Gluten-free vegan quinoa burgers with potato salad

Gluten-free and vegan!  Excitement! 

Update: As my roommate and fellow food blogger Brittany has kindly informed me, I should probably clarify that the bun is not GF, only the burger patty itself.  There. Now go forth and cook.

My summer burger craving got resolved the healthy way.

Like: square burger patties. Dislike: harsh sunshine shadows

I was in a bit of a rut last night when trying to figure out what I wanted for dinner.  The balmy summer weather and sweaty bike commutes were making me drowsy and in desperate need of something that resembled an easy going weekend BBQ.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve virtually stopped using meat in my dishes (besides chicken, because chicken is just so damn good), a result of both my inherent cheapness and the fact that meat now makes my stomach feel like it wants to rip itself to shreds.

Anyways, my attempted vegetarian-minus-chickenism, led to the finding of an alternative burger source.  Back in the winter I made a chick pea burger, which turned out to be awesome and extremely photogenic (like I’ve said before, food miraculously tastes better if it’s also pretty).  Since I couldn’t very well duplicate a recipe, I settled on making quinoa patties.  Chalk up another win for my favourite protein-filled summer grain!

I had no idea how to make quinoa burgers, so I googled recipes, settling on the very first one I read.  From here, I actually tweaked the recipe a lot (translation: left out a few non-critical thing), making my burger so incredibly cheap (without sacrificing taste).  There were loads of delicious spices that made for a tasty patty and a pretty pan:

And because no impromptu Thursday night BBQ is complete without a salad, I quickly whipped up a potato one, matched with crunchy celery and red pepper and drizzled with a smooth dijon vinaigrette.

Dinner was eaten on the patio in our hammock.  Bliss.

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Quinoa Salad with Chicken and Black Beans (my very first gluten-free potluck)

Jane, who was the Student Experience Office’s administrative assistant up until a short two days ago, is now working in a different campus office (we’re really, really happy she got the job, she is awesome!) so we decided to have a belated birthday/going away potluck for her.  Now for any of you who actually read what I write, you’ll know that Jane has an intolerance to gluten (which is unfortunately one of my favourite things in the world).

With Jane’s allergy in mind and my strange urge to cook something with quinoa, I decided to make Quinoa Salad with Chicken and Black Beans. I was extremely pleased when this salad turned out to be a siesta-in-a-bowl, with mexican-themed ingredients like corn and black beans.  With there not really being a dressing, I found it had a perfect balance of flavours.

Near death experience: Getting my food to the office is usually a difficult ordeal, and this morning proved no different.  My poor early-morning decision-making skills placed me in a tricky situation in which I found myself in a short dress balancing a big salad bowl in one hand, while trying the steer my bike with the other.  Normally, I am a perfectly competent single-handed bike rider, however the added challenge of me having to constantly readjust my dress as to not flash the universe, combined with the heat of my new jacket made the ride a pain.  Needless to say my ankle is now cut up from a near bike-tumbling experience (my superb balancing skills saved my life!).  I hope the pictures made this ride worth it!

Home this weekend, planning on cooking LOADS of tasty stuff for the fam!

Flourless Chocolate Cake (also known as Jane’s Birthday, part 2)

For those of you who were wondering why Jane was the only one whose birthday cake was chocolate, this post should serve as clarification for your questioning minds.  Jane, who is I swear the sweetest person in the universe, just happens to be allergic to a dear little thing called gluten.  This being said, there is gluten in things that I could never possibly imagine – licorice, Caramilk chocolate bars, etc. etc.  Needless to say, I would die.  Jane, on the other hand, is a super trooper (yes, like the ABBA song) and, since I always feel horrible for making Friday treats she can’t eat, I knew I needed to make her an extra special cake for her birthday.

That’s where this flourless chocolate cake came in.  Meant to serve as a joint birthday/happy last summer orientation day cake, the pressure was on.  I spent countless hours searching the Internet in and out for a gluten-free cake recipe that I thought I could duplicate.  I finally found this awesome blog, Gluten Free Goddess, which then led me to find this recipe.

Since there is (obviously) no flour in this cake, the ingredients were quite unlike what I was used to.  This cake contained a hell of a lot of chocolate – five dark chocolate bars to be exact.  Seeing me carting six chocolate bars through my check out (yes, I bought an extra milk chocolate bar just for me) my overly-curious grocery store cashier kindly asked me if I had just suffered an unfortunate break up.  I couldn’t help but laugh.

This cake also contained EIGHT eggs, the most I have ever used all at one time, including during omelette and breakfast making.  My fridge resources were exhausted.  Another ingredient I was unsure about was the coffee required for this recipe.  In the end, I took a leap of faith, bolted to my local Starbucks and ordered a grande bold to go.  Following what the recipe requires.. always a good choice.

The end result of this cake was a luscious, dense dessert where one could taste just a hint of coffee.   A little less solid and cake-like than what I was used to, it reminded me more of a giant brownie than anything.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still delicious, but I think this whole gluten-free eating thing could take a little getting used to…   Also, made some simple chocolate icing to go on top and added some coloured sprinkles, just for fun!