I’m getting into a phase in which I’m, like, herb-obsessed. For a while I strayed away from all things stemmy, mostly because I was born sans-green thumb and they make me feel morally inferior. I know “morally” is a stretch, because I can’t recall the last time I saw basil give back to the community, and I don’t think that’s even expected of the greater herb population. In any event, it took me years to discover salt and pepper, and so naturally basil, thyme and rosemary took longer to pique my interest.
Though I can get away with the casual purchase of fresh basil or cilantro, I scare too easily to step out of that comfort zone. In the name of penny pinching and unspoiled herbs, I’ve decided to start small with the dried herbs at my disposal.
I bought these adorable mini pumpkins at TJ’s to break the seal:
Cue the six month obsession. For my first pumpkin-fueled recipe of the season, I decided to make black bean and pumpkin burgers with oven baked fries. Though I looked up a few recipes for inspiration, the end result was original(ish).
It started easy, with a can of black beans which I rinsed and drained and tossed in a food processor. DONE. Then came the pumpkin cutting, which, though I was armed with a super sharp knife (I have battle scars), was pretty damn unpleasant. Pumpkins, like, don’t want you inside. Luckily I’m stubborn, so I stuck with it until I separated all the innards (minus the seedy parts) from both mini-pumpkins. After that 20 minute ordeal, I added the pumpkins to the processor as well. I diced a red pepper for the mix, and then added about a teaspoon of chili powder, maybe 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, salt, pepper, one egg and a couple cups of bread crumbs. I blended until they were sculpt-worthy, and got to pan frying.
I heated a few tbsp of vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat and formed my mix into patties. Each patty took about 4-5 minutes on each side until they got black-ish, so on the side I started on my fries.
I had a few fingerlings left from my reduction, so I cut them into fry-like spears and tossed them in olive oil. I added some salt, pepper, and some cumin, which rarely gets any action from me. I haven’t been able to figure out why, though, because it’s no stranger to Indian and Mexican cuisines, and I enjoy both very much. I tossed them all in the toaster oven at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. If I had foresight, I would have made them during my pumpkin gutting. Foresight is not my forte.
I toasted a kaiser roll and served one patty on it, not realizing how the monstrous roll would dwarf my hard work and make it look insignificant. I added some amazing deli mustard to the top along with a handful of arugula, and served it all alongside my fries. It was SO good, and for once I have proof. My roommate had one and backed up my claim! And it was pretty, too. See below: