Thursday, May 6, 2010

Meyer Lemon Tofu

Meyer Lemons are deeply satisfying to me. Less tart than regular lemons, they have a rich flavor, soft skin and lots of juice. I randomly pick up meyer lemons in my kitchen just to smell their familar, soft aroma. It makes me happy.
When I thought of this dish, I was thinking about sushi. I used to eat salmon at our local sushi restaurant. It was served with super-thin slices of lemon on top that made it pop with flavor in my mouth. Since then, I have craved sliced lemon in my food. Rind and all. I think the rind is an important texture component, and if sliced thinly enough, it works. Using the whole rind and pith of the lemon fruit also increases the amount of vitamin C you are eating. Although cooking the lemon I would guess wipes a lot of vitamin C out...oh well!
I have stopped eating most fish these days due to heavy metals and over fishing in the oceans, but will still eat an occasional sushi roll here and there. I have also switched over my DHA supplement from fish sourced to algae sourced. DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) has many wonderful roles in the body and cardiovascular health, and I prefer it to all the others essential fatty acid supplements. Studies have shown that the metabolic pathways that metabolize fatty acids are not always intact.  So DHA is not always converted from EPA or flax seed oil or other nuts and seeds. It is the conversion of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) in flax oil for example to EPA then to DHA that needed for use in the body, and some scientists are theorizing (and now testing in individuals) that people with family histories that include asthma, allergies, depression and alcoholism lack the enzymes in the pathways to make the conversions of ALA to EPA to DHA. So why not just take DHA and not worry if you are lacking the ability to metabolize essential fatty acids properly? Genova Diagnostics has an essential fatty acid test that can measure a person's ability to metabolize fatty acids. Most MD's are not familar with this kind of science, so don't expect a kind ear if you are planning on discussing this at your next check-up. Sometimes, it is not just a matter that we are eating Omega 3 fatty acids, it is a matter of how well our genetics and environmental factors allow us to metabolize these omega 3 fatty acids into usable metabolically active fats.
Well, now that the science lesson is out of the way, I will get back to the tofu recipe!

I made this dish in my wok, and made sure it was very, very hot. I used a couple of teaspoons of canola oil (good for high heat) for searing the tofu. I only use canola oil sparingly due to the high omega-6 fatty acid content.  I waited until the end to add the chard. I wanted it wilted and served it after its juices had caramelized. The slices of meyer lemon were just lovely. The toasted sesame seed oil balanced out the tart nicely. We ate ours with steamed brown rice, but quinoa would be great with this dish.

3 tbls mirin
2 tbls rice vinegar
1 tbls soy sauce
2 tbls cooking sherry
2 tbls toasted sesame seed oil
Add to a bowl, mix with a spoon and set aside

1 block of tofu (I use sprouted organic tofu)
2 small meyer lemons
1 1/2 cups onions sliced thin (I used spring onions)
1 bunch of chard roughly chopped

Cut tofu into 2 inch or slightly smaller pieces. Pat dry with a towel and set aside. Patting the tofu dry will help it sear and brown.
Cut onions into thin slices and set aside
Wash and trim chard and use salad spinner to remove any excess water
Slice meyer lemons into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices (I had some super thin and others thicker for texture)

In a very hot wok, add 2 tsp of canola oil. When wok is very hot and oil starts to dance around, add tofu and cover wok. Stir tofu every minute or so, allowing each side of the tofu to brown and sear. After about 8 minutes, add the onions, lemons and sauce. Cover again for a minute and then stir the tofu, vegetables and sauce until onions start to brown, are wilted and the sauce has evaporated (about 7 minutes). Add chard and stir in. This will help it start to wilt. After the chard juices have evaportated (less than 2 minutes), serve.


Becky said...

What firmness is your sprouted tofu? I don't know that I've seen it sprouted, just the regular blocks of soft, firm and extra firm. I'll keep my eye out though. Maybe it's where I'm shopping!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a lovely way of preparing tofu! That dish looks extremely delicious!



dreaminitvegan said...

I know what you mean about lemons, it just makes the kitchen all nice and happy! I've been using more as well in my cooking now that it's spring and your tofu meal looks so tasty!

We also take DHA algae oil. Hey the fish eat the algae so why not get it from the source.

heather said...

Do you still recommend Nordic Naturals?(are they fish or algae sourced?)


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