Coconut Quinoa

I meant for this post to come about 2 weeks ago, but (work) life intervened.
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Guess what guys, I’m a second year now! It’s a decidedly weird feeling, mostly good, but little terrifying. I don’t quite know how to explain what one year of residency training means, because it passes in a flash and so much of it isn’t quite comprehensible until later, when I see something in the department and realize that all of those off-service rotations and moments spent studying have paid off because I’ve got this.

So, as a physical representation of the transition, here is a good chunk of my stack of suture towels from this year.
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Every time I suture someone I have to open a suturing kit. Because medicine is horribly wasteful, these kits are set up as sterile, but as you know if you read the Teddy Bear Operating Theatre on suturing, the procedure is not. So, these kits come with 2 sterile towels that are trash-bound. Instead, because waste is sad, I take them home where they make lovely dish towels and all-purpose rags. I can’t always take them home, sometimes due to random blood, or timing, so this pile isn’t 100% representative, but lets say each towel represents 3 people sutured-it adds up to quite a stack! This fact, and the change in my skills from doing the same thing over and over and over, was driven home when the new interns arrived. They take an hour to throw 4 stitches and are nervous as all hell doing it (i.e. where I was a year ago), whereas now I can go through the entire procedure, including setup, in 5-10 minutes.

However, because this is a 3 year process, I can look back on what I’ve achieved, but my main focus has to be forward, towards what I still need. They are pushing us hard! Now the expectation is that I’ll see a lot more patients and be more responsible for them. This means later and longer hours. I’m at a different training site too this month, where the length of the shifts has increased but the number I’m expected to complete per month has not diminished.

tl:dr I am busy as all hell, and my diet definitely has suffered. So, here’s an old favorite from my household. This takes a few pots and pans to prepare, but it’s not super-complicated, and the result is a one-stop meal that contains protein, grain, and vegetables, and keeps well for days. Depending on how you stock your kitchen, it is also likely doable with what you already have around.

Ingredient list for the base is short and sweet: ingredients Coconut Quinoa')">

Tofu is pressed and cubed,

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then fried golden brown. I like to use coconut oil for the frying to add a little extra coconut-y-ness. If frying tofu sounds like to much of a pain for just one dish, remember that this can be meals for 3 days, plus *wink* keep checking the website – there are lots of awesome other things you can do with fried tofu.

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Meanwhile you are steaming the broccoli, slicing the green onions and carrots, cooking quinoa in coconut milk and assembling the Thai-inspired sauce.

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I know, I know, that seems like a lot of Sriracha, and it is! You can dial it back if you’re concerned, but I can you when it’s dispersed out into the quinoa et al it’s a little spicy, but not super hot (not Thai hot) and you’ll likely be able to hand it, no problem.

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Toss all of the non-sauce components.

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Then in goes the sauce, and the pretty, pretty toppings. Enjoy!

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Coconut Quinoa Tofu
Yields 6
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Coconut Quinoa
  1. 1 package firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed
  2. 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/8" thick rounds
  3. 1/2 lb broccoli, peeled and cut into florets
  4. 1 cup quinoa
  5. 1/2 can coconut milk
  6. 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  7. 4 scallions, sliced thinly
  1. 1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro
  2. 3/4 cup shelled peanuts
  3. 1/3 cup Sriracha
  4. 3 limes, juice and zest
  5. 1/4 cup sesame oil
  6. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  7. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  1. Fry tofu on all sides in neutral oil (or coconut oil) over medium heat until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  2. Mix quinoa, coconut milk, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa uncoils. Turn off the heat, fluff with a fork, then recover and let sit 10 minutes.
  3. Steam broccoli until tender (~4 minutes depending on its age).
  4. From the sauce ingredient list reserve a few peanuts and some cilantro (chop both for toppings) but process all other ingredients until a textured sauce results.
  5. Mix quinoa, broccoli, carrots, tofu and scallions, then add sauce and toss. Serve with a wedge of lime, a sprinkle of chopped peanuts, and a pinch of chopped cilantro.

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