***Balsamic Syrup*** 1 cup balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup sugar ***Salad*** 1 tablespoon minced garlic 3 tablespoons minced onion 1/2 cup olive oil, divided 8 ounces quinoa 3 cups fresh orange juice 1/2 cup fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme 1 cup white wine 1/4 cup natural raisins 1/4 cup golden raisins 1/2 cup toasted almonds 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil salt and pepper 1 cup seeded and diced cucumber 1 cup diced ripe plum tomatoes 1 1/2 cup mixed baby salad greens
For balsamic syrup, combine vinegar and sugar in heavy saucepan and simmer on low until reduced by half. Cool and pour into a plastic squeeze bottle; chill.
For salad, saute garlic and onion in half the olive oil over low heat in a hot skillet for 1 minute. Add quinoa and saute 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly.
Stir in orange juice, lime juice, thyme and wine; simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes; then, chill thoroughly.
Then, combine chilled quinoa mixture, raisins, almonds, basil and remaining olive oil in large mixing bowl; season lightly with salt and pepper and mix well.
For each serving, set a ring mold 4-inches in diameter by 6-inches high on serving plate. Layer ingredients into the mold starting with quinoa salad, then diced cucumber, follow with diced tomatoes, and top off with mixed greens.
Remove mold and drizzle plate with balsamic syrup. Repeat until all plates are prepared.
Change proportions: too much liquid!
To cook light, fluffy quinoa, use only enough liquid for a 2:1 ratio. We followed the recipe and wound up draining off liquid and having soggy pilaf. I would recommend cutting down the orange juice since the flavor is very strong, maybe even substituting some water for the juice or wine.
But the basic idea of the recipe is great, and the combination of nuts and raw veggies give the dish good texture and a lot of satisfying chewing.
One last note: that's a lot of balsamic reduction; we halved the recipe and had left overs.