Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Accidental Awesomeness - Tuna and Quinoa Cakes

As some of you know, I've been bachelorette-ing it up here in Bigfork while I music direct shows for the Bigfork Summer Playhouse. It's tough being away from Caenaan, but we make it work. One of the most difficult parts for me is boredom, and with that comes laziness. I often find myself not wanting to do anything, and therefore I make bad decisions about what I eat. It is hard to get the motivation to cook for one at home, but up here it is even harder, as I am away from my own kitchen and my stocked pantry. Making dinner is sometimes frustrating, because I am missing common pantry items and kitchen tools (like a grater... Found that out tonight).

However, I'm always up for a challenge. When I'm here in Bigfork, making a tasty dinner sometimes feels like I'm on an episode of "Chopped" or the episode of "Top Chef" where they have to make a great dish using only items they find in a vending machine. My fridge consists of beer (SO important!), lunch meat, bread, mayo, mustard, relish, yogurt, milk, cheese and a few vegetables thrown in so I can feel healthy. My pantry has an array of nuts and dried fruits that I used to make trail mix, some granola bars, cereal, tuna, coffee and quinoa. That's it. Add that to the spice cabinet, which includes a bunch of plain ol' herbs, salt, pepper, flour and oil (most of which are ancient and some of which are unusable).

Tonight, I went for a run/walk and when I was done, the last thing I wanted to do was cook for myself. But I also felt bad going out to eat, when I had food at home and would inevitably get a burger and fries if I went somewhere. So I forced myself to head back to the Plastic Palace (the trailer that the directors live in) and rummage around for some food. I thought of making a turkey sandwich or a PB&J, but that all sounded so boring. So I put on my thinking cap and came up with these tuna and quinoa cakes. They turned out great, and were quick and cheap. I impress myself sometimes.

Tuna Quinoa Cakes

1 can tuna, drained
3/4 cup cooked quinoa (be sure to rinse it before cooking or it will be bitter)
1-2 T Mayo
1 T Mustard
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2-3 T canned green chiles
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste
2 T cornstarch or 1 egg, beaten
Flour for dredging
Light oil for frying

Mix all ingredients except flour and oil in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle some flour into a shallow dish or plate and season with salt and pepper. Form tuna mixture into medium sized patties and dredge in flour mixture. Pan fry in a few tablespoons of oil over medium heat. For crispier patties, flatten them in the pan with your spatula. Fry until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Drain on paper towels and enjoy with ketchup or tartar sauce.