Fire WIthin

 Quinoa Verde con Tostada

quinoa_tostada

 

Not going to lie, the theme for  r/52weeksofcooking had me more than a little nervous this week.  I understand the importance of Presentation but I tend to focus more of the substance and taste of the dish and not so much of what it looks like – after all I’m not cooking for Gordon Ramsey or Anthony Bourdain or someone else who will comment on whether or not my dish resembles cat food.  However I haven’t missed a challenge yet this year and wasn’t going to start now!  So I thought about all the things I could do before deciding to go with color and vibrancy instead of knife skills or something insanely elaborate – after all I didn’t want to screw up the food in my quest for a pretty plate.  I decided to make something with as many colors in it as possible without going too overboard while utilizing things I already had in my pantry.  Watching an episode on Chopped gave me the inspiration, and confidence, to try making a tostada.  I still had some tortillas left from the taco challenge and since tostadas are traditionally made with slightly stale tortillas the timing was perfect!

Quinoa Verde con Tostada

serves 5-6

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups tri-color quinoa, well rinsed

3 cups water

2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 cup red onion, diced

3 tomatillos, diced

2 plum tomatoes, sliced

1 jalapeno, diced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (daiya brand shreds also works!)

1 tsp cayenna powder

1/2 tbsp chili powder

4 tbsp vegetable oil

10-12 corn tortillas

1 avocado, sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of canola oil in a large sauce pan. Add the quinoa and allow to cook for a minute before adding the water. Bring to a boil, the cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Set Aside
  2. Meanwhile in a large saute pan heat up the remaining oil along with the cumin seeds. Toast for 3 minutes, then add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the tomatillos, cook for another 8-10 minutes or until tomatillos are soft and garlic is golden.
  3. Remove lid from quinoa and then add the onion mixture. Stir well then toss in the tomatoes and jalapenos and set aside on a warm burner.
  4. In a medium bowl toss the cheese with the chili powders and set aside.
  5. Rinse the saute pan used for the onion mixture and then heat over medium heat with the vegetable oil. Once the oil is warm gently place the tortillas one at a time in the oil. Allow to puff up and turn golden, then flip to the other side and repeat.
  6. Move the cooked tortilla to a plate then cover with the spiced cheese. Once the cheese has melted add the quinoa along with the sliced avocado. Serve and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2013/03/fire_within.html

I spent a fair bit of time trying to figure out the perfect way to plate this dish, I wanted to make sure everything could be seen and keep the picture from being too saturated.  I wound up plating the dish four different ways before picking this option.  Needless to say doing this dish gave me a great appreciation for people who do this on a regular basis and will probably result in much better pictures as I will be paying a lot more attention in the future!!!