07-08-09_pattyokra.jpgIndeed, I’ll always be seduced by the thought of bulgur and beans. The “Veggie Burgers with Tahini Mayonnaise,” from the April 2007 issue of Everyday Food, sounded like tasty, nutritional powerhouses. But alas, I cannot rightfully call them “burgers.” These, my friends, are bean cakes. Having said that, they supplied a tasty meal, on English muffins with tahini mayo.

These patties were very soft, despite the breadcrumbs and egg. If I were to make these again, I’d try to place the formed burgers in the refrigerator for a few hours before frying them, in order to give them more structural stamina. Rather than mashing the pinto beans by hand, I blended them in the food processor. I added 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper to the burger mixture; I used the black pepper instead of the cayenne pepper, because I didn’t want the burgers to be too spicy (for my toddler!). I cooked these burgers for 9 minutes per side. The tahini mayo is a perfect burger dressing. Keep it in mind for any type of burger you have.

I also cooked the “Stewed Corn and Tomatoes with Okra,” from the July 2007 issue of Gourmet. I excluded the jalapeño pepper (again, my toddler), and used frozen corn. I used 1 lb. of plum tomatoes, but I felt the dish wasn’t “saucy” enough. I would have preferred a wetter sauce. You will need to add some salt to this recipe. It’s a good side dish, if you don’t mind the slight sliminess of cooked okra.

RECIPES: pleasant bean cakes and adequate vegetables
allow at least 1 hour for the bean cakes; the veggies need half that time
satisfying bean cakes/dressing; nice change of taste pace for veggies

Let’s return to some fish, next time. I’ll cook “Slow-Poached Halibut with White Beans and Escarole” (recipe below), from the June 2007 issue of Cuisine at Home. Return to my site on Tuesday, November 13, to witness my version.

Makes 4 fillets, 2 cups broth; Total time: 1 hour

For the Halibut --
Sauté in 2 tsp. olive oil:
1/4 cup shallots, chopped
2 tsp. garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Deglaze with; Add:
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup canned cannellini beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
4 halibut fillets, skinned, seasoned with salt and pepper (5 oz. each)

For the Escarole --
Steam in 1/4 cup water:

1 head escarole, trimmed, chopped (8-10 cups)
salt and pepper, to taste

For the Rosemary Oil --
Steep; Purée with:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Sauté the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes in 2 tsp oil in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat for 1 minute.

Deglaze with wine and simmer until liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add broth, tomatoes, beans, and vinegar; simmer 3-4 minutes, or until liquid is reduced slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

Nestle fillets in the tomato-bean mixture and transfer pan to the oven. Poach for 20-25 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Steam escarole with water in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, covered, stirring occasionally until wilted, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Rosemary Oil. Steep oil and rosemary in a small saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes, remove from heat, and cool. Purée the oil and rosemary in a blender with the parsley.

Divide greens among 4 shallow serving bowls. Spoon some of the tomato broth around the greens and top with a halibut fillet. Drizzle with 1  1/2 tsp. Rosemary Oil (chill remaining oil for up to 2 weeks; use in vinaigrettes or as a bread dip).