Mar 9, 2008

Leftover Somethings

I hate wasting food. I believe there is an obligation to plan well and use the food I buy and grow. So I don't at all mind leftovers. I love them and I love finding ways to refreshen the ingredients to create a whole new dish.

What to do with left over canned garbanzo beans and left over cooked oatmeal? Experiment, of course.

I opened the can of garbanzo beans for a salad. They keep well enough in the fridge for a while. I made oatmeal for breakfast a few days ago. I don't mean instant, I mean real oatmeal that you buy in bulk and cook on the stove. Nope, not quick cook either. It took a whole 5 minutes, this did. Whew! Saved myself alot of time on that choice. Anyway, what would I do with these two items that were taunting me every time I opened the fridge? Well, I knew it would be something savory and I knew it would be a patty or a ball or something along those lines. I took the basic idea from the Lentil Patties and went from there.

While a cup of red lentils were cooking, I blended the leftover oatmeal and garbanzo beans in the food processor.

I diced a large onion and a large carrot and sauteed in olive oil. To this I added the rest of the toasted and ground panch phoron from the dal and a healthy dose of ground cumin, some garlic powder and salt. Into this I added some roughly chopped almonds. Once the veggies were cooked to my liking, I added the blended oatmeal-garbanzo mixture to the pan and mashed it up to combine. Then it all went into the food processor until blended. I could have blended slightly less. Next time. I put the mixture into the fridge for a while to firm up so it would be easier to handle.

I cooked this lentil-bean-oatmeal mix in two different ways. First, I sprayed a muffin tin with cooking spray and filled each space with lentil-bean-oatmeal mix. Then I baked it until the tops were a nice shade of brown. I've had success with this method when cooking falafel, a mixture of similar texture. Much lighter and healthier than deep frying. The lentil-bean-oatmeal mix didn't get terribly firm but after a night in the fridge they did. Still not firm like a burger but they held the muffin shape nicely. I wrapped these and froze them for the future. Upon thawing a batch, I noticed that they retained their shape but as soon as you touched them with a fork they were soft. Still, they tasted great. A great fiber and protein source for a vegetarian wrap. Slather a couple of these "muffins" on a tortilla and dress like you would a burrito. Really tasty.

The other method of cooking was to lightly oil my hands, form patties, lightly dust with breadcrumbs then pan fry in just enough olive oil to moisten the pan. This worked just fine. Again, not as firm as the lentil patties. But so delicious. Hell, you don't have to form shapes or patties at all. You could use it as tortilla filler form the get-go or use like hummus. Get creative. Waste less.

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