tempeh

This recipe was adapted from the latest issue of Vegetarian Times. I didn’t have most of the veggie ingredients so I made do with what was available at home. It turned out as granola as it can be, of course not in any pejorative way, but simply healthy and delicious. The sauce reminded me of something similar that I made to dress a Thai inspired salad.

springtime garden tempeh with snow and garden peas, Kabocha with quinoa and almond butter sauce

springtime garden tempeh with snow and garden peas, Kabocha with quinoa and almond butter sauce

springtime garden tempeh with snow and garden peas, Kabocha with quinoa and almond butter sauce

1 block of garden tempeh, cut into bite size cubes
2 wedges Kabocha pumpkin, skin on; steamed and then cut into bite size cubes
1 cup snow peas
1 cup fresh garden peas
1 cube vegetarian bouillon
1½ cups dried quinoa
1 tsp black sesame seeds
2 scallions cut into thin rounds

for the sauce:

1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp red miso paste
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp cider vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 tbsp canola oil

Rinse and soak quinoa for 20 minutes. Drain, add to a sauce pan with vegetarian bouillon, 2 cups of water, bring to a boil reduce the heat to medium/low and cook until water has absorbed and grains are soft, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Keep covered for few minutes.

Prepare the sauce by combining together ginger, miso, almond butter, cider vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic and a third to a half cup of water. You want the sauce to be relatively thick but with a runny consistency. Set aside.

Add canola oil to a skillet. Bring temperature to high. Toss in tempeh cubes, sprinkle with salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turning cubes occasionally to brown them evenly. Add one tablespoon of water, cover the pan and let tempeh absorb the water. Transfer tempeh cubes to a plate and keep them warm. Add remaining oil to the skillet, followed by snow peas, garden peas and cook for a couple of minutes until they turn bright green. Add kabocha pumpkin and tempeh cubes.

To serve, fluff quinoa with a fork, mix in scallions and transfer to a large serving platter. Pile sautéed tempeh and veggies combo next to the quinoa. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve sauce on the side.

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I’m really excited about this dish because the pasta I’m using is made of corn! Can you believe it?!?

corn penne with tempeh in black pepper sauce

corn penne with tempeh in black pepper sauce

While I’m a huge fan of corn, I was just skeptical about it as pasta. Is it even possible to make good pasta with grains other than wheat? Okay, that’s a little dramatic as I’ve had wonderful Chinese noodles made of either rice flour or various kinds of bean. But we’re talking Italian here. Would corn produce something with similar texture and flavors to the “regular” semolina pasta that we’re all used to? I just couldn’t fathom the idea.

I had always thought using corn to make plastic was the final frontier for this New World grain, but after this marvelous corn penne, all I can say is that the Italians have taken this humble grain to a new dimension. So next time you spot corn pasta at your supermarket, don’t be afraid. Just go for it. You’ll be doing yourselves a huge favor.

To add a bit more excitement and protein to the dish, I used tempeh to it make it my favorite East meets West sort of dish.

key ingredients for corn penne with tempeh in black pepper sauce

key ingredients for corn penne with tempeh in black pepper sauce

Oh, yes, and for a health note: if you happen to have a friend who’s allergic to gluten (i.e. someone with celiac disease) this would be an excellent way to treat them right for a memorable dinner.

corn penne with tempeh in black pepper sauce

9 oz corn penne rigate cooked al dente per package instructions
1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp good quality arbequina extra virgin olive oil
½ cup finely grated Grana Padano cheese (or more!)
8oz piece garden veggie tempeh, cubed
1 tbsp canola oil
Kosher salt

Place canola oil in a non-stick skillet, add tempeh, bring temperature to high and cook tempeh on various sides until golden yellow. Remove from pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Wipe remaining canola oil off the pan. Next add 3 tbsp olive oil, pepper and cook in low temperature for about a minute or so. Let oil get infused with the black pepper deliciousness. Add garlic, salt and cook for another minute or so without burning it. Toss in pasta and give it a good stir to coat. Transfer to a warm serving bowl, sprinkle ½ of the cheese over and delicately mix it in. Fold in tempeh. Garnish with the rest of the cheese and serve with a good red Tuscan or perhaps a Côtes du Rhône.

Have some extra cheese and olive oil on the table in case you or your guests want to splurge like I always do.

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Mediterranean inspired tempeh sandwich

I made this sandwich last week because I wanted to use tempeh in a different way than deep-fried with Seventies brown sauce or with Southeast Asian flavors. Not sure whether it was going to taste good, this was what turned out to be a successful experiment. I love tempeh, so I’m thrilled with the results. This is a breeze to make; it’s very tasty and nutritious, too. Just give it a try!

some key ingredients for Mediterranean inspired tempeh sandwich

Mediterranean inspired tempeh sandwich

1 square block of tempeh, sliced horizontally to form large thin “patties”
2 tbsp canola oil
Salt
1 square roasted garlic/parmesan flavored Ciabatta, sliced horizontally to form a sandwich shape, inner part toasted in the oven
½ ripe Hass avocado
1 zucchini, sliced thin
½ eggplant, sliced thin
Slices of ripe heirloom tomato
1 red bell pepper
Handful of mache greens
3 tbsp sundried tomato pesto
3 tbsp goat cheese (Chavrie)
Juice from a couple of Mexican limes
Black pepper
Jalapeño slices en escabeche (optional)

Turn oven to 435F and roast red bell pepper until blackened and about to collapse. Remove from oven, transfer to a paper bag and let it cool down for about 15 minutes. The paper bag sweat will help you remove the skin form the pepper. Peel skin away then discard ribs and seeds. Lay on a paper towel to drain.

some refreshing vinhos verdes

Toss zucchini and eggplant with a bit of salt, pepper and olive oil. Grease a large pan with olive oil. Lay thin slices of eggplant and zucchini on. Bake/Grill for about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from oven and let cool down.

Using a skillet pan-fry tempeh for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
Toast Ciabatta.

To assemble the sandwich:

Spread goat cheese on one side of bread and sundried tomato pesto on the other side. Pile a slice of tempeh, avocado, eggplant, tomato, zucchini, roasted red pepper, mache, jalapeño on bread. Sprinkle with black pepper and a squirt of Mexican lime juice. Top with the other half of the bread. Using a bread knife cut sandwich in a triangular shape. Serve.

We had this sandwich with two refreshing Portuguese Vinhos Verdes. The first was 2008 Quinta da Aveleda and the second one was 2006 Trajarinho. Both were a bit effervescent and dry with aromas of peach, apricot and minerals.

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Don’t use your Halloween squash for decorations only: eat them!

don't be afraid of your butternut squash

don't be afraid of your butternut squash

Last week our Trader Joe’s store was selling butternut squash straight from Stockton, California for only $1.49 each. So cheap, yahoo! I bought 2 of them. Steven immediately asked, “why so many?” with obvious anxiety. He’s funny about squash. “To eat, of course.” I was thinking of getting even more but decided to settle for just two after that little exchange. I have always adored squash of all types. It’s a good thing too, as I grew up eating them all the time. Among the many kinds, butternut and kabocha are my favorite.

This recipe is an adaptation of my mother’s Quibebe, a pumpkin stew, except that here I have added raw cashew nut for a bit of crunch, tempeh for extra protein and jalapeño peppers for extra kick. It turned out very tasty.

Our friend John came over for dinner to catch up and hear about our recent trip to the DC area on that day. He approved of this dish. I even got an email from him later on with this cute message:

Hello,
The dinner was the best I’ve had in ages! Everything was tre fab!
Love,
Juanita Granola

creepy and festive Halloween pumpkin stew

creepy and festive Halloween pumpkin stew

Thanks for your encouragement, Juanita! Here’s one of the recipes from our “granola” dinner party:

Butternut Squash, Cashew Nut and Tempeh Stew AKA Quibebe

1 medium butternut squash peeled, seeds and guts removed, cut into small cubes
2 chopped jalapeño peppers (green and red) seeds and ribs removed, or not for extra heat
4 minced cloves of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb (8oz) multigrain tempeh cut in ¾ inch cubes
½ tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup raw cashew nuts
Approx ¾ cup of water

How to:

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep pan. Add jalapeño pepper and garlic and sauté for about 1 minute or so. Add squash cubes, salt, pepper, sugar. Give it a good stir. Add 1/2 cup water then cover pan. Cook on high temperature for about 4 minutes. Add tempeh and cashew nuts. Continue cooking till squash cubes have been dissolved. Adjust seasoning. Remove from heat. Let it cool down approx. 5-10 minutes. Serve over rice: brown for that extra-granola factor, or black Thai rice, like we did, for the holiday color.

Happy Halloween!

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I was inspired to make Champagne Chicken after reading “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” because it sounds so celebratory and scrumptious and low-fat of course! This very Frenchy book has even more yummy recipes and ideas on living French. Some of the weirdcombos crew…. how shall I say this ….had issues with the whole “chicken” concept. So even though my husband thought that this recipe was the most delicious thing that has ever come from my kitchen, here I present pescetarian variations on this French classic, using tempeh and ling cod as alternatives to the near flightless bird. The basic recipe is not that much changed for the tempeh. We did the fish on the stovetop instead of baking.

champagne tempeh served on salad

champagne tempeh served on salad

The recipe instructions say to drink champagne with the meal. Drinking champagne along with eating food flavored with champagne sounds over the top decadent to me, therefore always a good idea. This is fairly simple to make. The champagne reduction is amazing for baguette dipping. We served it with salad, roasted new potatoes and carrots with garlic and rosemary and more champagne, of course.

Ingredients:

2-4 pieces white fish (about half lb. per person) or tempeh (or for you land-lubbers chicken breasts), try for organic sustainably farmed etc…
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Fresh tarragon or thyme and rosemary
1 to 2 shallots, quartered
1 cup of Champagne

preparing champagne fish

preparing champagne fish


Put the protein in a roasting pan and season them with salt and pepper. Cut a slit through the pieces to stuff the shallots and herbs inside. Pour ½ cup of the champagne over the stuffed protein.
Broil for 3 minutes and then turn over and broil the other side for four to five more.
Baste protein with the juices from the pan and add the other half cup of champagne.
Return to oven and bake at 475 degrees for about 30 minutes or until done. Baste a few times during cooking.
Drink the rest of the champagne with the meal.

We sautéed the fish on the stove and then cooked covered for about ten minutes until done.

roasted champagne tempeh

roasted champagne tempeh


The recipe worked great. I added a little bit of chili pepper the first time that I made this because I like it spicy! I drank champagne as recommended. It was wonderful along with a little ambient French jazz by Jane Birkin! Ooo-La-La! Merci!

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