Entice the family by turning quinoa into ooh-la-laby josie a.g. shapiro
She is 4, and has drawn her line firmly about eating anything that used to be an animal, so I have been tricking her. Fish sticks are fairy-wands. Salmon is Pinkity Pink Delight. Brisket is brisket.
But I think it is time that I slow down and listen to that kid. If she really has a thing about not eating animals, I suppose I could honor it. After all, we live in the Bay Area, where being vegetarian brings with it a slew of delightful culinary options. And let’s face it, when you go meatless, cooking kosher becomes even easier.
This week I’m bringing quinoa, aka polka dot pasta, into the family fold. Trying new things — it’s 80 percent branding. And in these recipes, it’s also 100 percent sophisticated.
Butternut Squash and Tarragon Quinoa Cakes
Yield 20 cakes
1 1/4 cups quinoa
2 cups butternut squash, peeled, diced small (no bigger than 1/2-inch-square)
2 1/4 cups water
2 tsp. kosher sea salt, divided
1 Tbs. olive oil
5 large eggs
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 pinch clove
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 Tbs. fresh tarragon leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup panko crumbs
4-6 Tbs. olive oil for pan-frying
Combine quinoa, butternut squash, water, 1 tsp. salt (reserve remaining 1 tsp. salt) and olive oil in a 2-quart pot. Bring to a boil. Cover, decrease heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes or until all water is absorbed and the tiny little tail of the quinoa pops out. Cool quinoa to room temperature.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with remaining 1 tsp. salt, brown sugar, nutmeg and clove. Add chopped green onions and tarragon. Stir in the quinoa and fold gently until completely incorporated. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture.
Heat 2 Tbs. oil in a large (12 inches at least), heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Form mixture into 1/4 cup loose balls. Add 6-8 quinoa balls to the hot oil, being careful not to crowd pan. Keep heat on medium-low or low, cover pan, and cook cakes 4-5 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown. Adjust heat to prevent burning but to ensure cakes turn golden. Carefully flip and cook the second sides for 4-5 minutes, covered, until golden. Keep cooking in batches, adding oil in between. Serve with a giant salad tossed with a sherry-vinegar dressing. If you are feeling fancy, you can also serve with chipotle-flavored sour cream or mango salsa.
Fresh Herb Quinoa with Honey-Lime Dressing*
Serves 4-6 (side dish)
2 cups quinoa, prewashed or rinsed well
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp. honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup currants
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 Tbs. chopped green onions
1/4 cup green pumpkin seeds, toasted
Cook quinoa with salt according to package directions. Fluff with a fork.
Combine cumin, lime juice, garlic, honey, olive oil and plenty of fresh black pepper in a jar. Shake. Add currants and soak at least 10 minutes.
Add currants and dressing to warm quinoa. Cool to room temperature. Add parsley, mint and green onions to quinoa. Mix. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.
*Finalist recipe in the Alter Eco Quinoa Contest— won quinoa for a year. Hence massive quinoa experimentation in kitchen.
Josie A.G. Shapiro won the 2013 Man-O Manischewitz Cook-Off, is the co-author of “The Lazy Gourmet” and works at the JCC of San Francisco. Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Her website is http://www.thechickencontests.com.
Be the first to comment!