Sometimes, accidents happen.
But if you get really lucky, something good will come out out of it.
And according to my Pa, I’m one of the luckiest people he knows, so there you go.
The other day, shortly after I returned from home leave, I was in the kitchen making dinner. I had a brilliant idea that would not only be delicious, but also use up a languishing ingredient in my refrigerator. But who knew that phyllo dough does not in fact last 6 months in your fridge??? Well folks, it doesn’t. I’m not even sure it lasts 2, it was that far gone.
I stood there contemplating. I wanted to put dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes, and so far all I had going was some local squash roasting in the oven. I searched the fridge for something non-moldy. Lo and behold, I came upon the black rice that I had cooked the night before. It had been our first experience with black rice; I wanted to try it for its nutritional benefits.
Higher in protein and fiber than brown rice or red rice, it also boasts the powerful anti-oxidant anthocyanin. This phytochemical is what gives black rice its rich black/purple hue and helps protect against cancer and heart disease. And did I ever mention that purple is my favourite colour? But I think my kids found the dark purple colour off-putting for their first experience with this rice, and I had a lot left over. I loved its chewy texture and nutty flavour, though, and reckoned it would make the perfect pattie. My quick dinner solution! I used flax egg & coconut flour to bind it, and cumin/chili powder/coriander for flavour. They came together really fast, and we were eating within half an hour.
It was a pretty successful dinner! But I still felt like something was missing… and that something was sauce for the burgers. I think we ate them with bottled salsa that night, and it was fine. But then I wanted something that would be the ideal complement to the colour, flavour, and texture of the burgers, and came up with this: cilantro-chili cashew cream.
It’s based on my regular recipe for cashew cream (soaked cashews blended with a little tahini and lemon juice) with a huge handful of cilantro leaves and stems, and 2 mild green chilies. Yes!! I knew the second I tasted it that this was gonna be it. It made me wanna just eat it with a spoon! It’s not only a beautiful colour, but its creaminess is a perfect foil to the hearty nuttiness of the rice & pecans, and its piquant flavour pops the cumin/chili of the burgs. It just works.
This recipe is both vegan and gluten-free, although you can use eggs instead of flax meal if you are not vegan. Be warned- the mixture is fairly sticky, and when you’re making the patties, just focus on that and don’t try to answer your phone or send any texts.
Because sometimes mistakes turn out great… and sometimes you end up with rice in your hair.