Quinoa Pancakes

Let’s add some quinoa to your morning.

I usually eat quinoa on the side of a meal, like rice, or as a main player in a salad. Why not in my pancakes? It adds texture, an earthy, nutty taste, and a boost of protein and fiber. The cup of quinoa to 3/4 cup of flour in this recipe makes for a pancake proudly spotted with red quinoa.

Quinoa is cooked and eaten like a grain, but it’s actually a seed. I cook it in my rice cooker, using the same ratio for rice with two parts water to one part grain, to make a small mountain of fluffy quinoa. I usually use red quinoa because, come on, look at that color.

    

    

This was a simple batter to whip up early this morning with leftover quinoa, even when I wasn’t fully awake.  In the middle of a flip, one pancake totally missed the pan, leaving some of its batter behind. Oops.

The pancakes all turned out just fine anyway.

Any first batch of pancakes tends to turn out a bit wonky because the pan isn’t quite hot enough. For this recipe, the first batch was my favorite though because the quinoa could be seen from the flat side of the pancake and not just the sides. Pretty.

    

These pancakes are small, which means they cook quickly. They made for an especially good breakfast when served with Bonne Maman raspberry preserves, rather than jelly or jam because preserves are chunkier and seem to have more actual fruit.

This breakfast is certainly worth a shot in your kitchen. Quinoa pancakes will definitely show up in mine again.

quinoa pancakes

If you’re looking for a way to add more protein to your pancakes, try quinoa. You can use any kind, but I like using red quinoa because it’s more noticeable.

1 cup cooked quinoa
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg and 1 large egg white
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus more for skillet
1/4 cup low-fat milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more for serving
fresh fruit or fruit preserves to serve on pancakes (optional)Whisk together quinoa, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk together the egg, egg white, butter, milk, and maple syrup in another medium bowl until smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk together to combine.

Bring a skillet to medium heat and let a dab of butter melt in it. Drop the batter into the skillet in heaping tablespoonfuls, cooking two or three pancakes at a time. Cook pancakes until bubbles appear on top, about 2 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on the other side, about another 2 minutes. Bring the heat down a bit, and repeat with the rest of the batter. Watch pancakes to make sure they don’t burn, as the skillet may continue to heat up and get too hot. You can add some more butter in between batches, but it’s not necessary.

Serve pancakes with maple syrup and fresh fruit or fruit preserves.

Makes 12 small pancakes. Adapted from Martha Stewart

Crispy Tuna Sliders with Poppy Seed Slaw

Tuna from a can (or pouch) for dinner sounds like a last-minute meal on a night when you can’t be bothered to make much more than a sandwich. But it doesn’t always have to be this way.

Here is a recipe for Crispy Tuna Sliders that turns this pantry staple into something so flavorful, so good, that it’s hard to believe where you started. It’s a recipe with a rather long list of ingredients, even after leaving a couple out (I’m looking at you, celery seed). It’s worth it.

We start with the slaw. Red cabbage shredded and drenched in a tasty poppy seed dressing. The dressing is fantastic with the freshness of lime juice and earthy poppy seeds. Leftovers would be great on other salads.

For the cabbage, don’t use a cheese grater because it will cut the cabbage too small and steal a lot of crunch. Cut the small cabbage in half and cut thin slices. Pull those big slices apart with your hands and you’ll have shredded cabbage.

    

Have you watched Nadia G’s show, Bitchin Kitchen? She’s wild and totally weird. There’s killer eye makeup and no shortage of shots of her high heels. A half-naked food correspondent named Hans and a menu dedicated to break-ups. She uses enough strange slang to call for a mini dictionary in her cookbook. It’s a fantastic little world, and I’m not totally sure that I like it all. But don’t let the clothes and the accent distract you from Nadia’s food, which always looks delicious. This is the first of her recipes that I tried, and it’s excellent.

The tuna patties taste fresh and a bit spicy from the cayenne and red chile pepper. That purple-red cabbage makes for some seriously pretty slaw, especially against the flecks of green onion and parsley. The slaw and a slight crust on the patty add crunch. I could see these crispy tuna sliders being served from the window a food truck.

There are a lot of steps in the preparation, but these sliders are delicious. The garlic-chile-celery mixture smells amazing while it’s cooking. Making sliders for four seems just as feasible as making enough for a party of 24. I’ll definitely make these sliders again.

There’s only one thing I’d change about this recipe. Next time I’ll find a better bun and try toasting it. These tuna patties with slaw deserve something good.

poppy seed slaw

This pretty purple slaw looks delicious against the tuna sliders, and the poppy seeds add texture and a slight nutty flavor.

1 small red cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
sea salt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 fresh lime, juiced
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Toss the shredded red cabbage, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, allowing it to brine.

Combine the poppy seeds, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lime juice, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper in a jar. Close the jar and shake until it’s well mixed (or stir well if you can’t find the lid). Pour the dressing over the slaw and add parsley. Toss everything to combine. Keep slaw in the fridge until the tuna patties are ready.

crispy tuna sliders

This is the best thing I’ve ever made with canned tuna. The sliders are fresh and full of flavor from herbs, garlic, and spices.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 big garlic clove, minced
1 fresh red chile pepper, minced
1 rib celery, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 egg
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 green onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup of minced fresh parsley
4 cans or 4 packets or about 12 ounces of tuna packed in water, drained
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs, though you could also use regular bread
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
canola oil
8 slider buns

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, red chile pepper, rib of celery, cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently so the garlic won’t burn. Take the pan off the heat and let the garlic mixture cool for about 10 minutes.

Whisk together the egg, cream, Dijon mustard, green onions, 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, the garlic mixture, and a pinch each of sea salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Fold in the tuna and breadcrumbs.

Lightly flour your hands and shape about 1/4 cup of tuna mixture into a patty. Repeat with the rest of the tuna mixture. Dredge the patties in flour before putting them in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.

Heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium-high heat in a large pan, and fry the tuna patties for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Drain the patties on paper towels.

Place each tuna patty on a slider bun and top with poppy seed slaw to serve.

Makes 8 sliders and enough slaw to serve 4. Adapted from “Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen: Cookin’ for Trouble” by Nadia G.


Bay Scallops and Chorizo

Everything is in boxes. Well, almost everything. Last call for cooking in this kitchen was probably yesterday, and I can’t wait to make the move tomorrow morning into a new apartment. I need access to more than one pan! Despite the old appliances in the new kitchen, it is a slight upgrade. The KitchenAid mixer will be able to sit on the counter instead of on top of the fridge.

Bay Scallops and Chorizo was a meal enjoyed before all the packing. Sweet, small scallops and rich chorizo go well together. I ate this with a side salad, but next time it’d be great on some pasta.

A couple things about this recipe. The chorizo doesn’t ooze as much oil as expected, but the scallops will cook just fine. Oh, and graceful Nigella may not have this problem, but it takes some time to flip over all these tiny scallops. You’re supposed to cook them a minute on each side, and I felt like I spent all that time flipping. No worries. It all worked out.

It also works out to be pretty cheap for two people, especially since it’s all protein. A half pound of scallops were about $6. One chorizo link, which I only needed half of, cost less than $2.

Don’t skimp on the parsley. With so few ingredients, it adds necessary color and fresh flavor.

bay scallops and chorizo

This is an easy and fairly inexpensive dinner that comes together quickly and deliciously.

2 ounces fresh chorizo sausage, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1/2 pound small bay scallops (halve them to make 2 thinner disks if they are very fat)
1/4 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Bring a pan to medium heat and use tongs to add the chorizo (it will give off some of its own oil). Fry until the chorizo is crisp on both sides, which should take two or three minutes. Remove the chorizo and set it aside in a bowl.

Add the scallops to the same pan. Let them cook in the chorizo oil for about one minute on each side.

Add the chorizo to the pan with the scallops. Squeeze the lemon over the pan, and let it bubble for a few seconds before serving on plates with plenty of parsley.

Serves 2. Recipe from Nigella Express

Fried Baby Artichokes with Creamy Aioli

Tell me I’m not the only one who watches the Food Network while working out. I once saw another girl doing this at the gym. Are there more of you out there? Is it weird?

A couple of weekends ago, Ina Garten was having another “cooking with friends” episode. She was excited about her friend sharing this recipe for fried baby artichokes. I had to try them soon, and that week I found baby artichokes on sale at Fresh Market while on the hunt for fresh chorizo to use in another recipe.

It was on. And the artichokes were fabulous, as Ina would say. The recipe was presented with a yogurt dip, but an aioli sounded good to me.

    

Do you like mayo? I don’t like the squishy sound it makes when being scooped out of the jar or its color or texture very much. My dad also claims to cheer for the anti-mayonnaise team. But are our feelings really that strong? My mom sometimes picks up a tomato sandwich for him that he loves. It is basically three ingredients – bread, tomato, and lots and lots of mayonnaise. He denies this. He says nope, there’s no mayo in this wonderful sandwich. No way.

And when my Tia Romy picked me up after school, she’d usually show up with a chicken sandwich from Burger King. The receipt in the bag very plainly showed a request for heavy mayo. And you know what? I’d overlook it, enjoy my sandwich, and condone the use of mayonnaise only for this occasion. I never told her that I hated mayonnaise.

Well. It was probably time to try a homemade version.

The thing about homemade aioli is that the individual flavors really come through, especially the green, fruity taste of olive oil. The taste reminds you that this aioli’s freshness, not only the addition of garlic, sets this apart from a store-bought jar of mayonnaise. It’s got more attitude with the tiny red flecks of cayenne pepper and pungency of raw garlic.

And it goes really well with fried food.

    

    

Danny was surprised when I suggested a recipe for frying food. He’s seen me freak out in the kitchen with an angry pot of oil hissing and hitting me with tiny, hot splashes. I’d stand back, shielding myself with a splatter guard, feeling like a fighter who lost her sword and has nothing to fight back with.

This time in my life may be over. I’ve realized to trust my instinct on the amount of oil needed before starting with the sometimes huge amounts suggested in recipes. This one called for covering the artichokes in oil, but covering them halfway did the job just fine.

Then I realized frying isn’t as scary when using a bigger pot, my dutch oven. The artichokes fit comfortably in there, and oil bubbled up in a way that was much less menacing. The tall sides of the pot kept the splattering in order. I easily flipped the artichokes with a pair of tongs. No fear! The splatter guard stayed on the shelf.

All there was left to do was enjoy the aroma of thyme heating up as the vegetables cooked.

Barely 20 minutes later, these were served. They are so tasty, and probably my new favorite way to eat artichokes. Crisp, browned, FRIED. And because these are baby artichokes, you can dip them in aioli and pop them in your mouth whole.

I’ll definitely make these again. A couple of tougher leaves were left on though, so next time I won’t be so greedy when it comes to peeling off the leaves and parting with them. The recipe said to peel off 18 lower leaves, and that’s what I’ll do.

fried baby artichokes

I’m now convinced those cute little baby artichokes were meant to be eaten like this — crispy, browned, and fried.

10 baby artichokes
olive oil
6 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Use a sharp knife to cut the stems off the artichokes. Peel off the lower leaves, about 18. Don’t be stingy on peeling the leaves. You don’t want those tougher outside leaves. Slice off the top half of artichokes, leaving about 1 1/4 inches of artichoke. Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise.

Place the artichokes flat side down in a large pot or dutch oven. Add olive oil until it covers the artichokes halfway. Add garlic cloves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the olive oil to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce to low-medium heat to simmer for 15 minutes. You’ll smell the thyme as it cooks.  They are done when a knife can be easily inserted into the lower half of the artichokes.

Use tongs to remove the thyme and garlic from the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high heat and fry uncovered for about 2 minutes, turning the artichokes over halfway. The artichokes are done when browned and crispy.

Remove the artichokes from the pot, and set them flat side down on paper towels. To serve, flip onto a plate and sprinkle with salt. Serve with aioli.

Serves 4. Recipe from Barefoot Contessa.

creamy aioli

Homemade aioli isn’t hard to make, and the taste is so much better than storebought mayo.

1 large egg yolk
2 small garlic cloves, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper

Whisk egg yolk, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons water in a large bowl. Continue to whisk constantly as you drizzle in the grapeseed oil, 1 teaspoon at a time, until sauce thickens and is emulsified. Keep working that whisk while slowly adding the the olive oil in a steady stream. Stir in the cayenne. Add a good squeeze of a lemon, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Taste and season with more lemon or salt and pepper if needed.

Note: Keep any leftover aioli in the fridge. BA doesn’t say how long it will keep, but my guess is a few days and maybe up to a week. And of course, BA advises to skip this recipe using raw egg for infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. For everybody else, it’s pasteurized, and it’s not a big deal.

Makes 1/2 cup. Adapted from Bon Appétit.

Peas and Pea Shoots with Green Onions and Mint

Peas on pea shoots. Green on green on more green.

So pretty. So healthy. So tasty. Love when those three things come together. On my way to put away the leftovers in the kitchen, I couldn’t help sneaking a couple more bites from the pot.

The peas are buttery and lovely when paired with delicate pea shoots. I couldn’t get enough mint in this – it was good! – so the recipe below calls for the amount of mint that  Food & Wine suggests for double the servings. This would probably make a really nice side for some roast chicken or lamb chops or a bean burger.

p.s. I see a face in one of the peas in the first picture and now there’s no way I can look at it without seeing it. Did you find it?

peas and pea shoots with green onions and mint

A simple and fresh way to enjoy peas when you need to eat something very green. This recipe is easily doubled.

salt
1/2 pound or 2 heaping cups of frozen peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium green onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups lightly packed pea shoots, torn once or twice to shorten stems
1/3 cup or 16 fresh mint leaves, torn into smaller pieces
freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large saucepan about halfway with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Add peas and cook uncovered until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Heat olive oil in the same saucepan. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over low-medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Stir in the peas, cover and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in the butter until it melts. Remove saucepan from heat, and stir in the pea shoots until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Store leftovers in the fridge and eat for lunch the next day.

Serves 4. Adapted from Food & Wine.