Monday, May 05, 2008

The Pressure's On


Have I told you yet that Greg organized a chapter of the National Kickball league right here in New Haven? This was to be a summer of sports and outdoor recreation. We had plans, oh there were plans for fitness and getting in shape... well, poor guy, things don't always go as planned. Greg had a youtube-worthy moment this weekend, and it might have been worth it if only someone had a camera on them. I was working on Saturday so I did not get to witness the event myself, but, apparently, he made a spectacular swan dive towards the giant bouncing rubber ball in order to tag someone out. Unfortunately, by making this amazing save, he landed awkwardly on his side and broke his shoulder.

In case you ever break your shoulder, here's what to expect: horrible pain for the first seven days, an uncomfortable sling that rubs your skin raw, Vicodin, and no use of your arm for 6 weeks. This, and the ER doctor said that his was the slightest injury he could have made. (Better than dislocating a shoulder, apparently).

Greg has been a real trouper about the whole ordeal. There's not much he can do at the moment except watch movies and be uncomfortable on the couch. There's not much I can do for him, either, which makes me feel helpless. So I decided to make him something uber-healthy for Greg to eat on Sunday.


I'm not really a "gadgetty" kind of kitchen person, but a friend of our's gifted us a pressure cooker recently. She passed it along with constant assurances that her husband makes spectacular tofu dishes using it. I haven't quite been able to duplicate the dish that she described (she said it becomes dense and spongey, with a texture akin to frozen tofu), but I have found this new kitchen appliance useful for cooking things rapidly. I've found that, in the last, final stages of cooking, when the grains are drying up and absorbing moisture from every source possible, the tofu can get a little drier and hole-ier.


Pressure cooker tofu is nothing dramatic (for me, so far), but it the method I used to make this healthy salad is simple and the resulting dish is delicious and refreshing. The tofu has a wonderful texture that contrasts nicely with the wild rice, and the flavor creeps up on you: first nutty and grainy, then a burst of citrus flavor and olive oil. Next time I might add a little cilantro. Other possible additions? Toasted chopped walnuts, a little feta, pine nuts, or a squeeze of lemon juice.


Wild Rice Salad with Citrus and Tofu

What I liked better than the texture of this tofu (although that was good too) is the flavor. By cooking the tofu in the pressure cooker with orange juice, the citrus flavor thoroughly infused each cube of tofu. No weird sour/beany taste left.


Slice into 1/2" cubes:

1 package firm tofu

Add tofu to pressure cooker pot, along with

1 cup wild rice

1 cup orange juice

1.5 cups water

A glug of olive oil

Fit the lid onto the pressure cooker, turn the stove to high, and wait for the steam valve to open. Lower the burner so that the pot emits steam in steady spurts (~medium heat), and cook for ~15-18 minutes. (Keep an ear out and nose out for the sounds and smell of a dry pot/burning rice. Better to stop the pressure cooker sooner and finish the rice on the stove if need be). Meanwhile, wash and slice:

1 bunch beet greens (substitute spinach or arugula)

Peel and slice into 1/4" cubes:

2 oranges (I used one Valencia Orange and one Blood Orange)

When the pressure cooker is done, release the steam valve. Let  the rice and tofu cool for a minute (taste the rice; if it doesn't seem done, continue cooking on low heat). In a separate pot, steam the greens until wilted (~5-7 minutes) then shock in a bowl of ice water. Squeeze out the excess water and chop finely. Whisk together:

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 tsp ground sea salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Add the dressing, along with the greens and orange slices to the tofu and rice. Toss together and adjust seasoning if necessary.


brett said...

I'm not an adamant carnivore, but in a situation like that, I'd probably want those ribs from a few weeks back. Anyway, this looks very good, too.

Rachael said...

You're probably right :D Besides-which, I think ribs would make anything better... now I want ribs...