Or… How Many Pots and Plates Does it Take to Cook Dinner?!?


In tonight’s case, it would be a lot.

Tonight’s vaguely-Mexican dinner concept started with a recipe in Today’s Diet and Nutrition magazine for Crispy Black Bean-Rice Cakes.  I’ve been looking at the recipe for a week, now, thinking I wanted to try it.  The opportunity presented itself, today.

I did a modified version of my Monday shopping, today.  I just wasn’t in the mood to shop, be in public, deal with people.  Sleep has not been kind to either of us the past few days, and it’s not as if I’m actually cranky, or anything, but have you ever been in one of those “Get off your %$#@& cell phone and get your  %$#@& shopping cart out of my %$#@& way before I break it over your %$#@&  head” moods?!?  That was me.  Mr Pleasant-to-be-around.  In person.

I was at the store and absolutely nothing looked good.  I was going through the motions, but nothing was saying “take me home”.   And then I happened to see a small brisket.  I started thinking about those rice and bean cakes.  Chile peppers, capsaisin, and maybe I should just try burning this crud out of us.  A recipe was born!

Hot and Sweet and Spicy Brisket

  • 1 small brisket
  • 2 nectarines, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 btl BBQ sauce (without high fructose corn syrup.  Read your labels!)

Preheat oven to 250°.  Place brisket fat-side up into an oven-safe pan, add seasonings, peppers, onions, nectarines, etc.  Top with BBQ sauce.

Cover with foil and bake about 4 hours.

Remove beef from pan and place pan juices (there are a lot of them!) and everything else into a sauce pan.  Use an immersion blender to puree everything into a slightly thick, smooth sauce.

When ready to serve, shred brisket with 2 forks.  Add desired amount of sauce, mix well, and enjoy.

Okay…  That was the original 8×8 pyrex dish I cooked the brisket in, the pot of sauce, the bowl I shredded into and mixed with the sauce – and the serving plate.  One item.  I’m on a roll.

And then I made:

Crispy Black Bean-Rice Cakes

  • 2 cups well drained black beans
  • 3/4 cup cooked jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onions
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, the white part and a bit of the green finely mined
  • leaves from 1/4 bunch of cilantro, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh salsa

Put half of the rice and beans in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Do the same with the rest of the beans and rice.   Combine the onion, chili, scallions, cilantro,salt, and pepper in large bowl. Add the beans and rice and mix thoroughly.  Or you can just add the whole beans and rice to the bowl and mash it with a potato masher.

To cook the cakes, scoop out with 1/2 cup measures and using wet hands, pat out into a patty about 3/4 inch thick and 3 inches in diameter.  Using a heavy skillet or griddle, heat the oil over medium heat until it sizzles and add the cakes.  When the bottoms are nice and crispy, turn them gently and cook  on the other side until crispy.  It should take about 5-6 minutes in all. Serve with salsa or sour cream.

I used canned black beans, which saved a pot, but cooked the rice – 1 pot, and broke out the food processor, plus the bowl for mixing everything, and the skillet for frying them.  Oh – and the plate to put them on before they were cooked and the serving plate.

And because I had tomatillos in the veg bin from last week that needed to be used, I made:

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

  • 6 tomatillos
  • 2 serrano chiles
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt

Remove husks and rinse under warm water to remove stickiness.  Place everything (except cilantro) on a broiler-proof pan.  Broil until tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, 7 to 10 minutes.  Place everything into bowl of food processor – including cilantro – and chop well.  Chill.

Roasting pan, bowl of food processor (again), cooling bowl and serving bowl.  I’m doing good.

I had 5 small glass bowls with the condiments – sour cream, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, guacamole, and the tomatillo salsa.

I reused the pan I cooked the rice and bean cakes to heat my corn tortillas.  Victor likes flour tortillas – they needed nothing.

A simple dinner for two.  The dishwasher is full.

I’m ready for bed.