Quinoa “Falafel Balls”

9 Dec

I was at a meeting for the Food Sustainability Project last week and the folks in the group kept talking about making and eating quinoa burgers so I had to give it a try myself.  My husband wasn’t super keen on the idea of a quinoa burger so when I purposed we make them more like Falafel balls and serve them with pita and tzatziki he was suddenly converted.

I started with a simple recipe I found at this website: http://www.wholeliving.com/130334/greek-style-quinoa-burgers

From there I just kept tweaking and making a nice melodic mix of all the things in my fridge that I needed to use up that might be tasty as a friend bean/quinoa ball.  This is what I came up with…

English: cooked red quinoa


  • 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa (I used red since it still have the ‘husk’ on and hasn’t been as stripped of it’s nutrients, much like brown rice vs. white rice)
  • 1/2 an onion of any variety, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup tomato past
  • 1/4 cup red cooking wine
  • 1.5 cup cooked kidney beans and chickpeas (this is because I had about 1/4 chickpeas in the fridge that needed eating)
  • 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs (I toasted a slice of bread and then blended it with my immersion blender…it’s all I had and worked great!
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • Coarse salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For Tzatziki (cucumber-yogurt dip)

  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek (thick) yogurt (or strain non-Greek yogurt of excess liquid with cheese-cloth)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 pitas (each 6 inches)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, partially pealed and grated (leave some of the skin on)

The bean/quinoa mix


  1. In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil; add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside.
  2. In a bowl mix the tomato paste and wine until smooth and creamy.  Add garlic, onion, cooked beans, bread crumbs and pulse with immersion blender until fairly smooth.  You can leave some partial chunks of beans unblended for texture.
  3. Then mix in spices, seasonings, egg and cooked quinoa.
  4. Form mixture into little balls about the size of a ping-pong ball, flattened. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook balls until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Optional: before frying lightly coat ball in flour to keep from sticking to pan and help to form a nice crispy outside.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and two cloves minced garlic; season with salt, pepper, dill, and olive oil for your tzatziki dipping sauce. Serve quinoa balls in pita topped with tzatziki.  Add lettuce, avocado, fresh onions, avocado or anything you might like into your pita!


Skittles on the train

2 Dec

I was riding on the subway this week and found myself fascinated and shocked by this little baby sitting in a stroller chowing down skittles.  It just seemed shockingly early for him to be establishing such eating habits and taste preferences.  Like a kid in a candy shop I just couldn’t take my eyes away.  I tried to snap of picture of him on my phone but it just came out blurry every time as the train lurched forward trying to stop me, but here ya go…..


Lentil Soup; throw it together as a last minute dinner and voila!

27 Nov

I had some friends visiting last night and after the Thanksgiving holiday not too much food in the fridge for a meal.  I found a bag of carrots, half an onion, and a potato in the fridge and looked around at my grains, spotting the green lentils.  The best thing to make on such short notice (no need for soaking) was lentil soup.  I love soups because you can pretty much throw in whatever you want, whatever is lying around and it always turns out delicious and nutritious!

Ingredients (all estimates):

  • ~ 1/2 cup reserved beet juice from steaming beets last week (you could use any kind of broth if you have it or just water if you don’t, this just adds some more flavor)
  • ~1/2 cup red cooking wine
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 diced cooking potato
  • 3 diced carrots
  • ~1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 1/3 cup green lentils
  • lots of water
  • spices: see below


In a large soup pot heat the olive oil, toss in the onions and let cook until they are soft and translucent. Then add and saute the potatoes and carrots.  Dissolve the tomato paste in the red wine and add along with the broth/beet juice to the pot. Throw in one bay leaf and add your lentils.  Now add enough water to fully cover all your ingredients (lentils soak up a lot of water).  At this point or flavor I add spicy paprika, salt & pepper, a dash of oregano and a dash of cinnamon.  Cover it and let it simmer until the lentils are tender.  Enjoy!

Burgers, Fries, Hot Dogs One Dollar!!!

20 Nov
French fries

Yesterday I was walking around Times Square, bombarded with leaf-letters, street hollers, food carts, people, an air of frenzy, etc…  I usually stay  very focused on the side-walk in front of me and blank everything else out since I want to make sure not to step in unexpected piles of dog crap.  But my ear did perk up when I heard a man standing infront of a “gyro” shop handing out fliers and saying, “Hamburgers: One Dollar, French Fries: One Dollar, Hot Dogs: One Dollar!”  I said, What?!  How can they all possible cost the same price?  Doesn’t that show how skewed our food system is when a hamburger; presumable the flesh of a cow, a bun, condiments, maybe some lettuce, tomato, and onion cost one dollar and an order of fries is also one dollar.  Now either french fries are ridiculously over-priced or more likely the hamburger and hot dog alike are extremely subsidized, highly manufactured and under-priced, and the true cost is a hidden one.

Oh and my fear of stepping in dog crap is a real one, just a few minutes later I was in a crowd watching some break-dancers and suddenly the crowd opened up and in the empty place where people had been standing there was a center pile of dog crap…with an attempted cover-up of newspapers and tons of little feet prints spiraling out from the source.

Big Veggies and more..

20 Nov

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  Grad school suddenly crept up on me with a vengeance, I guess it felt I wasn’t paying enough attention to it.  But through it all I did still get some much needed cooking/baking in so that I could stay focused on school and keep my brain functioning.

I wanted to share one of my husbands favorite dishes with you.  This is easy, tasty, healthy, and you can make a huge batch of it to last through the week.  We call it “Big Veggies”

Cut up your choice veggies into big chunks.  Cauliflower, beet, potato and a head of garlic to roast are usually our staples.  Put them into a bowl so you can evenly coat salt, pepper, and olive oil on them (and other added spices if you like).  Place them in your biggest pan covered in the oven for about an hour.  Once they are mostly tender with a fork poke take the foil off and let them cook another ten minutes of so.  They are slow roasted and the flavors really come out strong this way, that’s why we don’t usually add other spices.  It’s nice to have excess oil in the dish, it makes a delicious sauce flavoring if you want to pair your veggies with rice or orzo.


Also I made a loaf of homemade bread a few weeks ago…. Very hearty and seeded.  I honestly don’t remember all the steps and ingredients, I just wanted to post it to tell you how easy it is to make bread, and so much fun.  It makes you feel so accomplished to eat your own bread.  All you basically need is yeast (different yeasts will flavor the bread differently), water, and flour (different flours of your choice will flavor the bread differently too).  You can also add in seeds, sugar/honey for the yeast, butter, etc.  But those first 3 ingredients are all you really need.  The reason people usually don’t make bread, I think, is that the planning time and time to satisfaction of when you actually get to eat the bread is very long. You have to make your dough and then let it rise until it’s double in size…or overnight even, in the fridge.  Then you pound it down, shape it how you want it into the dish you want to bake it in and let it rise again.  You finally cook it once it has risen the second time.  Again, it doesn’t take much effort, just time and planning.  Check out my loaves…they were seeded with flax, sesame, and poppy and were very hearty (all whole wheat flour), they packed a punch toasted and dipped in hummus.

After 2nd rising

Before 2nd

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

19 Oct

Make a fruit fly trap!


  • Honey or sugar (about a tsp)
  • Vinegar (I use apple cider or red wine)
  • A dab of soap (just enough to make bubbles when you pour water in)
  • A vessel
  • Water
Mix everything together and fill up a vessel (an old jar or something, preferably see-through so you can watch them drop).  Works every time within a few minutes to a few hours. Make sure you don’t fill the jar so full that they can land on the side and drink without having to actually go into the jar.  At the point they enter to take a drink the soap bubbles trap them in and they drown, no more fruit flies bugging you in the kitchen.

Sebastopol, CA Yogurt makes it to NYC!

14 Oct

I nearly squealed with joy when I saw this is my local supermarket here in NYC.  I just moved from the SF Bay Area and use to work alongside this farm at the farmers markets there (the smoke cheddar they make is outrageously delicious!)  I can’t believe their yogurt is out here!  And I saw another friendly farmers market product in the stores here a week before…Three Twins Ice Cream from San Rafael!  Pretty shocking and thrilling to find!

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