I’ve never been one to love things that are too brand new, except for maybe a pair of shoes and a toothbrush. I’m much more of the ‘it’s got character’ type. My husband often claims that I have a grandmother’s taste because I like retro cabinets, brown pottery and floral linens. I don’t mind. I’ll admit I have a major love affair with thrift stores. I think I love them for the treasure hunt mostly, for the ‘you never know what you might find’ thrill. They are where I found my favorite plate that everyone always asks about, and the fifty shades of brown garlic pot in the picture below.
I think it’s a good reminder that we don’t all need spacious white kitchens or fancy equipment to produce a good meal. Being a good cook isn’t about joining some elite club or seeking out hard to find ingredients. I guess sometimes I think that people can be intimidated by getting into the kitchen and I don’t want to play a role in that. I always think about what Micheal Pollan says about cooking with ingredients that your grandmother would recognize as real food, and I think this reaches far beyond the recipe as well.
So keep things simple. Keep things tidy and organized but don’t fret about it too much. Use what you have. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t afford to buy fancy ingredients or a vitamix. Frequent thrift stores to find jars and storage containers and a few funky things that make you smile. Create a space where you feel comfortable, where important tools are within reach and salt is easy to grab in a pinch. Trust in the process, I promise it will start to feel more and more like home. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come out right the first time or if you burn the bottom of the pot, because you know what – we all do too. Listen to music or your favorite podcast. The energy of the cook will make it’s way into the food – so don’t stress, make happy food.
Try. Learn. Do it again. The kitchen never asked you to be perfect first.
This post is sponsored by Casablanca Foods / Mina – the essence of culinary Morocco, where culture is passed down through generations via stories and recipes. All opinons are, as always, my own. Thank you for supporting those that support this space.
MOROCCAN QUINOA PATTIES WITH CUCUMBER, YOGURT AND MINT
Harissa is no stranger to this site. In fact for the longest time it was the only real “hot sauce” I ever used. Different brands of harissa will offer varying heat, but I love the fresh flavor of Mina harissa which is why I have partnered with them to bring you some moroccan inspired meals. You can check out a few more of my favorite recipes using harissa here, here and here.
I love the smoky, spicy flavors of these quinoa patties. They are crisp and salty and when served with yogurt and cucumber they make a fresh and satisfying vegetarian meal. I’ve always been a little intimidated by cast iron – so if you’re just getting started here are some good tips.
Gluten Free. Makes 8-10 patties.
1 tablespoon coconut oil, plus extra for frying
3 green onions, white and green parts separated
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, finely grated with a microplane
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1.5 cups water
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1.5 tablespoons harissa paste (or more or less depending on desired heat)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
100g / 1 cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta
3/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 long english cucumber, sliced or ribboned
1/2 cup thick natural yogurt
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt + Pepper
Heat coconut oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Thinly slice the white parts of the onions, add them to the sauce pot and sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Add in the spoked paprika and cumin and stir to coat the onions. Sauté onions in spices for another minute. Add in the grated garlic and stir, then add in the quinoa. Stir the quinoa over medium heat for another minute to toast slightly, then add in the water and a pinch of salt. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover with lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork. Allow to cool.
In a mixing bowl whisk together eggs, chickpea flour, harissa and salt. Stir in crumbled feta and chopped parsley. Add in the spiced quinoa and stir until well combined. Place batter in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Using either a 1/4 cup or 1/3 cup measuring cup (depending on the desired size), scoop out a portion of the batter and drop onto the hot skillet. Using a spatula or your fingertips to spread out the batter and flatten the tops. Fry patties for 2-3 minutes minutes on each side or until golden brown. Continue in batches for the rest of the batter. I like to place the hot patties on a wire cooling rack while I am frying the remainder of the batter.
Thinly slice the cucumber and mint leaves. Add to a a bowl and squeeze over lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.
Place a dollop of yogurt in the center or each bowl. Top with warm quinoa patties and cucumber salad. Garnish with lemon zest and cracked black pepper. Serve with extra harissa on the side.
Patties will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days or can be stored in the freezer.
Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!