Thanks to The Washington Post’s “Recipe Finder” recently, I learned about the Arcadia Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system in the Washington, DC, area. It encompasses four programs designed to educate and engage the community, foster environmental stewardship and enhance access to healthy foods in underserved neighborhoods:
- a four-acre demonstration farm and educational children’s garden;
- a 28-foot mobile farm stand that distributes local, sustainably grown foods;
- a food hub to help get healthier local foods into school meals and to low-income communities, restaurants, nonprofits and other organizations; and
- a farm to school program that provides hands-on learning opportunities to schoolchildren.
The newest project of the center is The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook, a 100-page collection of recipes that combine seasonal produce with staples distributed via the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The first printing of the cookbook sold out; copies in a second printing will begin shipping in early April. (You can order a copy online for $20 plus $5.60 shipping.)
“My hope is that this book – whether you are a WIC mom, a person battling a nutrition-related health condition or an enthusiastic cook looking for fresh inspiration – will get you out to the farmers market and into your kitchen, all year long,” says author JuJu Harris says on Arcadia’s website.
As this mercilessly interminable winter continues to torture us in much of the Midwest, I can’t think of anything I’d like to do more right now than stroll through one of central Iowa’s wonderful farmers’ markets. Since that isn’t an option, at least I can toss together this recipe from the cookbook that features easily available, low-cost, healthy ingredients.
Spicy black bean patties
From The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook
- 1 medium onion
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 large sweet potato
- 28 to 29 ounces canned, no-salt-added black beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs or panko
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cut the onion in half, then into very thin slices. Mince the garlic or run it through a garlic press. Peel the sweet potato, then use the large-holed side of a box grater to grate it; the yield should be 2 cups.
Drain and rinse the black beans, then place them in a mixing bowl.
Position the top oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then grease it lightly with cooking oil spray.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and stir to coat; cook for about 1 minute, then stir in the garlic, hot sauce and cumin. Cook, stirring for about 30 seconds, then remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of black beans. Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to mash most of the beans and blend in the onion mixture.
Lightly beat the eggs, then add them to the bowl, along with the sweet potato and bread crumbs. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Use clean hands to divide the mixture into 8 equal balls, then flatten the balls into patties, arranging them on the baking sheet spaced about 1/2 inch apart as you work. Broil for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisped and golden brown; use a thin metal spatula to turn them over, then broil for 2 to 3 minutes on the second side. Serve hot.
Nutritional info per patty: calories, 180; total fat, 4g; saturated fat, 1g; cholesterol, 55mg; sodium, 150mg; total carbohydrates, 28g; dietary fiber, 6g; sugar, 3g; protein, 9g