Friday, September 3, 2021

Vegetable Quinoa Patties


Faced with a glut of zucchini last summer, I spent some time searching out zucchini recipes on the internet. I came across several variations of quinoa patties that included zucchini and I gave them a try. This recipe is one I've adapted from a number of recipes. 

The patties can be made ahead, frozen and reheated. They are good hot or cold. They're great on a picnic or at the dinner table. They make good finger food for toddlers, and they are loaded with vegetables and healthy grains. Win win.

Vegetable Quinoa Patties

2 - 3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled

1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 onion, diced

1 medium zucchini, grated, and then squeezed to release moisture. Save the moisture for soup. You should have about 1 cup of grated and squeezed zucchini

1 medium carrot, grated

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons minced fresh herbs, I used parsley and basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup bread crumbs (I used seasoned because that's what I had, but plain work well, too)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 eggs, lightly beaten

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and saute the onion until soft. Add the carrot and zucchini and continue to saute until the vegetables are mostly tender. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

To the quinoa, add the cooled vegetables, the minced herbs, salt and pepper and stir well to combine.

Add the bread crumbs, eggs, and cheese and again, mix well.

Form the mixture into patties (I used about 1/2 cup for each one, but they could be made smaller, as desired). They will feel loose, but hold together well on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place them on the parchment paper with space between them, not touching each other. Flatten the tops and pat into shape.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil onto the top of each pattie. 

Bake at 410 degrees for 15-20 minutes, then flip the patties and bake for another 10 minutes. 

Serve at desired temperature.

These are great with a sauce - herbed yogurt, or salsa are good. I also like them with a garlicky lemon mayonnaise - aioli. 

The recipe yielded 18 patties for me, each about 3 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch high.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Good Things Cookies


This recipe is based on one from Fine Cooking magazine, adapted to our tastes. The combination of ingredients makes for a rich, delicious cookie that is perfect with a cup of tea. 

Good Things Cookies 

(makes 2 dozen cookies)

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 Tablespoon light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl regularly. Add the egg, corn syrup, and vanilla; beat well. 

Add the flour, salt, and baking soda and mix until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl to ensure that all is well-mixed.

Add the oats, cranberries, pecans, and white chocolate chips. You may have to stir them in by hand, but my Kitchen Aid mixer did a fine job on slow speed. 

Spoon dough in heaping teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets. 

Bake at 325 degrees for 13 minutes, or until edges and bottoms are golden. The middle may look soft. Let sit on the cookie sheets for a minute or two to set, then transfer to a cooling rack. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Fond Farewell Cherry Almond Tart


Cherry season is a highlight of summer for me. I love the sweet rich taste of cherries and enjoy them for as long as I can. However, the day comes when cherries are no longer in the markets. I bought what might be the last cherries for this year, and decided to make a cherry tart with them. 

This recipe is a combination of two from Laura Calder's book Paris Express. I will warn you that this is not a very sweet concoction. It's also a thin tart, and quite light to eat. I took it to dinner with friends and we all agreed that it would also be wonderful as breakfast. 

Let's start with the crust. It's an easy one, for the "pastry-phobic" as Laura Calder puts it. 


1 cup (125 g) flour

1/3 cup (70 g) butter, cut into pieces

1 Tablespoon icing sugar (I might increase this to 2 T)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor, pulse to fine crumbs that are barely beginning to hold together, and place in a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the crumbs evenly to line the bottom and sides of the pan. You want a good amount on the sides, and really press the dough into the fluted sides. Chill for 15 minutes while you make the filling.

Frangipane Filling:

1/2 cup (70 g) ground almonds

1/4 cup (55 g) butter

1/4 cup (55 g) sugar

2 Tablespoons flour

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Put the almonds, butter, sugar, and flour in a food processor and pulse until a paste forms. Add the egg yolk and almond extract; pulse until combined. 


2 cups (375 g) fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the frangipane filling gently over the crust. The crust is fragile and I found it easiest to dot the frangipane over, then place it in the oven for 5 minutes to soften and make it easier to spread. 

Arrange the cherry halves over top of the filling. 

Bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before removing from the pan. Dust with a little sifted icing sugar, if desired. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Panna Cotta with Summer Fruit


The ideal summer dessert, to me, is cool and light, and definitely something that can be made ahead. We're in the midst of our third heat wave this summer. Guests are coming for dinner and last night I put 8 lovely ramekins of Panna Cotta in the fridge where they will lounge about, coolly waiting for dinner. 

Yes, I unmolded one ahead of time to take the photo. 

The fruit is a cooked cherry compote to which I added fresh blackberries and the very last of our garden's blueberries. Any fruit would be good and I'll leave that part up to your imagination. 

Panna Cotta (for 6) 

1 cup whole milk

1 cup whipping cream (unwhipped)

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons good vanilla

2 1/2 teaspoons unflavoured gelatin

2 Tablespoons cold water

1 cup plain yogurt (I used 3.5% fat)

Heat the whole milk and whipping cream along with the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until it steams. Do not let it boil. 

Meanwhile, soften the gelatin in the cold water. 

When the milk is steaming, add the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Whisk in the vanilla and yogurt. 

Pour into individual ramekins which have been very lightly oiled. 

Place into the fridge for several hours. Unmold, or serve in the ramekins with a fresh fruit sauce, or simply a handful of summer berries. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Blackberry Shrub


I had never heard of "shrub" drinks until a couple of years ago. They are a mixture of fruit, vinegar, and sugar that form a concentrated syrup that is then mixed with still or carbonated water, or other liquids. This blackberry shrub is also flavoured with cinnamon and makes a very refreshing drink on a hot summer day. You can mix the drink to your own strength, but 1-2 Tablespoons per glassful is usual. 

Blackberries are not yet ripe here on Vancouver Island, but I had some frozen from last summer and they worked well. I found this recipe in a Taste of Home Make-Ahead magazine. 

Blackberry Shrub

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries, crushed

1 cinnamon stick 

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1. Place the fruit and cinnamon stick in a sterilized quart jar. Bring the vinegar just to the boil; pour over the fruit, and screw the lid on tightly. Refrigerate for 2-5 days. 

2. Strain the vinegar mixture through a fine-meshed strainer. Press the fruit to extract as much of the juice as possible. Discard the cinnamon stick and the fruit. 

3. Bring the sugar and water to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar mixture. 

4. Store in a sterilized jar in the fridge for 2 weeks. 

5. To serve, add ice to glass, then 1-2 Tablespoons of syrup, and top with ice water, club soda, or sparkling water. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Rhubarb Custard Pie


Our rhubarb plant is huge this year. I had some leftover pastry in the freezer and decided to make a Rhubarb Custard Pie. The pastry was a bit skimpy but I was able to roll out a decent crust, which I then blind baked before adding the filling. It's a pie that tastes best cold, I think. A bit of whipping cream would be a good topping, although it was fine without. 

Rhubarb Custard Pie

1 9-inch blind-baked pie crust

4 cups diced fresh rhubarb

1/4 cup sugar

Mix the above and place the rhubarb into the crust.

Whisk together the following ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/2 - 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

3 eggs

2/3 cup cream (I used table cream - 18%)

2 Tablespoons melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour the filling over the rhubarb and place in the oven. You may want to put the pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet in case of spills. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Date Loaf


"Company's Coming" is the title for 200 cookbooks published in Canada beginning in the 1980s by Jean Paré, a caterer. The series included Appetizers, Salads, Light Recipes, Pies, etc. I pared down my own collection of them several years ago, but hung on to a number of them. In "Muffins and More" there are a host of delicious recipes, this date loaf among them. It's a family favourite. I like to double the recipe and make one for immediate eating and another for the freezer. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. 

Date Loaf (makes one 9 x 5 x 3 loaf)

  • 1 1/4 cups chopped dates 
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
   Combine the above ingredients. Stir and cool.

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
In large bowl, beat egg lightly. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat to mix. Stir in cooled date mixture.

In separate bowl mix:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
Add to date mixture. Stir to mix. Stir in:

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Pour into greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Let stand for 20 minutes, then bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove from pan.