The amazing Isa Chandra Moskowitz set up a Chopped challenge, vegan style. 40 minutes to prepare an entree that will be judged on taste, creative use of the mystery ingredients, and presentation using these mystery ingredients:
I set the clock for 40 minutes and just like the real show, I raced to put an entree on the plate. I looked at the mystery ingredients and decided to marinate tofu in the chocolate with chili and red pepper flakes, use the mint in a quinoa pilaf and use the beans to make a creamy blackberry sauce. I had been given a bottle of blueberry port as a gift (for loaning out our generator after Hurricane Irene) and I thought it would be perfect in this dish.
& Creamy Blackberry Purée
Chili Chocolate Pan-Seared Tofu
1 block extra firm tofu
1 block vegan bittersweet chocolate
Crushed red pepper flakes
Mint Quinoa Pilaf
1 cup uncooked quinoa
4 scallions, white and green part
1 handful of mint
The juice of 1 lime
Creamy Blackberry Purée
1 pint blackberries
1 teaspoon vegan cane sugar
1 bottle blueberry port
2 big shallots
1 can black eyed peas
1/4 cup coconut milk
Salt and pepper
- Press the tofu.
- Get the quinoa going. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over the quinoa.
- Cover blackberries with water and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- Chop up shallot and place in a saucepan. Pour the port over the shallots and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let the port reduce down into a thick sauce.
- Mix chili powder and crushed red pepper flakes into the chocolate until it has a nice spice to it. Use a lot.
- Cut the tofu into four pieces and score with a pairing knife in a cross hatch pattern. Pour the chocolate into a shallow dish and marinate the tofu, turning it over, until there is ten minutes left.
- Chop the mint. Slice the scallions thinly. Cut the lime in half.
- Open the can of black eyed peas. Rinse and drain.
- Strain the blackberries through a very small mesh strainer and add into the beans. Add the shallot/port mixture and coconut milk. Use an immersion blender to puree completely. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat up grapeseed oil in a pan. Shake off excess chocolate and pan sear until crispy, 3 minutes on each side.
- To plate, make a swish with the sauce. Press the quinoa pilaf into a ramekin and plate. Place the tofu alongside and garnish with a sprig of mint.