18 May 2006

Quinoa Spring Salad & Marinated Tofu

It was time to make some more quinoa so I can finish off my container and refresh the jar with more organic goodness. Maybe because it's been 104 degrees (and will be +), I've been wanting cold salads, but not necessarily leafy green salads. The pasta salad the other day was a success, as well as a great leftovers.

Sadly, it's been a bit too long since I have cooked anything from Dreena's "Vive le Vegan" cookbook, one of my fav's, and I decided that the quinoa spring salad was way worth a try! Vicki (Vegetarian Family), has a wonderful post dedicated to this salad and it has been calling my name since April. Of course, I didn't have all ingredients on hand. At the store I asked Ray, "would you rather have no bell peppers or conventional bells?". He responded while I nodded in agreement that we should just skip the bells. Plus, I have some frozen, which isn't good with this meal, but I was not about to spend $6.99/lb on organic red bell peppers. Instead, I chopped up the huge-ass bag of carrots I have, half of a large cucumber, pistashios, and peas. I added some basil and cilantro as well as Dreena's (same book) "Simple Cider Vinegarette" which was great. The ingredients were simple and I can use some simplicity in my life (at least in the food department). I did add the lemon juice on top of everything, which was a must!

The tofu was marinated for about 2 hours in a mixture of too much tamari sauce, agave nectar, brown rice vinegar and hoisin sauce. The tofu was really easy to make as I just heated it super quick at the end of everything else. I must say that even though the tofu had one flavor (from one end of the spectrum) and the cold quinoa salad had a light other flavor, it was interesting and pleasantly tasteful to eat!

But what would I do without something sweet? I would say "unhealthy", but that's NOT the case! This pudding/mousse is made from a random mixture (if you are new here, I don't measure much, I am a better cook when it comes to tossing and throwing ingredients together). The ingredients are as follows (and not limited to)... soft silken tofu, cocoa, hot water, vanilla, maple syrup and agave nectar. Just a splash of the sweeteners, not much is needed. I love pudding/mousse with fruit (see some other posts, I have mini phyllo mixed-fruit pudding pies, and the photos are wonderful!).

To the Midweek Munchies group: I'll either have a late-week munchies post again or combine this week with next week.

I did eat a bit more soy than I would normally desire today. I had (an unusual circumstance) bowl of cereal... yes... for breakfast... this morning. I love the Koala Crispies (cocoa crispies) and something that was like corn puffs but super-healthy. Oh, and Optimum Powerbreakfast and hemp seeds mixed in, as always. So, a splash of milk in my coffee does that count?; cereal with milk; ice cream with blueberries- somewhere thrown in the middle of the day is that lunch?; tofu (firm bricks and silken pudding) and finally, tamari sauce... I'd say that's enough soy for today. And tomorrow.


KaiVegan said...

I like combining light and bolder flavors together in a meal. I think tofu and quinoa make the perfect pair. Really. So did you just fry the tofu then?

Cute pudding presentation!

Vicki said...

yeaaah! you made the quinoa spring salad -- isn't it the most delicious? i wondered if you would given your quinoa kick lately! LOL! (tiger the lion just made it also)
all your food pics look fabulously yummy (as always). whooo, it's gettin' hot over there -- 104* -- YOWZA! :o)

EatPeacePlease said...

Kai, I liked the light flavors with the bold too. And for once, I ate the seperate and didn't just combine everything on top together. I did just add a bit of olive oil to the pan and put the tofu on it. Once both sides were warm/hot I dumped the rest of the marinade in the pan and let the juices sizzle out.

Vicki, it's warm here but it can get in the one hundred and teens! I like it most of the time (don't quote me on that in July). I have been on a quinoa kick, one to get rid of it (it was time to replenish) but also because I like it so much better (and quicker) than rice and I like making more than I need so I have some already cooked for the next time. That makes it super-simple, usually. Ok, I'm going to see what you're up to now...

KleoPatra said...

I also like to have complementary savory with not-so-savory. You can really get the different flavors on the palate this way, Leslie. Good job.

And that pudding, not only is it beautiful, but it looks unbelievably tasty. I looooooooooove chocolate pudding!

I hope you stay cool. One of my best pals is a vegan living in Tucson and i hear about the heat from her often. I send you some cool Pacific Ocean breezes...

Vicki said...

70's is ideal for me.
one of the cookbooks i just got has a recipe for "leftover grains muffins" -- it is a way to use up last night's cooked grain -- takes 1 cup cooked brown rice, millet, couscous, bulghur.....or quinoa! i'll try it out & let you know.
have a terrific weekend! oh, and btw, sitar is featured in one of my fav. songs by the beatles -- tomorrow never knows.

EatPeacePlease said...

Kleopatra, is you best friend "Ningostar" aka Becky from Tucson? She's a veg blogger around here... and the only vegan I "know" in Tucson. As for sending Pacific Breezes, please do. I miss the water a lot! Airfare is not so cheap these days (but seems to be cheaper than driving gas!). Thanks for your nice comments!

Vicki, quinoa muffins would be interesting. I think I've had all sorts of grain muffins, but not quinoa. I know all the Beatles songs (and that one w/sitar), and we seem to have very similiar musical interests! I like how you described your Fast and Slow Sunshine re: your daughter.

Oh, and for everyone's information, the puddin's just about gone! I made a 12oz container of tofu + the dashes of other ingredients, so now you can see how much I ate (Ray only had one serving w/his dairy ice cream last night). I've been breaking into it all last night and quite a few times today and tonight. At least it's not crap.

Dori said...

I am finally able to check all my favorite bloggers and catch up on what's cooking. Rhubarb is sour, I use heavy on the stevia to sweeten... I think you'd have to use ALOT of other syrups to make it fruit like sweet. I wich you were closer and I'd be hapy to share my rhubarb with you, $1.99/lb seems like alot... We give it away around here and stores do not sell it.

Glad you kinda liked the spring rolls, I really enjoyed the sauce too.

Vicki's quinoa salad was weill liked here also. Muffins from leftover cooked grain... that sounds great. I have made muffins using quinoa flour and barley in my blender which worked very well. The quinoa flour gave them a nutty flavor, but a little denser texture also... but the cooked grain, that would be worth the creative endeavor.

I'm looking forward to hearing of your food making/ selling endeavor. The market I have sold at starts May 28. It's kind of hard to not do it, but now I get the freedom to explore other markets and do a little more with my garden in between classes. We just bought two nanking cherry bushes... I can smell the struesel topped vegan cherry muffins as I think about my little bushes.

Carrie™ said...

I like tofu done the way you did it. It's such a no-fuss way to prepare something tasty. And speaking of tasty...that pudding looks heavenly! I have a serious chocolate addiction and fear an intervention may be required. I've made something similar with chocolate syrup, silken tofu and amaretto. Very yum! 104 in May. Whew - too hot! My perfect temperature is 16C which converts to 60.8F. Keep cool!

EatPeacePlease said...

Dori, did I mention that the rhubarb I got for $1.99 a pound was 1/2 off on sale!? Crazy to think of 4 bucks a pound! I can only imagine the muffins and baked goods you make over there, especially how you are conscious of food allergies and various grains.

Carrie, I like the tofu done the way I did it because you toss a bunch of stuff in the bowl, soak the tofu (I will always marinate now), and then just toss it on a skillet with little oil. It only takes about 5 minutes to heat.

As for the pudding, that was also simple, just toss some ingredients in the food processor. I melt the cocoa with water and vanilla in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Then I mix it all in the processor and chill for a while. Soooo easy!

Your perfect temperature is me being cold. I'd need pants and a long sleeve something, which thinking about it makes me hate! I love at least 75 degrees F, and this dry heat of 104 really isn't bad, it feels like a humid (but not - it's dry) 85 or something. I could be wrong, but it's really not bad. Like I said, talk to me in a month or 2, I may say otherwise.