Monday, April 23, 2012

Jenny's Pineapple Fried Rice with Tofu and Veggies

Here's another throw-it-together dish from my fabulous friend Jenny P. Since I'm ALWAYS getting requests for vegan recipes, I figured it's time to post another one of Jenny's impromptu creations. I'm glad she wrote it down this time! Actually, it kind of cracks me up the way she writes a recipe. It's like she's just having a conversation with you, instead of listing the ingredients and then saying "first do this, then do that." Clearly, Jenny loves to cook with lots of FRESH herbs and other fresh ingredients, which is why I could devour anything she improvises in the kitchen. To make it a little easier, I've listed the ingredients she used, but I'm guessing you can switch things up however you like. Btw, don't let the long list put you off (I'm talking to YOU, Terri). Just use the list as a guideline and let your own tastes shine though. That's exactly what makes Jenny such an amazing cook! If you don't have any herbs and spices in your pantry, perhaps this would be a great reason to start building your spice collection!
 Thanx Jenny P!!

a cup of dry brown rice
olive oil
lemon juice, zest
salt and pepper
fresh sage
Thai basil
Earth Balance
Firm tofu
red onion
red bell pepper
soy sauce
fresh kale

Okeedokey....I think this is what I

I sautéed some minced garlic (a clove) and a cup of dry brown rice in olive oil over medium heat, just until a nice, light, golden brown; adding a little lemon zest and fresh ground pepper. Then I added 2 1/2 cups of water (cause that's what the people who wrote the directions on the rice package said to, a few sprigs of fresh sage and Thai basil and seasoned it with cumin, coriander and a touch of salt. I also grated a bit of fresh ginger into the pan, giving everything a light stir and turning the heat up to high. Once it started to boil, I dropped the heat down to low and covered it, letting it simmer for about 25 minutes (or until all the water was absorbed).

* The pan I used didn't have a non-stick coating on it, so when I added the water & spices, I dropped about a TBSP of the Earth Balance in there too so the rice wouldn't stick to the bottom. *

While that was set to simmer I cut up some firm tofu into bite size-ish, rectangular pieces and started to fry them up in olive oil (altho you could use whatever oil you like...I imagine sesame would work well for this) a large saute pan. I grated some more lemon zest and ginger over the tofu and seasoned it with the coriander, cumin & pepper and a little fresh lemon juice. I like to let the tofu get a nice golden brown, cooking most of the way thru on the one side before flipping it over.

 In the meantime, I diced some red onion, red bell pepper, carrot and celery. I didn't cut up a whole lot because I wanted the pineapple and the tofu to be the "stars" of the dish. Once the tofu was ready to flip, I added these veggies and some low sodium soy sauce and then lowered the heat a little.

While that was cooking, I chopped up a handful of fresh kale (cause we're all about it this, discarding the stems for this dish, and set it aside. Then I grabbed the pineapple from the fridge...which Louie had already chopped up the other day...maybe 3/4 to a full cup (however much you's the star! lol)...and set that aside. I also chopped up some more fresh sage, mint and Thai basil guessed it! Set it aside. Lol.

When the rice had almost soaked up all of the water (about 15-20 min), I tossed the kale in with it, right on top, removing the sprigs of sage & Thai basil and put the lid back on. *Don't stir!* Then I added the pineapple chunks to the center of the saute pan and turned the heat back up (pushing the tofu & veggies to the edge of the pan so they wouldn't overcook) to get them golden brown.

Once the rice had absorbed all of the water, I gave it a stir and then added it to the saute pan with a little more soy sauce, gently combining everything together to allow the flavors to meld together. (maybe 5ish minutes over the high heat)
 I waited until it was plated to add the fresh spices, that way you have the layered flavors of both muted (cooked) and bright (fresh) herbs. Then I sliced an avocado in half (leaving the pit in the half I didn't use to keep it fresher in the fridge) and sliced it longways in its shell, seasoning it with a touch of salt and fresh lemon. I placed the slices of avocado on top of each plated dish and served it up! And I think that's it! It was pretty easy. The whole thing only takes as long as it takes the rice to cook to make. Take that Rachel Ray! Lol.

Jenny's Tips:
-You can add more oil where needed depending on how much the tofu absorbs.
-Whenever I cook with soy sauce, I don't really use salt, but you can always add more s&p to taste if need be.

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