I’ve been kidnapped. As you probably know, we are one of the many families whose home flooded last August. We, like you, are frustrated and getting very impatient that things are not moving fast enough for us. We are only at the stage of the walls being replaced and textured. It is getting hard to keep up a smile … But we are moving along. A great diversion was a roller skating party. This past weekend we attended our 7-year-old granddaughter’s birthday party in Alvin. As we were leaving the party to head back to Kingwood, our oldest daughter took me by the hand and said “Mom, you need a break and a change of scenery.” She literally kidnapped me and whisked me off to San Antonio where she lives. I had no computer, no iPad, just my phone and my purse. Luckily I had a few items of clothing I had left at their house during my last visit, and for all other items I needed, I improvised and borrowed from her. So there I was in San Antonio; she went to work and left me there to sleep in, read a book, watch a movie, and walk the neighborhood. Did I mention I didn’t have a car?

Hanging around this beautiful Alamo Heights neighborhood for a week was relaxing but too soon I was bored. Searching through her kitchen cabinets and fridge I found enough ingredients to make a delicious vegan dinner. My new dish is called “Cretan Quinoa Patties.” I whipped them up and served them with roasted root vegetables, a big Greek salad and pita bread. If you are not a fan of quinoa, you can always use farro or rice. I called my daughter to pick up a bottle of crisp, dry white wine. Now I was in my element, having a good time messing up someone else’s kitchen. I have to admit, this dish was not one of my old Cretan Greek family favorites; it literally was items I found in her kitchen that I pulled together. You can always add a great souvlaki if you need meat on your plate, but this is a wonderful stand-alone dish. So “Please Join me at my daughter’s table” as we enjoy a bit of R&R and a healthy meal!

Karen’s Cretan Greek Quinoa Patties

(I am going to be making these for guests because I can prepare them a day ahead and just saute’ them when needed).

INGREDIENTS
3 large free-range eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon
Greek seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried
Greek oregano
1 /2 teaspoon
black pepper
1 pinch red pepper
seeds (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 medium white
onion, finely
chopped
2 cups of cooked
quinoa, cooled to
room temperature
4-6 ounces frozen
chopped super
greens or spinach,
cooked and
drained well
1/3 to 1/2 cup
sun-dried tomatoes
in oil chopped,
drained (reserve 1
tablespoon
of the oil)
3 cloves garlic,
finely chopped
1 cup sprouted ancient
grains croutons,
ground to 1 cup or
use panko crumbs
1/2 cup any hard
Greek sheep cheese
or Manchego, grated
2 tablespoons Greek
olive oil (EVOO)

DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl lightly beat the eggs. Add all seasonings and mix well. Slowly stir in all remaining ingredients except the EVOO. Gently mix well, form into 1/3 cup-size patties. At this point, if you wish, you can cover them and save overnight in the fridge. The next day, remove patties from fridge and let rest 30 minutes. Heat the remaining EVOO in a large nonstick pan at medium-high heat. Place patties in the pan a few at a time; sauté ‘til golden brown on each side, flipping them only once (this should take about 3-4 minutes per patty). Place the cooked patties in an oven-safe dish and put in oven to keep warm as you continue to sauté and complete sautéing the remaining patties. Serve warm or at room temperature topped with tzatziki sauce. Makes 10-12 1/3 cup size patties.
Easy Tzatziki Sauce

INGREDIENTS
3 cups whole milk Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons
lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large English
cucumber, seeded
and diced or
shredded
1 teaspoon salt (for
salting cucumbers)
1 tablespoon fresh
dill or 1 tablespoon
of fresh mint,
chopped (or
both, depending
on your taste)
Salt and white or
black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: Drain yogurt to thicken it by spooning into a yogurt strainer or cheesecloth that has been quadrupled. Pull the corners of the cloth up and tie together. Hang it above a bowl for two hours in the fridge (liquids will drip out). The consistency will now be like sour cream. In a hurry? Skip the draining if you want, but you will have a runnier sauce. Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Shred or dice cucumbers. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with a tablespoon of salt. Cover with a plate and set something heavy on top. Let sit for 30 minutes. Drain well and wipe dry with a paper towel. In a large bowl, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill and/or mint, yogurt and pepper. Mix well. Taste before adding any extra salt; add if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend.

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.