In which I go vegetarian…

corn cake, black beans, cotija cheese, avocado, pickled red onion

I don’t know what my problem is. Serious writers block it seems, which is annoying, since I have all sorts of things to discuss with you. Like this dinner I had TWO WEEKS AGO. I am not sure why this title is what it is, like it’s a big deal or something. I actually eat vegetarian a lot. I eat plenty of pasta that does not contain meat or meat related items, but for some reason, pasta doesn’t make me think vegetarian at all, it’s only when I make a somewhat deliberate decision to put together a complete meal that does not contain some kind of meat that I consider myself eating vegetarian. And I am not going to lie, at one point, I thought about adding bacon or chicken stock to this, and then I realized that I was actually trying to make a vegetarian meal, and so I didn’t add them.

I really like black beans. I think they are really delicious. Right now I will go ahead and say they are my favorite kind of bean, but I am pretty sure I will remember at some point that this is not true, and I will have lied to you all, but right now, I am going to say they are my favorite. I just used canned beans that I drained and cooked with onions and garlic, and then I did a quick corn pancake that came together in about five minutes, and dinner was a snap. I topped it with avocado, a little bit of sour cream, cotija cheese and some pickled red onion and it was pretty awesome. I didn’t miss meat at all.

And now, because I have writer’s block and nothing exciting to say, I will get right to the recipes. Enjoy this on your next foray into the world of the meatless. And the leftovers are great with, for instance, a poached egg

another view

Corn Cakes with Black Beans and Accoutrements (serves 4)

For the corn cakes:

adapted from

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

scant 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp sugar

1 tbl unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional melted butter for brushing the griddle

1/2 large egg (so I halved the original recipe, I scrambled the egg and then just added about half of it to the batter)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup thawed frozen corn, chopped coarse

2 tbl finely chopped onion

In a bowl whisk together the cornmeal, the flour, the salt, the baking soda, the pepper, and the sugar. In another bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons of the butter, the egg, and the buttermilk, stir in the corn onion, and stir in the cornmeal mixture, stirring until the batter is just combined. Heat a griddle over moderately high heat until it is hot, brush it lightly with the additional butter, and working in batches drop the batter by a 1/2-cup measure onto the griddle. Cook the cakes for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden, transferring them as they are cooked to a heatproof platter, and keep them warm.

For the black beans:

1-2 tbl cooking oil

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

juice of 1/2 small lime

salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a frying pan, add the onions and garlic and cook until soft, add the beans and cook until heated through. Turn off heat, squeeze half a lime over the beans, and cover to keep warm until needed.


Sour cream

Diced avocado

Cotija cheese (or Monterey Jack or Cheddar)

Pickled red onion

To assemble:

Place a corn cake on each plate, and spoon black beans over. Add cheese and other accoutrements as desired. Easy!

2 thoughts on “In which I go vegetarian…

    • I make them actually. I use pretty much the same pickling liquid for everything. Rice vinegar, water, sugar and kosher salt. 6 cups of water, 12 oz of rice vinegar, 3 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring it to a boil (make sure the sugar and salt dissolve) and pour over sliced vegetables. You could add spices if you wanted as well, but that is the basic recipe. It makes a lot, so I adjust depending on how much I am pickling. It is awesome with radishes and cauliflower.

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