Last night, I found myself with a fridge full of leftovers. Paging through Everyday Food, I hit upon the Black Bean and Brown Rice Cakes. Ah-ha, I thought! A solution for some of the brown rice that’s been staring me down from the second shelf in the fridge. This recipe appealed to me because over the weekend I caught a few minutes of Aaron McCargo on Food Network making black bean burgers that looked soooo good.
Now that I had an idea for the leftover rice, I felt inspired to tackle some of the other leftovers. I pulled out the few veggie spring rolls we had left from New Year’s Eve and decided to heat those up. Then I happened upon a container of roasted root vegetables from a holiday dinner over the weekend and decided to heat those up. But what to do with the container of broccoli and cauliflower? I had already heated it up once to eat just plain (this was leftover from New Year’s Eve fondue and it was very al dente, which lent itself to being reheated several times without getting mushy). I didn’t want to waste it, but I knew no one was going to be happy seeing it come back to the table again. I sought out my inner Martha and decided to play with it a little. First I heated it up (I had about 1 1/2 cups mixed broccoli and cauliflower) so it was soft, then I dumped it in the Cuisinart and pulverized it. I added a tablespoon of butter, 3 tbsp cream, salt and pepper, 1/4 cup grated Gruyere (also leftover from New Year’s Eve) and whizzed that. Then I added one egg and dumped it in a small baking pan and baked it at 400 for about 20 minutes. It was similar to a broccoli souffle I make, but not nearly as time intensive and fussy. I liked this a lot – kind of a crust-less very light quiche. I cut it into small squares for serving.
Now for the burgers. Martha says her recipe feeds 4, but I cut this in half and got 4 good-sized burgers so I don’t what race of giants she is feeding. I used one can of black beans, rinsed and drained, 1/2 cup leftover brown rice, 1 large scallion (leftover from the turkey lettuce wraps the night before), 1 tbsp canned chili (also from the night before), salt, pepper, and 1/8 tsp cumin. I mixed this up and made 4 patties. I baked them at 400 for about 12 minutes. Martha says to top this with a mix of yogurt, cilantro and lime juice.
The burgers were good, especially with the yogurt sauce. The lime and cilantro really woke it up. No one else cared for this though. The kids picked at it and Mr. MarthaAndMe ate it because he was hungry, but it’s not his type of food at all. It was a little dry and had that crunchy-granola-hemp feel about it. I enjoyed it because it was something different and I get tired of always running through chicken, turkey and fish menu options.
I love leftover night!
I love the idea of searching out “one’s inner Martha”! I learned to cook with Julia Child and often searched out “my inner Julia,” way before Julie Powell could sit up on the kitchen floor, banging on pots and pans.
I think the best thing about this is that I’ve learned to find that inner Martha. She really was there all along.
My bank account loves it too!
It is definitely nice to get a change of pace sometimes. This sounded pretty good to me. If you can clean up holiday leftovers also, SUPER!
I love when you can find what you need right inside your fridge. I wish I could do that more often!
It is kind of a magical feeling. Although I confess I had to tell Mr. MarthaAndMe to stop and buy plain yogurt on his way home for the sauce.
Again, an inspired post. Sadly, lots of leftovers end up getting tossed since I am usually at a loss of how to use them all together. The rare times I manage, I feel victorious!
Brette – great ideas on repurposing leftovers!
Don’t you just love meals that work out like that? I could have used this post before I went on a bit of a rampage and flung out more good food than I’m willing to admit.
Unfortunately I usually come across leftovers after they’ve gone bad! Then I kick myself for not remembering to use them. Somehow they disappear into the black hole that is the fridge though.
I came across your blog after trying to find feedback on the black bean and brown rice cake recipe.
I tried making this last night and it turned out terrible! Mind you, this was the first time I had ever tried making brown rice. I had to make two batches, because the first one, done in a rice cooker, came out really bad. We usually have really good luck with recipes from Everyday Food – especially this issue. Loved the light dishes & the parchment recipes.
We ended up eating Chipotle for dinner.
Oh no! I make brown rice all the time, but I use my electric steamer, which is not quite the same as a rice cooker. Sorry you didn’t like this. I was the only one in the house who ate it here. It wasn’t a real winner by any means.