Thursday, October 18, 2012

Failed Quinoa Cakes.. Quinoa Pile

For those that don't know me, Thursday is my busy day. It's a day that I normally am busy from about 7:30 am to 10:00 pm. I hate blogging on Thursday because of this. I also don't want to cook or really do anything in my spare time. I want to sit at home and watch bad television and hope that Friday comes soon.

Usually I get take out on Thursdays and if I am really planning ahead, I might make something on Wednesday and have left overs handy. Today I did neither. I decided just because I am busy most of the day is not really a good excuse for being lazy. However, trying to find something that is easy to make, filling and doesn't make a huge mess is not easy.

I have no idea where the idea came from, but I decided I want to make a vegan version of a fish cake.. Not mimcking at all in flavour, more just the concept. I had quinoa on hand and cooked and figured that could be my platform to make something. Now that I have tried this, the binding with wheat gluten did not work. Very surprising to me. I am out of quinoa, but will attempt this again to see if I can figure out how to make them bind properly. However, I had to post this... frying quinoa is amazing.

Quinoa Cakes... Pile
* Serves 3-4 about 20 min to make, 40 if you don't have cooked quinoa

  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 green onion, choppped
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp basil, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 vegan cheese (or cheese sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp Ketchup (or tomato paste)
  • 1 Tbsp wheat gluten
If you haven't already, cook your quinoa to package instructions. If you can, use vegetable broth instead of water.

Set the quinoa aside and chop up your vegetables. In a pan over medium heat, add some olive oil. Once hot, add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until veggies are soft. Add this to a large bowl with all the remaining ingredients, adding the wheat gluten last. Stir until combined and then kneed a few times with your hands. If it is not sticking together, add a table spoon of water.

Now, to cook these, use the same pan you cooked the vegetables in and heat a little more oil (about 1 Tbsp). Take about 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture and roll into a ball. Add it to the pan and flatten with a spatula. Cook them about 3-4 min a side, but watch them close. You want them to be a nice golden brown. So, it was obvious after one side cooked that these were just not staying together well. In the end I cooked them like a cake, but then  plated it like a grain. The crunchiness from frying them was awesome. 

Serve with a vegan Aioli:
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 tsp oil (olive is what I used, but use whatever you have.)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1/8 - 1/4 siracha sauce
  • pinch of salt
If you happen to have roasted garlic, use it. If not, it's OK  Get out your mortar and pestle and mash the garlic until it\s a paste. Add it and all the ingredients into a bowl and use a whisk to mix. If you are not wanting it too spicy, add everything except for the siracha. Then add little by little to get desired spiciness. If you don't have a motar and pestle, you could use garlic powder instead... or just mince it super fine. When serving, add a little extra dill on top for garnish.. or if you're like me and have fennel leaves from a soup you made this week, you can garnish with that.

When I first moved out, one of the first recipes I attempted on my own outside of baking was a tuna cake. It was my way of trying to learn to like canned tuna. It didn't really work obviously... however, I remember loving the idea of it. These can be a great appetizer or a nice quick dinner. If making it a dinner, maybe go the extra step and have a small salad with it. Nice to have colour on the plate. Also aioli makes a fantastic salad dressing.

I will definitely re-do this recipe and see if I can figure out how to get them to stay together a little better... until then, please let me know if you try this and figure it out! Either way, the taste of the quinoa and aioli was amazing. 

Pictures to come tomorrow.

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