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We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other. - E.H.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chili-lime tofu with collards and brown rice

We survived the move! Every muscle in my body still hurts, and I never want to see a slice of pizza again - but here we are, more or less settled in the big city. The house is (almost) set up, we've become familiar with the local dog park, and I'm learning to bike in crazy city traffic. I think we're going to make it, folks.

The day after we moved I woke up early (no curtains on the windows yet) and picked my way over the piles of boxes to the kitchen. Even though it was barely 8:30 in the morning, my roommate Meagh was already tackling the huge piles of boxes and putting dishes away. It looks like we have some common unpacking priorities, Meagh and I - kitchens come first. You gotta eat, right?

So here it is, the inaugural recipe post from our new house. Vegan chili-lime tofu with collards and brown rice - because really, fuck pizza. This dish has a really nice balance of flavours - hot, sweet, salty, and sour with just a bit of bitterness from the greens. The sauce is quick to put together, and when you throw it onto the hot tofu, it turns into a beautiful glaze that packs a real punch. It may be chocked full of sugar and salt - but all those dark leafy greens balance it out, right? 

This recipe is adapted from the amazing (and sadly, now inactive) www.veganyumyum.com. I will post the original recipe below, which serves 2 or 3 - I doubled it for four people with great results.

You'll need:

1 Block Tofu, extra firm, 14oz
1 bunch collard greens - deveined
1 1/2 cups brown rice
zest of 1/2 lime

For the glaze:

3 Tbs Sugar
3 Tbs Reduced Sodium Tamari (or soy sauce)
1 3/4 Tbs Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 Zest of the Lime
1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes (or 1-2 fresh hot chilies, minced)
1 Clove Garlic, pressed, optional
1/4 tsp Salt
4 mint leaves, diced.

1. Put the rice on to cook, and throw in the zest of 1/2 a lime for some extra flavour. While you're at it, preheat your oven to 350.

2. Combine all the glaze ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.

3. Cut the tofu into thick slices, and then quarter the slices into triangles (just to look fancy).

4. Spread out the tofu on a baking tray, and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until the tofu turns golden at the edges. This is one of my favorite ways of getting really chewy tofu - unlike frying, baked tofu tends to stay together and tends to absorb future flavours really well. No need to add oil or anything, just toss it in the oven.

5. Prep the collards. Take out their tough spines and slice the leaves into thin strips.

6. Throw the collards in a wok on medium-high with about 3 tbsp of water, a tbsp of lime and a pinch of salt, and cover. They should steam themselves in a few minutes. After about 5 minutes, remove the cover and let the remaining water boil  off.

7. Take the tofu out of the oven and throw it in a hot frying pan with a little bit of oil (less then 1 tbsp). Once the tofu is hot, throw in the glaze and wait for it to boil - this should take only a few seconds. Toss the tofu in the sauce, making sure everything is well coated, then remove the pan from the heat. The glaze should turn glazey at this point, turning sticky and shiny.

8. Serve the collards and tofu over rice, and garnish it with slices of lime.

So there it is - the first ever (real) dinner in our new pad. Look at those game-faces! Smiling through the exhaustion. What gems.

I have some really, really adorable roommates. And I think this is shaping up to be a pretty awesome house.

I promise to post pictures soon, once we have more then just the kitchen set up. And now that I live with the cutest vegan couple out there, and seeing as I show my love primarily through food, I hope to bring you lots of delicious vegan recipes in the weeks and months to come. Aaand maybe the occasional meat-y something as well.