Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Kitchen Failure: Black Bean Cakes

I don’t like to write about recipes that don’t go well, but it feels dishonest to pretend to you, dear readers, that I don’t have my share of kitchen mishaps. About a year ago, I made these amazing black bean cakes from Christina Pirello’s cookbook. Served with a bright tomato salsa, I was in heaven. Realizing that I hadn’t made this dish for my blog, I decided to rectify that immediately.

Ugh. What a mess. In the interest of efficiency, I made a few changes to the recipe; fresh bell pepper instead of roasted, and polenta instead of corn meal. I couldn’t anticipate what a difference this would make. What resulted were wet, black bean balls sizzling passively in hot oil. Recovering from my first instinct to just throw the whole pan in the sink, I fished them out of the pan and stuck them in the oven. Half an hour later they were still a bit soft, but they were hot and at least a little crispy.

I decided to serve them as Mexican falafels, one cake with a fresh corn tortilla, spicy, bright tomato salsa, and crispy cabbage and carrot slaw. The mix of flavors and textures was awesome. But, the black bean cakes were just not quite right. The oven had dried them out a little bit, and without pan frying, they lacked the crisp outer edge I remembered. I’m not providing a recipe yet, because I’m definitely giving these cakes another go. Roasted bell pepper, fine cornmeal, and pressed tofu should help rectify these soggy black bean cakes. Stay tuned...


  1. Ugh I hate recipe disasters...not too many things that are more frustrating (kitchen wise at least)!

    Pictures still make them look super tasty :)

  2. They weren't bad...they just weren't great. I'm not in the business of mediocre food :)