Funny how the weather is. Last year at this time it was in the low 80’s. This week, in the 20’s and 30’s. The garden is still drab and frozen, so while thoughts have turned to spring, the weather has yet to.

I am really looking forward to the cooler salads of  summer,  but for now I still want something warm on the plate. Taking advantage of the current craze for quinoa, plus the addition of home grown food (the shallots, garlic, and pickled pepper) this recipe doesn’t require a special trip to the store unless you don’t have quinoa in the pantry, in which case you could experiment with other grains or maybe couscous.

My first attempt was a miserable failure, the mixture was far too loose to form into cakes, let alone roll in panko crumbs. Even when I added the crumbs as a binder, it was still too loose. So I popped the mixture into the freezer for 15 minutes. That did the trick!

These cakes are crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside. Serve two cakes as an appetizer – a stack as an entree.

Cheesy Quinoa Cakes

Makes about a dozen cakes

INGREDIENTS

2 cups (500 ml) cooled cooked quinoa
1 egg lightly beaten
2-3 oz (50-75 g) goat cheese in little pieces – room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced celery
1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced shallot – you could use onion
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced sweet pepper
Small pinch of salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon (.5 – 1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) panko crumbs (or regular breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) plus 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil

Small tossed salad

METHOD
  1. In small saute pan, heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) oil over medium high heat until hot
  2. Add celery, shallot, garlic and sweet peppers and small pinch of salt
  3. Reduce heat to medium, and sweat the vegetables, stirring often until soft and fragrant – about 3 minutes – don’t burn the garlic
  4. Remove vegetables from heat and allow to cool to room temperature
  5. In a small bowl, gently combine cooked quinoa, cooled vegetables, goat cheese, pepper and one beaten egg – do not mix vigorously or the quinoa may turn to mush.
  6. Add the bread crumbs and gently mix again
  7. Put mixture into the freezer for 15 minutes
  8. Remove mixture from freezer and form into balls – about 1.5 inches (3 cm) in diameter
  9. Heat two tablespoons oil in skillet over medium high heat
  10. Place quinoa cheese balls into pan and press down lightly to form a patty
  11. Cook until golden brown. Turn carefully and brown second side
  12. Repeat with remaining mixture, you may need to add more oil

Serve over a small salad.

CQC Par

It’s not spring, but she’s coming. And I can’t wait!

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging.

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