Over slightly a year ago, I suppose, was when my affair with food blogs and quinoa first started.
I have a sneaking suspicion they started almost the same time; but I’m betting my pennies that it was my obsession with reading this new literature – this wonderful space called “food blogs” – that first kick-started my subsequent passion for quinoa.
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Like all loves, reading this new, recently-discovered type of literature was as exhilarating as standing on top of a cliff and diving into the deep ocean.
It was a breath of fresh air that not only gave me access to a whole new world of exciting recipes, but also gave me a glimpse into the lives of people who lived halfway around the world from me.
These were men and women and girls and boys whose common interest in food spilled over into the internet in the form of blogs, one in which they talked about food, but more than that, these people also shared their lives which revolved around food. It was like meeting a bunch of new friends who openly and transparently shared their victories and disappointments, and soon after I discovered food blogs, I realized it was the stories that attracted me, more than just the beautiful pictures and tantalizing recipes.
I suspect that this need to be part of their world and to have virtual friends who let me into their lives had very much to do with the fact that my friends and family are so far away.
And this brand new food blog world, together with the usually kind voices that tend to form it, was my new source of inspiration and friendship. Who said you could only make new friends over a restaurant table or at the club? I’d found people whose lives interested me and with whom I could reach out to and make a connection with just a simple comment.
Because of the large number of blogs that I read, I chanced upon the wonderful ingredient quinoa, a food which for some is still a mystery. This cool-sounding food raised questions such as “Is it a seed or a grain? What does it taste like? Why is there such a huge rage about it?”
It took me a while to warm up to quinoa, but like a friend with who you’re still getting comfortable with, I wanted to get to know it better.
So began my exploration with quinoa recipes, starting off with quinoa salads (the most common way of using quinoa) and then later on, when I was feeling all mighty and gusto and creative, I used it as part of a darn good chocolate cake (which by the way, is probably one of the moistest and delicious chocolate cakes I’ve ever tasted).
So you can say that quinoa and I have become pretty good friends, like someone you’d call on a Saturday night and ask if they’d like to hang out, just because.
These are the few places I go to when I need inspiration and desire to hear a kind voice. Or maybe just sink in the beauty of language, fall in love with breathtaking photos, and frolic in tales of eating and living in Italy.
And more recently, because we’re trying to cook in more often these days, these blogs are where I head to when I need to find a recipe for dinner, or when I’m completely out of ideas and don’t know what to cook tonight.
Among some of the kindest and friendliest voices I’ve had the privilege of reading in the food blog world is Sara Forte, the creator of Sprouted Kitchen. Together with her husband, Hugh Forte (who also plays the role of food photographer and takes the most beautiful photos), Sara constantly creates recipes that never fail to intrigue and impress.What I like most is how she takes unusual ingredients and uses them in the most uncommon ways. And the best thing is, apart from the surprising ingredients, the recipes work!
About a month back, I went to Sara’s blog for a weekly read and to get some badly needed inspiration. Lo and behold, guess what greeted me then?
These delicious patties.
These patties are made of quinoa and cauliflower, two ingredients that not many people I know would eat, even less in the same mouthful. But because I’d already been acquainted with quinoa, and actually wanted to eat cauliflower, I was open to trying it.
In all honesty, I wasn’t quite sure how it would taste like; I just sort of knew I would like it. And like it I certainly did.
I love how the nutty flavor of quinoa blends so well with the neutral taste that cauliflower brings; a sprinkle of fresh spring onions to give it just the right amount of kick, and some oats to bring more texture and structure to the patties, made the patties very easy to handle.
If you’ve never tried quinoa before, I urge you to try it this way – an easy vegetarian meal that brings punch and fills you up in a way so satisfying, you’ll be back for seconds, or even thirds and fourths, like I did.
QUINOA CAULIFLOWER PATTIES + GARLIC CREAM
(Makes 12 patties)
Barely adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
For the Quinoa Cauliflower Patties:
1) 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
2) 2 cups of water
3) 1 ½ cups of cauliflower florets
4) 4 eggs
5) 6 spring onions, roughly chopped both white and green parts
6) ¾ cups of oats
7) Salt & pepper to taste
8) Zest of one large lemon
9) ½ cup of roughly chopped parsley
For the Garlic Cream:
10) 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
11) ¾ cup of heavy cream
12) 1 tablespoon of olive oil
13) ¼ cup of chopped parsley
1) Rinse the quinoa until the water runs clear, then add 2 cups of water to the quinoa in a small pot, and bring it to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, reduce heat to the minimum and let it cook, covered for around 15 minutes. After 15 minutes is over, switch off the fire, allowing quinoa to stand for five minutes (still covered). After standing, uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork to let it cool.
2) Process the raw cauliflower florets in a food processor until it resembles couscous
3) Beat 4 eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add in the cauliflower couscous and the cooked quinoa
4) Roughly process the spring onions and oats together then pour it to the bowl with the egg mixture
5) Mix all the ingredients well until they achieve a homogeneous mixture. Add chopped parsley and lemon zest and mix some more.
6) Add salt and pepper to taste and stir well.
7) Chill the quinoa mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes
8) While quinoa mixture is chilling, combine roughly chopped garlic with heavy cream, and olive oil and mix with a hand mixer
9) Heat up about two tablespoons of vegetable cooking oil in a saucepan over medium heat, and using an ice-cream scoop, pour one scoop of the quinoa mixture onto the saucepan, repeating until there is no more space.
10) Cook each patty for around 4 minutes on each side until it turns a beautiful crispy golden brown.
11) Serve warm with garlic cream and garnish with chopped fresh parsley