Friday, September 19, 2008

Golden Autumn Lunch

We are experiencing more of an Indian summer than my beloved cool, crisp autumn weather, but the calendar alone is pushing me to turn up the heat in the kitchen. I just have to start baking and cooking more, cool weather or no. I've been thinking about making the Golden Potato and Tempeh Casserole recipe from FatFree Vegan for a week or so now and finally decided today was the day. It calls for cooking the tempeh in a marinade using a microwave and that is why I've put it off. We don't own a microwave so I thought I would just slice up the tempeh and leave in the fridge overnight soaking in the marinade. I keep forgetting to do this step, but today I decided to go ahead and make it. I got out my tempeh and it looked strange. Now tempeh always looks strange...that is the nature of tempeh. I cook with tempeh all the time, but this tempeh looked a little off. I called Rob at work and asked his opinion. I'm sure he appreciates having to make a decision on a food being edible or causing food poisoning to his entire family, while he works, over the phone, but that is what I do...I call him, ask his opinion, then do what I would have done, possibly never even listening to his answer...in this case I threw the tempeh in the compost as I explained to him what it looked like...I guess I just didn't want to take the responsibility for wasting food alone. I decided to move on and use tofu. Why not? I just baked the tofu in the marinade while the oven heated up and while I prepared the rest of the casserole. Parker and Dema helped cut the potatoes and make the sauce. I used garlic bread topping because what dish can't be improved with walnuts and pumpkin seeds? I served it with steamed broccoli and Parker suggested I just put the broccoli in the casserole next time, but Dema preferred to eat his broccoli plain. I think I'll side with Parker on this one. It was super yummy the way it was, but even better with the broccoli mixed in. Mine didn't hold together as well as FatFree Vegan's, but it may have been the difference between tempeh and tofu or we may have been in too big of a hurry to eat lunch so it didn't cook long enough to get really solid. I didn't have fresh tarragon so I just used dried and that was fine. I had a couple bananas which were well past ripe so Parker made them into Bananas in Sweet Coconut Milk from The Joy of Vegan Baking. Parker, after gushing about the wonderful smell while making the dish, said it was "too sweet" (where did this kid come from????!!!) and just ate the bananas out of the dish while Dema and slurped ours down and Parker's (sans bananas) as well. The lunch was perfect comfort food and will become a fall/winter staple to be sure.

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