Pumpkin-Black Bean Croquettes with Sautéed Tatsoi and Fresh Orange Sections (or How to Use Up Your Leftovers—Fall Edition)

You’ve trapped, gutted, and cooked your own pumpkin. Good for you! But now you’ve eaten the yellowy orange flesh for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and even baked it into a large batch of cookies. You considered making pumpkin pie, but then realized that crust is not your bag. What to do?

Sitting next to the ex-gourd is another sorry sight. You made a large batch of black bean burritos but, since you never measure, have a few cups of filling left over. Weekday mornings are not the time for heuvos rancheros—the best use for black beans as far as you’re concerned–and the leftovers aren’t calling to you for lunch or dinner. Qué problema!

And then there’s the tatsoi you got at last week’s farmers’ market, a yummy Asian green that isn’t going to stay lush forever.

Just above the tatsoi, an orange that selflessly gave its zest to a batch of scones now looks up at you, pith exposed, asking what will become of it. Do we have a problem? Hai!

What is the answer? A visit from the Leftovers Gourmet!

Whether or not you, dear reader, have these particular ingredients, here’s a couple of recipes that I hope will inspire you to use what needs to be used.

Prepare the croquettes and the bed of greens and orange, then serve together.

Basic Croquettes

(Recipe can be doubled)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup binder like whole wheat or all-purpose flour or quick-cooking oats

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup leftover beans, rice, mashed potato or other raw material

1/2 cup leftover cooked vegetable like pureed squash or chopped spinach

1 egg (to make this vegan, try substituting 2 Tbs. cornstarch mixed with water, 2 Tbs. tahini, or other binding egg substitute)

1 Tbs. olive oil (optional)

Seasoning to taste — sea salt and ground pepper, Adobo seasoning, garlic powder, dried or fresh herbs, etc.

Canola oil for frying

What to do:

Combine the flour or other binder with the baking powder. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the other ingredients, except canola oil. Combine the binder-baking powder mix and the rest of the ingredients. Don’t mix too much or the baking powder will use its pizazz.

Heat about 1/2″ canola oil in a skillet at med-high heat. When a drop of water sizzles in it, drop the croquette batter by large spoonfuls into it. Flatten them into little patties. Alternatively, if the dough/batter is stiff enough, you can form patties by hand.

Keeping the pan at med-high or med heat, fry the croquette patties until golden brown on each side. Place on paper towels to drain.

Serve with horseradish mustard, ketchup, or other condiment of choice. Or make a patty the base of a Reuben-style sandwich by topping it with Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and cheese and then broiling until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sautéed Tatsoi with orange sections

Ingredients:

2 heads tatsoi or other green

2 tsp. canola or olive oil

1 orange

Dressing of choice

What to do:

Wash the tatsoi or green and cut off any tough stems. If the leaves are large, like in the case of collards, cut into bite-sized pieces.

Heat oil in a skillet on med-high. Add green and stir often, cooking until the green is tender but not mushy or burned.

Meanwhile, section your orange. If you’ve never done this before, check out this video. (He gets to the sectioning around 1:50) or follow these instructions: Slice off the top and bottom of the orange so it will sit flat on your cutting board. Slice off the peel and pith until you get down to the naked orange. Using a paring knife, slice between the membranes to free the sections of orange.I f you’re using a large orange, but the sections in half.

To create the bed of greens with orange sections, spread the cooked greens on individuals plates, scatter the orange sections on top, and drizzle with dressing of choice.

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