lotsa tomato! baked quinoa patties

I took a break from the blog but I didn’t stop cooking! I’ve been experimenting with this recipe from 101cookbooks.com. First I tried it straight but it came out too coarse. Then, on the second try,  I put in some blackbeans, salsa, and cheese, and it was moister but still coarse. On the third try I remembered that my aunt adds a tomato to her shrimp fritters to make them moist, so chopped up half a tomato and put it in with the original recipe. It did come out moist but still coarse. I finally realized what I should do is reduce the amount of whole wheat breadcrumbs in the recipe.  I served it with tomato salsa and arugula and plum tomatoes. Is lotsa tomato, like we say in Jamaica. But I love tomatoes. And this is the season for them.

Baked Quinoa Patties

2 1/2 cups / 12 oz /340 g cooked quinoa, at room temperature (1 cup raw quinoa)
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup/ .5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup /.5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh dill
1 cup / 1.5 oz /45 g finely chopped kale
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon (toasted) cumin
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup / 3.5 oz /100 g whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
water or a bit of flour, if needed
1/3 cup / .5 oz / 15 g crumbled feta (optional)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400F / 200C.

Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, dill, kale, onion, garlic, and cumin. Stir well.

Add the baking powder and bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. Gently stir in the feta. I’ve left out the feta cheese and it had no noticeable difference.

I used a one-third cup measure to make 11 patties. To make the patties moister, 101cookbooks recommends adding another beaten egg or water one tablespoon at a time to the quinoa mixture.  To make it dryer, add flour, one tablespoon at a time.

Generously spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, and arrange the patties with a bit of space between each. Bake for ~20 minutes, or until the bottoms are brown. Flip the patties over and bake for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy hot, or allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Makes about a dozen patties. It tastes pretty good hot or cold.

poached egg on arugula

It’s been hard to keep up with blogging, dissertation-ing, and a full time job. And as if I don’t have enough to do, I also signed up for a course this summer on teaching reading. So I’m definitely  in the mood for some baking therapy. I just borrowed a cookbook from the NYPL about baking cakes from scratch.  To keep myself sane, I’ve been indulging in some of my food cravings. After all, how can I live in New York City and not eat a bagel, especially a bagel from Absolute Bagels. The people behind the counter are Thai and they make the best Jewish bread, in my opinion, on the Upper West Side. But this is New York. And  I digress. Here’s something healthier… a poached egg “hat” on fresh arugula.

I had some arugula (organic, what a splurge), that spicy green leaf that tastes like black pepper, and is it ever so yummy! I dressed it up with a poached egg. And for a non-vegetarian variation, I put in some sliced pepperoni. The saltiness of the pepperoni is the perfect complement to the sharp flavor of the arugula. Delicious. This is a great, simple, and easy to make breakfast.

How to poach an egg

To poach an egg, boil three inches of water in a small saucepan and add about a teaspoon of white vinegar. Bring to a near boil–the water should have big round bubbles. Crack open an egg into a small bowl. Stir the water and slip the egg into the center of the whirling water. Cook 5-7 minutes; 5 minutes for runny yolk, 7 minutes for barely runny.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the poached egg and place it on top of a cupful of arugula with a few slices of red onion. If desired, add some slices of pepperoni on top of the arugula and serve with toasted cheese on top of a slice of multi-grain bread.

coconut kale with filipino garlic fried rice

Taranee pointed out this recipe to me because it’s quick and easy to make for a weeknight supper. I jazzed it up by adding her coconut kale to it, not that it needed it, but I’m not cooking as much and I need to move some of those vegetables before they spoil! The kale added just the right color to complement the eggs, and were satisfyingly chewy, coconut-flavored, and spicy. I also used up some leftover rice. Fried rice is good for that. This recipe was lightly garlicky, chewy;  a nice contrast between the slightly bitter kale, the bland eggs, crunchy green onions,  and al dente rice.

Coconut Kale with Filipino Garlic Fried Rice (adapted from The Kitchn)

Serves 4

2 teaspoons butter (optional; can also use vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 large eggs
Salt and pepper
12 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 whole head of garlic, depending on the size)
4 cups cooked long­ grain brown-and-white rice (ratio 2:1)
4 cups kale, trimmed and chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon coconut oil
red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon soy sauce or fish sauce, to taste
2 green onions, chopped

Heat 2 teaspoons of butter or oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Beat the eggs with a dash of salt and pepper. Pour them into the pan and cook until the center is set. Roll up the omelet with a spatula. Turn the omelet out onto a plate and set aside. When it is cool enough to handle, cut it into strips about 1/4­inch wide x 2­ or 3­inches long.

Using the same pan or a separate wok, if you prefer, heat a tablespoon of oil over moderate heat and add the minced garlic. Fry the garlic, stirring constantly to prevent it from burning. When the garlic is crispy and golden, remove it from the pan (leaving the garlicky oil in the pan) and set aside.

In the same wok or skillet, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil until it just becomes fragrant. Add the kale and stir fry until it becomes wilted and turns a bright green. Sprinkle a little red pepper flakes all over and toss.

Stir in the rice. Make sure all the rice is coated with oil and then spread it across the pan in an even layer. Cook for a couple of minutes, then stir and repeat this process until the rice is heated through.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of soy sauce or fish sauce into the rice, toss and taste, adding more if needed. Remove from heat. Serve the rice garnished with egg strips, scallions, a little more red pepper flakes, if desired, and the fried garlic.

veggie hash with poached egg

What’s for breakfast? I had a little bit of roasted zucchini, a little bit of snow peas and peppers, and a handful of green beans. I put it together in a saucepan with some frozen corn, lima beans, and peas, added some thyme and rosemary, salt and pepper and a couple tablespoons of water et voila! Vegetable hash. I topped it off with a poached egg. A poached egg is easy to do and if you want a step by step, fool-proof how-to, then go to this Smitten Kitchen page for some great pictures on how to poach an egg. To sum up, the steps are:

  1. Crack an egg into a small dish. Set aside.
  2. Heat  3 inches of water in a small saucepan on medium-low heat. Add a bit of white vinegar. When the water gets to the “fish eye” stage (bubbles all over but not bubbling), stir the pot. Into the center of the whirlpool, pour the egg. The swirling water will keep the egg white into a ball. Let simmer about 1-3 minutes depending on how runny you like the yolk. It’s cooked when the egg white is no longer transparent but has turned white all over.  I like the yolk thickened so I let it sit in the water until it looks solid but still a deep yellow, like the picture above. Use a slotted spoon to remove the egg to top off the veggie hash.

egg roulade with spinach and mozzarella

The original America’s Test Kitchen recipe used Gruyère cheese but why be fancy? I used mozzarella, which was all I had on hand in the Teeny Tiny Kitchen. In fact, whether or not you have Gruyère cheese on hand is immaterial. This isn’t hard to make at all and makes a quick delicious and filling breakfast when you are tired of eating scrambled eggs and omelets! To make this you will need a large rimmed baking tray approximately 18×13 inches, and a large sheet of parchment paper that extends about 1-2 inches over the sides. What I did was crease the parchment into the edges and corners of the baking sheet to “mark” the boundary. This will be important later.

5 ounces baby spinach (about 5 cups)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup nonfat milk
2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
10 large egg whites or 1 1/4 cups store-bought egg whites
5 large eggs
1-2 garlic cloves, minced to a paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces (1/2 cup) shredded cheese (Gruyère in original recipe)
Vegetable oil spray

1. Prepare to bake. I set the oven rack to the middle position and heated the oven to 375˚F. Then I lined an 18×13 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, with about 1-2 inches extra to overhang on all sides. This will help you to keep the egg mixture on the paper so that you can roll it up easily when it’s cooked. Finally I coated the parchment generously with cooking spray and set it aside.
2. Microwave the spinach. I put the spinach and water in a microwave-safe bowl, covered the bowl and microwaved it on high heat until the spinach wilted and decreased in volume by half, 3-5 minutes. Using potholders, I removed the bowl and transferred the spinach to a colander. Using a potato masher, I pressed out the water. I find that when it is cool enough to handle, squeezing the spinach with my hands is the best way to press out excess water.
3. Make garlic paste. Using a chef’s knife, I chopped up 1-2 cloves garlic until fine. I sprinkled the garlic with a pinch of salt then dragged the side of the knife at a slight angle over the mixture to make a fine paste. I continued to mince and drag the knife until the paste was smooth. Then I set it aside so I could make the batter.
4. Make the batter. In a medium bowl,  I whisked together the milk and flour until it was smooth. In a large bowl, I whisked the egg whites, eggs, garlic paste, salt and pepper. Then I whisked in the milk mixture until combined. Carefully, I  poured the egg mixture into the prepared baking sheet within the marked boundary. You need the overhang otherwise the egg mixture will get under the paper and you will bake the paper into the roulade.  Finally, I sprinkled the drained spinach and cheese on top.
5. Bake and serve. I baked the roulade (that’s French for roll)  until the cheese melted and the eggs were just set, about 11 minutes. I rotated the baking sheet once about halfway through the baking time. When the time was up I removed the baking sheet from the oven. Beginning at the short end, I used the extra end of the parchment paper to lift and roll the egg over itself into a tight cylinder. Careful, it’s hot. Then I picked up the two ends of the parchment paper to transfer the roulade to a cutting board. I sliced it into pinwheels and served it with Sriracha sauce.*

Egg Roulade with Spinach and Mozzarella

*Sriracha is a hot sauce made in Thailand. It’s available from Asian markets.

the couple’s frittata

I found this recipe in the New York Times magazine last Sunday for herb and olive frittata. I thought they sounded like husband and wife so I called it the couple’s frittata. I picked up all the fresh herbs (organic no less) at Whole Foods then found out, after consulting the menu, that I forgot the olives. A second trip to the market solved that problem. Then it took me 30 minutes to prep and chop up the herbs. That was indeed the drawback to this little recipe is how long it takes to prepare the ingredients. It cooked up without a hitch but the taste was too bland for my liking. Either I have to put in a whole lot more herbs or I should just chop up a “country pepper” and throw it in like any Jamaican would.

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped black olives, preferably oil-cured
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
salt and pepper

1. Put the oil in large 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3-5 minutes.

2. Add the olives and herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and become dry, 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together flour and milk until well combined. Add flour-milk mixture to the eggs, along with some salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.

3. Turn heat to low and pour the egg mixture into the skillet, using a spoon if necessary to evenly distribute the herbs and olives. Cook, undisturbed, until the eggs are just set, 5-10 minutes. You can set the top further by putting the pan in an oven at 350˚F for a few minutes or by putting it under a broiler for 1-2 minutes. What I did was ease the bottom up with a pancake turner and flipped the frittata over onto a plate. Then I slid the frittata back into the pan to continue cooking upside down. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. With lots of hot sauce. Like Sriracha.

Makes 4-6 servings