Sunday, January 5, 2014
Chili Roasted Tofu with Minted Pomegranate Salsa: Resolved
I hate this time of year.
This awkward post-holiday period when it's suddenly weird to have glittery nail polish on my fingernails, the Michael Bublé Christmas station playing on Pandora and a mini tree from Trader Joe's named Larry on my dining room table.
I love Christmas, perhaps more than is appropriate for someone over the age of ten, and I always want to cling wrap myself to the moment -- the crazy family dinners featuring way too much wine, the excitement/anxiety that feathers the air, and the reckless fun of spending all my savings on the people I love. I didn't want it to end, and certainly wasn't ready to go back to regular nail polish, top 40 radio and a treeless table.
Because we all know that treeless tables are the ultimate form of post-holiday letdown.
Particularly trees that have been christened Larry.
There's also this whole new year to deal with -- a year that I have to remember to write on rent checks and the thank you cards that I've promised myself I'll send as soon as I recover from the grief of throwing Larry into the garbage bin. (May he rest in peace.)
So even though I was prepared for the idea of 2014 and the rush of expectations that came along with it when midnight slapped me in the face on New Year's Eve, I wasn't ready for what came after I collapsed into my bed at 1 am in full makeup and the wishbone necklace I couldn't be bothered to take off in my champagne stupor.
The reality of normal life -- the rudest of New Year's Day awakenings.
Aside from the hangover that left me pledging that I'd never drink alcohol ever ever again.
For, you know, like three and a half days.
This year that pledge has been coupled with one to avoid dessert until I can button my jeans without cutting off the circulation in the lower half of my body. It's the ultimate insult to my post-holiday injury, but strangely enough I feel okay on what is now day 11 (!!!). I'm resolved with my resolution, if you will. And strangely a bit relieved to not feel the compulsion to eat every cookie in sight because "It's the holidays," and that's what's done.
The transition has been made somewhat easier with healthy "resolution" recipes like this one -- Chili Roasted Tofu with Minted Pomegranate Relish via Sprouted Kitchen. The vibrant flavors, diversity of textures, and addition of avocados, nature's butter, make this dish feel like something special. Even if it is eaten with sparkling water instead of sparkling wine, and without my four-year-old niece making faces at me from across the table.
It's a first step into 2014. And, hopefully, a step toward looser fitting jeans.
Chili Roasted Tofu with Pomegranate Salsa
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
Notes: I left the structure of this recipe mostly intact, but played around with the proportions a bit - using less tofu than is called for, and adjusting the salsa ingredients to an amount more appropriate for one person to have lingering in the fridge. I added the arugula one day to turn this into more of a salad, and enjoyed the peppery contrast to the tartness of the pomegranates, though also enjoyed a side of roasted Brussels sprouts on another occasion. Either way, it's hard to go wrong with this combination of flavors.
6 ounces extra firm tofu, sliced into 1/2'' thick pieces, then halved into triangles
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tangerine (or orange) juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pomegranate, deseeded
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon tangerine (or orange) juice
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/3 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup quinoa
Scant cup vegetable broth
1/2 ripe avocado, chopped
A couple handfuls of arugula
In a small bowl, combine chili powder, salt, tangerine/orange juice and olive oil. Stir together until well combined. Place tofu in zip lock bag and pour the marinade over the pieces. Seal the bag up tightly, making sure to remove any air pockets, and let sit for at least 10 or so minutes (or even overnight if you on top of things).
While the tofu is marinating, combine pomegranate seeds, orange zest, tangerine/orange juice, minced shallots, mint, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Once ready to prepare the tofu, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and arrange marinated tofu triangles on top. Drizzle marinade over the pieces and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium sized pot, bring vegetable oil to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed. Remove lid, fluff with a fork and let stand for 5 minutes over low heat.
Scatter arugula leaves over two plates. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper to taste. Spoon quinoa over the arugula, then arrange two tofu triangles over each quinoa mound. Top with pomegranate salsa and avocado.