Welcome to my blog, where one may find all sorts of random, hopefully amusing tidbits about food & other things.

March 3, 2013

spicy sweet potato quinoa cakes.

Good food is so satisfying. Think about your best memories. Some of them must involve food.

That's how I remember most of my vacations, trips, events and stuff. Arizona I remember for the absolutely fabulous (virgin) pina coladas and from-scratch taquitos served poolside. Krakow is marked by my very first meal in Poland - hollandaise over fish, with rosettes of pommes de terre broiled to a golden crisp. I actually wrote a college essay on this one (and Rutgers liked it enough to take me). I have a memory of a wedding in which I literally remember nothing but the enormous dessert array arranged along the perimeter of the venue.

This is the 1st time I ate it. The second time (1st picture way above), I added avocado + tomato.

Those memory-worthy foods tend to be pretty rich and heavy ... which makes sense. I wouldn't remember a salad of tomatoes and lettuce over 10 big, ready to burst pierogies served swimming in half an inch of melted, excellent quality Polish butter. Would you?

This is why our daily meals oft go unnoticed. No one can subsist on that type of food everyday. But why can't meals be memorable AND healthy? 

That's where these little beauties come in. There is super minimal fat, and tons of healthy things. Can you eat too healthy? Is that a thing?

If it were, these would most likely be banned. 

There really is no set recipe. Just make sure you have enough sweet potato as a binder!

(1) Make the quinoa - Heat some oil (~2 tspns) in a saucepan, and add chopped serrano pepper (I used about an inch piece) and a chopped clove of garlic. Saute till the garlic is golden. 

Watch out, serrano peppers are spicier better than jalapenos.

Add 1/2 cup quinoa, and toss to coat in oil. Add a tspn of butter. Let the quinoa roast a minute or two, then add 1 cup water. Stir, let come to almost a boil, then cover. Let it go on a medium simmer, stirring occasionally.

(2) Meanwhile, scrub a sweet potato and put in a plastic bag. Microwave for about 4 minutes. This time will vary depending on size. Start at 3 minutes, and cook for more time as necessary. 

(3) While the microwave's going, prepare the veggies. I chopped 1/2 red bell pepper, defrosted 1/2 cup corn, mashed 3/4 cup chickpeas, and added about 1/2 cup grated carrots. 

Add spices. I added 1-2 cloves minced garlic, salt, pepper, a heavy-handed sprinkling of cayenne, chili powder, ground red chili powder, and ground cumin. I also squeezed in 1 - 2 Tb of sriracha. Remember the serrano from the quinoa. 

(4) Speaking of the quinoa, check to see if it's done. If the water looks like it's gone (and you had kept the pot covered), and the quinoa looks spirally, it's done. It should taste tender with some chew, if you try some. It shouldn't be hard. 

(5) Mash the sweet potato. Add to the veggie bowl. Mix. 

(6) Add the quinoa. Mix well. Taste it! Add whatever it needs - spice, acid, etc. I added some chia seeds as an afterthought. 

Could this be healthier?

(7) Heat some olive oil in a pan. Put some scoops of the mixture into the pan. Flatten into a thick-ish patty. If it's too thin, it will be hard to flip. 

Cook until browned. Flip gently and carefully! Brown other side. 

(8) Serve over salad or in pitas, like a veggie falafel. Or in wraps with baby spinach, mushrooms, and hummus. So many possibilities! 

Hope this was as satisfying a meal for you as it was for me.

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