Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Seasonal Plate Food Column

Reader Alert: A new option for making Basil Parmesan Quinoa Cakes as previously posted January 8, 2015 is using a box of Quinoa Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil. More flavor is also added to the cakes by substituting chicken broth for the water.  
Basil Parmesan Quinoa Cakes, Roasted Pear and Acorn Squash Soup and Cranberry White Chocolate Chips Cookies bring fresh flavors to your winter dining. Pair the meal with a Pinot Gris or a Gewurztraminer. The recipe for Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies was posted January 13, 2015 at

Basil Parmesan Quinoa Cakes

Cook’s notes: Quinoa is a good gluten-free source of protein, iron, and fiber. It is a quick and easy way to get in a serving of whole grains. Quinoa's mild taste and rich texture make it perfect for different kinds of dishes. These cakes are a great vegetarian side served with soups or with main entrees such as salmon, fish and pork. Recipe was adapted from and makes 6-8 cakes.

  • 2- 1/2 cups cooked quinoa or 1 box (4.8 oz.) Easy Quinoa Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil
  • 1 small sweet yellow onion, diced about 1 cup
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2- 2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs 
  • 2-3 TB. olive oil
  • Cook quinoa according to directions on box substituting chicken or vegetable broth for the water. In a skillet on medium heat 1 TB. olive oil and sauté onions until tender. Add in garlic and cook 1 minute longer. 
  • In a medium sized bowl mix together cooked quinoa, beaten eggs, salt, basil, cheese, and mixture of sautéed garlic and onions.
  • Stir in 1-1/2 cups bread crumbs and let stand so the crumbs can absorb some moisture. The mixture should be easily formed into patties without falling apart. If needed, add a couple more tablespoons of bread crumbs and let stand a few minutes more. Form into rounded patties about 2 tablespoons worth in each.
  • Heat 1-2 TB. olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan – the exact amount will depend on the size of the pan you use) in a skillet or wide frying pan over medium. Cook in batches, about 7 minutes on each side, flattening so they’re about 1/2″ thick. Flip carefully! Repeat with remaining quinoa mixture.
Acorn Squash and Pear Soup
Cook’s notes: Bosc or Anjou pears are readily available during the winter months and roast well with  Acorn squash. The soup can be served as a first course or as the main entrée with Basil Parmesan Quinoa Cakes. The recipe serves 6. 

Cooking tip: Remove outer layer of acorn squash using a vegetable peeler.

  • 1 Acorn squash, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • 2 medium ripe pears, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery ribs
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 TB. melted butter
  • ½ tsp. each ginger, allspice, sage, thyme and curry
  • 1 TB. brown sugar
  • 32 oz. carton chicken broth-low sodium
  • 2 TB. heavy cream
  • Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
  • In a large bowl add all spices with brown sugar and blend well. 
  • Toss spice mixture with chopped pears, Acorn squash cubes, celery, cloves, onions and melted butter. 
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. 
  • Spread pear and squash mixture evenly on sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir mixture and roast for 10 minutes more or until squash is tender. 
  • Cool slightly and puree mixture by adding half the broth and roasted squash/pear mixture in blender or use an immersion blender. Add mixture to a large saucepan and repeat process with rest of broth and roasted pear/squash mixture. Simmer soup on low heat 20-30 minutes. Add in 2 TB cream mix well.
  • Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg over each bowl.

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