Zucchini Lemon Quinoa Cakes

I’ve got a little spring in my step.  No, literally… I’ve been on the East Coast through most of my winter and I am dying for some warm weather.

I am starting it off with these most perfect wedges, and a trip back to California for my ever-sassy Grandma’s 80th Birthday Party. I am so excited to see the Pacific I can hardly stand it, I haven’t been able to sleep. Have you ever been in a long distance relationship, a bi-coastal love affair? Well that’s me, except my love is a city called San Francisco.

I made a deal with the weather here in DC, ok maybe it was more like a threat, that I am expecting full on spring when I get back. I want asparagus, peas, cherry blossoms, strawberries, sunshine, short sleeves, picnics and apricots… all that. Give it to me I am ready. A completely suitable warm weather bursting at the seams dinner should include:

½ Cup Quinoa
1 Small Onion, Minced
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Cup Shredded Zucchini
1/3 Cup Breadcrumbs
1/3 Cup Feta
2 TB Lemon Zest
1 TB Fresh Oregano, Chopped
1 TS Cumin
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Quinoa is another whole grain you should always have stocked in your kitchen, well actually it is a seed, but we won’t discriminate here. This humble little grain was considered sacred in its native South American land, and used in religious ceremonies. Maybe because it is a complete source of protein, maybe because of its mild slightly nutty flavor, maybe because amazingly fluffy. What a fancy place Peru is... I don’t know, but I felt it necessary to use it in my almost spring celebration.

You can cook quinoa just like rice, for example, for this recipe you would bring about one cup of water to a boil and then add ½ cup of quinoa and a pinch of salt and cook the grains until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. You can tell it is done when the germ separates from the seed and each one looks like it has a teeny curl, like it got all done up and it ready to go out. Strain it then fluff it and let cool, and then probably fluff again. Saute the onions, garlic and zucchini in a little olive oil, let cool. Beat two eggs and mix in quinoa, vegetables, breadcrumbs, feta, spices and lemon zest. Form into little round cakes (about ¼ of a cup) and fry in olive oil, about three minutes on each side, or until golden. Then place them on a paper towel to cool and crisp.

I think these little cakes would go well with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a crunchy cabbage salad or mixed greens with toasted almonds and grapefruit. They would also serve as a good side to something equally delicious like some lamb or fried whole snapper. You should also pack them up and take them on a picnic, get a little sun and share them with someone you love.

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