Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Pesto, & Tempeh with Bulgur

Can I just be honest? Food photography in the winter is not my favorite thing. In fact it's pretty discouraging. It's so difficult to capture the right shots. So I apologize for the lame pictures. 
My mom recently went through all her recipes, to toss all the ones she knows she'll either never make again or has changed her mind about wanting to try. She let me look through the stack before she tossed them. I found this recipe she got from Heidi Swanson's blog, 101 Cookbooks. It's a fabulous blog! This recipe sounded delicious to me. It's basically filled with ingredients that I would consider some my favorites: freshly pureed pesto, juicy roasted cherry tomatoes, chopped  kale, toasted pumpkin seeds... your mouth watering yet?  The original recipe calls for quinoa. I recently used it in burritos, so I replaced the quinoa with bulgur.  
Heather's Quinoa Recipe

a splash of EVOO
a pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 shallot, minced
3 C. cooked quinoa* (or brown rice, or other grain)
1 C. corn, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 C. kale, spinach, or other hearty green, finely chopped)
2 C. extra firm nigari tofu, browned in a skillet a bit
1/3 C. pesto
1/3 C. pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/4 C. roasted cherry tomatoes** (or chopped sun-dried tomatoes)

In a big skillet or pot heat the olive oil and salt over medium heat. Stir in the shallot and cook for a minute or two. Stir in the quinoa and corn and cook until hot and sizzling. Stir in the kale and then the tofu, cooking until tofu is heated through. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the pesto and pumpkin seeds. Mix well so the pesto is spread throughout. Turn everything out onto a platter and top with the cherry tomatoes. 

Serves 4-6

*Rinse about 2 cups quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa and 4 cups water until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can see the curlique in each grain, and it is tender with a bit of pop to each bite. Drain any extra water and set aside

**To roast cherry tomatoes: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each tomato in half and arrange in a large oven-proof baking dish. Mix together a big splash of olive oil, a spoonful of brown sugar, and a few pinches of salt--pour this over the tomatoes. Gently toss them a bit, making sure they all get coated, finishing with each tomato facing cut-side up. Place in the oven and bake 45 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are shrunken and sweet. 
 This dish was pretty good. I think I would have liked it better if I used less bulgur. It made the pesto taste too mild and made me feel like I didn't have enough vegetables. It's a great versatile recipe. You could use pine nuts, roasted peppers, tahini dressing, or any other of your favorite ingredients or just something you have on hand. I have made some of the most interesting meals like that.

This weekend I'll be making a special birthday cake for a friend. I'm pretty excited about it. It's been a while since I've made a cute cake.

I hope you all had a happy Valentine's day!

Chef Teebs

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