I am sure the same is true for everyone. The weekend allows us time to cook something that might take a little more time and effort than can be afforded on a weeknight. Some Sundays I make more of an effort than others and since I had been stuck inside for a few weeks because of the inclement weather, I certainly had time to try out a new recipe.
In addition, EPC and I decided that we needed to invite our good friend over for dinner before she departs to Iceland for 3 months (she leaves on the 29th of this month!). When I asked her if she had any dinner requests she replied:
“Something with lots of vegetables.”
She is a vegetarian too, so I thought her comment was a bit funny. Regardless I made vegetables the focus of the meal.
I had been wanting to try the Vegetable and Grain Croquettes from Peter Berley’s The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. The combination of millet, quinoa and lentils intrigued me AND I had never made croquettes before!
By the way, this cookbook is one my favourites and seems to be regarded quite highly by everyone else, since it won the James Beard Foundation Book Award and the IACP Cookbook Awards. If you are in the market for a new cookbook I recommend that you take a look at it.
Since this dish was new to me (and slightly fiddly during the final moments of preparation), I decided to make oven-roasted root vegetables as well as a beet gratin topped with goat cheese and bread crumbs to round out the meal. These two dishes would up the vegetable quotient without giving me much more work during the crucial point when I would be frying up the croquettes.
The meal was fabulous and left our friend commenting that she wished she could marry me and eat like this all the time.
Anyway, I am sure she will have a marvelous time in Iceland and we will have to her over again when she returns to hear all the great stories about her time abroad.
Vegetable and Grain Croquettes
adapted from Peter Berley’s The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen
1/4 cup millet
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup red lentils
1/2 cup short grain brown rice, soaked for 4 hours and drained
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup of sweet potato, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1/4 cup onion or shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
Peanut oil for frying
- Rinse the millet, quinoa, lentils, rice and sesame seeds in a fine strainer, drain, and place into a medium pot.
- Add 3 cups of water and bring to boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover simmering for 35 minutes.
- In a medium frypan heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sweet potato, celery, onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of water, cover, and cook on low heat until tender about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and put into a mixing bowl.
- When the grains and lentils are done add to the mixing bowl of vegetables. Mix together and add the parsley and pepper.
- Spread the arrowroot powder on a plate
- Now, form the croquettes! Moisten your hands and form into a small patty and dredge in the arrowroot powder. Reserve patties on a platter until you are ready to fry them up.
- Add 1/4-1/2 inch of oil to the bottom of a heavy skillet (I used my cast iron pan) and heat over medium high heat. Adjust the heat according to the pan used. When the oil in hot panfry the croquettes, about 3 or 4 at a time, for 3 minutes per side.
- Place cooked croquettes on a paper towel lined baking sheet.
I topped with an easy yogurt sauce based on Peter Berley’s slightly more fussy one.
Easy Yogurt Sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
salt to taste
dash of maple syrup
1 cup of plain yogurt, not low fat!
Add the spices, lime juice and maple syrup to the yogurt. Stir well and enjoy.