Quinoa Verde con 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!
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- In a medium bowl toss the cheese with the chili powders and set aside.
- 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.
- 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!
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!!!