On the menu: Millet Cakes with Sundried Tomatoes and Parmesan
The times, they are a changing. Can we talk about feelings for a moment? I am happy. And I am absolutely exhilarated about that. I remember, during one particularly rough patch, mentioning a deeper reason why I started blogging. The fog that I lived in for almost three years is gone. I feel like myself again, and it is SO wonderful. I have a new direction for my life, and I am so excited to see what the future brings. We have renewed our weekend adventures now that the weather is nice, and it has really reminded us of how lucky we are to live here. We’re one hour from deep woods and one hour from the ocean. In between, there are all kinds of charming towns, each with it’s own character and begging to be explored. Sometimes we don’t find much, sometimes we get a little freaked out, but most of the time, we come home with a stronger sense of what it means to live in Maine. It’s a unique place, and we are glad to be a part of it.
Eating meatless during the week is feeling less and less unique and more and more the norm now. We’re trying all kinds of new dishes and really enjoying each one. I’m learning a lot about whole foods lately, and I’ve been stocking our pantry with many kinds of grains and pulses to explore the full gamut of what eating meatless can mean. Kevin groans when I come home with bulgur wheat, Israeli couscous, or red lentils, but he was quite resistant to millet. Millet is birdseed. It is, and I won’t deny that. We have some sitting in the birdfeeder we have on our dining room window (It has suction cups. It’s SO fun!). The gold finches and chickadees are loving it these days. And after this meal, so are we. I decided to ease into consuming birdseed by making millet cakes with a rice base. You know, a little millet here, a little millet there, and soon eating it on it’s own won’t be so bad.
I had the Joy of Cooking on my side in the quest to get the guy to eat millet. When I showed Kevin this recipe, he conceded, but he was still a bit hesitant. If millet is in The Joy, then it is totally legit. The flavor in these millet cakes comes from sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, onion, and Parmesan cheese, and we threw in some oregano for an herbal component. The sun-dried tomatoes we used were packed in olive oil with oregano and basil, which added even more flavor. Cooking the millet and rice with the tomatoes smelled just like making pasta sauce. As it cooked, we stood over the stove, deeply inhaling it’s rich aroma. I’ve made quinoa cakes before, and I remember having trouble forming the patties and getting them to fry without falling apart. It’s really important to wet your hands with cold water before you form these, otherwise you’ll just make a sticky mess. Also, these cakes are refrigerated for a bit before you fry them so they hold their shape in the pan. These fried up beautifully.
Kevin sauteed some collard greens with garlic and red pepper flakes to serve on the side of the millet cakes. He is crazy about collards. I am more of a kale and chard lady, but since I got my way with the millet, he got his way with the collards. It was a pretty tasty compromise.
Millet Cakes with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Parmesan
adapted from the Joy of Cooking
1/4 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup millet
1/3 cup long grain white rice
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups chicken (or vegetable!) broth
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 egg, beaten
Blot tomatoes with a paper towel prior to dicing to avoid a slimy mess. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add onion and cook for a couple of minutes until soft. Add millet and rice and cook, stirring, until the grains are golden, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute, then add broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and let cook over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed and the millet is soft, about 20 minutes. Uncover and stir, ensuring that the millet is soft. Cool for 10-15 minutes before adding the Parmesan and the beaten egg. Stir mixture until well blended (I used my hands), then dampen your hands with cold water and shape 1/3 cup portions into patties that are 3 in. in diameter and about 1/2 in. thick. This recipe can make 4-6 patties, depending on how you size them. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 30 minutes.
To fry, heat 1/4 in. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties, in batches if necessary, and fry for 4 minutes per side until well browned.