Foods in miniature form are my undoing.
Is it that I never mentally made it out of my pre-school years? Perhaps it was a childhood spent solely playing with Barbie and coveting all those luxurious furnishings for the Barbie Mansion?
Every food I make, I tend to remake in miniature form. Just to ogle and coo over it. Sometimes I stop into Panera to grab a bagel. I ask them to put it through the bread slicer so I have those nifty, little sliced bagel discs. If the bread slicer is broken – forget it. Give me a muffin instead.
I’ve been to several weddings where all they served was heavy appetizers. Part of me was peeved because it’s real hard to have a satisfying dinner when you have to head back to the serving table 8 times to fill up your 3 inch plate. But another part of me was happy to go back and stare at the miniature grilled cheeses perched smartly on the tomato soup shots. And the itty bitty hot dogs! They kinda looked like something straight out of the Barbie mansion. Presh.
So, a few weeks ago, when I was flipping through the pages of my Clean Eating magazine and pretending I eat like an athlete, fueling her body for ultimate performance, and would you lookee there – a recipe for mexican-flavored nutty black bean bites and spicy salsa. Those little bites, actually round balls dredged in bread crumbs and baked until crisp, grabbed a hold of my shirt and demanded to be made. Except that I don’t get down with mexican unless it’s the real deal, made with lard and sweat, smothered in 5 different kinds of cheeses, fried and dusted with sugar (for presentation’s sake).
I did my own take, with mediterranean flavorings and a lemon-basil aioli on the side for dipping. I like to think of them as a spin on falafel, perfectly poppable appetizers or excellent sandwich stuffers. And if you don’t count the lemon-basil aioli I slathered all over these puppies, they’re bringing me one step close to six-pack abs.
(Though I would settle for a 2 pack)
Tuscan Bean Bites with Lemon-Basil Aioli
(Inspired by Nutty Black Bean Bites in Clean Eating Magaine, May 2012)
1 15-once cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 garlic clove
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup tomato, diced
1 tablespoon red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoon lemon juice
6 basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Preheat the oven to 425. Grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a small shallow bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs with the Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Set aside.
Place the beans into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until the beans are in small chunks. Add the pine nuts, garlic clove, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs, olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Process until the mixture is complete pureed.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and combine it with the chopped tomatoes, onion, and basil until the mixture is well blended. With moistened hands, form the mixture into golf-ball sized shapes and then roll them in the crumb mixture, place the dredged bites on the cookie sheet.
Spray the prepared bites with cookie spray and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Serve warm, with lemon-basil aioli.
To make the aioli: In the bowl of a small food processor or a blender, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, basil leaves, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon garlic, and pepper. Puree until the mixture is blended.Pin It