I was rebaptized into cooking after a four-week strike this past weekend. My strike included lots of waffles, scrambled eggs and frozen pizza with a liberal amount of greens on top so I don't feel *quite* as bad. We had a long-planned dinner party/photo shoot for the cookbook so I was actually left with no choice. It's a two man show over here, and one was occupied with stringing mini lights and photographing things, so table setting, shopping, prep, cooking, serving and cleaning for 10 is on me. That is not a complaint, it is really some sort of exhaustive rush. I truly do enjoy it. I just hope to have the funds and yard to do it more often in the future, it makes me so happy. My parents have a lovely space I can borrow for now. There is a chill in the air and the sun is setting quicker and earlier but it was still every bit as rewarding as always. Something about working your buns off and sharing the fruits of your labor with people you love is pretty special. I know I've said it before and it likely won't be the last time. Be warned. When I sign cookbooks, my line is "wishing you many great meals in good company." It got repetitive the more I wrote it, but never cheapened. The feeling I feel when I have a table speckled with food and friends, that is every sort of fullness for me and I wish that for other people. Sometimes the candles and flowers and twinkle lights, but sometimes just the gathering. The paper plates and chairs from around the house and overly simple foods - maybe even frozen pizzas with greens. It's the good stuff.
Pomegranates easily fall into my dozen favorite foods. Little plump jewels of tart-sweet juice and crunch. Just as tasty as they are gorgeous. I fell into the recent Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit, saw this minted pom relish and went through the contents of a meagerly stocked fridge to see how I could use it. I have a pomegranate and mint! I'm so close to something that resembles a meal. The recipe originally suggests this for your holiday turkey, so I suppose a number of proteins could do here. I'm just grateful to have something quick, easy and colorful for an easy fall dinner.
CHILI ROASTED TOFU WITH MINTED POMEGRANATE RELISH // Serves 2
Pomegranate Relish adapted from Bon Appetit November 2013
Below will yield enough millet and tofu for two but the relish enough for four. You could halve it, or keep the extras on hand. I made a rogue quesadilla with a brown rice tortilla, lentils, goat cheese and some relish that I thought was pretty tasty. Or I'm thinking it could be a lovely cocktail mix-in or garnish as well.
- 1 14 oz. pack extra firm tofu, drained and pressed in a dishcloth
- 1/2 cup millet or quinoa
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- pinch of smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. grade B maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. orange juice
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 pomegranate, seeded
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1 Tbsp. orange or tangerine zest
- 1/2 Tbsp. fresh orange or tangerine juice
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped mint leaves
- salt and pepper
1 avocado, diced
Wrap the tofu in a paper towel or dish cloth, and leave a heavy item on top for at least 15 minutes to press out excess moisture.
To make the tofu marinade, mix the chili powder, paprika, maple, orange juice, olive oil and salt together. Cut the tofu into 1/2'' slices and put them in the marinade, turning over a few times to coat. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, up to overnight.
Rinse the millet in a fine mesh strainer and add it to a pot over medium heat. Add the broth, bring it to a boil, turn it down to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Give it a fluff with a fork, turn off the heat, cover and let it sit.
To make the relish, mix the pom arils, shallot, citrus zest and juice and a pinch of salt and pepper together. Add the mint and stir to mix. You could add a dash of olive oil if it looks dry.
Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Arrange the tofu slices on the tray and bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are browned.
Stir in a pinch of salt, pepper and drizzle of olive oil into the millet. Serve each dish with the millet, a few slices of tofu, a scoop of the relish and diced avocado on top.