Saturday, July 03, 2010

Quinoa and Tofu

Quinoa and tofu sounds like a parody of bad vegetarian food. Let us rescue it from the scourge of blandness by loading it up with all the new summer vegetables and seasoning heavily. Lindsay and I did this together, and out of it we got a terrific dinner, a few lunch portions, and the pleasure of using up some of our CSA vegetables (I'm talking about you, aging chard).

I used some dry, marinated tofu from our friendly local tofu factory. I marinated it some more anyway, so it seems reasonable to start with a typical block of tofu, press out as much liquid as possible, and then marinate that. It would be nice to serve this dish cold, but I didn't plan ahead, so I put it in a bowl in a bigger bowl of ice water to cool it down to room temperature quickly.

Pretty red and yellow tomatoes, no?

  • 1 cup (dry) quinoa
  • 3 blocks of dry tofu from Northwest Tofu, or most or all of a normal packet of tofu, in rough cubes
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut roughly into cubes
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into cubes
  • 1 large spring onion (or normal onion), with green part (or with some scallions), chopped
  • 5 chard leaves, stems separated, coursely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbs. peanut oil
  • salt, pepper
  • marinade for tofu (see below)

For the marinade, you don't need to be at all precise, and I wasn't. Here's a very rough estimate, but substitute freely and use your own judgment:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbs. peanut oil
  • 2 tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs. mirin
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • lots of grated ginger
  • a bit of onion, minced finely
  • 1 clove green garlic (or normal garlic), minced finely
  • star anise, coriander, cardamom, or other spices of your choosing

Put the marinade over the tofu and let it sit out for an hour or so, giving it an occasional stir so that all of the tofu gets to spend some time immersed in liquid. Cook the quinoa with 2 cups water and some salt. Heat up the peanut oil over medium heat in a pan and cook the onion for a minute or two with a bit of salt so that it loses its edge but maintains its crunch. (I hope that as I age, I lose my edge but maintain my crunch.) Remove from heat into a large bowl. In the same pan, cook the chard stems, adding a bit of water, and after two minutes add the leaves and some salt, turn of the heat and give it a stir or two until the leaves wilt. Add to the bowl with the onions. Let these things cool or take action to make them do so. Then add the quinoa, the tofu with its marinade, the cucumber, the tomatoes, and the juice of a half lemon. Add some pepper, add more soy sauce or vinegar or whatever if necessary, and serve.

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