Millet Cakes with Carrots & Spinach

Millet Cakes with Spinach & Carrots / www.loveandlemons.com

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get quinoa to stick together to form cohesive patties. With eggs, without eggs… I’ve made countless variations, some more successful than others but now I have just one word: millet.

It turns out that millet is sticker than quinoa so these little guys bind together really easily. They’re packed with carrots and spinach and spiced with curry and garlic. This recipe is so delicious and foolproof… as it should be since it comes from America’s Test Kitchen’s new book: The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.

Millet Cakes with Spinach & Carrots / www.loveandlemons.com

Because I knew this recipe was well tested, I messed with it anyway. I knew many of you would ask if these can be made vegan, so I tried these 2 ways – half (as written) using an egg and yogurt to bind the patties, and half using flaxseed and almond milk to vegan-ize them. Guess what – both ways worked! The sticky millet was enough to bind the cakes together, with or without eggs.

The only other instruction I didn’t follow, was that I baked mine instead of pan frying them as they recommended. They were delicious baked, so I can only imagine that they’d be extra tasty if you were to pan fry them.

Millet Cakes with Spinach & Carrots / www.loveandlemons.com

So back to the book – you’re going to want this one in your kitchen. It’s packed with 700 recipes, vegetable cooking tips, ingredient explanations, step-by-step chopping how-to’s and more. It’s a great resource for vegetarians or anyone who just wants to incorporate more meatless meals into their lives. Many of the recipes are also vegan and gluten free. Buy it here, or leave a comment below telling me: what’s your favorite meatless meal? One lucky winner will win a copy. Giveaway is open to U.S. & Canadian residents only and will end March 13th.

The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen

Butternut Squash, Kale & Quinoa Stew

Butternut Squash Kale & Quinoa Stew / loveandlemons.com

And soup season continues! It might not be snowing here, but the fact that it’s been 80 degrees outside doesn’t stop me from craving big pots of stewy vegetables. Plus I just love having the leftovers around for lunch all week. They get better on the second day, and even better on the third day.

Butternut Squash Kale & Quinoa Stew / loveandlemons.com

This stew has pretty much all of my favorites: hearty butternut squash, quinoa & kale. It all gets simmered in a stewy tomato broth. It’s a pretty simple recipe that you should spice up as much as you like. I used cumin, coriander & smoked paprika, but (as I type this), I’m thinking about how delicious it would be in a curry-spice direction. I’ll keep you posted when I give that a go…

Butternut Squash Kale & Quinoa Stew / loveandlemons.com

I’m excited to partner once again with Crate & Barrel. They have so many kitchen staples that I use all the time – this classic french oven, my go-to vegetable peeler, not to mention these bowls, and how cute are those wooden spoons?

Butternut Squash Kale & Quinoa Stew / loveandlemons.com

Valentine’s Molten Chocolate Cakes

Valentine's Molten Chocolate Cakes / loveandlemons.com

Happy almost-Valentine’s Day! Jack here reporting on my first baking love – molten chocolate cakes. See, way before this blog, I pretty much had one staple “date night” dish. That dish was seared scallops and it was always a hit. Well, one Valentine’s Day, I decided to kick it up a notch and shoot for the moon… by trying out molten chocolate cakes.

I had never made anything like a molten cake before, and for those unfamiliar, it’s a cake that spills out chocolate sauce when you cut into it. It’s a great show when it works. My first time making the cakes, I pulled them out of the oven, flipped the pan and a gush of chocolate sauce poured out. So what did Jeanine and I do? What anyone would do – licked the plate clean and tried again.

On the second try, I flipped the pan, plated the cakes, we cut in and PERFECTION. Chocolate oozed out, and we ate our second set of molten cakes for the night. Seeing how impressed Jeanine was made all of the effort worth it.

So it’s Valentine’s Day – go for it. It’s a blast when you get it right, it’s still fun when you don’t, and no matter what you’re still eating chocolate with the one you love. There are worse ways to spend a night.

Anyway, on to the making…

Valentine's Molten Chocolate Cakes / loveandlemons.com

Avid readers may notice that this is similar to another molten cake post. Well it’s the same. But with new photos and better instructions.

The prep for this recipe is super simple. The first step is tempering the chocolate and butter on a double-broiler.

Valentine's Molten Chocolate Cakes / loveandlemons.com

After that, you simply whisk the eggs, incorporate sugar, then chocolate (cooled to room temp – you don’t want to cook the eggs!), then flour, one thing at a time until it’s all mixed. Then you pour the mixture into your oiled muffin tin, 3/4 full for each cup.

Cook times can be a bit all over the place (depending on your oven) – it can be anywhere from 5-8 minutes. You’ll know when it’s done when the middle of each cake starts to puff up at the end. (Don’t cook it much longer than that or your molten center will over bake).

Valentine's Molten Chocolate Cakes / loveandlemons.com

After removing the tin from the oven, you need to flip it, and here’s the easiest way: Place the muffin pan on a cookie sheet, put another cookie sheet on top, grab both sides (squeezing the muffin pan) and flip it.

You want to lift the muffin pan and try to tap out the cakes as you go. Note that a few cakes may not come out. Ignore those and concentrate on the ones that do drop. Transfer them to a plate, put ice cream on top, cut them open and enjoy!

Valentine's Molten Chocolate Cakes / loveandlemons.com

Saffron Couscous & Spinach Stew

Saffron Couscous & Spinach Stew / www.loveandlemons.com

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about fancy cooking and elaborate meals. If pasta making sounds too stressful, try this cozy one-pot stew that’s perfect for two. (With maybe a little leftover, if you eat less than we do).

Saffron Couscous & Spinach Stew / www.loveandlemons.com

It doesn’t get much easier than this – sauté leeks and mushrooms in an oven-safe pot or this adorable heart shaped one. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, couscous and – the fancy part – a few pinches of saffron. Yes, saffron is expensive but a little goes a long way. Plus, it’s Valentine’s Day so let’s live a little.

Saffron Couscous & Spinach Stew / www.loveandlemons.com Saffron Couscous & Spinach Stew / www.loveandlemons.com

Pop it in the oven and bake until the couscous has absorbed most of the water, then stir in a few handfuls of spinach. The heat of the stew will wilt the spinach. Enjoy with crusty bread and a good spanish red wine.

Saffron Couscous & Spinach Stew / www.loveandlemons.com