delicata squash + quinoa cakes with whipped goat cheese

I just made whipped goat cheese... and my day just got a whole lot better.

What a recipe-filled long weekend. And so many TV series to catch up on! Finally, Girls is back to its weekly Sunday slot and a brand new series True Detective premiered last week, too. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star in this crime drama embodying the perfect unlikely duo. It's filled with the typical murder, drugs, and violence that many HBO series habitually portray.  Ah, I love Sundays.

Anyway. Back to the food. I made something similar to this a couple summers ago with roasted sweet potatoes and served them as burgers on focaccia. Those were great too.

These cakes are light, super healthy, and a perfect appetizer for a small get together. Super bowl party?

I picked up that beautiful arrangement from the farmer's market on Sunday. Mostly because the colors match exactly what I decided to cook that day. The orange flowers are calendulas which you can eat, and there are even some bay leaves sticking out, too. 

When roasted, delicata squash melts in your mouth and tastes so buttery. Much more so than its sibling squash butternut. Well, I think so.

Winter in San Francisco has not been a winter at all. Not anything like I am used to anyway. Last week was sunny and in the mid to high 70s every single day. Absolutely beautiful, really. But, I kind of wanted to wear my peacoat! No, I am not complaining. I just kind of miss the chilly days in Massachusetts and the random snow showers during these months. It's crazy not experiencing so many drastic seasonal changes. I guess if I were stuck in a foot of snow right now I probably would not feel this way. I guess it's true that you only miss something when it is somewhere else.

The whipped goat cheese was one of the easiest things to make. I've been slabbing it on toast, sandwiches, eating it with crackers. It is serious - seriously good. I will definitely use it for my upcoming bruschetta recipe. There's some whipped cream cheese in there, but most of the flavor comes from the goat cheese. I added the cream cheese for some balance and to add to the fluffy texture. 

If you don't want to make these squash cakes then make this whipped goat cheese. Let me know if you think of anything else to use this stuff for! I'm in love and have soo much left over.

The cakes are easy to put together and surprisingly stick without requiring bread crumbs or eggs. Make sure you really brown or blacken the surface so a little crunch is added to the outer layer, and also to ensure they stay in place.

Bon appétit! 

Ingredients:

2 delicata squash, seeds removed and cut in 1 or 2-inch pieces

2 tbsp + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp coconut oil or evoo

1/2 small red onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped + more for garnish

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

salt + pepper, to taste

for the whipped goat cheese:

8 oz. goat cheese

3 oz. or 6 tbsp whipped cream cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the squash with the olive oil in a glass or ceramic baking dish. Place in the oven uncovered and roast for 40 minutes or until soft. You can tell this by poking the squash with a fork; it easily penetrates the squash when it is ready.

Meanwhile, sauté the red onion in a pan on medium heat with olive oil until translucent. About 10 or so minutes. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. You will have more than needed for the cakes.*

Add the squash, onion, quinoa, garlic, and cilantro to a bowl. Mix well with a fork until the cubes of squash are melded into one mixture with the rest of the ingredients. Form small patties or discs with your hand. Heat the coconut oil in a nonstick pan. Fry the patties on each side on medium-high heat until browned or slightly blackened. The time this takes really depends on your stove, but I fried for about 3 minutes on each side.

Serve with whipped goat cheese (recipe follows) and cilantro. Enjoy!

For the whipped goat cheese:

Combine the two cheeses in a food processor or blender. Pulse on a medium setting for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese have combined to make a creamy, non-crumbly cheese "sauce." Store the whipped goat cheese in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to one week.

* Note - I intended to use more quinoa for this recipe, so instead of cooking the usual 1 cup quinoa to a scant 2 cups water, I suggest cooking 1/2 cup quinoa to a scant 1 cup water unless you plan to use the left over quinoa for another recipe. Quinoa does keep well in the fridge for a few days and can be utilized in a variety of hot or cold salads.