Eggplant and Tomato Ragout over Quinoa Cakes

I’ve been trying to eat less meat during the week, meaning Monday – Thursday (hilarious, considering a very recent post of mine was a burger with bacon and eggs).  It’s pretty easy to do right now while fresh veggies are overflowing and perfectly ripe and gorgeous.  It’s certainly possible I’ll be back to being a daily flesh eater as soon as local produce goes scarce, but I have been feeling fairly conflicted about meat recently.  I’m reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals.  If you ever have an inkling of going vegetarian, but just not sure if you can do it, DON’T read this book (because you will feel incredibly guilty every time you subsequently eat meat. And CERTAINLY DON’T watch Food, Inc.) Every page makes me feel worse and worse about the huge problems associated with factory farms – and there are MANY – not just for the animal, but for humans, the environment, and even the economy.  The best I can see doing – since realistically I’m too lazy to ever become a “real” vegetarian – is t0 try to reduce my consumption and to purchase all meat and eggs from local producers that utilize a more sustainable, humane farming system.  And I am lucky enough to be in an area where this is feasible. Doing this certainly is not cheaper, but my true belief is that it is the right thing to do and I hope soon others will realize this. (Needless to say, I was being facetious and you really SHOULD read Eating Animals and watch Food, Inc.)

I put on so much ragout you can barely see my cakes!

Eggplant and Tomato Ragout with Feta over Quinoa Cakes

Serves 2. Adapted from Epicurious.com

For Quinoa Cakes

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For Eggplant and Tomato Ragout

  • 1 large eggplant, diced
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 roasted red peppers (I used jarred ones), chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled

To make quinoa cakes:
Bring water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan.

Stir quinoa into boiling water and return to a boil, then simmer, covered, until quinoa is dry and water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes, then stir in a beaten egg.

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and lightly brush with oil. Lightly oil a 1-cup dry-ingredient measure. Lightly fill enough quinoa into measure with a rubber spatula or spoon to fill it two-thirds full. Then, pack down into cup (will only be about 1/4 full then). Unmold onto baking sheet and gently pat quinoa into a 4-inch-wide patty with spatula. (You may have to kinda slam the cup onto the pan to get them to kind of “pop out”.) Make 3 more quinoa cakes, brushing measure with oil each time. Chill cakes, uncovered, at least 15 minutes.

In the meantime, make the ragout.

Blanch tomatoes in order to remove skin.  To do this, cut out core, and score a small X into bottom of tomato with a knife. Submerge into a pot of boiling water for about 10-15 seconds. Remove from water and put into ice bath. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove from water and peel off skin, starting wit the X area.  Then, roughly chop tomatoes.

In a large saute pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add eggplant and onion.  Season with some salt and pepper.  Let cook about 10 minutes.  Add wine and let cook down until almost gone.  Add tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and broth.  Season again as needed.  Let cook for another 10 minutes to let juices reduce and flavors come together.  Add herbs and let cook another minute or two.

To cook the quinoa cakes:
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Carefully add quinoa cakes and cook, turning once carefully and adding remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons oil, until crisp and golden, 8 to 10 minutes total (pat cakes to reshape with cleaned rubber spatula while cooking if necessary). Transfer to plates.  Top with ragout and crumbled feta.

My quinoa cakes ready to be put on a plate to eat

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20 responses to “Eggplant and Tomato Ragout over Quinoa Cakes

  1. Check out this new company: http://www.greenpolkadotbox.com/customer/account/create/

    This place will be like a Costco or Sams. all natural foods….that is promising to be less than Whole Foods prices. Shipped to your house and everything. I’m deeply intrigued…..thought I would share. 🙂

  2. I understand what you say about eating factory grown meat. This is why I now grow my own beef, lamb, and next year pork. I am pretty lucky to have a barn and bit of grass so that i can. I love your ragout, i still have veg in the garden too.. c

  3. Pingback: Eggplant and Tomato Ragout over Quinoa Cakes (via The Gourmet Wino) « The Occasional Chef

  4. This is such a fabulous recipe! I love these quinoa cakes! So cool! And that veggie ragout is scrumptious!! Oh! I am so with you on eating less meat, and eat organically raised and processed meat and poultry! The key is to eat less but to eat better quality meat products! I also share your views of being tempted to become a vegetarian after reading some sites. When I read peta.org, I totally changed my views on meat but I still eat meat and I do not think that I’ll become a vegetarian

  5. This does look amazing! I’ve missed the farmers market two weeks in a row, need to get back before it closes.

  6. Looks absolutely delicious 🙂 I needed a new challenging recipe. I have never heard of quinoa cakes it should be and interesting culinary gurney 🙂

  7. My wife and I joined a CSA and purchase our meats from a local organic farmer. The difference in the quality and taste of the meat is so dramatic and I can’t ever go back to store bought meat. Additionally, because we are basically buying 1/2 a pig or cow, the price per pound of meat is less than $4. Ridiculous when you think how much a factory steak on average costs at any store.

    Great recipe too!

    Cheers!

  8. I love the look of those quinoa cakes! That’s for supper at my house tonight – thanks!

  9. Love it! thanks for the great post – those quinoa cakes look fantastic!

  10. A healthy way to use all of the wonderful fresh produce that is available right now.

  11. Oh man…these sound so delicious! I had never thought to make quinoa into little cakes…I love it! I can’t wait to give these a try! 🙂

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