I've started this post over several times now. It's just not coming, but I so want to tell you about these.
I started by thinking that instead of economic depression, I wish these would sweep the world. Then I wanted to tell you about how they're an all-in-one package. Inexpensive ingredients, kitchen basics mostly, healthy, tasty, satisfying. And if you ever find yourself in an adorable Chicago apartment with an only minimally equipped kitchen (as I did last weekend while visiting my sister), you can still pull them off. Yes, you might have to buy a $4 box grater at the grocery store while you're there getting your sweet potato, but it will be worth it. A sweet potato, a box grater and a little pan for the garlic and green onions. The only other thing really is a can of black beans, plus, you know, some spices. One spice, actually. Cumin. So you see how approachable they are? Hardly anything to buy and they're ready quick, too.
I found the recipe on Esi's wonderful blog Dishing up Delights. She got it from Martha Stewart, but I so prefer to imagine it coming from her kitchen. Every time I see Martha on television I'm struck by how much interrupting of her guests she does, how overbearing she is. Esi's blog is not overbearing. I imagine that cooking with her in California would a relaxed experience. And this is a relaxed little dish.
While Esi made 4 cakes, I decided to divide the mixture into 8 smaller disks that were intended for pitas. I'll post the recipe as I made it here, but Esi garnished her patties with a lime and jalapeno spiked sour cream, which sounds delicious. I decided not to push my luck in the little Chicago kitchen, and popped a can of salsa instead. So if you want the sour cream, you'll have to go visit Esi to get it.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Cakes
Oil for the pan
3 scallions, sliced (half a bunch)
4 garlic cloves passed through a press
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped, with seeds and ribs removed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
1/2 sweet potato, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Warm the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook for about a minute until they're soft. This will only take about a minute. Add the scallions, garlic and cumin and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Place this mixture into a large bowl.
Add the beans and mash the mixture with the back of a fork, mashing about 75% of the beans, but leaving some of them whole for texture. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Divide into 8 balls and flatten them between the palms of your hands into patties.
Lay the patties on a greased cookie sheet and broil on one side for about 8 minutes. Carefully flip, then broil on the other side for about 3 minutes more. If you're my sister and using that rip-roaring hot broiler of yours, the total time will be 3 minutes, and you won't be able to flip. They'll still be good.