when the teen was little, like in early elementary school, she used to love taking lunchables to school. back then, they were little packages with some buttery crackers, a stack of ham cut into cute little circles, and little squares of cheddar cheese. that was it. and so she tired of them fairly quickly and went back to good ol' PB&J sandwiches. she went back to lunchables later on, when they came out with fun stuff like pizza and nachos, but that didn't last too long either.
a couple of days ago, i was running into the grocery store while she sat in the car with the bean. when i asked her if she wanted anything, she decided she wanted a lunchable - "a pizza one, mom, please?" i found a couple of different varieties, stuck 'em in my bag, and took 'em home.
after school yesterday, she decided to have one as a snack. and we were both astounded when she opened the box and pulled out item after item. check it out:
lunchables have come a long way, baby. she was enchanted, and i'm sensing more of these in the fridge in the weeks to come.
so i was running to the grocery store because my friend MommyBelle had e-mailed me a fantastic-looking recipe that she'd just tried and was raving over. it was perfect as it was a vegetarian entree - black bean cakes with jalapeno slaw and mexican rice - so i picked up all the stuff and decided to make it last night. plus, my mom was there for a visit, and since she's vegetarian too, i thought it would be nice to make her dinner for a change.
i didn't want to do a bunch of shredding, so i bought precut cabbage. yeah, i'm a lazy ass. not news. you'll also note the absence of cilantro from this pile of ingredients. the wan house is not cilantro-friendly - that shit is nasty. ruins everything.
it always amuses me to think that i was so hesitant to buy this baby food maker back in the day. it's come in so handy in the last year, serving as my food processor and blender since i don't have room for my full-sized appliances in the shoebox we live in. i pulled it out again last night to make the dressing for the slaw, which looked and smelled pretty darn good.
i used almost the whole bag of shredded cabbage and tossed it with that aromatic dressing, and then put it in the fridge to coagulate, as coolio would say.
next, i got started on the prep for the black bean cakes. as i chopped up the red pepper, i made a mental note to reassure the teen that it wasn't tomato - something she despises.
having put back the $5 bottle of ground coriander in favor of this $1.49 bag (oh-so-inconveniently located far, far away from the regular spice aisle. damn you and your shyster-y, tricky ways, vons), i figured i'd have to grind them with my meat tenderizer and a ziploc bag. and then i remembered that i still had the grandparents' coffee grinder tucked away in a cabinet. i brushed it out as best as i could and dumped the spice in.
i now have enough ground coriander to make - well, all sorts of shit i never knew i wanted to try before. heh.
the recipe is for two people, but i was feeding four, so i opened two cans of beans and drained and rinsed them off. funny thing is, i don't even like beans - but since the teen went veg, i've discovered that black beans aren't so bad.
following the recipe, i mashed about a cup of beans and mixed it with a couple of egg whites, and then dumped the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. it smelled so good, even the teen commented on it from halfway across the apartment.
when it was time to form the patties, i finally had a reason to bust out this set of cookie cutters i'd bought at bed bath and beyond ages and ages ago.
i divided the mixture up into four patties and pressed it into the largest cookie cutter. i realized that i should have probably mashed more of the beans, because the concoction was too crumbly and was totally falling apart as it cooked. damn. well, next time i'll know better.
see? instead of black bean cakes, we ended up with black bean hash. poop. so much for presentation.
by then, mom realized she had to split - bummer. so i packed her dinner up in a to-go box and then walked her out to her car.
it looks a hot mess, doesn't it? but i have to say - MommyBelle was right. this stuff is DELICIOUS. she had chosen not to make the slaw, but hopefully she'll read this and see that it's a must-do for the next time she serves this up. and i'd cheated and used premade mexican rice instead of making it from scratch like in the recipe. the teen didn't care too much for the slaw, and she preferred to add sour cream and salsa verde to her dish. as for me, i found that scooping up the beans with a tortilla chip and topping it with the slaw and then popping the whole thing in my mouth and crunching down was perfect. when combined, all the flavors just went together so well, and the hub agreed as he wolfed it down.
this one's a definite keeper. in fact, i can't wait to make it again - it was that good. hooray for a successful dinner!