Friday, August 20, 2010

Pasta Salad - with Kaffir Lime and Tangy Spice

I headed up to Lake Buchanan this past weekend to spend some time with my second cousins at their lake house and share a picnic lunch. One of my cousins is vegan, so i thought it would be fun to pick some garden goodies and blend them up for a nice pasta salad seasoning and add some grilled tofu and seeds. I ripped off my own trout marinade from a week or so ago, skipped the tequila (i'm out) and added some fresh jalapenos. Yum!

For the tofu:

Freeze the tofu before hand to get a better texture.
Cut into chunks and scatter in a pan with some olive oil (spray) on med/high: tofu takes much longer to brown than meat, so leave it a while.
Sprinkle with salt, smoked paprika, cumin.
Cook until all sides are good and browned. Turn off the heat and add some:
  • hemp seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • flax seeds
  • pecans
Plus a little sesame oil and more salt and turn turn turn until the pan cools. Don't let those little seeds burn!

In the meantime, boil some water and cook your pasta. While you're waiting for the water to boil, assemble your sauce:

  • White wine vinegar
  • Olive oil (maybe a half cup each? i just poured the amount i wanted - more vinegar than oil)
  • Splash mirin
  • 3 large kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 large multiplying onions with greens, or scallions, or bulb onions
  • Tablespoon or so of peaches, diced
  • Splash worchestershire sauce
  • 3 large jalapenos, ripe, de-seeded (i de-seeded one and left the rest with seeds)
  • salt, pepper, cumin, sweet smoked paprika
Blend all up, taste, add more vinegar or hot peppers as needed to balance the sweetness. Shouldn't be sweet, but shouldn't be puckery tangy either.

Cook and drain the pasta, add the sauce, add the tofu - voila! Into the fridge to be enjoyed tomorrow, or serve right away. If waiting, the pasta will absorb the sauce - which is either good or bad depending on how you look at it.

Pasta salad is one of my favorite things to make for going camping, as long as i have a well fitted lid to go on this here Pyrex dish (cooler water likes to invade my camping food). It's an easy 'pick as you go' snack to have around, and also a filling and satisfying sit down picnic lunch. If you can't get kaffir lime leaves, you could use the juice of a key lime or some lemongrass - but get the kaffir leaves, they're so awesome!

What's your favorite potluck/picnic dish?

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