I was in the mood for Asian flavors so this Ginger-Peanut-Coconut Tofu Veggie and Rice Stir-Fry really hit the spot. The warm spicy ginger mingling with rich, nutty peanut flavor, cool, captivating coconut milk, bright citrus and a hint of miso and tamari. Colorful Asian veggies like broccoli florets, snow peas, edamame, carrots and water chestnuts are heated in a sizzling skillet, tossed in sauce and plated on top of fluffy white rice. Plump pillows of seared miso-ginger tofu cubes on top. A ring of freshly sliced citrus, orange zest aroma, to accent the platter. Sake on the side. And an extra bowl of fluffy rice too.
There is just something about a side bowl of fluffy rice that makes me happy.
This dish rocks as a "leftovers" meal too. Served cold or warm. Craving stir-fry? Give this vegan meal a try!..
And some thoughts of the day: On Single-tasking..
Today's contemplation to pair with this Zen-inspired meal: How good are you at the skill of single-tasking?
What is single-tasking, you ask? Good question!..
Back in the day, they used to cite studies saying: "Juggling career and family, women are better multi-taskers than men!" Well nowadays I think it is safe to say that everyone is a skilled multi-tasker. We juggle tweets, Apps, emails, TV, news, music, texts, blog posts, articles, photographs, recipes, videos, (videos of cats your friend tweeted you), dinner plans, Facebook statuses, online banking, calenders and work duties all over the course of one. simple. day.
The number of virtual and in-person connections you can (easily) make in one day is staggering. This interaction can be energizing and inspiring, but on the other end of the spectrum, information burnout is bound to happen. So instead of working on our now-perfected skill of multi-tasking, lets step back and develop the skill of single-tasking.
Single-tasking: Do one thing with pure and quiet focus, flexed concentration. All while shaking away any anxious, busy or nervous thoughts that jump into your mind. Noise: off. Energy-robbers like worry and anxiety: mute them.
Not so easy, right?
Try this: Five minutes of meditation. Nothing stressful or anxious should be tumbling through your thoughts. Only happy, quiet calm. This blank space is not time wasted, it has great value in keeping your head clear and sharp. Computers need to sleep. Brains need to meditate.
Single-tasking is a skill I think we can all gain from having. And medtation is just one way to single-task! Other activities I like for the single-activity quiet and calm they induce..
* Kitchen time, cooking my favorite dishes.
* Long walks at dusk when the neighborhood begins to grow quiet and the sky turns powder navy blue. Cell phone stays home.
* Nature time. The beach, in a park, mountains, lakes, wherever I can get lost in nature, quiet mode easy to find.
* Exercise. Yoga and dancing and my favorites. Deep breathing always helps lighten the weight in your mind and helps release anxiety and nervousness that clings to you in noisy spaces.
* Travel. Old fashioned vacation, escaping from the familiar and routine inspires reflection.
* Art. Painting and drawing has always opened a door to quiet and reflection for me.
* Being Brave. Resist the desire to shrink away from challenges. Embrace the new, the unknown. This keeps your mind focused and on its tippy-toes.
What do you do to single-task? To keep your mind feeling focused, less-than-frazzled, quiet, renewed and sharp? Ponder THAT as you enjoy this energizing one-plate-wonderful stir-fry...
Ginger-Peanut-Coconut Tofu & Veggie Stir-Fry over Rice
vegan, serves 4
2 heaping Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup coconut milk (I used light coconut milk, but full fat works too)***
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp candied ginger, chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp brown rice syrup or agave syrup
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp cayenne or red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp orange zest
s&p to taste if desired
***lighten it up: If you want to lighten up the sauce, you can use light coconut milk, or substitute with an unsweetened non-dairy milk. I tested with almond milk - it was a bit watery, but still delicious.
Tweak it! Other flavor accents to experiment with in the sauce: lime juice and zest, lemongrass, dried chilies, basil, miso.
4 cups Asian veggies (broccoli florets, snow peas, water chestnuts, carrots, mushrooms, edamame - any variety you'd like - fresh or frozen)
1 tsp safflower oil
optional: splash of sake to finish
1/3 cup slivered almonds or chopped peanuts
Miso Ginger Tofu:
1 1/2 cups large tofu cubes, firm
1 tsp white miso paste
2-3 tsp agave, maple or brown rice syrup
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice + pinch of zest
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp safflower oil
s&p to taste
1 cup white rice, rinsed
1 1/2 cups mushroom or vegetable broth <- flavor built in! garnish: fresh basil, orange slices, freshly grated ginger on top
1. First, prepare the rice by rinsing it well and then adding 1 1/2 cups of broth to a large pot. Turn heat to high, when boiling add the rice. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until the rice is fluffy and tender. This usually takes 30 minutes or so. You can also use a rice cooker. Fluff rice with a fork and set aside, cover to stay warm.
2. Add peanut butter, tamari, ginger, sweetener, sesame oil, spices and coconut oil to a small bowl and combine until a thick sauce forms. You can also toss in a Vitamix and blend to make silky smooth in a flash. Add this mixture to a small sauce pot over medium heat, simmer until mixture thickens and smooths. Simmer for about three minutes and remove from heat. Tip: If you want an even thicker sauce you can add 1 tsp arrowroot powder to the mixture before heating. Set sauce aside.
3. In saute pan or Wok, add the safflower oil and turn burner to high. When oil is hot, add your veggies and saute until tender. You can decide if you want to have crisp al dente veggies to serve with sauce poured over top right before serving - or if you want to saute the veggies right in the sauce to soften them up and marinate the flavors a bit. I just sauteed the veggies right in the sauce. If you are doing the same, you can add the sauce to your veggie saute and let sizzle on high for a good 2-3 minutes for the flavors to absorb. Optional: finish the veggie saute off by adding a tiny splash of sake.
4. Add rice to your serving dish and top with your sauce and veggies.
5. Lastly, you will do a very quick saute with your tofu. Stir together the 'sauce' in a small bowl (miso, OJ, sweetener, ginger) set aside. Slice tofu into large cubes and press dry with paper towels on all sides of cubes. Add oil to saute pan and when the oil is hot, add the dry tofu. Do not move the cubes too much, this will interrupt the nice sear on the bottom of the tofu. Flip after about 1-2 minutes and saute on all sides. When the tofu is nicely seared, drizzle the sauce over top and allow to saute another minute or until the sauce has been absorbed by the tofu.
6. Add the freshly sauteed cubes on top of your veggies and serve. Orange slices, fresh grated ginger and fresh basil to garnish. Sides of rice on the side. Serve with hot sake if you'd like!