Quinoa Balls with Cauliflower & CheeseWe’ve been here before: quinoa, cauliflower. But rather than yawning, I was interested in the recipe for “Quinoa Balls with Cauliflower and Cheese,” from the February 2015 issue of Food & Wine, thanks to its inclusion of halloumi cheese and chickpea flour. I was even willing to grate the cauliflower, which is a folly that makes me giggle.

Let me be truthful, we’re talking about baked balls -- always appealing to make and to eat.

Yes, the mixture of quinoa and cauliflower and halloumi is a dull blur of tan and white, but the flavor combo is tasty, with scallions pitching in. To add color and flavor, I also made the “Kale-Buttermilk Dressing,” from the March 2015 issue of Food & Wine. Perfectly paired with the balls, this dressing was garlicky (kale, garlic) and tangy (buttermilk, yogurt). Good stuff.

The ball recipe asks to soak the quinoa overnight, in order to remove any bitter taste and to aid digestion(?). I, personally, have never had any problem/concern about cooking my quinoa like pasta, right when I need it. But, whatever. I soaked it and it was good.

German Braised Red CabbageI got a kick out of the science of combining baking soda and lemon juice. See the sizzle!

I made 29 balls that held together just well enough. They baked for 40 minutes until “golden and firm.”

I also indulged in the “German Braised Red Cabbage,” from Magnolia Days, in order to acknowledge a beautiful winter vegetable here in NYC … and also to take advantage of how easy this is. You just assemble it in the pot and it cooks itself for 90 minutes.

I did indeed add increments of water as it cooked, here and there. The cabbage set a perfect example for itself: not too sweet, not too tart. It had the right texture and the right taste.

Kale (1 bunch) = $2.32
Red Cabbage (2.60 lbs.) = $2.52
Apple (1) = .43¢
Onion (1) = .44¢

PREP TIMES: overnight soak for quinoa, time to grate cauliflower and cheese, assemble balls, 40 minutes to bake; shred cabbage, cook for 90 minutes
cheese, scallions, and cauliflower hold together the golden quinoa balls, while kale dressing adds a perfect tangy garlic punch; red cabbage + apple do the right thing with a bit of vinegar and a bit of sugar

Here’s what I’ll cook next time: the “Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraiche Tart with Cornmeal Millet Crust,” from A Sweet Spoonful, along with the “Kohlrabi Salad,” from Food52. Let’s get ready for salty, crunchy, and cool. Come back to my site next week to see it all.