quinoa black bean patties with tzatziki sauce

Quinoa Black Bean Patties with Tzatziki Sauce
Our company has arrived. Hurricane Sandy is howling in the dark outside. The lashing rains I expected has not come yet. We’re not sure what will happen next; the subway system will be shut down again tomorrow. I thought about family and how scattered we are between two continents.  For a brief time this month we came together. Andy flew in from Bangkok for his birthday.  Then Taranee came to NYC for the Rock ‘n Roll New York 10k race and we made this meal together. Good times, remembered.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes (includes quinoa cooking and resting time)
Makes 8-10 servings

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa* (1 cup uncooked)
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese (I used 3/4 cup Monterey Jack and 1/4 cup feta cheeses)
1/2 cup tomato salsa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

To cook the quinoa, put the dried quinoa in a large pot. Rinse and drain. Add 1 1/2 cups cold water to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Let the quinoa cool, uncovered, about 10 minutes.  You can do this step a day ahead then refrigerate the cooked quinoa until ready to use.

Line a rimmed baking tray with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Brush with olive oil. Set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Using a third-cup measure, scoop up a level cupful of the quinoa mixture, firmly packed.  Turn it out into your hand, compress and flatten, then gently place the patty on the prepared baking tray. Make another patty and place it about an inch apart from the first patty. Continue making patties.

Put the baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Flip. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with tzatziki sauce. And, I also recommend whole wheat pita pocket bread and a fresh salad.

Tzatziki Sauce (adapted from the South Beach Diet)

1 cup plain non-fat Greek style yogurt
2/3 cup cucumber, seeded and diced (Use long English cucumber–it’s called Japanese cucumber in Thailand)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 heaping tablespoons of fresh dill or 1 teaspoon of dill seeds
2 heaping tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons white vinegar, or to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until well blended. The mixture should be slightly thick. If additional thickness is desired, increase the cucumber to 1 cup.

Anne Marie’s broiled fish topped with panko breadcrumbs

I wish I could invent recipes like my cousin Anne Marie. She created this crunchy flavorful fish fillet that takes less than 15 minutes to prep and broil. So I am adding this to a new category I call Quick and Easy. Anne Marie didn’t have any measurements and it really is so simple you don’t need any:

Use any white fish filet.  Rinse, pat dry and put skin side down in your broiling pan.   Sprinkle with lemon or lime juice and smear mayonnaise lightly over the top.  Season with seasoned salt, black pepper, garlic, thyme, dill & crushed red peppers.  Top with the panko bread crumbs, pressing them lightly into the fish and dusting with paprika   Place in broiler for approximately 4 minutes on each side.

I used a Cajun seasoning in place of the seasoned salt on two basa fish fillets and omitted the paprika. I left the fillets in the broiler for only 4 minutes. It was crispy on the outside and flaky, moist, and tender on the inside. It didn’t need any additional salt.

almond-crusted tilapia

I call the plate Cookies and Cream

We had a good dinner tonight. Magical things are happening in the Three-Dimensional Kitchen! I felt inspired by the Sunflower Seed Crusted Orange Roughy recipe in the Cooking Light Eat Smart Guide: 200-Calorie cookbook to create this one. If you have qualms about using Orange Roughy, then by all means, use another white fish.

As I said before, I like to use whatever is on hand in my kitchen: almonds, tilapia, panko breadcrumbs, and Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Italian Medley Seasoning Blend. My philosophy is to be generous with the seasonings. If 1/2 teaspoon is too little, then add more. And do add more herbs and seasoning to taste, yours. I suggest basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme…

This fish came out of the oven flaky with a crunchy topping. And it had no salt. Except what you might want to add at the table

Ingredients
2 large egg whites (6 tablespoons packaged egg whites)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ( I used 1 teaspoon lemon pepper and omitted the grated lemon rind)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted almonds, crushed (originally sunflower seeds)
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Italian Medley
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon granulated onion
4-6 (6 oz) white fish fillets, e.g. orange roughy, tilapia
Cooking spray
Lemon slices, optional

Preparation
1. Preheat oven 475˚F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven while preheating.
2. Combine egg whites, (lemon) pepper, and lemon rind (if using) in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk until foamy. Combine panko and almonds in a shallow dish like a pie plate. Season panko-almond mixture. Mix with a fork. Dip fillets in egg white mixture, dredge in panko mixture. Place fillets on a wire rack to rest 10 minutes.
3. Remove baking sheet from oven with oven mitts and coat pan with cooking spray. Coat top of  fillets with cooking spray. Place fillets on pan. Bake 10 minutes or until fillet flakes easily with a fork. Serve with lemon slices, if using.