Last night was a fabulous night! My nanny, well, not MY nanny, but Noodle's nanny came home for a long overdue visit. Not only is she Noodle's nanny, she is my friend; my sister. We have been through a lot together! She was with me when I suddenly became a single mom, helped me raise Noodle while working full-time, when I met Honey, fell in love and got married, when Noodle first crawled, when he uttered his first word and took his first steps... you get the idea. She is my sister and I have missed her terribly. Don't get me wrong, Skype is fantastic, but it doesn't take the place of her really being here.
Back in the day when I would come home from work and she would be there with Noodle, we would cap the day off, the three of us, catching up on our day while I cooked dinner. Most likely there would be a glass of wine involved, Noodle cooking with me or eating and the three of us sharing our highlights.
Last night we got to revisit old times and do that while I cooked dinner. It was fabulous!
Back to the recipe in which the story has absolutely nothing to do with...
This recipe is something I adapted from someone else. Now, you know I don't do that, like, ever. It has to look really good for me to try someone else's concoction; couldn't tell you why. Probably because I have so many ideas floating around, I don't have time. Anyway, I stumbled upon this one at Vegan Yum Yum and it is definitely that... yum yum! All of the recipes are... check it out!
I did switch it up just a little bit here and there... hey, I have said it before, I don't follow a recipe very well. It was flavorful, hearty, really healthy and super easy. This is a definite 'must try' and for us, 'must have again'.
For the rice:
1 1/2 cup brown rice
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon earth balance
For the tofu/sauce:
1 block extra firm tofu
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons tamari
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of that same 1 lime
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the greens:
1/2 package Trader Joe's 'southern greens' mix, OR 1 bunch collard greens, julienned
3 cloves garlic, smashed or chopped
1 pinch salt
Zest of 1 lime (another lime... not same lime as above)
Juice of that same 1 lime (see previous caption)
Preheat oven to 375. In a pan, boil the water, salt and Earth Balance. In an oven proof baking dish with lid, or the ability to cover with tin foil, put dry rice. When water is boiling, pour over rice, quick stir, cover and bake for 1 hour in the oven.
In a shakeable container, add the sugar, tamari, lime zest, lime juice and red chili flakes. Cover and shake it all up. When combined appropriately, pour into a large flat container.
Slice your block of tofu in half. Stand halves up and slice them down the middle. Lay flat again and cut in half. Cut each of those halves diagonally, to make teeny tiny triangles. See photo :)
Put your tofutti triangles in to the sauce and let sit for a good 10 minutes. Longer is better but at least 10. Flip and let other side sit. Flip back and forth every 10 minutes or so for as long as you can. I was in no hurry so I let it marinate for a good 3o to 40 minutes while I chatted with Tolley.
When done marinating, heat a pan on the stove and add your pieces. Note: do not pour the marinade on the pieces. Just add the pieces. Just the pieces. When they're all in the pan, press with a spatula to 'release' the juices that have been soaked up by the tofu. Let cook a good 5 to 10 minutes on med/high heat on the first side, but make sure you don't allow it to stick to the pan. I have a great T-fal pan.
Flip the pieces individually. It takes a little more time but ensures proper cooking/caramelization on both sides of the tofu. Let cook for another 5 to 10 minutes on the other side. From here you can either flip the pieces or cook them on their other sides... you can't really 'over cook' tofu. You want the marinade to kind of 'crust' but not burn.
In another pan on the stove... make sure it has a lid, pour the left over marinade from the tofu. Add the garlic, juice and zest of the other lime, salt and greens. Turn stove on medium, cover and let greens wilt. When they have wilted a bit, give them a little flip with some tongs, cover again and let wilt. Note: this did not take very long... I let them be on the heat for about 5 to 8 minutes, then turned the stove off, left the lid on and let them continue to 'cook'. They will.
When your brown rice is done, remove and fluff with a fork. Put a small pile of brown rice on a plate. Slightly on top but slightly not, add some of your delicious greens. Using a spoon, ladle some of the juice the greens cooked in over the rice and greens. On top of the greens and rice, pile your teeny tofu triangles. Take a picture of it. Devour.
So good and so pretty... easy enough for the chef but stunning to serve.