Wednesday, May 18, 2011

quinoa fritters

these are amazing. so amazing that i want to eat them every day. and easy enough that i probably could. if you watch top chef masters you might recognize these as half of mary sue's winning dish from the fast food challenge a couple of weeks ago. after watching eight? ten? seasons of top chef this is the first time i've ever made one of the recipes. sure, i've seen things on the show that i've thought about making before but then i go look at the recipe and it's too many steps/too many funky ingredients/too not do at home-y (i'm looking at you hector's tofu ceviche). but this was different! so simple there was no excuse not to make them.

i changed the recipe a bit to make it vegan and they turned out so well i have a hard time believing that the original version is any better. seriously. the first thing that makes these awesome is a little step that i alway mean to do when making quinoa but always forget...toasting it! yep, toss the quinoa around in a dry pan over high heat for a few minutes until it smells toasty and then cook as usual, it brings out a fantastic nuttiness in the quinoa that you don't want to miss out on.

the second thing that makes these awesome is that, despite being fried they are not greasy at all. we all know about quinoa's super health properties but i'm wondering if it also has an oil repelling quality because seriously, it's like they soaked up none of the cooking oil.

and the third thing that makes these awesome is crunchy on the outside soft and moist on the inside. perfection.

mary sue served hers with some kind of mayo something or other, i made a batch of aleppo aioli to accompany mine. mary sue served these as a side with quesadilla's, i went with the yuca tortillas from veganomicon. i did not want this dinner to end.

quinoa fritters

2/3 cup quinoa
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 bunch italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water
spoonful of tahini
oil for frying

place a dry pan over high heat. add quinoa and toast for about 5 minutes, shaking and stirring constantly to prevent scorching. transfer to a pot and add water. bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. set aside to a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, flour, nutritional yeast, and salt. add onions, parsley, tahini and cornstarch mixture. stir thoroughly with a spoon until the mixture holds together.

heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. form the quinoa mixture into fritters and add to the oil. fry until the bottoms are golden and brown. turn and fry the second side until golden. drain on paper towels and serve warm.


Friday, May 13, 2011

balsamic basil glazed tempeh

last night's dinner was inspired by the need to make a dent in all those things in our cabinets. as i mentioned before, we're moving! to atlanta! in 7 weeks (not that i'm keeping track or anything)! and while i always try to be mindful of ingredients we already have and using them rather than buying bottles of new things it has now come to the point where it's more than's no longer a little thought i keep in the back of my head, it's a challenge! and though i think it might be physically impossible to use up all of the oils and vinegars and beans and grains and god knows what else in the time we have left i'm going to do the best i can!

this moving business also means that we've been keeping very busy lately. gotta take advantage of our last weeks living out west which means lots of going out and weekend trips. and then there's the work that comes with moving plus regular work and certain nights require an easy, no fuss dinner. often on those nights i turn to my most favorite tempeh recipe, orange glazed tempeh from 101cookbooks. but this night i went a different route, with a different orange glazed tempeh in order to get that bottle of balsamic 1/4 cup closer to empty. and do something with the dried thai basil that has been neglected for so long. i found a recipe online a tweaked it a bit and decided to have an orange glazed tempeh showdown of sorts! so who won? the perfection that is 101cookbooks, duh. but that was to be expected, i mean, there's nothing to do to that recipe that would make it any better.

i would even say that the recipe i made is a different thing altogether. the balsamic and basil overpowered the orange so much that i wouldn't exactly call it orange glazed. it's balsamic basil tempeh, y'all!* and if it were to compete in that category i think it could be a contender. so, here i give you not-orange-glazed tempeh.

balsamic basil glazed tempeh


juice from 2 oranges (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1/2 tablespoon dried thai basil
1 pack tempeh, sliced

place all ingredients (except tempeh) in a pan and heat. when it starts to boil add the tempeh slices and cook until the liquid has turned into a nice glaze, flipping the tempeh periodically.

*see, there are many ways in which to prepare my return to my southern roots.