quinoa cakes are not boring

It's been a long while since I documented anything on le blog. 

I've been busy being reckless and turning 29 and organizing my life. Boston's been a wee bit warm so cooking hasn't exactly been the highest priority ... and there are only so many times I can show you a picture of Boston Harbor before you write to me and say enough is enough.

But, I'm coming off a 4 day staycation and feeling a bit refreshed... so I cooked and it was amazing and I'm going to share the recipe with you.

Whenever I cook with quinoa, I feel like I'm cooking at spa. It's just so light and I feel like I could pair it with a steak and still feel good about the decision (maybe that's a lie). But today, I was sitting on my roof sunning myself and thinking about what I wanted for dinner. I had leftover quinoa from my Bachelorette Finale Fiesta (will be blogged at some point in this lifetime) and wanted to use it. I stumbled upon a recipe for quinoa cakes and knew that'd be the winner. So that's where we are. Quinoa cakes. 

I first was introduced to quinoa when I was hiking on the Inca Trail in 2008 - and this is a far different use for it than when I was covered in sweat and gazing at Peru. Both are great, but if you aren't going to find yourself in Peru, you should just make this dish.

I can't wait to make this for some guests at some point. In which case, I'll probably mix up all the ingredients - except the egg part - and then just "whip up" the cakes as we chat over glasses of wine. But since tonight I was dining a la party of one, I just set myself up at the table and thoroughly enjoyed the last few moments of my staycation.

Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Make your quinoa. The ratio is typically double the water for the amount of dry quinoa. I'm terrible at making grains so you should just google how this works. I'm lucky I'm alive after making rice... seriously.

(Step 2) While your quinoa is cooking, mix up your two eggs in a small bowl and set to the side.

(Step 3) Mix together the onion, garlic, parsley, green olives, panko flakes, parmesan, lemon zest, and salt / pepper in a dish. Yes, you are reading that right. I pretty much told you to put everything else in a medium bowl and mix it all up. This is just that easy.

(Step 4) Once your quinoa is cooked and cooled, add it to the mixture and ensure its all pretty well blended. Then add in your eggs. You want the quinoa to not be hot because then you'd get scrambled eggs ... and well folks, this isn't breakfast so don't be scrambling the eggs. If your mixture isn't "moist", just add the tiniest bite of water until it is. You don't want the quinoa to dry out, seriously. That'd be terrible.
(Step 5) Get your skillet to a medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil in there. You need you give your cakes something to sizzle it.

(Step 6) Scoop about 2 tablespoons or so into a meatball shape and then flatten it. Gently put in the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes on either side. You can make the cakes as big or as small as you want. It's your cake, not mine. But, I'd recommend ensuring each person gets 3 medium sized cakes.

(Step 7) Place your cakes on a bed of baby spinach and top with freshly grated parmesan.

(Step 8) Baby spinach doesn't excite me so I added a light dressing of nearly equal parts olive oil and lemon juice with 1/2 part champagne vinegar cause I'm fancy like that. This was amazing and you should also make this decision. 

And now you should eat.

Shopping List makes 6 cakes (serves two)
3/4 cup of dry quinoa
1/2 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic
1/8 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup chopped green olives
1 cup panko flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 eggs
olive oil

dressing & bedding
baby spinach
champagne vinegar
lemon juice
olive oil

Bonus Picture?
I was so occupied trying to take pictures, play my Spotify, and flip my cakes ... that I had to wear one of my birthday presents ... this adorable polka dot apron from my amazing lady friends. If you are wondering whether it is as cute in person, the answer is yes. 

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