I have been a bit ambivalent about quinoa in the past, despite its "superfood" status. Never mind that it contains all the essential amino acids (there's not that many plant foods that do; buckwheat is another), i find it a bit bland and often soggy. However this recipe caught my eye, as i figured that the roasting of the quinoa would definitely get rid of any sog-factor.
Also i'm always on the lookout for something new to do with kale, since it is one of the few harvestable items in my garden through the winter.
This is another Bernadette Hogg recipe, which appeared in the latest issue of NZ House and Garden (July 2017). I have changed it a bit - added lemon zest (its a rare dish that is not improved by lemon zest in my opinion, and if the juice of a lemon is called for, then i usually add the zest as well) and toasted pine nuts. The capers were already in the recipe, but i decided to fry them up as well, as i quite like a heat-blistered caper. The original recipe also calls for 150 grams of feta in place of the tofu. Bernadette cubes the feta and presses it into dukkah, which sounds really nice, so if you have no reason to not eat dairy products you may wish to try that option; i'll definitely be giving it a go once my six weeks of veganism is over.
The other reason this recipe caught my notice is that it calls for a "punnet of cherry tomatoes, mixed colours if possible". I had just been doing some work in our glass house, weeding and digging in the bokashi compost, and discovered some sad-looking cherry tomatoes just begging not to be wasted. These tomatoes probably weren't quite what Bernadette Hogg had in mind, but i sampled one, and although definitely past their best, i couldn't bear to throw such an unexpected gift away. They were still quite edible, and i figured the roasting would further enhance their taste (it did). Although i collected what looked to be about a punnet's worth, by the time i got them inside and had a closer look i decided a few were beyond redemption (for human consumption at least - the chooks still enjoyed them) and some others required trimming, with the end result of about a half-punnet total. I added some chopped sundried tomatoes to make up the shortfall; if you don't feel like buying cherry tomatoes in the middle of winter you could omit them entirely and just use sundried toms in their place. My version of this recipe calls for quite a bit of extra toasting (capers, pine-nuts and tofu) over Bernadette's original; if you are in a rush you can miss out toasting the pine-nuts and capers to save a bit of time.
ROASTED QUINOA & CRISPY KALE SALAD
Based on Benadette Hogg's recipe in 'NZ House and Garden', July 2017
1 punnet cherry tomatoes (or substitute 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped into strips)
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 sage leaves, finely sliced
1/2 cup red quinoa
1/2 cup white quinoa
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups packed baby kale or cavalo nero (or use larger leaves torn into pieces)
300g firm tofu
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cut cherry tomatoes in half, season with salt and pepper, drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss through the sage. Spread in an oven dish and roast for 20 minutes or until tomatoes are softened and browned (If you are using sun-dried tomatoes omit this step and fry the sage at the same time as the capers).
Meanwhile, rinse your tofu, pat dry and cut into cubes. Heat a skillet or frypan to a medium heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and add the tofu. Fry slowly, stirring regularly until golden.
While your tofu is frying, prepare your quinoa. Place in a sieve and rinse under running cold water (do red and white separately). Tip into separate pots and add one cup of water to each. Bring to the boil then simmer 10-15 minutes. The white quinoa will get fluffier and bigger than the red; the red will retain more of a bite to it. They are cooked when the water has evaporated and the seeds are tender. If they need longer, add a little water, but don't overcook or they will turn mushy.
Spread quinoa on a lined baking tray and roast for 20 minutes or until slightly crispy and brown, stirring after 10 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 75 degrees Celsius and place tomatoes and quinoa in the oven to keep warm until serving.
Heat a second frypan to moderate/hot. Add the pine nuts to the dry frypan and stir until lightly browned. Set pine nuts aside and add 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter/ghee and the 2 tablespoons capers. fry until blistered, then set aside the capers and add the kale leaves. Briefly fry at a high heat until crisp. Place in oven to keep warm.
When ready to serve, toss quinoa, tomatoes, kale and tofu together in a bowl and top with the capers, pine nuts and lemon zest. Squeeze over the lemon juice and add a splash of olive oil.