Boo-Ya… Black Bean Burgers and Thanks-Giving

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Well it’s that time of the year again when we are thinking about feasting with family and friends. I just love this time of Thanksgiving. We have a wonderful opportunity to take a moment with those we love dearly to reflect on what we are thankful for in our lives. For some of us it is a large task as we may have faced life challenges that were not only beyond our control but beyond our capacity to endure. The Art of Thanksgiving is for us to dig deep into our hearts and find something that brought us joy…inspired us in some way and will remain tucked neatly in our soul for eternity. I am thankful for the family and friends I have been blessed with!

So this week has just flown by and today my darling Hannah arrives from California. Furniture has been rearranged and the menu for our family Thanksgiving is in the works. This year will bring some changes at our Thanksgiving table but many of the favorites from years past. After all Thanksgiving has a tradition attached to it so we come together with the expectation of seeing and experiencing those dishes. We are very blessed to be able to come together to share our meal. I am ever aware of my blessings and grateful always! Along with food changes there will be some family members absent at the table and they will be sorely missed. To mom and brother, John feast on up there in heaven and be with us as you are able.

One of the dishes I plan to add to our feast is my new favorite Boo-Ya Black Bean Burgers! They are simply delightful with a bit of secret sauce (recipe will appear in the secret sauces post at a later date) on top oh my.

So simple to make here is my recipe but you can make adjustments to taste.

1 ½ cup organic black turtle beans – washed and soaked overnight

1 cup cooked organic millet and corn – see millet post for directions

¼ cup organic whole wheat pastry flour

1 organic sweet onion finely chopped

2 large organic carrots finely chopped

2 stalks organic celery finely chopped

½ cup finely chopped fresh organic parsley

Organic Olive oil

  • Cook beans with 2inch piece of soaked kombu in just enough water to cover for approximately 45 minutes or until soft. Check the beans as they cook and add water if needed to prevent sticking on bottom of pot.
  • Cook millet and corn as directed (see previous post)
  • Chop carrots, celery and onions and sauté in 1 tblsp. olive oil until soft.
  • Mash cooked beans with potato masher until about half the beans are mashed. I like to leave some beans for texture and appearance.
  • Add the millet, vegetables and mix well.
  • Sprinkle the pastry flour over mixture and blend in thoroughly.
  • Form bean paste into patties and cook on medium heat in enough olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • Turn burgers after approximately 5 minutes (or when brown but not burned).

I use my spatula to continuously shape the bean paste into patties. The millet and flour are nice binding agents and add flavor. Keep patties warm in oven until all are cooked. Top with pumpkin seed sauce or tofu cream…yummy!

Kira and I hope you all have a most joyous Thanksgiving. Be well!

Homemade Amasake

I could start this post with so many topics. The Presidential election this week could be one or the fact that some folks in New York and New Jersey are still without power after epic storm Sandy. I could share the progress I’m making in redesigning my kitchen…well not that one since each time I go back to the online design center I’m using the first floor of my house has been redone and I can no longer get to the upstairs. Clearly I need to get help on this remodel! You have likely heard enough about the other two topics so how about we change things up a bit.

I think the one topic I’m feeling pretty happy about is FOOD…good organic whole food in particular. Some of you might think that’s no fun. You may want sweet or comfort foods and don’t really care about healthy. Well what if you could have both? Seriously, I think I can share a dish that is really sweet and also healthy. It is made with just 3 ingredients and everyone can make it…it’s that easy. What… you ask is this dish? Amasake… I just love the name of this delightful dessert “Amasake” it has a musical ring to it. Try singing it to the tune of Fara Shaka and you’ll see what I mean. Amasake requires several hours to ferment so plan an afternoon or evening when you can be available to check on your process.

Homemade Amasake

4 cups organic sweet brown rice

6 cups spring water

½ cup Koji (we will talk a bit more about Koji promise)

1)      Wash the rice and soak it in the water overnight.

2)      Place rice and soaking water in a pressure cooker and bring the pot to pressure. You can do this in a regular pot as well just watch the rice closely to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Once the pressure cooker has reached pressure reduce the heat and cook for 45 minutes.

3)      Remove from heat and allow pot to sit until the pressure is reduced naturally. Remove the lid and place the rice in a glass or stainless steel bowl.

4)      When the rice has cooled to a little warmer than body temperature mix the Koji into the rice.

5)      Put approximately 1 inch of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.

6)      Place the bowl of Sweet Rice and Koji into the larger simmering pot. Cover the bowl with a plate or lid. Allow the rice mixture to ferment in this warm environment for 4-6 hours. Check periodically and mix so the temperature is keep fairly even throughout the rice.

7)      Once the rice has become sufficiently fermented and has become very sweet, place the Amasake in a pot and bring it to a boil to prevent any further fermentation. If the Amasake continued to ferment it would turn sour.

8)      After the Amasake comes to a full rolling boil remove it from the heat to prevent burning. If you would like a smooth consistency place the Amasake in a blender and puree it.

9)      You and eat it plain or add fruit puree/juice to flavor it further. Amasake will keep for 6-10 days in the refrigerator. It also freezes well.

So there you have it…clean, simple and sweet!

Peace and Happy Cooking!

Here’s a photo of Amasake Plum Pudding with blanched almond and black sesame seed flower.  Photo taken by Marty…thank you Marty we love you!

Amasake Plum Pudding

Miso Happy

Some of you more seasoned bloggers may see that I am a novice in the blogosphere. An example of just how much a novice follows: I just spent the last 2 hours trying to post a picture and video about my trip to South River Miso in Conway Massachusetts. The photo I took was upside down the video had a 2 minute advertisement for a new improved diet pill…I hope these things didn’t actually make it onto my blog but if I inadvertently posted them please pass them by…ignore them as I found something better to share! I found this delightful video link that stars Christian Elwel the owner operator of South River Miso.

I was among a handful of students from The Kushi Institute who had the good fortune of spending a Saturday with Christian and his wife. He has a wealth of miso making knowledge and is very happy to share his wisdom. He and his wife invited us into their miso haven providing a tour, sampling of many varieties of miso and wonderful stories of how they came to be the fine miso crafters they are.

Their property is in a beautiful country setting and one has a sense that they created every single garden, building, stone walkway, pond and sculpture with great thought and care. Everything seems to flow into the next with ease and I found myself so relaxed sitting near the frog pond watching the abundance of aquatic life. The tour was equally enjoyable giving me a sense of stepping back in time to the early craft of miso making. As a California girl I was struck by the similarities to fine wine winemaking that takes place in many regions of my home state. I found the day to be inspiring in that it helped me think about all the healthful qualities in miso while observing and learning about the process. I was also delighted to hear about the love and care that goes into its creation!

With all this said, I promised that I would share the recipe for miso soup in my next post…being a woman of my word I shall do so. Miso is a staple of Japanese diet and is also enjoyed by folks who are macrobiotic or simply enjoy healthy eating. As Christian said it has many active microorganisms and vital enzymes that aid digestion. Miso also helps to discharge toxins from the body. It is high in protein, calcium, iron and vitamin B. I will offer a basic miso soup recipe that can be eaten daily at breakfast to set your body in a proper state for the day.


3 cups water

2” wakame-soaked and cut into small pieces

2 dried shiitake mushrooms-soaked and slice thinly

½ cup daikon-cut into thin half moons

1 ½ tsp – 1 Tblsp 2yr. barley miso

1 Tblsp minced fresh parsley or thinly sliced scallion for garnish

Add the wakame, shiitake and the soaking water to 3 cups water and slowly bring to a boil. Add the daikon, cover the pot, reduce flame to low and simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Dilute miso in a little broth before adding to soup stock. Add to pot and continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes on low flame. Once miso is added do not boil just let it simmer.

Serve in bowls with either parsley or scallion garnish.

Before indulging in your miso soup, take a moment to sit quietly and set your intention for the day. It does not need to be earth shattering. Merely offer gratitude and at be at peace.

Until next time