Saturday, February 7, 2015

Quinoa Cakes

Every now and then, I get behind in my posts but I have a good excuse this time — I started a new job and, HOORAY, it’s in Philadelphia.  So no more driving 40 miles a day….I can relax and let SEPTA Regional Rail escort me to my new destination.  Regardless, my tardy tales are a problem because sometimes that’s how we remember whose turn it is to cook next…our hosting rotation in is alphabetical order.

That’s easy enough, right? 

And, as you have read before, we all know what we bring to each host’s house.  When we are at A.’s house, I bring wine.  This time I brought a bottle of Roadside Red (mainly because I like the image of the rooster on the label), a varietal blend loaded with layers of violets, black currant, blueberry and spice (at least that’s what the label says).  Wine Enthusiast rated this wine with 88 points saying "... a great bargain.  You'll be pleasantly surprised by the lush red fruit, spice, mocha, and anise flavors and how easy this wine is to like."  So if you looking for a nice, inexpensive bottle of red with a playful label, give this one a try!

Last Wednesday, A. made Quinoa Cakes and when I asked her to send me the recipe, she said, in her typical foodie fashion, “I pretty much made it up!”  I was not surprised….I like to watch her in action because I learn so much from her casual and confident cooking style.  I usually follow a recipe but I am getting better at looking at the ingredients and knowing what would substitute nicely.  

I could not just whip something up.  At least nothing edible.

Anyway, like barley, buckwheat and bulgar, quinoa is a healthy alternative to other small pastas such as couscous and risotto.  It’s actually the seed of a beet relative and has an earthy, nutty flavor.  Quinoa comes in a variety of colors, but the red, black and white are the most common.  Packed with amino acids, fiber and iron, quinoa is cooked just like rice — a cup of grain to two cups of water, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes — and happily accepts a panoply of other ingredients for a tasty and healthy side dish.  Toss in some pine nuts, parmesan cheese, basil and bell pepper and, abracadabra, you got yourself a side!

Quinoa Cakes
3 cups of cooked quinoa
2 eggs
1 cup frozen corn
3 scallions, diced
3/4 cup of cheese (A. used fontina but any cheese will do)
Salt, pepper to taste
Paprika to taste and for a bit of color
Cilantro for garnish

Mix everything and form into patties - you should get about ten. If the patties feel a little wet, mix in some flour to stiffen them up a bit.  Heat canola oil in a pan and fry each patty until golden.  Serve with avocado cream.  Sprinkle on some cilantro.

Avocado Cream
2 avocados, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonaise
Juice of one lime
Add all ingredients to a cuisinart or blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

For dessert, C. made a delicious and beautiful crustless Goat Cheese Cheesecake and here is the link to the recipe.  She didn't have enough goat cheese so she substituted some ricotta cheese.....improvising at it's best!

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