YOU CAN DO IT: Crunchy Salmon Quinoa Patties

So, my girl gets back today. I’ve missed her so much this week! In just T-2 hours I’ll be hugging her, taking her for cold drink somewhere, and then bringing her home to RELAX. I’m sure she’s going to need it… and probably a long, hot shower, too.

As I fuddled around in the kitchen this morning thinking about her, I made up these Salmon Quinoa patties that are, well, gonna blow your mind.     I wanted to do something with either tuna or salmon – particularly because I wanted something protein packed to eat after my morning workout… and tuna patties + bodybuilding always went hand in hand when I was growing up. Thankfully, my craving for protein was satisfied with one lone can of wild salmon in my pantry… and, now, you’re going to see how easy these DELICIOUS, protein and nutrient packed patties are to make and enjoy in your kitchen, too.

The patty mix is very simple:

  • 2 cups of precooked quinoa
  • 1 can of wild salmon (tuna would work, too)
  • 1 cup of spinach sauté (see below)
  • 3 eggs + 1 TBSP olive oil, beaten together
  • 1 cup of processed oats (whole oats put in a food processor for 15 seconds)
  • Panko brand bread crumbs

Mix together the quinoa, salmon, spinach saute, and egg mixture.

DSC02081 Once mixture is mixed, add in 1 cup of processed oats, and stir to incorporate.

DSC02085 Once patty mixture is put together, it’s time to make the patties – and here’s where the Panko comes in. (Panko is a japanese style breadcrumb that is extremely crispy… it’s the same stuff used for tempura (and why Japanese tempura is unlike anything else). It isn’t gluten-free, though. So, if you are gluten-free, just replace the Panko with your favorite gluten-free breadcrumbs… I’m sure it will work just as spectacularly.)

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Take a handful of patty mixture, and make a patty. Hold the patty over a plate of Panko, coat each side of the patty with the breadcrumbs, and gently press the breadcrumbs into the formed patty. Finished patties should look like this – about 3/4″ thick and 3″ wide:

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As you make your patties, place them into a hot pan coated in olive oil. (Use the same pan you sautéed the spinach in… and no need to wash it out first, either.)

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Cook the patties with burner on a little hotter than medium heat. (Think of how you cook pancakes: you want enough heat to sizzle, but it should be low enough so the patties can cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes without burning.)

Cook patties for 3-4 minutes on each side (or until golden brown like my photo)… and look:

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Beatiful, huh?

“Now, Elisha, how do we eat these patties,” you ask. Well, DON’T stick them between a bun – you do NOT need a bun – and please do not slather them with a bunch of mayonnaise or dressing. Instead, you can either eat them plain and whole like a grab and go snack – you know, a REAL protein bar. They’re super yummy just like they are…

Or, if you have time to sit and eat, present yourself with more of a meal and eat them like I did this morning:

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I tossed a big handful of arugula in a sesame, soy, wasabi dressing (see below), laid it on a plate, then topped the dressed arugula with one of the patties, some fresh, thinly sliced tomato, and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. (I also poured the remaining dressing from the bottom of the bowl over the tomatoes once I plated it all.) IT WAS DIVINE.

Maybe you’ll give these a try this weekend… or, think of them next time you have leftover grilled salmon (or any fish, for that matter) in your fridge. They’re perfect for instead nourishment – and, like I learned today, an awesome way to reward yourself after a good workout.

Now off I go to get ready for my sweet Kenna-girl to return.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

  • Spinach Sauté: Heat a pan and add a little olive oil to coat the bottom. Saute 1/4 cup of diced onion, 1 clove of garlic (diced and mashed with the back of a fork), and three really large handfuls of raw spinach. Add 1 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of paprika, 1 TBSP of black pepper, and 1 TBSP of sea salt. (NOTES: Spinach really breaks down when heated, so you’ll use a lot more spinach than you think. (The goal: 1 cup of finished saute for mixture – so add more spinach to pan if needed.) Also, yes, the saute will be really salty standing alone – but remember: it’s getting mixed into other ingredients and that saltiness will be tempered perfectly.)
  • Sesame, Soy, Wasabi Dressing: Add 1 TBSP soy sauce, 1 TBSP rice vingegar, 1 tbs sesame oil, and 1/4 tsp of wasabi into a small dish. Whisk together until wasabi is incorporated. This will be enough to dress 2 handfuls of arugula for plating, and leave enough for a small drizzle over the top of the tomatoes and patty.

Bring the Wow: Quinoa Stuffed Portobellos and Simple Arugula Salad

I’m sure many of you have calendars that are filling up fast for the holidays. Either you’re going somewhere… or people are coming to you. Either way, you + food are a given.

That’s why you need to know this little number:

Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Now, If you google ‘quinoa stuffed portobellos”, you’ll find lots of options. But, it’s not just my stuffing that makes these so special (although, if I say so myself, my stuffing is better than all the others I found)… it’s what you serve these little beauties with that makes them spectacular – both to the eyes and the taste buds:

…served on a bed of a simple arugula salad

…served on a bed of a simple arugula salad

The colors, the layers of flavors, the textures of the different ingredients, the brightness of the lemon zest in the salad against the depth savories and the goat cheese in the filling… this is one of those things, ladies, the gets people talking about your cooking skills. So, if you’re asked to bring a side dish, or even a salad, THIS is it.

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You in?

Here’s what you need for mushrooms:

  • 1 cup precooked quinoa
  • 4 portobello mushrooms – washed, dried, and stems carefully removed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper – diced
  • 1 red bell pepper – diced
  • 1 shallot – diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic – diced and smashed with the back of a fork
  • 1 handful of curly parsley – rough chopped
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • goat cheese
  • Panko bread crumbs

Here’s what you’ll need for salad:

  • baby arugula
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to bake at 350 degrees.
  2. PRE-BAKE MUSHROOMS: Place washed and dried mushrooms on a cookie sheet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on each side and rub gently to coat. With top sides facing down on the cookie sheet, place mushrooms in oven for 10 minutes. Then, remove from oven and flip mushroom over on cookie sheet so the built up liquid drains out. Set aside.
  3. PREPARE FILLING: Using a large skillet (cast iron is best if you have one) on medium high heat, add 2 TBSP of olive oil into the hot pan. Add shallots and garlic; saute. After a couple of minutes, add all your diced peppers into the pan. Continue to saute, stirring occassionally, until peppers are softened. Add chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add cooked quinoa and saute, uncovered, for 3-5 minutes; stir occassionally.
  4. BUILD THE MUSHROOM: Take 1/4 cup of quinoa filling and, with mushroom laying top-side down, heap the quinoa on top. Sprinkle a little goat cheese on top of the filling, and then evenly sprinkle panko to coat the filling.
  5. BAKE: Return mushrooms to the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until panko begins to slighly brown. Remove and set aside.
  6. PREPARE SALAD: Place 2 large handfuls of arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle approx 1 TBSP olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle 1 tsp of lemon zest over the arugula, add two generous pinches of sea salt, and 1/4 tsp of lemon juice.

There are a couple ways to serve this:

If you are serving these on individual plates, you’ll want to divide the arugula salad evenly on four plates, and then lay the stuffed portobello right in the center.

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If you are preparing this and taking them to a dinner party, cover the base of your plate/platter with the arugula salad, and then evenly place the mushrooms atop.

However you choose, here’s the result:

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Be sure to come back and tell me if you make them, okay? I’ll be excited to hear about all the ‘ooohhhhs’ and ‘aaahhhs’ they brought your way…

A Dish With Heart: Rustic Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart

Something you might not know about me is this: I was not raised to cook.

My entire life my nana lived with us and she was our nourisher. She made all our meals – from our breakfast toast and coffee, to our after school meal of chicken soup and rice. While she was forced to use a conventional stove while we lived in California, when I was seven we returned to Guam – and she returned to her true comfort zone: her outdoor kitchen.

My sweet nana in the early morning – protecting her hair from the humidity

All the cooking I remember as a child was done over an open fire in a tiny 8×10 tin shack – aka the ‘outdoor kitchen’. Pots black from smoke from the fire. A knife that likely harkened back to WWII days that was so blunt and worn down, and with a blade that curved upwards like the back of a stretching cat. A rusty fridge. A lightbulb hanging by an extension cord that ran out the propped open tin window and into the main house. An old 1960’s rejected office desk with rocks for feet that slanted sideways and made my soup run for one corner of the bowl. Her kitchen smelled of the jungle, and savory meats, and wild chickens – and mosquitos ate me up every time I sat to a meal.

My nana’s kitchen was my heaven.

Growing up with a nana that cooked for me, though, meant that I never was really ‘taught’ anything. I watched. I asked questions about dishes as I got older. But my ‘cooking’ was never more than opening a can of green beans that I’d eat straight with a fork.

Fast forward to today.

I don’t have my nana anymore… but, what I do have is her heart.

My nana’s heart was always to serve and comfort through her food. She cooked to lure you into conversation over a perfectly percolated cup of coffee and inch-thick pancakes or handmade tortillas. She cooked to care for you and to love you – to show you she was thinking of you.  She cooked to wow you with what she could do with a small piece of chicken and some vegetables out of her garden – and to hear you say, “Thanks, nana, that was delicious. I love you.”

So, I cook… and, when I do, I take pleasure in creating things like this:

Mushroom and Black Olive Goat Cheese Galette

Mushroom and Black Olive Goat Cheese Galette

Believe it or not, this amazingly beautiful galette (tart) is sooo easy, so delicious… and soo worth the effort when you see how others respond to this work of art.

Here’s the recipe… but you have to promise: you’ll give it your heart and give it a try whether you were ‘raised to cook’, or not.

For the crust:
The crust is a very basic everyday galette crust and will make TWO galette crusts:

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 10-14 TBSP ice water
  1. Using a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt several times until mixed well.
  2. Add the cubed butter and pulse 8-10 times. (NOTE: DO NOT OVERPULSE. The key to having a flaky pastry crust is making sure the butter (the fats) remain about pea-sized.)
  3. Slowly add the water about 2 TBSP at a time and pulse once or twice after each addition. The dough should begin to clump, but will still be very dry in the bowl of the processor.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and begin lightly kneading the mixture until it all begins to stick together. (If it is still too dry, drizzle a little more water (about a tsp at a time) into it and toss the mixture with a fork. You want the dough to be sticky enough to adhere together without crumbling, but you don’t want it to be wet. Also, do not over-knead.)
  5. Form two discs out of the mixture, sprinkle flour over the discs, and wrap in plastic. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to using. (If you won’t be using both, you can freeze the extra one for later.)

At this point, preheat your oven to 425 with the rack in the center of the oven, and place a cookie sheet on the rack to heat along with the oven.

For the filling:

  • EVOO for pan
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced and mashed
  • 1 TBSP capers
  • 16-20 small white and brown mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 2/3 can black olives, crushed (NOTE: I drain the olive can and then I pour the olives right into my hand over the pan and crush the olives between my fingertips as I drop them in to cook)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Goat cheese
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced in quarters
  • Fresh arugula (see blow)
Up close...

Up close…

  1. Sauté all ingredients until mushrooms are tender. Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. On floured surface, roll out one of the disks until the dough is about a 12″ diameter and 1/4″ thick.
  3. Spoon your mushroom mixture into the center of the disc leaving approximately 2-3″ of space around the outside of the filling. (You might have a little filling left over – and it’s delicious right out of the pan.)
  4. Sprinkle your diced cherry tomato pieces and crumble goat cheese over the whole thing.
  5. Fold the outer edges of the dough over the filling in an accordion fashion to slightly cover the edge of the filling. Wash the exposed dough with egg wash (basically an egg with a drizzle of water, whisked until light).
  6. Here is where you might need some help – and you will definitely need patience: Remove the pre-heated cookie sheet from the oven and place it beside your prepared galette. Carefully, using an extra wide spatula and your hands, gently lift the galette onto the hot pan. (NOTE: The key is to support the bottom of the galette as securely as possible so that it doesn’t fall through when you move it. It’s okay if it looses some of it’s shape – just reshape it as best you can when it hits the hot pan.)
  7. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until nicely browned. Toss some fresh arugula with a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and spread across the top of the warm galette before serving.

That’s it! When I serve it I cut it in four quarters, and then each quarter into a quarter (like a pizza). It’s a great appetizer – and definitely a perfect ‘wow’ dish to take to a potluck.

Now… go cook with some heart! And, nana: I’m thinking of you today…

My nana - dish towel on her shoulder as she shooed me to the kitchen to eat

My nana – dish towel on her shoulder as she shooed me to the kitchen to eat

Rebel on,
Elisha

A Salad That Beckons Springtime..


It’s cold outside… the kids are at school… I am dreaming of springtime. All things point to this mama needing a nice, energizing pick-me-up for lunch!

With energy in mind, this what I threw together – and can I just say: YUM.

Satisfying. Tasty. Fresh. Beautiful.

  • Handful of arugula
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • A sprinkle of goat cheese crumbles
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon juice, fresh squeeze (please, please, please – NEVER use lemon juice out of a plastic lemon. NEVER.)
I am one happy mama.

Rebel on, -e.

“The First Step to Love” Salad

Wow – ever since Quinoa Week ended I have been dying to share more, more, more recipes with you! If I had it my way we’d be filming recipes every night… but, life gets in the way, you know? I mean, my sweet man not only did all the filming, he was also staying up until the wee hours of the morning to get the videos edited. After the “week” was over, we felt we had jet lag – yet, without a vacation tan; and, with three children that “lifestyle” just isn’t sustainable. LOL.

With all that said, I promise we’ll keep the recipe videos coming – just one a week, though. So, I hope you’ll come back every Monday and see what we’ve thrown together!

In between the videos, however, I WILL be posting photos and recipes (and, of course, I can’t help myself: some thoughts on this “rebel” life we’re trying to lead.) And the first photo/recipe I want to share? A little salad I call “The First Step to Love”.

Why the “First Step to Love”? Because this salad is the perfect way to introduce your man to quinoa. It’s so funny to me how many guys I know that, over the last week, have said: “My wife better not make me eat rabbit food.” BUT – they haven’t experienced the “First Step to Love”: a quinoa salad with BACON. (I wish I would have thought to post this before Valentine’s Day, but better late than never.)

Yum.

So, here goes – this recipe will make two side-servings:

  • 1/2 bunch of fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 10-12 dried dates
  • 3-4 TBS crumbled goat cheese
  • 4 strips of cooked bacon, cut into bite sized pieces (not bits)
  • 3-4 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put your dates into a small fry pan with just a little bit of water barely covering the bottom of the pan. Bring the water to a sizzle (which should take less than a minute), turn the stove off and cover the pan. Let the dates sit and soften in the steam while you…

Wash and dry the arugula, then roughly tear and put into a large bowl.

Drizzle the balsalmic and the olive oil over the arugula. Stir to coat.

Add in the quinoa, the goat cheese, and the BACON.

Dice up the softened dried dates and toss into the salad.

Continue to toss the salad together until everything is coated.

Serve salad onto two beautiful plates and serve your man. (It might help if you have something sexy on, too.) Tell him it’s the “First Step to Love”… I have a hard time believing he’ll turn up his nose to that “rabbit food”.

Let me know how it goes!

P.S. I cook my bacon in the oven at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. It’s the BEST way to cook the stuff… it gets it perfectly crisp!