Quinoa: KEEN-WAH? Key-NO-ah? Neither?
Language is such a tricky beast, then add the United States versus the United Kingdom, and then do not forget the plethora of colloquial variations and it’s enough to want one to just not say anything at all.
So, I had decided on the first one and was glad keen on it. That is until watching a live Zoom cooking class and the chef kept going back and forth between the two, and I was ready to toss the quinoa in the trash.
Well, not really. That would be wasteful. I would add it to a box for the food drives that happen more often this time of year.
He settled on the latter, hmmm, I was surprised. So, I just did the search on the internet since we know it only speaks the truth (insert heavy dose of sarcasm). After reading and listening to several, I settled on my first instinct: KEEN-wah.
Now, let’s prepare the meal. Hope you did not trash the quinoa pasta!
Ingredients and items:
Quinoa pasta: I used an organic brand. Feel free to use any pasta.
Tofu: I prefer Nasoyo organic, extra firm.
Kale: any variety and amount to taste.
Lemon: one whole; will be split between kale and pasta.
Corn starch: if making crispy tofu, enough to lightly coat the tofu.
Oil: sesame and EVOO. Extra virgin olive oil is for massaging the kale. Sesame for cooking the tofu.
Spices: red flakes, black pepper, cumin.
Pumpkin seeds, raw: optional and toasted naked.
Recipe for all choices:
1. Fill the pot with fresh water and with lid on, let it come to a full boil. Cookware, fire choice, and devices will vary, so mind the stove.
2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and let it get to the consistency you desire. I am not a fan of limp pasta that waves and hangs there. I like it a tad hard, especially since I will toss it back in the pot or pan shortly before the grand finale of the dish.
3. If using one pot, put the cooked pasta into a colander and set it aside. Sometimes it is best to run a little cold water to stop the cooking process of the hot pasta.
4. Place oil, if using, and non-ground spices in the hot pot and slowly add in other ingredients depending on cooking time. If using a sauté pan, you will have been stirring in those beauties while the pasta was cooking.
5. Add the drained pasta at the end, toss gently to mix those goodies together, and let them dance and rub their aromatics together.
Recipe for kale:
1. Rinse the kale to remove dirt and towel dry. Cut alongside the stem to separate and remove the stem from the greens. Tear the kale into pieces and place into a large glass bowl with a little EVOO (optional) and juice from half of a lemon. Feel free to add more lemon.
2. Massage that kale, get your hands and fingers in there, clean and ring/watch/bracelets free, please, and effleurage, petrissage away. Gently massage, pretending this is your precious baby, cat, dog, or human.
3. When the pasta is cooked, drained, and back into the hot pot or pan, add the massaged kale on top and allow it to wilt slightly.
Recipe for raw pumpkin seeds:
1. Place the seeds into a preheated sauté pan and toss gently as they heat and lightly brown. Their aroma may start to fill the air. Remove them from the pan into a small glass dish.
2. After plating, you can add the optional toasted pumpkin seeds, or have them in small dishes next to each plate.
Bonus suggestions: surprise bonus of non-tofu toppings
With, or without the tofu, feel free to change up the veggies and spices. Dining with others and no one agrees on what goes on the pasta? Make a huge pile of pasta and have the spices, herbs, aromatics in small bowls or plates, if that seems pandemic-safe.
Leave veggies in pots and pans and let everyone single file in six-foot paces to top off their plate.
Have slices of lemons, limes, and or oranges at every plate with a tiny knife or spoon to self-zest and squeeze.
Veggies: tomatoes, olives of various colors, peas, broccoli, carrots, string beans, cauliflower, and anything seasonal.
Spices: black pepper, cayenne, red pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, turmeric, oregano, fenugreek, thyme, curry, sea salt, sesame seeds, basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (See what I did there? Took you back to 1966 and Simon and Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair with its lyric of “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”).
Oils: EVOO, avocado, sesame, almond, grapeseed.
Whether dining alone, with your fur kids, partner, spouse, lover, kids, grandkids, parents, grandparents, extended family, friends, coworkers, new neighbors, strangers—give gratitude, smile, and enjoy.
Bonus recipe: Tofu Threesome: 3 Tantalizing, Tasty Tofu Dishes.
For a whole bunch of delicious recipes, scroll through my author page.