This sh!t is bananas

They’re alright in cereal or on a peanut butter sandwich, but traveling in Brazil reminded me of my favorite way to enjoy bananas: pan fried.

South America gets it right by making bananas into a savory side dish.  Steak with a side of fried plantains?  Yes please.

When I was drumming my fingers thinking of ways to make black bean burgers more interesting tonight, I caught sight of the fruit bowl and thought: duh.  Black bean banana burgers!

Well, I won’t lie and say that I came up with a perfect recipe tonight.  My burgers kind of fell apart – more like black bean sloppy joes.  I don’t feel bad about that – it was my first time making a vegetarian burger or any kind and I was totally winging it, so of course it wasn’t perfect.  But the combination of flavors was delightful.  Fried bananas both in the burger mixture and plopped on top provided great banana flavor and texture.

So if you don’t mind slightly sloppy burgers, try…

Today’s EAT: Black Bean Banana Burgers, consisting of a can of black beans; two bananas, sliced and pan fried with a little butter; one cob of fresh corn removed from the cob; a handful of crushed tortilla chips; and cumin, salt and red pepper flakes.  Prep was simple.  I just fried up the bananas, then added half of them to the bowl along with the rest of the ingredients.  Mashed everything together with a potato masher and formed patties.  Fried up the patties, then topped with with sliced avocado and the remaining bananas on a thin bun:

I also made some oven fries with salt and paprika.

Quite a fancy little take on a burger and fries – perfect for watching football and sipping…

Today’s DRINK: Yes, I’m pairing red wine and NFL.  How high-brow!

This El Coto Rioja is nice and smooth and paired well with the flavorful bean burgers.  A $12 pickup from the Fresh Market, I would say it’s a step above my usual bargain-bin TJ’s picks.  Because, hey.  I survived an entire day of attempted stereo assembly (fail – there are wires all over my living room) and couch shopping (fail – we still have no sofa).  I deserve it. 🙂

Somehow I made time for…

Today’s RUN: It was just an easy 4 miles.  I’d hope to do more, but was literally exhausted after running around all day.

Can I be honest with you guys?  I am having some trouble getting back into the swing of running here.  I miss my teammates.  I miss Central Park.  Running alone in a strange city is no fun.  Especially not when I feel like I have ten-thousand things on my to-do list and just feel exhausted from all of it.

Buck up.  I know.  That’s supposed to be one of the beautiful things about running, right?  You can do it anywhere, all you have to do it get out the door and go, yadda yadda.  But I’ve had a really hard time getting excited about it since we left New York.  I haven’t had a good workout in a while.

Oh, and also.  It makes me cringe to admit this, but a very important little training tool, which I just bought a few weeks ago, seems to have gone missing in the move.  Hint: it rhymes with Charmin.  It has to be here somewhere (right?) but with each box I unpack, I become increasingly worried.

I really hope it turns up soon, because running with just a regular watch?  That sh!t is B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

Today’s QUESTION: Got a good black bean burger recipe? I need to tweak mine so that the patties hold together!


27 responses to “This sh!t is bananas

  1. Sorry I don’t have any black-bean burger recipes but I thought I would comment about your “running in a new place” rut. As I told you before I recently moved to Nigeria, from Houston. Houston is no NYC/Central Park but I had been living there long enough to have my favorite running routes and plenty of options. And like you, I haven’t had a really good run since I moved and haven’t been very motivated. My options for running now are pretty depressing- 3 days a week I can run in the compound where we live, it’s a 1.1 km loop, sort of like a lopsided figure-8 track. I’ve been using this for “speedwork” so that the runs aren’t more than 4 miles because it’s like a hamster-wheel sort of feeling going around such a small loop too many times, and it’s not a real track. 4 days a week we are allowed into the compound next door which is a 3.75mi loop, around the biggest path. At first I thought oh that’s a nice big loop- but the scenery gets pretty boring and there are no facilities- which can be troublesome (especially because our diets have changed completely here due to the lack of good, fresh food). Anyways I’m not trying to trump your frustration with running in a new city but just wanted to let you know that I feel your pain and hope that you’ll get into a groove soon in your new city :D.

    • Wow…that sounds really rough. Your frustration totally trumps mine – I don’t know how I would deal with that! Good luck and I think you totally need a blog to share all of this stuff! 🙂

  2. * 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    * 1/3 c. red onion, minced
    * 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
    * 1/2 cup bread crumbs
    * 1/2 t. salt
    * 2 t. cumin
    * 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
    * 1 1/2 t. minced garlic

    This is the recipe that I use for black bean burgers.

    Those fried bananas do look yummy! I might have to give that a try!
    I understand your Garmin crisis! When we moved my Garmin also was MIA. Tuesday my battery was dead and I had to run w/ out it. That was not cool.

    Good luck unpacking. Ugh. Unpacking is dreadful!

  3. I lost my Garmin for four months when I moved, and it drove me crazy as well. Mine was hiding behind a full-length mirror, if that gives you any hope.

    As for your new city…I can understand how you feel with running (and we miss you too!! Wah!!). But I’ll bet black beans to bananas that you will feel better once you find a running groove. Seriously, try to find a group to run with. Even if they are not your future BFF, it will be some motivation to work harder. And I’m pulling for you to clean up in Chi-town. Ferreal.

    • It kind of does give me hope, actually. Either it’s hanging out somewhere totally random and I’ll collapse with joy on the day I stumble across it, or a moving dude somewhere has a fancy new watch. :/

  4. that looks heavenly. i’ve never actually had a black bean burger *hides head in shame* but that looks great

    and i agree with sarah about finding a group to run with. i’m trying to do the same here! too bad we didn’t move to the same city hahah

  5. You blog title cracked me up! And the food looks delish! Sorry you are missing NY. 😦

  6. First off, I have to say that your banana and black bean burger looks like the best thing on Earth. Seriously, that is super creative and I am all over it. Second, running in a new place is tough. I would try and research where the local running groups do their runs — even if you don’t meet up with them it might be you excited about a new route. Or visit MapMyRun to see what the most popular routes are. Good luck finding your Garmin — that sucks!!

  7. I feel your running pain. I just moved from Vancouver (such a great running city like NY) to China (Shanghai, umm worst running city ever) and find it so hard to get out there and put in long or even solid efforts. While in Vancouver running sort of became my life, and it was awesome! People talk about running being an individual sport but really it’s not. Having people to run with especially those that are faster makes such a huge difference. Speed wise and motivation wise. It’s fustrating to think about losing that fitness while away. I’m sure you will find your mojo again, your legs will start itching and I hope you find an awesome running group.

  8. Give it a little time – plus check-out the Great American Tobacco Trail (they host a marathon on it) – there will be plenty of runners/bikers and I’m sure there are running groups who meet there for weekly runs:

    I’ve ran on the Durham portion & it’s pretty nice, and there’s always company on the route!

  9. I think I read somewhere that eating bananas attracts mosquitos…..?

  10. I love fried plantains and bananas in any variety, yum! My burgers always tend to be made of meat of some sort:) I hope you find that garmin and find some good paths and running friends in your new city. Chicago awaits – I know you can be ready for a great run there.

  11. We had the same problem with our black bean burgers. They fall apart too easily and are hard to eat. We never did figure out how to fix that…

  12. The key to keeping that burger together is using a bit of vital wheat gluten. I love this recipe:

    2 cups or 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
    1/2 cup plain whole wheat bread crumbs
    1 teaspoon chile powder
    1/2 teaspoon cumin
    1/4 cup water
    1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
    1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)
    2 cloves garlic
    1/2 small onion
    About 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus olive oil spray
    Whole wheat buns

    Mash the beans with a fork in a mixing bowl. You don’t want to puree them; just get them mashed so that no whole beans are left, but leave some half-beans.

    Add the wheat gluten, bread crumbs, chile powder, cumin, water and tomato paste (and cilantro) but don’t mix yet. Use a microplane grater to grate the garlic in. Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the onion.

    Mix everything together with a fork and then proceed to mix with your hands until the mixture is firm and uniformly mixed (about a minute).

    Preheat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat.

    Divide the burger mixture into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a firm ball. Use your palm to press the ball down on a clean surface to form a patty that is about 1-1/2 inch thick. Press so that the patty is flat on both sides. Make six patties.

    Pour a thin layer of olive oil into the pan. Cook the patties three at a time for 5 minutes on each side, gently but firmly pressing down on them with a spatula. Spray with olive oil before turning them over, for uniform browning. Once cooked, the patties should be very firm when you press down on them.

  13. Ooh that looks so good! What a great, unlikely combo.

    Hope you find the Garmin – too bad you can’t call it like a cell phone and locate it via its ring. I for sure miss you here and wish we could run together! How is the running community in NC? I’m sure there are some runners who would love to run with you 🙂

  14. Forget bucking up. Find the local running association and get in the mix. After joining up NYRR and CPTC, anything else will certainly seem less intimidating … instant network. Get to it.

  15. I love Rachel’s black bean burger restaurant. You can cut back/add more of the basil or cilantro and the burger is still amazing. I think part of the secret is that they’re half puree’d, half whole.

  16. I didn’t want to be obnoxious and link to myself but since you asked — YES, I have your black bean burger recipe.

    Easy to make and one of the best meals ever — huge hit every time I make them!

  17. whoa! this is FABULOUS! was away this weekend and am slackin’ on the google reader and just kind of skipping over people’s posts, but i’m glad i caught this! definitely wanna give this fried banana burger a try…

    my favorite black bean burger is from veganomicon. it’s got some wheat gluten in it, which does wonders for holding these bad boys together. i’m all about it.

  18. We miss you toooo! I think it’s totally normal for your interest in running to ebb – you’ve had a hectic month! But I agree with Elgin – check out the local Raleigh running scene. Just promise not to like them better 🙂

  19. Oh my gosh, no way! I never would have thought to add pan-fried bananas! GENIUS!

  20. Pingback: It Could Be Worse « Crunchy Granola Gal

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