Just yesterday, Antsypants booked two tickets for us to go visit my in-laws and his parents in May. That’s where we’ll be this time two months from now. This time two months from now, I’ll also be 26. Mama, if you’re reading this, WHEN DID I BECOME 26? Bleah, it’s okay. I actually like my birthday. I forget I’m 26 at least until somebody asks me my age and then I have to think for 5 seconds when this all changed.
It wasn’t like this when I was a teenager. I was angst-ridden and the idea of me standing around a cake with people staring at me was quite unappealing. I wanted to hide in my room but I always wanted to hide in my room at that age. There were parties people came over, I came out and shook hands and said thank you. When I realised that I was missing all the presents, I tried to be better about it. Who doesn’t love presents?! Especially of the monetary, non-fabric kind.
Non-fabric kind. I just made myself “lol”. Ask me later if you want to know why.
At 25, I can say quite confidently that I don’t think like that anymore. I still don’t like birthday parties in the tradition of “let’s invite everyone we know so our faces fall off from two cheek kissing” but I like to be around the people that matter. As for presents, I feel better a lot better about giving and feeling grateful for what I already have. There’s little I need and a bulk of that you just can’t buy.
Two months to 26. If this is what it’s going to feel like, I’m alright with that. Being with the new extension to my family, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I made this recipe up from my own “too lazy to cook something fancy” brain and guess what? It turned out to be quite fancy after all. I should not try more often. My point is, if you find that you need to change the vinegar-soy sauce ratio, go ahead. Just make sure you start with less and taste as you go. I’ve made this thrice and I’ve like it most with this combination of quinoa. The red quinoa is a lot crispier even after it’s cooked and the mustard seeds give it a wonderful nutty flavour as you eat.
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked (I used a mix of black, white and red quinoa from the bulk section of the grocery but any one kind will do)
- 1 + 2 tsp peanut oil
- 5 oz tofu, cut into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes
- 2 tsp whole mustard seeds
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped fine
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 cup green beans,
- 2 tbsp lite soy sauce (it’s a lot less salty than the regular kind. You can also use tamari if you don’t like soy sauce but modify the quantity as per your tastebuds)
- 4 tsp rice vinegar
- Winter salad greens, washed and dried (frisée, arugula, mustard, beet greens, chicory…are some example. If you don’t have any of these, you can add baby or chopped spinach)
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt to taste
Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the tofu on both sides until it’s golden and crisp on the outside but still soft on the inside. It should take about 3 minutes per side. Take it out of the pan and place it on a paper towel. I thought about cutting it into cubes after frying it (makes it easier to flip) but if you’ve gone knife crazy and prepped your ingredients already, I’m sorry. I can make it up to you by cooking for you someday should our crosses path. Paths cross.
I’m not really sorry.
At this point, your quinoa should be on the stove top in a small pot, being cooked in lightly salted water or vegetable stock.
On the same frying pan where you fried the tofu, add 2 tsp of peanut oil and add the mustard seeds to it. Once the oil gets hot, the mustard seeds will start to pop. Quickly add the garlic and give it a 30-second stir. Then add the carrots and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Throw in the green beans next, then the tofu and keep stirring the mix for another 4 minutes at least.
Add the soy sauce and give it a quick stir and then add the rice vinegar. Taste here to check if all’s well in stir-fry land. Cook for 3 more minutes or until the veggies are cooked but not soft (I like them to be a little crunchy). Take it off the stove and check on the quinoa. If it’s ready, then add this stir-fry mix to it and combine the two in the quinoa pot. If it’s not, you wait till it is. That was easy. Ha.
The third part of this recipe is incorporating the salad greens. Wash and dry the greens and then squeeze some lemon juice over them in a separate bowl. You are now going to add these greens to the quinoa in the pot. The quinoa should still be warm when you do this so that the greens wilt just a tad.
Serve warm in a bowl. Squeeze more lemon juice on the top if you prefer.