L'il Lemon, L'il Love, Lotsa Healthy

Okay, I know you didn't ask for healthy but if you want to splurge with an occasional pat of butter and ice cream and pastries, ya gotta take a few preventative measures.  This new super food is making headlines so I experimented with some recipes and combined some ideas from online recipes and Voila!   Quinoa Cakes with  a l'il Lemon, l'il Olive, and l'il Parsley

These particular l'il parcels pack a potent punch. Salty olive, tart lemon, bright parsley. And quinoa, pronounced "Keen Wah," which, if you haven’t tried it yet, is all kinds of awesome. It’s a super grain, protein packed and slightly crunchy, with a delightfully nutty flavor. And did I mention healthy? But Yum!

Most people think of us Texans as "meat and potato" types, (which we are) but lately we've been eating a few meals a week like this. Part grain or egg, part flavorful mix-in, and probably meant to be served as an appetizer but we eat it as our main dish anyway. At least if I cook.  When Mark does the honors, as he's doing more and more these days, meat and potatoes are the meal of choice.

Yield: about 1 dozen cakes                                                                                             Ingredients:
Raw Quinoa

1 1/2 cups raw quinoa
2 1/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, beaten
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup coarsely chopped green or kalamata olives (can substitute capers)
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup panko bread crumbs (the panko's make a great crunch-look for them in the oriental section of your grocery store)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon olive oil

Place dry quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cool water for a few minutes.

Place quinoa, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Cover, decrease the heat, and simmer for about 25 t0 30 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender but still has a bit of crunch left. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. You’ll need 3 cups of cooked quinoa for the recipe.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together onion, garlic, cheese, olives, parsley, lemon zest, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and cooled quinoa. Add eggs and stir until quinoa is evenly moistened. Add water to thoroughly moisten mixture. Quinoa should be slightly wet so it doesn’t dry out during cooking.

Scoop out mixture by the 2 tablespoonful. Use wet hands to form into a patty. I also experimented with balls but they don't hold their shape as well.  Even with my patties they ended up shaped like the state of Texas.

In a large skillet over medium low heat, heat olive oil. Add as many patties as you can fit without overloading. You’ll need a bit of room to flip them over.

Cook on each side until beautifully browned, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Medium-low heat helps insides cook at an even pace. Remove browned cakes to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with remaining quinoa mixture.

Quinoa mixture will keep, uncooked and covered in the refrigerator for a few days. Just prior to serving, cook as directed and serve hot.

These are great on a bed of spinach salad or with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

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