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Quinoa Cakes and Grillo!

Many of us are frustrated and trying to be inventive in the kitchen as our food supplies dwindle and items become difficult to find. It is one of many challenges during our shelter in place and quarantine due to COVID-19.

While rummaging through my kitchen cabinets the other day to take stock of what was left, I discovered a large unopened bag of organic quinoa. It was like finding the Holy Grail! My mind was going a mile minute thinking of all the quinoa recipes I knew and more importantly what ingredients I had on hand that might help me endure another few weeks while sheltering in place.

With limited supplies, I decided to make sautéed quinoa cakes. I had one shallot left, a jar of pumpkin seeds (used as a substitute for pine nuts), grated Parmesan, cranberry Craisins, dried herbs, eggs and olive oil. I know it is a strange combination of flavors, but it worked!
After gently cooking the quinoa, I set it aside to cool. I combined the minced shallot, pumpkin seeds, Parmesan, Craisins and herbs, one or two beaten eggs as needed and then mixed it into the cooled quinoa, adding salt and pepper to taste. I heated up the skillet with olive oil, formed the quinoa mixture into patties and sautéed them for about five minutes on each side until they were golden brown. A few fell apart but they were very tasty, nonetheless.

My next decision was what wine to pair with the quinoa cakes. It was a no-brainer.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Donnafugata SurSur 2018 Grillo, Sicilia DOC
SurSur is made with 100% Grillo grapes, an ancient indigenous variety from Sicily. Grillo is one of Sicily’s best-known grapes found throughout western Sicily and is noted for its citrus flavors, sweetness and mild acidity. Due to the grape’s high sugar levels, it is ideal for the production of fortified wines. Historically, Grillo was used in the production of Marsala wine. However, Catarratto has taken the lead. And now due to the innovation of winemakers, Grillo has a wide range of styles, from crisp and savory, to structured and mature. It is interesting to note that in 1848 Grillo became a hybrid of Zbibbo and Catarratto.

The grapes for SurSur were harvested from Donnafugata’s Contessa Entellina Estate Vineyard located in the Southwestern part of Sicily. The wine is aged in tanks for two months and then at least three months in the bottle before release.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This is a “sit up and take notice” fresh wine with enticing aromas of white flowers, citrus, stone fruit and pineapple that segue onto the palate with pear, lemon and a hint of herbs. It has a nice balance of savory and fruit with moderate acidity.  Serve as an aperitif or pair with light appetizers, seafood, salads and quinoa cakes! To quote Donnafugata, “SurSur is a fresh and fruity Grillo with a youthful spirit”.
Alcohol:  13%
SRP: $21

The quinoa cakes and SurSur were a perfect “pas de deux” of sweet and savory and my palate is quite happy!

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Stay tuned for more #stayhome adventures with limited kitchen ingredients and lots of wine!

Until next time… Stay Safe, Stay Home and Be Well!

Cheers!

Penny

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