Sunday, May 1, 2011

Quinoa Cakes, Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Sprout Salad

Sometimes, a single picture can write a thousand words.

And other times, it's the week before finals and I don't have time to write more than three sentences. Oof. 

That said, enjoy these awesome photos (and the temporary recess from academic responsibility). If you're like me, you have enough reading to do as it is... and wouldn't it be nice if they were picture books. Hey, I can dream.

The recipe for the cakes was inspired by the Carrot-Quinoa cakes found on A Fresh Squeeze. All photography on this post was done by Amanda Johnson. 

Quinoa Cakes, Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Sprout Salad
Serves 4-6

[5] large carrots, peeled and chopped into 3 inch long sticks
[2] tsp salt
[1] cup dry quinoa
[1/3] cup chopped onion
[1] garlic clove
[1] tsp olive oil
[1/4] tsp cayenne pepper
[1/2] tsp cumin
[1/2] tsp smoked paprika (Thanks, Dad!)
[1/4] cup whole wheat Japanese panko
cracked pepper

[2] large heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices
[2] tsp olive oil
[3] tsp balsamic vinegar
[1/2] tsp dijon

[1] cup fresh sprouts (I used clover sprouts)
[2] tbsp chopped green onions

For the cakes:
Start by preheating your oven to 375 ° F

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Drop in carrot sticks plus 1 teaspoon of salt, return to a boil, and cook until the carrots are soft, but not mushy. Reserve 2 cups of the hot carrot water, then drain the rest. Add the carrots to a food processor.

Return the reserved water to the pot and add the quinoa. It should take about 10-15 minutes to cook, or until all of the liquid has absorbed.

Meanwhile, heat a small saucepan to medium. Once hot, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, chopped onion and garlic. Sauté for about five minutes, or until both the onions and garlic are translucent and aromatic. Add it to the food processor with the carrots, along with 1 teaspoon of salt, cayenne pepper, cumin, and smoked paprika. Purée until the mixture starts to resemble baby food (an unappetizing way to describe it, but trust me).

Transfer the quinoa and carrot purée to a medium mixing bowl, then add the whole wheat panko and cracked black pepper. Use a metal fork to combine until everything is well incorporated. Spray a large muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and distribute the mixture evenly. Bake for 15 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Because the cakes are delicate, I flipped the muffin tin over onto a sheet pan of equal size (rather than removing them directly from the mold).

For the toppings:

Heat a grill pan to high.

While it's preheating, whisk together the balsamic, olive oil, dijon, salt and pepper. This will be the marinade for the tomatoes as well as the dressing for the sprouts. 

Once the grill is hot, spray with nonstick cooking spray, brush the tomatoes with the dressing, and place on the grill. (It's easiest to brush just one side, putting that side down first, then coat the top side). Cook only for 2 minutes, flip and cook for another couple minutes, then immediately remove from grill.

In a small bowl, dress the sprouts and green onions with the remaining marinade.

Top each quinoa cake with a slice of grilled tomato and a small portion of the sprout salad. Drizzle the top with a healthy tablespoon of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and serve with your favorite crisp white wine.

Oo la la

No comments: