Quinoa Cakes

Quinoa, a grain or seed? You decide. I won’t get into that. Should you eat it? YES!!!
It’s so versatile and easy to cook. From sweet to savoury, on its own or added to vegetables, a little goes a long way. So here is one of my fav’s.
My family loves these Quinoa cakes and I’m sure you will as well😉. These remind me of summer 2014☺️so bear with me, not bare with me😇these little cakes make me happy😄

Preparation/Cook time about a hour Makes 15 1/4cup size cakes

INGREDIENTS
5 +1/2 cups (cooked )quinoa as per package instructions ~2 cups dry
3/4 cups finely chopped shallots(or onions)
1/4 cup more or less😐Olive oil-(or try Coconut oil)
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes( I like mine pulverized😊
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup homemade fresh breadcrumbs*
4 eggs beaten
1/4 c finely chopped parsley(in summer I prefer fresh chives which are so easy to grow😎

*to make fresh breadcrumbs cut a fresh loaf of italian bread into pieces small enough to fit into a VITAMIX or other blender. Process until they are crumbs. Voila😊

TOOLS

large non-stick skillet
Spatula
Ice cream scoop 1/4 liquid measure

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PREPARATION

Sauté shallots in 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil with a pinch of salt and hot pepper flakes. Cook on medium heat until tender and set aside to cool.
Measure out the cooked and cooled quinoa, place in a large bowl. Add cooled shallots or onions.
Beat 4 eggs with 1/2 cup water, add Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley.
Add the latter to the quinoa. Combine until blended. Let stand about 10 minutes.
On medium high heat add 1 tbsp oil in skillet. Measure out a level scoop full of quinoa into skillet. I cook about 5 per turn in my skillet. Make certain to leave some space between the cakes.

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Now this is where things get pernickety 😁so hang in there with me.
After a few minutes of cooking, use the back of your spatula to ever to slightly press the cakes down to form patties. Continue searing for another 3 minutes.
5-6 minutes total per side. Patience😯 now gently turn each one over and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until they are nicely golden. You may need to coax the runaway quinoa back to their pod😅I mean patty.

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They will be crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Eat them cooled or warm. We like a little spicy aioli with ours😍Place them on a platter for summer bbq’s, or store them in an airtight container once cooled and take a few for lunch.
This is a basic recipe. Add in whatever you wish. I prefer mine simple.
Try them out. Let me know how it went.
Love to hear from you. Be kind😘

Cauliflower stands up

Cauliflower, part of the cabbage family is coming into season.
So, what do you do with this head of cauliflower?
It’s a blank slate and is screaming for help, so here’s one way you can help it along.

Curry sesame cauliflower rice

INGREDIENTS:

1 small to medium head cauliflower
3-4 tbsp virgin organic coconut oil, ghee or organic butter
2-3 tbsp organic sesame seeds
1 tsp crushed(powdered) hot pepper (or cayenne)
2 tsp curry powder
Sea salt to taste
Gluten-free curry powder
PREPARATION:

Remove any brown spots from the cauliflower. Grate the entire cauliflower using the largest holes in your grater.
In a large non-stick skillet, at medium high heat, melt your virgin organic coconut oil, ghee or organic butter, add sesame seeds, and spices and cook 20 seconds. Add grated cauliflower and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes. Careful not to overcook the cauliflower. Sprinkle with desired salt and serve hot.

Curried sesame cauliflower rice

What does your breakfast look like?

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This is one of my favourite ways to start my day.
3 egg omelet with at least 1 cup of veggies and 1/2 avocado
( this one is asparagus, onion and red pepper)

What’s yours?

Pumpkin seed pesto

Here’s a variation on the traditional pesto. Substitute cilantro for basil and roasted pumpkin seeds for pine nuts or walnuts. This one is dairy free as well.
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INGREDIENTS:

1 cup plus 1/3 cup or more as needed organic olive oil
4 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves*(see note below)
1 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
4 cloves peeled garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Grated lemon zest( optional)

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 325′ and place pumpkin seeds on a tray. Roast no more than 10-15 minutes and remove from oven placing them in a clean bowl.
In a food processor, place washed and dried cilantro leaves ( use a bit of the green stem as well)
1 cup olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Process until the mixture forms a coarse paste. Add the extra olive oil as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Store in the fridge in an airtight container for a few weeks, remembering to add a bit more olive oil on the top of the pesto. Or fill ice cube trays 3/4 full with pesto, freeze and then store in zip locks bags for future use.

USES:

Base for dips, marinating chicken meat or fish, great on pasta and spread on toast points.

20130725-103440.jpg* see my earlier post on basil walnut pesto for tips on how to wash cilantro or basil

Eggplant mozzarella stacks

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I’m taking a vacay from meat this week. And I’m breaking all the rules. Paleo rules, that is. For all you purists out there, just remove the mozzarella and use a dairy free pesto.
This recipe is my variation of eggplant parmigiana. I did a few stacks with grilled portobello mushrooms.
Sicilian eggplant is now in season and I like it best for this recipe. It has a light purple exterior. If you’re wanting to keep it a bit lighter grill it on your BBQ but cut it 1/2″ thick so it stacks nicely.
Check out my earlier blog for the recipe.
Enjoy!

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Asian inspired slaw

Featured

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Cool down with this Asian slaw. No cooking required, make this ahead, keep refrigerated for a few days. Add some protein, keep it simple and quick. When I’m rushed for time I add leftover shredded chicken or store-bought shredded roasted chicken right to this slaw. It pairs well with shrimp and lobster too.
To save time purchase pre-shredded mixed cabbage or slaw and just add the dressing.
Use 4 cups of slaw.
If you have a food processor follow the instructions below.

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 head each of red and green cabbage, finely shredded in food processor~ 3 cups total
1/2 cup store-bought broccoli slaw
1/4 cup store-bought match stick carrots
2 green onions chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger(optional)*
1 1/2 -2 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
Sesame seeds for garnish

PREPARATION:
Microwave honey for 10 seconds, then add vinegar,lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
In a large bowl add the cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots and green onions. Pour in the dressing and mix. Refrigerate at least an hour.
Garnish with sesame seeds.

Gazpacho

A tomato-based vegetable soup from the Andalusia region of Spain. GAZPACHO
is intended to be served cold and is especially good on hot summer days. Which of course were here a few days ago.

Ripe tomatoes are the key ingredient in this recipe. Most GAZPACHO recipes allow for raw ingredients so by all means try this recipe RAW.
I prefer the flavour that roasted red peppers impart and because I roast and freeze my peppers I always have some on hand. If you like you can use jarred roasted red peppers.
*stale bread is also traditionally used to add bulk to this soup, so if you choose you may remove the crust from 1/2 a baguette, soak the bread in a little water and add it to the vegetables in your blender

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs ripe tomatoes (6 medium)
1 cup roasted red peppers puréed (or 1 raw seeded and roughly chopped)
1 large cucumber seeded, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 cup raw onion roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves pressed
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 cup really good olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 1/2 tsp sea salt

PREPARATION:

Start by scoring your tomatoes with an X, place them in a preheated oven 350′ for 30 minutes
Once cooled, the skin will peel off nicely.

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Then toss the tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender for about a minute. *add the soaked bread with the vegetables if you choose
The mixture will look a bit chunky. Empty the contents into a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Add the olive oil in a steady stream, stirring to incorporate. Then chill for several hours and days. It tastes better several days later, so it’s perfect to make ahead.

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This soup is quite thick so I’ve used it as a salsa in shot glasses with grilled shrimp. Garnish with some finely chopped peppers and cucumber.
Or serve in soup bowls with sliced avocado.

Eggplant mozzarella stacks

Veggie mozzarella stack
These veggie mozzarella stacks are a play on Eggplant Parmigiana.
The ingredients come together to create a perfect meatless main.

I’m going to give you the store-bought version of this recipe today. For those of you that are less inclined to spend the time preparing each layer this version will suffice. Later on, we’ll tackle, home-made tomato sauce, pesto and roasted peppers.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Sicilian eggplant (round light purple ones, or baby italian eggplant)
2 roasted peppers cut into thirds
1 jar plain tomato sauce
1 container good quality store-bought basil pesto
1 buffalo mozzarella cut into 1/3″ or 1/2″ rounds
flour for dredging
salt
olive oil for frying

PREPARATION:

Preheat your oven to 375′
Wash and cut the eggplant into 1″ slices, leaving the skin on.
Place a baking tray under a colander and layer the eggplant slices into the colander, lightly salting each layer. Place a paper towel over the last layer of eggplant and find something heavy to place over top. Leave this for a few hours to draw out the excess water from the eggplant before frying.
Remove the eggplant from the colander and lightly dredge each slice into flour. Rinse and dry the baking tray and place a rack over the tray. Keep this beside the stove.
In a large skillet, add enough olive oil so that it comes about 1 inch up the sides. Keep your heat at medium high. Add a few of the sliced eggplant and fry 2-3 minutes per side to achieve a light golden color. Place the cooked eggplant on the rack and sprinkle some sea salt over them.

In a baking dish (glass or ceramic) add just enough tomato sauce to lightly cover the bottom. Next, the layering begins. Place the eggplant over the sauce, then a piece of roasted pepper, mozzarella slice, 1 tsp pesto and repeat. Finish with a few tbsp of sauce.
Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
Serve warm not hot.

Avocados for dessert

Avocado Chocolate Mouse

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

The avocado has been called the world’s most perfect food and has many health benefits.
The avocado or alligator pear, provides nearly 20 essential nutrients. High in fibre and rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats(omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins A,C,D,E,K, and the B vitamins (thiamine,riboflavin,niacin,pantothenic acid, biotin, B-6, B-12, folate) and potassium, the benefits of avocado are numerous.

Avocados are a versatile fruit. Great in salad dressings, soups and the key ingredient in guacamole.
Avocados can also be transformed into a delicious dessert, like this

Avocado chocolate mousse/pudding

INGREDIENTS:

2 large avocados
6 tbsp cocoa powder
6 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
3 tbsp raw honey melted ( or more to taste)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut milk beverage (I used vanilla flavored)
grated zest of an orange

PREPARATION:

Using a food processor or blender, blend the avocado to a fine puree. Add the cocoa, then the melted chocolate chips, melted honey, vanilla, coconut milk and grated orange zest until well combined. You will need to scrape down the sides to incorporate the cocoa.
Once blended, spoon into a bowl or individual serving dishes, cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnite. This dessert will keep for several days and serves 6 ( or 4 depending on your appetite :))

Cauliflower waldorf salad

This raw salad is the perfect side when you’re craving crunch. Try it on the side or even add some chopped chicken breast for added protein.

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups chopped cauliflower florets (about 1/2 head)
1 1/2 cup chopped celery (or romaine hearts)
1 tart-sweet apple, cored and chopped (like Honeycrisp)
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
5 tbsp walnut oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey
1 very small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 small red chilli pepper seeded and chopped
pea sprouts ( or any sprouts) (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

PREPARATION:

Whisk, walnut oil, vinegar, honey and shallot together in a small bowl. In a medium bowl add the first three ingredients. Toss with the prepared dressing then add the chilli,sprouts and walnuts.