Spring Flings and Fiestas
By Nancy Eisman
Spring is the season of flings and fiestas, including Cinco de Mayo which is celebrated on 5/5, commemorating the Mexican Army’s 1862 victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla. So this month’s recipe line-up pays homage to the Hispanic origins of the holiday with zesty citrus flavors, the herbal freshness of cilantro, and a little something spicy from the jalapeno, America’s favorite chile pepper.
Tofu sits in for coastal fish in the plant-based entrée, soaked in a fresh lime forward marinade and then grilled to perfection. Accompanied by a twist on the uber-popular Cilantro Lime Rice, this Cilantro Citrus Quinoa ups the protein factor and brings in added freshness and a touch of sweetness with the juice of the season’s best Ojai Pixie Tangerines.
I present a colorful and flavorful salsa for topping the grilled tofu, starring the perfect, pre-conditioned Sapūrana mango and the aforementioned Pixies, with some zesty red onion and spicy green jalapenos. Cilantro makes an appearance in all three dishes, tying the meal together in a fresh, green wrapped bundle.
The results are a fitting tribute to the May 5th holiday, as well as a meal just right for any day of the month.
2 packages Super Firm Tofu, sliced on the small end, ½” thick
Fresh Lime Marinade
Fresh Lime Marinade
½ packet stevia sweetener or 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
½ teaspoon liquid smoke
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Whisk everything together. Place the sliced tofu in a container and drench with the marinade. Be sure to cover both sides of each slice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
After marinating, place each tofu slice on a grill or in a grill pan, baste with additional marinade, and cook approximately 8-10 minutes per side.
Cilantro Citrus Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Zest of 1/2 lime
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1/2 pixie tangerine
Juice of 1 pixie tangerine
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon pepper or to taste
Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and drain. Place in a pot with 2 cups of vegetable broth and the lime and pixie zest. Stir to combine and cook according to package directions, about 15 minutes until the quinoa has absorbed the broth.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork and add in the minced garlic, lime and pixie juices, and the chopped cilantro—season to taste with salt & pepper.
Sapūrana Spring Salsa
1 Sapūrana mango, peeled and diced
2 Pixie Tangerines, peeled and diced
1 cup red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 ½ cups avocado, diced
2 tablespoons cilantro, diced
1 tablespoon fresh mint, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.