Tofu Peanut Kale Scramble, take one

Gentle Reader,

Haha...imagine if I went all Miss Manners on you. No freaking way, dudes.

Yahoo often has a link on their front page for recipes...generally easy-peasy ones for the harried cook with no time and a desire to cut calories. They don't usually inspire me--I have enough cookbooks, Cooks' Illustrated issues and recipes that I've already stuffed into my kitchen, all right? However, for whatever reason, today I took the plunge and printed out another recipe to add to my ridiculous collection. The recipe can be found here. If you don't feel like reading my ramblings about making it, you can just stop here and go on to live a relatively good life. Just in case you were wondering.

All right, getting back to tonight's dinner. What really drew me into this recipe, I guess, was the sauce. Peanut Sauce in any form is pretty splendiferous in my book. The sauce in this recipe was basically perfect, and super easy. I used white vinegar, fyi, and did not find any issue with that as substitute for rice vinegar. I'm glad I didn't buy rice vinegar just for this--if you are like me and don't have that in your kitchen stock, don't even sweat it. One thing I will say is more a criticism of my skills: MAKE SURE the ginger is really finely minced. I chopped it sort of half-ass fashion, because I don't have the greatest knife wielding skillz, and there were points in eating the dish where I got a bigger ginger taste than I wanted. The smaller the pieces, the more all of the flavors are able to just meld together so one doesn't pop out and hit you over the head like the ginger did to me.

So, this dish is called Tofu with Peanut Ginger Sauce, but upon close examination of the recipe, I came to the conclusion that those were all supporting players to the star of the show, the greens. With that in mind, I decided to spice things up a bit in that regard--the "BAM" factor, if you will. I love spinach, but I decided to dive in and substitute kale instead. You might remember my earlier post about M de
 Chaya in which I sang the praises of their kale with peanut salad--that is sort of what I was going for here. Thing was, I had never worked with kale, EVER. How different could it be?

The answer is, well, not too different.  I assumed that the kale would wilt like any normal green, and it did...slowly. The recipe instructs you throw all of the veggies and sauce in at once, but if you do that, and don't have a gargantuan pan, you're apt to end up with a mess. Whether you use spinach or kale or any other green, I would split it in half and allow the first group to wilt before adding the rest. One beef I have with this recipe is that they don't mention that at all. They are asking you to throw four cups of greens into a pan but they don't warn you that they won't necessarily fit right away. I don't consider myself an expert cook by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a bit of experience at a stove and knew that...if these recipes are really meant for anybody, though, they should TELL people these things and don't just make them find it out for themselves once a cup of their spinach has ended up on their stove and/or floor.

Here is another beef with this part of the recipe, by the by. (Sorry, by the way, veggies, for the figure of speech, but that's all it is-ain't no cow in this cookin'.) Because you're going to be working so hard to make sure the greens wilt, you're not going to have a lot of room in your pan for those there mushrooms and scallions to cook very well. I ended up with some barely cooked sliced mushrooms, which didn't really gel with the rest of the dish. I would suggest tossing the mushrooms with a small amount of olive oil and nuking them for about 15 seconds. It will give them a chance to soften up a bit without overcooking everything else in the pan.

This is the finished product as I made it 
Sorry for the lack of finesse-I really need to learn how to take good food photos. You'll notice that you see a lot more kale and mushroom in there than tofu--that is another fault of the recipe as it stands. It calls for one 14 oz container (standard size), but I would say that for it to stand up to the amount of greens called for, I would almost double the tofu...or else leave it out completely. This dish would do extremely well as a side accompaniment to chicken breast, or else as one of several veggie dishes merged together to make a meal. In spite of Yahoo's claim that this makes a great weeknight meal, I just don't buy it on its own. Overall, though, it is a really delicious dish. I urge you to try it out, and make your own substitutions, with different greens, veggies, and maybe even a different protein. I swear, anything will taste good with Peanut Sauce. :)

And friends...as a final note, let me apologize for once again falling off the side of the earth for a couple months. Life has been busy, with travels and recitals galore (ok, two recitals and two weeks on the East Coast), and my prime blogging time, during my slow workdays, is not allowable in the new work digs. HOWEVER, David and I will soon be moving to a lovely little flat closer to work and I will have some more TIME to do things I enjoy. At the top of that list is baking, cooking and BLOGGING...and I promise you a big chocolate cake if I do not stick with it post-move. Deal? Really, you win either way. Actually, you'd probably prefer the cake....

Until next time, my sweets!