Friday, July 22, 2011

Black Bean Burgers - Pan Fried

Recently I read an article on BBC News Magazine listing Americanisms that are becoming more mainstream in the UK, but that the Brits find annoying. I wonder if there are any of our colloquialisms they welcome? Having spent some time living in London when I was in college and now having business colleagues in the UK, I've often thought I'd like to adopt certain British words and phrases. Some I like because they're just a bit more snarky, but some I find appealing because they seem to capture the essence of the mood or idea a bit better than our American words do. Take, for instance, one of my favorites - "sacked" instead of "fired". In a recent example of this, I was reading in a newspaper about the Murdoch scandal where they reported that Rebekah Brooks got "sacked" from News of the World. For me, thinking of someone being sacked creates a vision for me of them being cast aside, perhaps into a trash can. Being fired makes me think of someone going up in flames. Going up in flames is much more damaging or permanent. Being tossed into a trash can is demeaning and unpleasant, but you can bounce back.
Another one on the top of my list: Going to the loo (instead of the bathroom/restroom). Maybe it's me, but going to the loo is more discreet sounding and somehow even cheery. It doesn't seem to scream, "I'm going to perform bodily functions!"
Some other faves:
  • Bloody -it's so versatile, yet doesn't sound nearly as offensive as the "f" word. "That's bloody fantastic!" "Put down that bloody cell phone while you're behind the wheel!" "What the bloody heck does he think he's doing?"
  • Cheers - as a greeting, not just prior to drinking a pint
  • Wanker - as in jerk. "That guy is such a wanker. Don't pay any attention to him."
  • Smashing - meaning fantastic. "You look smashing in that dress!"
  • Bollocks - as in rubbish or no good. "That Fox News reporter is talking bollocks."
  • Ring -as in call someone. "I'll give you a ring when I'm ready to go this evening."
  • Sod - also versatile - "Sod off" or "Sod it" - again, another lighter sound version of the "f word"
Those are just a few that come to mind. If you have any you especially like, please let me know.

Please don't take this as complaining, because I'm very much enjoying the heat of the summer, but it's been so bloody hot, it's not very conducive to turning on the oven. So, as always, I'm looking for things to make for dinner that are tasty, yet don't require much heat to prepare. I've made a very similar black bean burger recipe in the past, but baked them in the oven. This recipe was taken and adapted from who adapted it from Veganomicon. I didn't have any wheat gluten, so I used an egg instead, therefore rendering it no longer vegan, but will try it that way next time. These are tasty, a nice texture and cook up quickly. If you've made some fun summer salads and need a protein based accompaniment this is a perfect solution.

Black Bean Burgers - pan fried

2 cups of cooked black beans or 1 15 oz can (rinsed)
1 egg (or go to Meaux's site, listed above for both vegan and gluten free variations)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tspn chile powder
1/2 tspn cumin
1/4 cup water
1 tbspn tomato paste or ketchup
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 small onion, diced

1. Mash the beans with a fork until there are no full beans left (I've also used a hand potato mashing utensil).
2. Add everything else and mix with a wooden spoon. Then knead with your hands until well mixed and firm.
3. In 4 equal parts make the patties - form a ball and then flatten.
4. In a frying pan, heat up some oil on medium heat. Cook the patties for about 5-7 minutes on each side.

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