Tofu, Collard, and Cauliflower Salad

Collard Greens, Roasted Cauliflower

I had my friend Rebecca over for lunch today because I wanted to get to know her better and ask a few questions about motherhood.  Rebecca goes to my church and we work out at the same gym--the amazing, non-profit Rainier Health and Fitness.  She's a lawyer, but has chosen to stay home with her kids since her son was born 10 years ago.  I wanted to talk to her about that choice as I've been floundering a little bit, trying to sort out my professional and mothering selves.  External processor that I am (I talk to think--sorry, Yancey), I heard myself say that what I really want to do is cook and write about food.  So here's another entry and the salad we shared together.  Thanks for the clarity, Rebecca, and for how you're living out your calling in the world.

Let's talk motherhood

My inventory:  collard greens, cooked grain (the Syrian grilled wheat), grilled poblano and yellow peppers, a cake of firm tofu with a fast-approaching expiration date, and a big head of cauliflower.  I feel a salad coming on.

First, baked tofu.  Recipes I've seen for this say to marinate it for eight hours (!), but I didn't have that long.  I marinated it while I was at Wyatt's school this morning, so that's more like 3 hours.  Just do it for as long as you can.  You can also buy some already-baked tofu or leave it out and rely on the cauliflower for substance.

You can easily leave out the roasted peppers (or throw in some jarred ones) and roast broccoli instead of cauliflower.  You can use kale, swiss chard, arugula, or spinach instead of collard greens, but I'm kind of on a collard kick right now.  So bitterly, greenly delicious and so GOOD FOR YOU!  I haven't talked much about health yet, but you may have noticed we don't eat much meat in this house and I have a fiber fixation.  I had the fortune of growing up with a mother who cooked like that, so it's not something I've had to explicitly learn.  If you didn't grow up in that kind of house, you can just learn from me!

P.S. I happened to have the time to make this for lunch today, but would normally make something like this for dinner and eat the leftovers for lunch.  I'm a fast cook, but sympathize with anyone reading this recipe and saying, "That's a lot of $%# work!"  It's easy, but a lot of steps.  A little disclaimer.

marinating tofu

Tofu, Collard, and Cauliflower Salad
4 c. washed collard greens,ribs removed, finely shredded into ribbons
3 c. cooked grain (freekeh, couscous, quinoa, bulgar, couscous, barley, brown rice, etc.)
1/2 c. roasted yellow, red, or poblano peppers
1/4 c. chopped cilantro

For tofu:
1 lb. extra firm tofu, cut into uniform cubes
1/3 c. soy sauce
2 Tb. prepared Thai red curry paste (or 1 Tb. each minced garlic and ginger if you don't have this around)
1 Tb. sesame seeds
1 Tb. honey

For cauliflower:
3 c. washed cauliflower, cut into uniform bite-size florets
1 ts. cumin
1/2 ts. ground coriander
salt and pepper
1/2 ts. paprika
3 ts. olive oil

For dressing:
Juice of one lime
2 ts. cumin
1/2 ts. ground coriander
1 clove minced garlic
1 Tb. honey
1/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine collard ribbons, grain, peppers, and cilantro in a large bowl.

To marinate tofu, combine soy sauce, curry paste, sesame seeds, and honey.  Put tofu chunks into a glass baking dish, pour marinade around, and marinate for as long as you can, turning at least once.  To bake tofu, remove cubes from the marinade and place them on an oiled baking sheet.  Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes.  For this salad, I tore up the baked chunks after they had cooled a bit, but you can leave them bigger if you want.

For cauliflower, toss the florets with cumin, coriander, salt and pepper, paprika, and olive oil.  Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes until tender (but with a little crunch still) and charred in places.

For dressing:  combine all ingredients except for olive oil.  Whisk in olive oil to emulsify.

Add tofu and cauliflower to the collard mixture, drizzle some dressing (you'll probably have a  little left over) and toss gently with your hands.