What’s Up Doc?

April 23, 2009 at 8:59 am

Melissa Graham

Earth Month has been a busy one for me. It seems that this sustainability thing is finally catching on around here and, sheesh, has my schedule booked up fast. For example, this week I began at Fresh Picks distributing 400 tiny ramp tartlets, last night my staff and I served vegetarian appetizers to 100 guests at Conscious Living TV’s launch party, last night a panel discussion with Michael and Rob at North Park University on eating locally, today a Cook Green class at Smarty Party, Friday is Purple Asparagus’ Earth Day potluck, Saturday Garbage to Garden at A Cooler Planet and Sunday, a sustainable cooking class at University of Chicago. I’m exhausted just writing that and I’m only a third of the way into it.

But today, while my head is above water for about an hour, I wanted to share a wonderful new recipe that would be perfect for your Earth Day celebration. Rob recently revealed one of his resolutions, which was to eat more carrots. I couldn’t agree more. Whether over-wintered or freshly dug, carrots are a savior come early spring. Kids love them, they’re nutritious, and they’re sturdy, holding well in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Carrots can be roasted, shredded raw, or cooked in chicken stock or water and pureed. It was, however, my motivation to create a bite size morsel, which would capture the carrot’s sweet sunny deliciousness, that inspired this recipe for Carrot-Quinoa Cakes.

Carrot-Quinoa Cakes
Serves 2

1 large carrot
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive plus more for sauteeing
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked according to the package
1 tablespoon quinoa or all-purpose flour

Method: Peel and slice the carrot approximately 1/2 inch thick. Cover with water in a small saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender approximately 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking water. Puree in a food processor or mash until smooth. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Cook the onion until softened. Add the cumin and cook for another minute. Mix the carrot puree, quinoa, onions and flour. Form into cakes and saute in olive oil until golden on each side.

This is a great main course vegetarian meal given that quinoa is very high in protein. It would also be a lovely side dish for shrimp or scallops as it would only complement their delicate sweetness. I served them last night with a touch of Greek yogurt mixed with finely chopped dill. Adorable, colorful and flavorful – a caterer’s dream dish.