Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quinoa and Collards with Chili-Lime Tofu

Quinoa and Collards With Chili-Lime Tofu

1 cup quinoa - rinsed well and drained in a fine mesh sieve.  I catch the water underneath the quinoa so I can catch the water to see when the water turns clear.

Zest of 1 small lime
2 cups cold water

Combine ingredients in a saucepan.  Cover, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 20 minutes and remove from heat.  I take one cup of the quinoa and store in refrigerator or freeze for another use.

Sauce for the tofu:

2 tablespoons date sugar
6 tablespoons water
1-2 teaspoon braggs liquid aminos
1/4 cup lime juice
Zest of one large lime
1/2- 1  teaspoon red chili flakes
2 clove garlic minced
3 teaspoons onion flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
8 mint leaves chiffonaded plus extra for garnish if desired

1 block extra-firm tofu

While quinoa is cooking, combine all ingredients except for the tofu and whisk well to dissolve date sugar. Set aside.

Drain the tofu.  I gently squeeze to release some of the water content and pat dry with some paper towel.  It's not necessary to add heavy weight and let it set for a while like other recipes do.  Cooking the tofu will do that for you.

Next, cut  the tofu into 8 rectangles.  Cut the rectangles in half.  You'll have 16 squares.  Cut each square diagonally both ways to get 4 triangles per square.

Dry cook tofu in a 10" or larger skillet in one layer.  Keep an eye on the tofu so it doesn't burn.  I cooked it on medium-high heat.  I cooked my tofu in a cast-iron skillet and  a non-stick skillet.  The non-stick worked best.  I guess it's time to re-season my cast iron.

As it cooks, the tofu sort of forms a toasty outside and you'll end up with a crunchy texture which is nice.  Flip the tofu and cook the other side until lightly browned.  This should take about 10-15 minutes.  When finished, take off heat and set the tofu aside while preparing and cooking the collards.

The way I normally eat collards is to add frozen collards to my morning green smoothie with kale or romaine, strawberries, blueberries, frozen banana, flax and some soy milk.  I was convinced I wouldn't like it so I masked the flavor with all the other foods I like.

So this is my first time buying fresh collards and my first time cooking them as well.

When I saw the collards at my local food co-op this week, I thought they looked so beautiful sitting there in the produce section.  I quickly reached for the green jewels before anyone else caught a glimpse of them.  They looked like they might have been freshly picked right from someone's garden and displayed in the produce case just for me.  :)   I feel like I've hit the jackpot for quality and taste.

Trying out new recipes in the past when first becoming a nutritarian, I have been so disappointed and have even thrown some of the disasters in the trash if they were too awful to eat.  It took a while to like this new way of eating.  Quite some time in fact.

So, I was apprehensive and not sure I'd like the collards, but this is a keeper.   My favorites list is expanding nicely.  :)   I like to give credit where credit is due, but I found this recipe online at five or six different websites. Who knows, there may be more. I've made a few changes to the recipe like omitting salt to make it a little more nutritious.  I left out a couple of seasonings and added one or two or my own as well.  If you'd like to know what I've left out, add and comment and I'll let you know.

1 bunch collards rinsed, stems removed
2-3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lime juice

Stack the collard leaves 3 or 4 at a time depending on size of the collards and what's comfortable for you.  Roll the collards tightly like you would a cigarette or cigar, and then slice the them into ribbons.  
Afterwards, rough chop the collards to make smaller pieces.  Then add them to a non-stick pan with the water and lime juice.  Add extra water or lime juice if you need too.

Cook the collards on medium- high heat covered for 3-5 minutes keeping an eye on them.  You want them steamed and tender enough to eat, but watch them;  I almost burned mine while attending to the tofu, so you may want to give  them your undivided attention instead of trying to multitask like I did.

While collards are steaming, add the tofu back to it's pan and heat through on medium-high heat.  Add the sauce that you set aside and stir to coat the tofu.  This only takes a minute or two.  Turn off the heat when sauce bubbles and remove pan from burner.

The aroma on the lime and spices play with your taste buds and it's time for plating and eating.  I couldn't wait and had to take a test-bite first.  Luscious, delightful, delectable!  Can't wait to eat this again.

The quinoa goes first at the bottom of your serving dish.  Next add the collards and top it off with the tofu chile-lime glaze mixture. 

If you'd like, you can garnish with lime slices and mint leaves if you'd like more of those flavors.  This will serve four smaller portions or if your following Eat To Live, you'll serve this with a nice sized supper salad or a smaller sized salad for lunch.  If I were to eat it by itself, it would be enough for 2 servings.