I’ll concede that Mario Batali has a little more street cred than I do when it comes to cooking, so I’ll give him the first crack at describing the book I’m cooking from this month. Ready?
Clean Food is the most exciting book based on fresh produce and simple recipes I have used in years. –Mario Batali
What else is there to say? Just as with his food, Mario gets right to the point and hits hard without a bunch of fluff.
But there’s more to Mario’s testimonial than meats meets the eye. Mario’s cooking style is classic Italian; he places the utmost importance on high-quality, fresh, organic ingredients. But in the Italian tradition, he isn’t afraid to throw in a cow’s stomach, a baby lamb, a calf’s stomach, or a rabbit or two.
Does Mario realize it’s vegan?
It’s easy to miss. In what I’ve read of Terry Walters’ Clean Food so far, not once have I come across the word “vegan.” Not even “vegetarian.” And that’s by design.
When I asked Terry about it, she told me that she’s not into labels. She set out to create a resource for cooking food that’s extremely healthy for both its users and the environment. Clean Food is about eating seasonally, organically, and close to the source. That it happens to be vegan is just a bonus.
And even more of a bonus, for us no-meat athletes: Terry is an endurance athlete with several marathons and centuries (100-mile bike rides) to her name. So you know her food’s gonna measure up, nutritionally-speaking.
And the taste? Well, I’ll be posting several recipes from my month of eating clean. Beyond that, I guess you’ll just have to trust that Mario guy.
Millet Black Bean Patties with Corn
Here’s my favorite recipe of those from Clean Food I’ve tried so far. It yields a bunch of these delicious little patties—each recipe makes about 10 of them, so Erin and I froze a lot for when the new baby is crying or doing whatever else it is that babies must do to keep their parents so busy.
The patties are great with salsa, as Terry suggests, but also work well with traditional burger or sandwich toppings. Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Clean Food, copyright 2009, Terry Walters, Sterling Publishing, Co, Inc.
- 1 cup millet
- 2 1/2 cups water
- Grapeseed oil for frying
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon chile powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
- 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
- Freshly ground black pepper or hot pepper sauce
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
Rinse millet, place in saute pan over medium heat and toast for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously. When millet begins to take on a nutty aroma, add water, cover, reduce heat to low and cook until all water is absorbed (about 25 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
In large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, saute onion in grapeseed oil until soft (about 3 minutes). Add salt, chile powder, paprika and cumin and stir to combine. Add black beans and corn and remove from heat. Add cooked millet and mash together. Season to taste with pepper, then stir in cornmeal a little at a time until batter is stiff.
Preheat large skillet over medium heat (Terry uses cast-iron to yield a nice crispy crust) and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Scoop and form mixture into 2-inch balls. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, place balls in skillet and press down to form patties. Repeat until skillet is full. Fry 3-4 minutes per side. Place cooked patties on a baking sheet, cover with foil to keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.
Note: To reheat leftovers, wrap in foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
Makes 10 hearty patties.