By Lavinia Plonka
Playing in the Kitchen is the result of many ridiculous kitchen disasters and quite a bit of improvisation. Every recipe in the book has been the victim of forgotten ingredients, bad timing and inadvertent kitchen fires, yet everything eventually turns out OK. It is my hope that readers feel liberated to take chances with their recipes and learn that food can be fun. Each recipe offers options for substitutions, mistakes and what happens when fire enters the equation. Have fun! (contact Lavinia to purchase her cookbook.)
Barbados Black Bean Cakes With Mango Salsa
4 generous servings
2 cups peeled, diced mango
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 serrano pepper
2 Tbs. Coarsely chopped cilantro
2 tsp. peeled, minced fresh ginger root
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. Lime juice
Black Bean Cakes:
2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed, or if you cook from scratch, about 1 3/4 cups cooked beans.
1/4 chopped cilantro or parsley
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
Chopped cilantro and lime wedges for garnish (optional)
Salsa: Combine all salsa ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
Make sure that you drained the beans very well. If there is too much moisture, it makes the patties difficult to work with. Place beans in a large bowl and coarsely mash until they stick together. Add cilantro or parsley, onion, egg, cumin, garlic, allspice, salt and cayenne. Mix until well blended. Divide mixture into 8 equal parts. Shape into 1/2 inch thick patties.
Coat patties with bread crumbs. They can be delicate and crumbly, so you might want to put the patties on wax paper so you can transfer easily to the frying pan.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bean cakes and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once, about 8 minutes total. Serve with salsa and garnishes.