Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year Wishes

Wishing all my readers health, hopes and happiness in the year 2013!

2012 was tainted with all the turmoil going on around us - the most heartbreaking of all were the news of innocent people losing their lives for no fault of their own. Hope there is safety and solace for everyone in the new year. Even with all the disturbing events, we personally had lots to be thankful for in the past year - a new home, a lovely month with my parents, new friends, awesome travels and another beautiful year of togetherness. At the end of it, we should only remember the good things and try to turn any negatives into positives.

We hosted a few Holiday parties over the last couple of weeks. Two days after Christmas, I had invited all my colleagues and their families for dinner. After at least 50 mental revisions of the menu, I settled on the following -deviled eggs, yogurt-cucumber dip with chips and veggies, spinach and cream cheese crostini and quinoa-corn cakes for appetizers. The main course included a winter salad with cranberries and toasted almonds with honey-lemon dressing, herb-roasted potatoes, and orzo with roasted butternut squash and sage. The menu was simple, went well with adults as well as the kids and had items that could be made ahead of time. The food was a big hit. One of my colleagues' wife got two recipes and made at her New Year's party! (That certainly gave my ego a healthy boost :D).

My favorites among all were quinoa-corn cakes and the orzo. I tried both these dishes for the first time for the party. Call it holiday magic or whatever - both turned out really well. Unfortunately, in the rush of things, we forgot to take any pictures of the food at all. However, the recipes deserve to be shared.

The quinoa-corn cakes were my attempt at recreating an appetizer from the holiday buffet we had in Vegas. They were utterly delicious, and even without the chef's recipe, mine turned out more than decent.

I'm submitting this recipe to Priya's Quinoa-Ragi event hosted by Divya.

Quinoa-Corn Cakes

1 1/2 Cups quinoa
1/3 - 1/2 Cup frozen corn
1/2 White onion
1 Large garlic clove
1/2 Teaspoon dried Italian herbs
Salt & Pepper & Paprika to taste
1/2 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Rice flour as needed
1 Tablespoon Olive oil + more for shallow frying

  • Cook quinoa according to instructions on the package.
  • Chop onion and garlic finely.
  • Heat oil in a pan and saute onion and garlic. Once translucent, add corn, quinoa, cheese and the seasoning and mix well. Turn the heat off
  • Add a rice flour little by little to the mixture just enough to bind everything together. 
  • Make small round patties/cakes about 3/4 inch thick. Pan fry the cakes in olive oil until golden brown.
Warm cakes with melted cheese taste just fantastic by themselves or even with a little bit of hot sauce!

I made butternut squash orzo loosely using Ina Garten's recipe for risotto. I made a vegetarian version by excluding pancetta and chicken stock, using vegetable broth instead. One important change I made was adding fresh julienned sage to the orzo by sauteing it with the onions. The aroma was heavenly! This is going to be added to my 'favorites' recipes.

Happy eats in 2013 to you all!


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