I know, I know - citrus is not local. But nearly everything else in this dish (besides the rice and sesame seeds) is - and it turns out there is something that grows locally that is surprisingly citrusy: lime basil. I'd never heard of it nor tried it, but when I smelled it last week at Badseed, I decided I had to have it. It smells and tastes just like lime. How do they do that?
up close and personal with lime basil
This dish is the perfect home for this basil. It's an old recipe from The Pillsbury Cookbook ("The All-Purpose Companion for Today's Cook") that my aunt gave me when I moved away, a dense paperback tome that has all the basics in it. This recipe is in the poultry section (of a book that has no "vegetarian" section). I used to actually make this dish with chicken, back in the day. Now I use tofu or seitan. Regardless of the protein, the citrus, rosemary and vegetables - plus that magic lime basil - are wonderful together.
Citrus Chicken (or Tofu) With Vegetables
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
1 cup julienne-cut carrots (about three carrots)
1 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (about two zukes)
1/2 lb sugar snap peas
1/4 cup flour
2 - 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 - 2 teaspoons dried oregano
16 oz Central Soyfoods tofu (firm) sliced in half (top to bottom, side to side). Press both pieces of tofu between two cutting boards (to remove excess liquid) for a good 30 minutes then slice in long strips - should make 16 strips
*** or ***
2 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned, cut into bite-size pieces
3 Tablespoons margarine (no) or butter from Shatto (yes)
1/2 cup of orange juice
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 - 2 teaspoons rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon thyme, crushed
chopped parsley and (drum roll) Lime Basil! to garnish
Steam beans and carrots for about 10 minutnes - steam zucchini and sugar snap peas for 5 or 6 minutes (don't over cook). Set aside.
Combine flour, sesame seed, salt, pepper, and oregano in a bowl or a plastic bag. Add chicken or tofu strips to coat. Melt butter in a large skillet. Saute chicken/tofu over medium heat until completely cooked and golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes for chicken (longer for tofu). Remove from pan and set aside.
Remove drippings and excess crumbs from pan. Stir in orange juice, lemon juice and herbs; bring to a boil. Add cooked vegetables, stirring until heated. Add cooked chicken/tofu; toss gently.
Garnish with plenty of lime basil and a bit of parsley.
Serve with rice or couscous.
Citrus Tofu with Vegetables, rice, and bread with Shatto butter