Quinoa Cakes

January 2012

Sometimes the kitchen feels like a canvas and a splatter of paint applied without a precise plan.  There’s a goal for exploration and an intended color scheme, but the way two pigments puddle together might propel an alternative theme.  Cleaning the cupboards is akin to the walk that produces the found objects which will accent the piece.  There might be doubts along the way, “am I wasting a canvas?” but as the paint dries into its true color, and the composition comes together, ideally, there’s an unexpected sense of accomplishment and a moment of true satisfaction.  This was a canvas kitchen sort of brunch!

Quinoa Cakes with Cranberry Compote & Whipped Cream

I don’t remember when I bought that box of quinoa flour, but I remember being curious, and admittedly, I am drawn to Q foods.  On a January Sunday, I was on the verge of attempting a Croque Madame when I spotted the same ol’ box of quinoa flour in its same old spot.  New plan!

I was in a time crunch (the fella’s hair appointment was looming), and I was concerned I was going too far…experimenting with different grains, substituting some egg nog I wanted to use for buttermilk and even adding Neufchatel to the batter.  Would these pancakes be heavy messes?!?  However, the final result was kitchen tested and diner approved!  Quinoa cake flipping credit to my fella, who, by the way, left brunch looking quite rugged and then returned later looking like a dapper London bloke!

The Recipes
Quinoa Cakes + Cranberry Compote + Whipped Chai Topping

Quinoa Pancakes

Ingredients

1/3 cup Quinoa flour
1/3 cup local cornmeal (from St. Vincents Gristmill)
1/3 cup organic rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon natural sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons lemon pulp (from juicer)
1 cup organic egg nog
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg (local/free-range)

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 Tablespoons homemade cranberry compote*
4 oz Neufchatel cheese (rBST free)

+ Extra maple syrup for serving!

Directions

Mix together dry ingredients.

Add egg nog, oil and egg.

Mix in the maple syrup and cranberry compote.

Cut the Neufchatel cheese into chunks and stir into the batter.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto prepared skillet.

Turn cakes as soon as they are puffed and full of bubbles but before the bubbles break.  Serve warm with a dollop of whipped chai topping and cranberry compote!

Whipped Chai Topping

1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup Tazo chai concentrate
3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a chilled bowl.  Use an electric mixer, on high, to beat until stiff peaks form.  Keep chilled until ready to serve.

*Cranberry Cherry Compote
I had leftover cranberry cherry compote from my holiday parcels, but it’s no problem to make the same morning as the quinoa pancakes.  Use some in the batter as well as a few dollops on top of a stack of the pancakes.

Ingredients

1 cup red wine (cabernet sauvignon)
1 cup water
1 cup organic brown sugar
1 bag (12 oz.) organic fresh cranberries
1 cup organic dried cherries
4 Tablespoons lemon zest (from juicer)
cinnamon, to taste
nutmeg, to taste
3-4 Tablespoons sage simple syrup

Directions

Bring the wine, water and organic sugar to boil in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add the cranberries and continue to boil until the cranberries begin to pop, stirring occasionally.

Add the remaining ingredients and continue to simmer and stir occasionally until the berries and liquid are well blended and have reached a jelly consistency.

Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

Happy canvas creating!

-QTK

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