Dark Days Challenge Week 4

Between finishing up the pre-Christmas things and wrapping up work (I’m on vacation Dec. 23 to Jan 2…wahoo!), this week has been all about my early Christmas present:
The kitchen partner and I have saved for a new computer since early May, religiously putting aside a chunk of our paychecks and any extra spending cash. It’s pretty amazing compared to my tiny work-issued MacBook I have tried to run a blog from. I now have Photoshop and Dreamweaver, tools all the cool kids in the blogging world have. Can I please be in the club now?

Yeah, right.

It was only after installing them that I realized I have no #*&#% clue how to use any of the CS software. Oops. So much for my technical fortitude. I humbly made my way to the public library yesterday in hopes to make this a self-taught adventure. Looking forward to a hefty shelf of how-to books during my time off. If all goes well, Minnesota Locavore will have a new look for 2012. Be sure to post your comments if there’s something you’d like to see added.

Ever have “there’s-new-technology-in-the-house” mania? I’ve been like a kid in a candy store since it came home on Friday. But it sadly means I haven’t been a kid in the kitchen either. I almost posted leftovers for the Dark Days Challenge meal this week until the kitchen partner volunteered to make black bean burgers for me. After cruising through the Week 3 Recap post, we agreed it’d be a nice contrast with some of the other recipes.

We’ve been tinkering with veggie-based burgers since we got married and spotted the recipe in our Betty Crocker Bridal Edition. We prefer the taste and sustainability over beef and often toss in what we have from the garden. I almost always choose the veggie option when we’re out for hamburgers with friends (I have a strange phobia of eating meat I didn’t cook myself). These black bean burgers are as good as any I’ve had.

For the Dark Days Challenge, the kitchen partner used dried black beans from Whole Grain Milling in Welcome, MN, local eggs and homemade bread crumbs. For toppings, we had fresh lettuce from Living Water Gardens in Wells, MN and rhubarb ketchup I canned this summer. It may have been thrown together last-minute but it still met the week’s challenge!

Black Bean Burgers 

Adapted from Betty Crocker (Bridal Edition)


2 C. dried black beans, rinsed and sorted
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 C. plain dry bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. sunflower oil
Local toppings (tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, ketchup, etc.)

1. Place beans in a large bowl, cover with water and soak at least 6 hours. Rinse and discard water. Place beans in a large pot and add water until beans are covered by about 1″. Bring pot to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 50-60 minutes or until beans are tender. This step can be done in advance and beans can be stored covered in the refrigerator for several days before using. You can also use 1, 15 oz. can of black beans in place of dried, however the flavor (and local-ness) will suffer.

2. When beans are tender, remove from heat and drain. Place beans in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3-4 times or until beans are roughly mashed. It should hold together as a paste, but still have larger chunks of beans visible (do not purée).

3. Remove from food processor and place in a large bowl. Add in remaining ingredients except oil and toppings and stir until well blended. Using your hands, shape in the 6 patties (mixture will be sticky, but should hold its shape when placed on a plate).

4. Heat oil in a skillet or electric griddle. Cook burgers 8-12 minutes on each side, turning over when patty just begins to brown. Burger is done cooking when reaches an internal temperature of at least 160° F (to ensure egg is fully cooked). Remove from heat and add local toppings.


  • Brianna

    1. I just got a new phone and am in tech overdrive. I’ve never thought I could love a machine, but I think it has happened.
    2. I have never thought about making my own bread crumbs! Genius. Do you have a favorite recipe?
    3. Prepare yourself for a dumb question. You mention the farms/businesses that your products come from – do you mostly buy these at farmer’s markets and co-ops, or do you actually shop there?

    • Amy.Sippl

      1. ha! I’m not the only one with tech overdrive! Love it!
      2. Breadcrumbs are REALLY simple to make. I don’t have a specific recipe, but it’s pretty similar to the “toasted” instructions here:
      3. Not a dumb question. Probably one that I should write more about! I mostly buy the products on the blog from farmers’ markets and the Twin Cities Co-ops. (Mississippi Market, Lakewinds, etc.) I am able to find more and more local products at Kowalski’s and Whole Foods Markets in the Metro, but that’s hit or miss. If I happen to buy directly from the farmer, I typically write about it since they end up being extra-special items!

      Thanks for your great questions!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.