That was the theme for my newest contest I entered, put on by Choose Cherries. A delightful website dedicated to the pure, sweet delight of the perfection of foods- the cherry.
It's one of my favorite fruits for sure, up there with ripe apricots, fresh figs, peaches, the list could go on and on.... but cherries! My god, I love when that red tented stall at the farmers market FINALLY has the mirage-like display of mounds and mounds of yellow rainiers and tart sweet juicy red cherries. I can't wait! This is what I feel like in summer.... :)
This contest is a neat one, as they're trying to encourage cherry usage in the off season. Requirement is to use tart cherries in frozen, dried or juice form. I chose dried, and jam form. I made a tart cherry, wild rice and quinoa salad with a cherry-balsamic vinaigrette. Let me tell you- it's heavenly! I put it on top of spicy arugula, and the combination was divine. Spicy arugula, crunchy toasty almonds, sweet tart cherries, zingy vinaigrette- yummy!
I've been feeding on it all week. Since the recipe isn't viewable online yet, here it is- very simple to make and keeps well in the frig all week. I hope you enjoy it!
Tart Cherry, Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad
with Cherry-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Tart Cherry, Quinoa, and Wild Rice Salad:
½ cup Wild Rice
1 ½ cup Water, or Vegetable Stock
½ tsp. Sea Salt
1 cup Quinoa
1 ¾ cup Water, or Vegetable Stock
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 cup Dried Tart Cherries
¾ cup Slivered Almonds, Toasted
2 T. Parsley, Chopped Finely
2 T. Scallions, Thinly Sliced (about 2-3 scallions)
Arugula, enough for plating salad
Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1 Small Clove Garlic, finely minced
2 T. Lemon Juice
¼ cup Olive Oil
2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1 T. Tart Cherry Jam
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
¼ tsp. Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Start by cooking the wild rice and quinoa in two separate small pots. Bring the water or vegetable stock to a boil, add salt and grains and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and keep at a low simmer and cover. The wild rice will take 55-60 minutes to cook, and quinoa will take 25 minutes. Once finished cooking, leave them covered for another 5-10 minutes to steam, then combine the wild rice and quinoa in a large bowl to cool.
Add to the large bowl the cherries, almonds, parsley, and scallions. Toss the mixture together to thoroughly combine. Season the mixture to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
To make the vinaigrette whisk all ingredients, except the olive oil, in a small bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
To plate the salad, in a bowl or on a plate, place a layer of arugula leaves. Put cherry quinoa salad on top, and drizzle with the cherry balsamic vinaigrette. Enjoy!