Thursday, September 15, 2011

Potato Vegetable Cakes

Parker is a year old today! We are having his birthday party on Saturday and I have a (hopefully) delicious dairy-free chocolate cake planned. I'll let you know how it turned out.

My newest discovery in the kitchen is quinoa flour. Other than in the baby food post, I haven't talked about quinoa, have I? It's very healthy and a source of protein- read all about it on Wikipedia. I only care about all that stuff if it tastes good. And it is really delicious. It's nutty, and you can use it in place of rice as a side dish, in a salad, or now as I've discovered as a flour substitute.

I read a post about zucchini bread made with quinoa flour at Goodlife Eats and I was intrigued as I am trying to find different sources of protein for Parker as he is off beef and pork for the time being as part of the dairy allergy thing. I had a recipe for these potato and vegetable pancakes sitting on my counter for the last week, but I thought I could make them healthier. First off, they used Egg Beaters and packaged hashed brown potatoes. I prefer to use non-packaged food whenever possible; cracking some eggs and shredding some potatoes isn't a big deal. I added more vegetables to the original recipe, and then experimented with quinoa flour in place of the white flour called for.

As I said above, I'm not going to use something if it doesn't taste good, BUT if it tastes just as good and is way healthier, why wouldn't you make the change? Quinoa flour is going to be a staple here. I wouldn't substitute for it in baking, as baking has to be so exact, but for things like these vegetable cakes it's a no brainer. It really easy to make. I just put some quinoa in my Magic Bullet and whirred away. You could also try a blender, spice grinder, or food processor. I wouldn't recommend a mortar and pestle, however. This was my first thought, but after three minutes of grinding and no flour to show for it, I ditched that idea. Unless you are sitting outside your hut while your husband hunts for dinner and you have nothing better to do, use an electric option.

Makes 10 servings, 1 serving = 2 cakes
These can be frozen easily by layering them between waxed paper. Parker likes these plain, but I like them with a topping- salsa, tomato sauce, pesto, or ranch dressing would all be good. The veggies can be changed up to use whatever you have lurking in the crisper, and the spices can also be swapped out to suit your taste; curried potato cakes would be good, southwest spices would work, etc. A food processor makes quick work of shredding the veggies.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 medium potatoes, grated
  • 1/2 large zucchini, grated
  • 1/4 head cauliflower, grated
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

To make quinoa flour, place quinoa in a Magic Bullet, blender, spice grinder, or food processor and pulse until ground to a flour consistency. 

Set a large non stick pan to preheat over medium high heat. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs, vegetables, salt and pepper to season, mix together well, ensuring there are no dry flour streaks and all vegetables are coated.

Drizzle pan with a little olive oil. Pack batter into a 1/4 cup dry measure and drop into pan. Press lightly with back of measuring cup to spread batter- you don't want them too thick. Repeat with as many as will fit in pan without touching. Cook to golden brown on both sides. Cool on baking rack if not eating right away.

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