Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Coconut Greens with Tempeh and Brown Rice

I have been in such a fever to practice my 24x24 throwdown meal that I keep forgetting I actually have to cook dinner! Our kitchen is a disaster; this is the last time I do a contest that involves me and Honey in the kitchen together... argh! We are such opposite cookers: me, tidy, clean up after myself, use as little dishery (is that a word?) as possible. Him? NOT clean, slopping butter and disgusting meat parts around the kitchen, pulling out every pan and fork known to mankind and then flopping down, exhausted, expecting me to clean up his nasty meat/butter disaster. No thank you. I did make him clean it up (to my liking) himself. :)

Back to dinner... because I have been so pre-occupied, I need dinners that are quick and simple yet delicious and pretty enough to photograph for y'all. I came across a recipe for coconut greens on the Whole Food website. I happened to have some collard greens in my refrigerator and I also had a can of unsweetened coconut milk in the pantry that has been speaking to me for the last few weeks 'Elllllleennnn.... use me.... uuuuuse me...' So I did. You're welcome, unsweetened coconut milk.

The recipe was a little skimpy so I decided to beef it up with some other things. I always have a plethera of tofu and other non-meat products so I decided to combine that along with some rice. Here's my adapted recipe... much more appropriate for a complete dinner.

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance
1 teaspoon salt
(If you read this blog frequently, the above ingredients are for the baked brown rice I make all the time)
2 bunches (3 if they are small... mine were small) collard greens (or other favorite green... as you know, I lurve the 'greens mix' from Joe's)
1 walla walla sweet onion, peeled and sliced
2 pkgs tempeh
1 can unsweetened coconut milk, split inton 1/3 cup and 3/4  cup (make sure it thanks you)
Tablespoons tamari
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of that same 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

Note: the most 'difficult' part of this recipe is timing the rice with the rest of it. The rice takes an hour and the rest takes about 20 minutes including prep and cook time. Start your rice about 40 minutes before you start the other processes and you will be fine!

Preheat oven to 375.

Put dry rice in an oven safe baker with a lid (or you can use tin foil). In a pot, boil the 2 1/2 cups water, earth balance and salt. When boiling, pour over dry rice, cover and put baker of rice in the oven. Set timer for 1 hour.

You can also go to Joe's and get the organic brown rice they have in the freezer section. It's really good and you don't have to cook it for an hour. If you choose to make your own, you can do it ahead or time it out... either way it's great because you don't have to keep an eye on it. Thank you Alton Brown!

Cut up your block of tempeh by first cutting about 1/2 inch strips, then cutting those into 1/2 inch cubes. Put them in a low container, like a tupperware container and add the 1/3 cup coconut milk and tamari. Make sure the tempeh is well covered and let sit.

Wash your greens and cut into manageable (aka eatable) bites. In a steamer or pot with a steamer put inside of it, boil some salted water and steam the collards for about 5 minutes. At 5 minutes, turn off the stove and let sit with the lid on.

In a large sautee pan, heat a bit of olive oil and slowly sautee your sliced onions. When soft and a bit caramelized, add tempeh, steamed greens, remainder of the coconut milk (3/4 cup), lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine, cover and let simmer on low for about 4 to 5 minutes.

After 4 to 5 minutes, stir again to incorporate all the yummy flavors. By now, if the timing is correct, your rice should be done. Pull it out, fluff with a fork and get ready to serve.

On a plate, start with some of your rice; pile it neatly in the center. Now, the greens, onion and tempeh are all mixed up so I use tongs to get out what I want. On top of your rice, pile a healthy portion of the collard greens/onions (mostly greens) then on top of that add more onions. On top of that add your tempeh and spoon some of the coconut saucy loveliness on top. Take a picture and voila! you're ready! Note: If you are not one of us odd food bloggers you can bypass the 'take a picture' part of these instructions :)


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