The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Quinoa Olive Cake Cucumber Sandwiches
with Cilantro Cream Cheese~
A Five Star Makeover

It's time once again for the Five Star Foodie cooking group to show
of their creativity and in ingenuity. And for this months challenge,
we have been assigned with the task of Classic English Tea goodies.

But of course you know with this group, the rules change...classics 
become new found adventures in the world of food.

This is my version of the classic Tea Time cucumber sandwich...

So what did I change with this lovely little classic? Well quite
frankly, almost everything! First off, as you may have guessed
I prepared quinoa olive cakes to substitute for the classic white
bread. Next I used a combination of cream cheese and cilantro
pesto versus butter or plain cream cheese. And lastly I did
not wilt my cucumbers, but if you are using bread instead,
I will add this in the instructions for you :)

As always, we would like to thank our wonderful hosts for this
 months, and every months challenge...Natasha of
  Five Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks.

What you will need:
For the quinoa cakes
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups English breakfast tea, prepared
6 ounces black olives, pitted, some for garnish
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 large eggs, whisked
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, ground
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper, ground
Coconut oil for frying

For the cilantro cream cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, whipped
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/8 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 small to medium limes, juiced
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup coconut oil, or other oil
Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

For the sandwiches
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 small bunch sunflower sprouts, trimmed
Black olives, pitted
Cilantro cream cheese
Quino olive cakes

Let's get cooking:
For the quinoa cakes
Follow package instructions for your quinoa, typically 1 to 2 ratio, but
substitute the water or other liquid fro prepared English breakfast
tea, at room temperature.

Once the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork, then add seasonings, bread crumbs,
flour and chopped olives (saving some for garnish). Mix to incorporate
 until all ingredients are blended.

Place quinoa mixture into a small mixing bowl, and set aside until
cool to the touch. Add slightly whisked eggs and blend thoroughly
mashing the quinoa as you mix. Note: it is best to do this
with your hands.

Chill quinoa mixture in refrigerator for about 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Now take smallish handfuls, about a 1/4 cup or so, and roll into balls.
Making sure to press firmly as you do this so that they hold shape
when cooked. Place each ball onto a sheet of waxed paper, then smash
down the ball into a cylinder shape, about 1/4 inch thickness. Now
using a cookie or pastry cutter, cut into desired shapes.

Heat coconut oil in frying pan until hot. Gently add cakes to hot
 oil and fry on each side about 5 minutes or so over medium/high
 heat. making sure they are crispy on the outside. then transfer
cakes to paper towels to soak up excess oil.

For the cilantro cream cheese
Begin by preparing your pesto, placing all ingredients except for the
oil into a small food processor. Once the ingredients have been
pulsed several times and are finely chopped, begin to add oil
slowly until desired consistency is met.

Add cilantro pesto the whipped cream cheese and mix thoroughly.
Keep mixture and slightly chilled to room temperature.

For the sandwiches
Using a mandoline or sharp pairing knife, thinly slice cucumber
lengthwise. Trim on the edges and set aside.

If you choose to wilt the cucumber, this step should be done about
an hour or so ahead of time. Simply place sliced cucumber in a
bowl and sprinkle liberally with course grain salt. Cover leaving
then at room temperature and removing liquid periodically. Rinse
 cucumber slices once wilted and pat dry with paper towels.

To arrange your appetizer/sandwiches, place a large dollop
of cilantro cream cheese on top of each quinoa cake. Now top
with trimmed sunflower greens. Add sliced cucumbers
rolled into spirals onto a skewer or sandwich pick with
an olive at the top for garnish. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 18-20 appetizer sized sandwich bites

Alisha~Magic of Spice

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