Sunday, March 10, 2013

According to the calendar it isn't spring yet.  According to the calendar, it's still a week and a half away.

But really?  It's spring.

We're going outside without jackets, the snow is melting, and we're remembering that there is indeed grass under all that snow.  We're starting to see our neighbours again after staying inside through the winter.  It's sunny, it's windy, and the air smells fresh and young.  What other season could it be?

I'm finding myself cooking with ingredients like green onions and lemons, too.  I didn't deliberately choose this recipe because of the spring connection, but it sounded so fresh and delicious that I couldn't pass it up.  It was a huge hit, and I'll definitely make it again soon.  Perhaps to commemorate the day that the calendar tells me it's officially spring.

In honour of my favourite season, I present this poem, and this recipe:


If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

- Billy Collins

Quinoa Cakes with Lemon Yogurt Sauce
(adapted from Canadian Living)


1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil (first amount)
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups trimmed fresh spinach
3 eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp grated lemon rind
2 Tbsp olive oil (second amount)
1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil (third amount)
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)

In fine sieve, rinse quinoa under cold water; drain.  In saucepan, bring quinoa, broth and water to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Drain in five sieve and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, in skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat; fry onion, garlic and salt, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 4 minutes.  Add spinach, cook, stirring until wilted and no liquid remains, about 3 minutes.  Let cool and coarsely chop.

In large bowl, whisk together eggs, Parmesan cheese, flour, baking powder and lemon rind.  Fold in quinoa and spinach mixture.  With wet hands, form into 16 cakes; transfer to waxed paper-lined tray.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

In nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium heat.  Fry half the cakes until golden (about 4-6 minutes per side).  Use two spatulas to flip them if you’re concerned about them falling apart.  Keep the first set warm on baking sheet in 200 degree oven while the second set is cooking. (You may need an extra 1 to 2 Tbsp of olive oil for this batch.)  Serve drizzled with Lemon Yogurt Sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Lemon Yogurt Sauce:


1 1/2 cups plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 pinch salt

Stir together yogurt, onions, lemon juice and salt.  Set aside in refrigerator until ready to serve.  


Claudia said...

Well that is one lovely, hopeful post. Love the poem. If I recite it enough - will spring come here? The quinoa cakes are perfect - sort of in-between seasons. Sort of light winter but comfort for an early spring. Dreaming of an early spring...

Velva said...

I am feeling the spring- I just put tomato plant seedlings in the ground. I love this time of year.

Beautiful poem.


Kittie Howard said...

Your odes to spring are beautiful, Beth. That lemon sauce sounds perfect for a bird-chirping spring day. Spring's almost ready to pop here, yay!

Kitchen Riffs said...

It's starting to feel like spring here, too. About time! Lovely recipe - love all the flavors in this. Thanks for this, and for sharing the poem.

Gloria Baker said...

this look and sounds delicious Beth!

Valerie Gamine said...

Such a light and happy recipe! (And it satisfies my love for quinoa & lemons.)

Beautiful poem too!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm definitely feeling spring too. I'm getting out and walking again. And we just opened our windows for awhile.

Love this new recipe. Can you come cook for me? Your family must love your meals.

Bonnie said...

Beth, Spring is certainly on her way. Lemon is my favorite flavor of spring. It just screams freshness. I do love Spring, but it is so short here in the south and escorts in my least favorite season, summer. Of course, each season, in it's own way, is a blessing. Bonnie

Anonymous said...

Blizzard on the way here in Iqaluit (sigh)...

I just bought some quinoa for the first time.... this looks like a nice recipe to try first.

Food Gal said...

It definitely feels like spring. And asparagus is even in the markets already. The calendar may say otherwise, but I say the new season is here in force.

Unknown said...

Spring is here and I love quinoa cakes-great way to celebrate the new (warmer) season ;-)

Monet said...

Oh if only Spring was speaking to me now! We had a blast of cold weather yesterday. But I'm hoping that we'll warm up this week, and I can enjoy something as light and lovely as these quinoa cakes. Thank you for sharing, dear friend!

Angela Ackerman said...

Mmmm. I haven't tried cooking with quinoa, but this sounds yummy--might have to try it. :)

Belinda said...

How lovely! I guess it really is almost spring - yay!

Joanne said...

I bought green onions this weekend also! Spring is certainly in the air and this fresh flavored dish is the best way to ring it in!

grace said...

quinoa makes great little fritters, and i love that sauce! bring on the spring! :)

Cooking Quidnunc said...

A perfect spring recipe! These quinoa cakes look fantastic.

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

Perfect for celebrating Spring :D

Choc Chip Uru

lisa is cooking said...

This is a lovely dish for spring! The yogurt sauce sounds great with the quinoa cakes.

Katerina said...

It's spring here too Beth! The poem is lovely and the patties are so good!

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Loving the crunchy, golden brown look of these Quinoa Cakes. Very appetizing!

Anonymous said...

The weather would argue otherwise. I'm still in winter here in Chicago!

Amy said...

Oh...in deed, it IS Spring. It's 80+degree F. here in CA. The other day, my little boy said, "it feels like Summer..." and he was right. :) I think Spring might have came and gone already for us.

Your Quinoa Cakes with Lemon Yogurt Sauce looks so delicious. Definitely reminds me of Spring. ;)

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, what a light recipe, just perfect for springtime - the quinoa cakes with the lemon yogurt sauce sound healthy and fresh. This is something that I would certainly enjoy eating at this time of year. Cute idea to pöace a "spring onion" on the plate. And what a delightful poem!
Have a great Thursday!

Gina Stanley said...

We are so lucky, Spring is here where I'm at. I'm loving it so much it's hard to drag myself into the house to cook. This sounds light and tasty a great combo.

Vi said...

So happy for spring!! Those cakes look amazing, I especially like the yogurt dip.

Danielle's Sweets said...

I've had a burst of Spring fever this week myself! We have that wonderful extra hour of daylight and yesterday I saw flowers in my backyard! Spring is definitely on it's way. Yay!

This dish looks soooo good! Perfect with the changing seasons. The dip looks delicious too!


Kathy said...

Your Quinoa cakes look like a wonderful way to usher in spring!!
We are expecting more snow this week…someone should let the heavens know it's Spring!! LOL! Have a great weekend, Beth!

Angie's Recipes said...

The quinoa patties are for sure a beautiful and healthy way to kiss winter goodbye!

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

Alas our snow isn't melting :(. But your very spring-y post did make me feel better!

nancy at good food matters said...

the recipe is great, but I really appreciate the Billy Collins poem--thanks, Beth!

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