Monday, 20 May 2013

Awesome quinoa burgers

My life is a mess. I mean literally. The move is about 50% through, and my apartment just looks worse and worse even though it should actually look like less of a mess as we have already hauled two carloads of stuff out of here. This move is completely stressing me out. And I have actually no idea why, because in theory, I'm really excited and can't wait to get it over and done with. Maybe it's the thought of having to do it all again in a few weeks time. At the same time, I'm really stressed about the thought that we won't be moving again in a few weeks time. What if things don't go according to plan with the dream house? I have packed all my stuff so that I will only have access to enough clothes to get me through a few weeks. I will be living out of a suitcase. I mean, for real. I'll show you a photo as soon as my suitcase is packed. All this while starting a new job. Which I'm excited and happy about. In theory. But I haven't slept well in weeks. Apart from two nights ago, but that's probably because I was wrapped in elephants. I'm also stressed about maybe having poisoned myself just now. I was taking a shower, and decided to start the first round of bathroom cleaning. I went a bit wild spraying limescale remover all around, and all of a sudden I felt like I was choking. My tongue actually started to tingle. What sort of horrible chemicals are we using to clean our houses? But I have to get the place clean. Hopefully I won't die of poisoning tonight. Hopefully I will be able to go to sleep thinking about all the exciting and positive things, and not worrying about everything that could go wrong. I'm stressed about all my kitchen stuff being packed and out of reach. As is my crafting stuff. I'm worried I will go crazy. I'm stressed about all the work that we need to do on the Culinary Consultant's house to get it ready for prospective tenants. But we can't do anything while all my stuff is filling every nook and cranny. So even if I get the dream house, we will be spending all summer doing up the old place and not enjoying the new one. I'm stressed I have packed something essential deep down in one of my gazillion moving boxes, and having to go in search of it later. At times I feel a bit like I'm going slightly mad. But I know that it will all be worth it, and it will all sort itself out. Things tend to do that. Now if I could only make my brain understand that too...

Just to get my brain out of stressing for a short while, I will tell you about quinoa burgers. It might not seem like much, but then you haven't heard about *these* quinoa burgers. I have talked before about food kismet. Or Pinterest kismet as it's more likely to be in my world. I love Pinterest, it's the best way to spend your time while waiting for the bus. Or to get you through your lonely lunch hours after your best friend just abandons you and moves to another country.

In my eagerness to spend all my efforts on trying to get rid of my piles of beans (and I'm happy to report, I finally managed to finish off the last two cans today!!!), I have completely neglected the mounds of quinoa I have managed to stock. I usually keep two packs of quinoa in the house. One of them is the one I'm using, and I have a fresh one I move to when I finish the previous one. And then I buy a new one waiting for that one to be used up. And so it goes, in circles. However, due to stockpiling too much food in a tiny space some things just disappear to the back of my storage space. I have managed to bury several half used packs of quinoa, which I have now unearthed in my archeological digs of my pantry. So quite a bit of quinoa to use up. Which is not a problem, I love quinoa. But sometimes just eating it as is can be a bit boring. So when this recipe from a blog called Eating well - living thin(er) popped up on Pinterest, I knew I immediately had to try it. Immediately, as in the same evening. So I broke my rule of not buying any groceries and bought a pack of cottage cheese. I think it was worth it as I was able to use quite a bit of stuff from my stash: quinoa, the last sad and slightly sloppy carrots from my fridge, the last frozen piece of cheddar hiding at the back of my freezer.

I modified the recipe slightly from the original, which had scallions instead of onions. I also reduced the amount of cheddar from 3/4 cups to about 1/2 a cup as that was all I had. I replaced all purpose flour with gluten free flour mix as I'm trying to use that up, probably any flour would do like coconut, rice, whole wheat etc. I was going to cook the burgers in coconut oil, but was distracted while cooking so I automatically reached for the olive oil bottle instead.

And as usual I have to apologise about the photos. This time, I was just about to dig my fork into my burger when my two lonely brain cells managed to connect and remind me that a food blogger should always photograph first, and eat second. Of course being a rather greedy food blogger, I tend to forget this. But then again, at least I can say I show the food just as it is. You know how looking at pictures in interior design magazines you go "no way does anyone's house ever look like that, there should be dirty underwear on the floor and disgusting dirty plates on the tables". Well that is how I feel like when I look at all the wonderful food blogs out there. Yes, the pictures are breathtaking. But my food never looks like that! My food looks like the pictures on my blog. And thats the excuse I'm going with, and I'm pretending I'm all happy about it. Smirk.

Quinoa burgers (makes 8-10 burgers):
cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked)

1/2 stock cube for cooking the quinoa (I went with beef stock as that's what I had on hand, go for veg stock if you want them to be vegetarian)
1 yellow onion
2 cloves of (smoked) garlic
olive oil for cooking
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1/2 cup cottage cheese (they only had low fat in my local grocery store)

2 small carrots grated (original recipe says you can replace by 1 cup shredded zucchini)
3 eggs
3 tbsp all purpose flour (I used gluten free)

1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried coriander

Cook the quinoa in about 2.5 cups of water (or according to instructions) with 1/2 stock cube. Let cool. Sauté chopped onion in oil until translucent, add finely chopped garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Mix the cooled, cooked quinoa with the onion and the rest of the ingredients. It will be quite a runny dough. Don't expect to be able to make nice balls out of the batter, I just scooped it with a 1/4 cup measure straight onto the pan and tried to shape nice, round and symmetric burgers. I totally failed at that. As the batter was quite runny, I didn't think the burgers would stay in one piece during cooking, but to my surprise, they did so very well! As suggested I cooked on a medium-low temperature to let a crust form before turning the burger and that helped keep it in one piece.

The verdict:
I love my quinoa, and thought I would probably like these, but was also a bit worried that they might taste a bit bland. Well, not only were they far from bland, they were really delicious. Even the Culinary Consultant, who usually would not choose a completely vegetarian meal said he would be happy to have these again. They were super tasty actually. I served them simply with a side of avocado and tomato slices and some garlic mayo. I can't wait until lunch tomorrow when I get to have another one of these!

Oh and there will be no card of the day today. On accounts of all my crafting stuff being packed away in the middle of that:

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