Saturday, September 4, 2010

Autumn Yam, Collard, and Tofu Sauté with Ginger-Cilantro Pesto

The weather has turned crisp in this neck of the woods, hinting autumn is on its way. A little shocking, actually, as just last week the temperatures hit close to 100ºF. Instead of cooking up a dish of simple collards with a bit of olive oil as I had intended, the sweet potatoes, tofu, and cilantro in the refrigerator caught my eye. Before I knew it, I was involved in a full-fledged cooking session. This recipe has overtones of Thai flavor, but with a twist of Western sensibility. 

The highlight here is the ginger-cilantro pesto. Ginger for a bit of warming kick and cilantro for its healthful qualities. Cilantro is abundant in antioxidants, a wonderful heavy metal detoxifier, and a plentiful source of cleansing chlorophyl. Also, super-nutritious sunflower seeds are used instead of the traditional pine nuts. Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamins E, B1, B5, and folate as well as minerals such as copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, selenium, calcium and zinc. These mighty seeds are also a fantastic source of dietary fiber, linoleic acid, and cholesterol-lowering phytosterols.

The orange brightness of the yams against the more subdued green collards is embellished nicely with the tofu. Personally, I like the colors of cooking to accent one another so the pesto is tossed lightly with the greens; the yams and tofu are used as a crowning touch. 


Ginger-Cilantro Pesto
1  clove garlic, crushed
2  tablespoons chopped ginger
1  teaspoon sea salt 
1/4  cup raw sunflower seeds
1  cups chopped cilantro, loosely packed
1/4  cup coconut oil, melted

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the garlic, ginger, salt and sunflower seeds six times. Add cilantro and pulse about nine times until mixture forms a coarse paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and combine with coconut oil. 


Yam, Collard, and Tofu Sauté
2  medium yams, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
2  tablespoons coconut oil
1/2  cup water
1  14-oz package of extra-firm tofu, sliced into 1-inch cubes
4   tablespoons lime juice
1  teaspoon sea salt
1  tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6  collard leaves, sliced in 1-inch wide ribbons
3  green onions, thin slice
1/4  cup coconut milk
1  tablespoon red pepper flakes

In a large covered skillet over medium heat, sauté yams with water and 1 tablespoon coconut oil for 8 minutes or until just tender. Remove from heat and transfer to a small mixing bowl. Next, sauté tofu over medium heat with remaining coconut oil for 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Add to yams and toss lightly with lime juice and salt. Sauté collards with olive oil and green onions for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro pesto and coconut milk. Remove from heat and place collards on serving plate. Top with yams, tofu, and red pepper flakes. Bon appétit.

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