black bean cakes with papaya salsa
My most recent dish for the cooking club was (if I do say so myself) really good, although (1) it wasn't an original, and (2) everyone else's stuff was even better. Still, it's worth writing about! From Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, (a cookbook I've cited three times before) it's the Black Bean Cakes, which I served with a homemade papaya salsa and sour cream.
A detailed recipe is here, but here's the basic idea. First, find some cooked black beans. You can either cook them yourself, which is easy but takes a while, or you can open up a big can. I've tried the recipe both ways, and honestly, there's not much difference. Then you saute some onion in oil, then add the beans in their cooking liquid, some minced chipotle chile from a can packed with adobo, a chopped tomato, and some cilantro, and cook for 20 minutes or so. Then you drain the beans in a mesh strainer, add some grated smoked cheese, some cumin, cilantro, lime juice, and salt, and throw it in the fridge until it's cold. Then there's a particularly messy couple of steps. Make cakes out of the beans by flouring them and squishing balls of bean to about a half inch thickness, put them on some waxed paper, and put them back in the fridge for a little bit. Then, clean up the mess you just made and your bean-paste encrusted hands. To cook them, in a heavy pan (cast iron works great, of course!), heat up rather more oil than you think you need. Dust the cakes again with corn meal, and fry for 8 minutes or so on a side, until they're crusty. All that oil you put in? It's "gone"! Serve with salsa and sour cream, and you've got yourself some tasty black bean cakes!