my tracks is scent.  I’m immediately triggered to warm and happy, cozy and loved with certain smells… Sometimes it’s just a whiff on the wind and as I stand, stock still trying to float away into my memory, I’m afraid I’ll inhale all the air in the world, trying to get every drop of that smell embedded into my mind and body.  I remember the cabin of my childhood, the absolute bliss of being ensconced in my dad’s cabin… my mom cooking dinner in our Fraser Lake house after school (a time, which incidentally, I have very very few memories… even tho I lived the first 12 years of my life there… more on that some other time).  And the funny thing is that sometimes textures… sights sounds and smells take me somewhere I’ve never been… to a memory that lives only in my imagination… I like to think that these fictitious memories are of places my mind and soul goes to escape… in sleep… in times of trouble and need… So vivid are these moments, that I’m sure I must be dreaming… And then I go about my life with the attempt to recreate those things that make me feel at home.. a gingerbread candle in my kitchen… soft lighting in the den… piles of soft blankets and going to bed with my slippers on… all things that feed my soul a nourishment that it doesn’t get from anywhere else but Untouchable Textures.

In which I ramble and lay out new knitting plans

A long time ago when I started knitting, I remember saying I wanted to publish my own patterns… that I would get very good at knowing how knitting works and then make my own! Well, I’ve published a Sock Monkey, a simple shawl and I have a hat pattern that just needs an hour or so and then it will be published.
Not to say that I’m not proud of these, but the shawl was crazy easy and the monkey was inspired by another monkey… the hat is the first real ‘original’ thing that I dreamt up…. until now!
So remember when I cut that lace wrap in half?  Ya, me too!  That was a terrible idea in retrospect!  However!  It gave me the new found LOVE of caplets!  Here’s why!  I’m pretty tall, which means that anything I wear has to be a reasonable size to not look ridiculous!  I usually wear a very huge pink cashmere pashmina, which while warm, is not that attractive and because it’s a rectangle and super long, it’s difficult to move around in… it either falls off my shoulders or my arms get all tied up in it! (yes, I do have issues!).  Ergo, the caplet!  I’m super warm today and I only have a tshirt and my restyled purple lace wrap.  Well pants too, but you know what I mean!  So I’m on a mission to make another!  I looked through almost all of Ravelry today and didn’t find anything that I liked as is.  I found quite a few that I liked features of, but nothing that was ‘perfect’.  Funny how ‘perfect’ for me is actually a chopped up something else… Anyway, I decided that I’m going to design my own.  One of my 2011 goals (of which I’ve done very VERY few) was to design and publish four patterns…that’s probably not actually going to happen at this point, but two is acheivable if I get my butt in gear on the write up of the hat and get this one down.  Our KAL for this quarter is to knit lace in a heavier than Fingering weight (guess who MAY have thought that up!).  I’m thinking, since I want my item to be both lace and ribbing, (of which I drew a hellishly crappy picture!), I will use the overdyed pink yarn for that instead… I really can’t get on board with a baby pink lace shawl… In fact, I’m sort of over shawls… as my friend PJ put it… she got there about a week before me, but I’m there too!
So I’m thinking this would be a perfect time to think about what I want my new cape to look like…
I’m currently working on my sister’s hat (16 cable hat) that she ‘commissioned’ from Glenda, but then I wasted far too much time getting the yarn to her, so I’m knitting it myself.  I have a scarf on the needles for a friend that is going in next week to have his prostate removed due to surgery.  It’s already 2 feet long which is good because it’s only going to be 5′ and it’s pretty monotonous knitting… 3×2 ribbing.  And I feel that I need to be in a good headspace when I knit it because as you know, my philosophy around knitting is that you’re knitting yourself and your vibes into whatever you make.  I’d like the scarf to have healing strong vibes, not ‘stupid boring scarf’ vibes!
Other than that, the only other thing I have on the needles is my Alpaca Tarp, which I really should endeavor to finish before the end of the month.  Everything else has either been finished or ripped out and waiting for a trip to aforementioned Glenda’s so I can borrow her swift for 20 min and reskein all my frogged projects!
Things I’m planning for (because I’m an overacheiver!)
My new cape design out of overdyed Louet Riverstone
Sedum Sweater out of Rowan Renew
Reverse engineered swing sweater out of Cascade Eco (if all goes well, that could be the third pattern)
Lovisa mitts out of Madeline Tosh DK in Flashdance and some white Debbie Bliss
Girasole the Second out of Indigo Moon BFL in Wildberries
Felicity Hat out of BSA Alpaca Silk in both the lime green and the hot pink color (together, in one hat)
Christopher Hat for me out of Spud and Chloe in Waterslide and Barn
Hot Water Bottle cover (of my own design) for Sharon out of (to be acquired… you’ll notice that up until this project, it’s all pre-existing yarn in my stash… more on another day about that!) Vintage Chunky in Orange and White
Another pair of Mary Jane Slippers out of Gray and White Smungkee Yarn leftovers
And I say ‘another pair’ because last night I made a pair.  As per pattern, you cast on 30 stitches, knit for as many rows as you need till you get about an inch away from the tip of your foot (from the heel).  Next row, K1, K2tog (repeat across) and then the last two rows are K2tog and then you thread the yarn through, sew up the cast on edge corner to corner and the toe (for about 2″) and voila!  I made a pair in the span of the evening last night (it would have gone faster if I was using metal needles and they weren’t 14″ straights… how awkward!).  Anyhow, they were a bit big on me, so I stuffed them full of 100% Merino roving and then jammed my foot in… SO SOFT!  I’m going to make another pair in 2 row stripes and only cast on about 24 stitches… Good for stash busting and good little slippers to wear when on the sofa knitting… I like to sit with one foot under me and a bulky slipper makes that uncomfortable… and I don’t enjoy socks…

The Best Meatsauce EVER!

I’m going to give up my secret recipe for meat sauce here…. Try to contain yourself!

Saute one head (not a clove, a HEAD) of minced garlic and one coarsely chopped onion in Olive Oil.
Add one each of coarsely chopped red green and yellow pepper.
Two small or one large coarsely chopped zucchini
1 bag of frozen cauliflower florets (if you’re Canadian, go to Superstore and buy their brand)
2 cups of coarsely sliced mushrooms.
Add one large can of crushed tomatoes, one jar of chili sauce, one small can of tomato paste and one large can of diced tomatoes.  
Lots of Worcestershire sauce, three large table spoons of sambal chili (or lots of Tabasco).
Oregano, thyme, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.
Brown 2lbs of lean ground beef, strain and add to pot.
Add one bag of frozen petite peas (again, Superstore).

Adjust seasoning to taste.

This makes a LOT… so either scoop into containers and freeze or invite your entire neighborhood over for dinner…. I plan to freeze mine… I’m not fond of my neighbors!

Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash. 

I am a TERRIBLE food blogger!

Oh, wait… I’m not a food blogger!  Thank goodness because I ALWAYS NEVER remember to take pictures of the FOOOOOOD!

I made the ‘Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes’ listed two entries down… and I’ve now changed the name of them because they’re not cupcakes!

I’ve renamed them ‘Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies’.  It’s a MUCH better interpretation of them and to be honest, Pumpkin Pie CUPCAKES sounds kind of gross!

The recipe is spot on (except add more pumpkin pie spice)!  They’re very yummy and that’s according to me and two guys and two girls from my office!

Also, I ate like a Vegitarian today… (is the first step of Vegitarianism being able to spell it correctly?).  I had my smoothie for breakfast (protein powder, sunflower seed butter, yogurt, oats and berries), cottage cheese and tomatoes with a pretzel bun and mustard for lunch and boiled purple potatoes with sour cream and butter for dinner!  Also two Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies.  I did take a picture of the potatoes, but I’m not an excellent photographer, so instead, I’ve gone ahead and poached one from the internetz….

They were very tasty!

Oats… the myth, dispelled!

A collegue of mine and I were just talking about oats… she said that Quick Oats (not the instant sugar kind) have no fibre and are not good for you, whereas steel cut oats are very good for you.  As per usual, I consulted my good friend Google to get the answer.
If you like oatmeal but have recently been made to feel guilty (by the media, fitness trainers and the internet) for eating Quick Oats, which are as the name implies, QUICK, let me put your mind at ease.  I got my info from THIS article and the comments.

A rolled oat is basically an oat, put through rollers and made flat.  A steel cut oat is that same oat, cross cut into approximately three pieces. Keeping the outside of the oat intact means that the cooking process will be longer as those oats are more resistant to absorbing water.  That’s about the only difference.
The two biggest arguments to this are ‘steaming the quick oat (which is done to partial ‘par cook’ it in order to make it ‘quicker’) causes it to lose it’s nutritional value and ‘rolling’ it cause the Oat Bran to be removed.
As far as the steaming goes, yes, cooking causes items to lose some of their nutritional value, hence why eating raw is sometimes a better choice.  But unless you’re planning on eating your 1/4 cup of Steel Cut oats raw and crunchy (good luck with that!), you’re going to cook them both, so it’s not really a viable arguement.
And yes, the rolled oats change shape, potentially causing the oat bran to fall out… but ever notice that your quick oats are dusty?  Well the oat bran that just fell out of your oat is likely crushed up and coating your rolled oat.  If the fibre content of the two are identical, then it’s safe to say that each still includes all its’ fibrey parts!
Nutrients – Let’s compare the Quaker Steel Cut Oats to Quaker Rolled Oats.
1/4 cup of Quaker steel cut oats:
Calories – 150
Fat – 2.5g
Carbs – 27g
Fiber – 4g
Sugar – 1g
Protein – 5g
1/2 cup of Quaker old fashioned oats and quick oats:
Calories – 150
Fat – 3g
Carbs – 27g
Fiber – 4g
Sugar – 1g
Protein – 5g
*A rolled oat takes up more space than a steel cut oat, thereby needing more room for the same weight. That’s why Steel cut oats are measured at 1/4c and the more bulky quick oats are measured at 1/2c.  This comes out to the same weight of food and is thereby comparable.

Eye Candy (also known as Food P–N!

Good morning!
It’s another beautiful and sunny day in Vancouver!
I had a lovely 3 day weekend, altho I can’t for the life of me remember what I did with it.  I napped and knitted an entire hat and went to the Farmers Market in search of apples… Oh yes!  I was so excited!  My mouth was watering from just the thought of having my beloved Okanagan HoneyCrisp Apple!  It’s enormous size is practically enough for an entire meal and must be cut in half if one is eating it as a snack… altho to be fair, even tho I do cut it in half, I usually eat both pieces…. the last quarter of which is groaned through because they are HUGE!  Perfectly sweet and tart, and the perfect texture.  Not as hard as a Granny Smith, but not mushy either… the perfect ‘crack’ as you bite a piece off!   Doesn’t that sound amazing?  I know!  So picture my disappointment when i had gotten myself completely worked up about my apple (as you must understand, I’m allergic to apples, so when local apple season comes along, I must partake to my best ability) and there was no apple to be had!  I was a month too early!  No gorgeous HoneyCrisps, no sweet looking Pink Lady.  No Ambrosia… no Jonogold.  No!  I did get a bag of Galas but they’re certainly not my favorite.  Turns out my favorite apples are Fall Harvest apples, according to THIS website!
I know I’ve been referring to Pinterest lately and I just have to say that it’s become a tool in the fight for eating right.  How you ask?  Well my new favorite thing (and giant time waster) is to go on Pinterest, click on someone’s ‘food board’ and then go to town devouring the amazing pictures and links to astoundingly gorgeous and tasty looking food blogs.
Would you like a sample of what I did yesterday morning while drinking my oh so healthy smoothie (which, incidentally, seemed to taste more luxurious, given the content of the images I was looking at.
I’ve included a link with each picture, because these food blogs are divine!