Warm rice salad meant for Spring, but I’m done waiting for Spring

Last night, just as Jonathan was finishing up the last grain of rice I said, “We ate it. We ate the picture.” I apologize about that. I knew there was something I was supposed to do, and it wouldn’t come back to me until it was too late. It was good. It was warm weather food really, but sometimes you just have encourage Spring with everything you’ve got. If they look good, I’ll buy strawberries and put them on the table even though they taste more like a squeeky clean venetian blind. Eye candy.
In the fridge I had tofu, leftover rice and as always, loads of greens. I nearly served cereal instead, but sometimes I can encourage myself just by putting a pan on the stove and pouring in a little olive oil and throwing in a few whole cloves of garlic. I did that, then added a peeled chunk of fresh ginger, some green onions, and a few red pepper flakes. I cubed up the tofu into 1/4 inch pieces, and spread them out so that each one had space in the pan. I sprinkled them with kosher salt and then let them sit. No turning or flipping. When they were a beautiful brown on the bottom, I shoved them to the side of the frying pan, and added some raw pumpkin seeds to toast. As soon as they were making themselves known by popping and smelling good, I added a half teaspoon of cumin, and a half teaspoon of fennel seed that I had squished in the mortar and pestel. Then a few handfuls of baby arugula for about 10 seconds, drizzled with a little more olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and some fresh lime juice. I removed all that from the pan, added a few cups of the leftover rice to heat through, then tossed it all together. The important thing in this one is to get the right balance of salt and lime juice.
Look at the strawberries, but serve pineapple instead. With bits of dark chocolate cut into small slabs. And if you have it, coconut ice cream. Or whipped cream, whipped ever so lightly and then folded around some toasted coconut. I like it.

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