Friday, September 17, 2010

Last Night's Dinner: A Few of My Favorite Things

It seems like the local vegetable season began with kale, and it may be winding up with kale. After picking just about a pound of my favorite crucifer at Quail Hill on Tuesday, I got around to using it last night with two previous IGA items of the week (well, if I haven't featured these two items yet, I should, since I buy them all the time): Rice noodles and extra-firm tofu. I removed the tough center rib from each kale leaf, then sliced the leaves into ribbons, which I boiled briefly with the noodles. After pan-frying slices of extra-firm tofu, I stir-fried the kale and noodles with some spicy peanut sauce, and then topped each portion of noodles and kale with the golden tofu. Here's the recipe:

Rice Noodles with Kale and Tofu
Serves 4

8 ounces wide (pad thai) rice noodles
1 large bunch kale (about 1 pound), tough ribs removed, leaves sliced into 1/2-inch-thick ribbons
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
6 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup water plus more if necessary
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce or more to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
One 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, cut crosswise into eight slices, drained and patted dry
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and boil for 3 minutes. Stir in the kale and boil for an additional 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Whisk together the peanut butter, 1/2 cup water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chili garlic sauce.
3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the tofu and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
4. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the noodles, kale, and sauce to the pan and cook, stirring, until the sauce coats the noodles and kale and everything is heated through, adding more water to the pan to moisten the dish if necessary.
5. Divide the noodles and kale among 4 serving bowls, top each portion with two slices of tofu, sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired, and serve.

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