Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Week of Tempeh

Have you read the novel, My Year of Meat by Ruth Ozeki?  Parts are hard to read from a veg point of view, but a great book which gets into the meat industry from a different angle.  She also wrote, All Over Creation which I also recommend.  Well, this week was my week of tempeh.  I bought a case (probably a dozen or maybe sixteen 8oz. packages) of tempeh through the buying club last order and I purposefully did not buy any tofu last weekend when I did our weekly grocery shopping.  I had hoped to soak and cook some beans, but it has been really hot and humid in our house and it seems like mold will grow on anything which is left out in this weather.  Who wants moldy beans?  (Ironic humor, tempeh is basically moldy/fermented soybeans.)  I was also tying to be as conscience as possible about using what we have, efficiency, and cutting down on waste.  At the end of the week, all our fresh produce was used up and we made a dent on our bulk foods.  Just as important, we had a lot of yummy food!

The week started out with homemade vegan pizza.  Rob didn't have time to make his awesome crust so we used locally made frozen crust from Common Ground Co-op.  It comes as a frozen dough ball so we thaw it and Rob tosses it in the air, to the delight of the kids, and shapes it.  We buy two crusts and it makes four pizzas.  I bought some Teese the other day when Loretta and I took the kids to Bloomington (I'll post about that soon) and grated some on the pizzas.  I don't mind using Teese or Daiya once in a while, but I think pizza is better with no "cheese" at all.  Since we have ripe tomatoes now, I've been making my daily sauce.  There is nothing better than making tomato sauce from garden tomatoes.  It is the best way to start a summer day.  I love to slow cook it, adding different things as the mood hits me.  My sauce is never exactly the same, but it is always good.  I also made some tempeh sausage from Vegan Brunch.  I've blogged about it over and over.  This stuff is awesome!  We added capers and carrots (Parker started the carrots as a pizza topping when he was little and the other two kids love it just as much).  Josie adores capers and eats them out of the jar so I almost have to hide them.  The other pizzas were similar, with added local mushrooms here and a little something extra there.  As always, left over vegan pizza is so good for breakfast.

After the leftover pizza was devoured, we had pizza topping pasta.  I had a few odds and ends (sauteed mushrooms, tempeh sausage, sliced carrots) from the pizzas and I added some steamed broccoli and peas, made Esme Sauce, served it over whole wheat pasta and topped it with walnuts (I top almost anything with walnuts because they are so awesomely good for you and they are especially yummy with pasta).  Using leftovers in a delicious way is so satisfying.

My take on Indonesian Tempeh in Coconut Gravy from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.  The kids prefer tempeh when it is served in small pieces instead of large chunks so I took liberties with the recipe.  I used some semi-hot peppers from the garden (we can't remember what peppers we planted there) for the serrano the recipe called for.  I added some red pepper flakes as well (dried chiles from last years garden).  I didn't have peanuts so I used walnuts for garnish.  The tomatoes were from the garden instead of canned and I served it over udon noodles.  The last of the frozen mangoes were on the side.  Josie and Dema turned up their noses at this one.  Then I served it for lunch the next day and Josie begged for me to make it again sometime.  I've found that timing is big for those two.  If we eat too late in the evening, they will complain about any food.  They are over-tired and over-hungry.  Eating earlier is a goal, but Rob doesn't get home from work until after seven some nights.  I've decided, for now, it is more important to feed the kids dinner earlier and then I can wait for Rob and eat with him later.  We'll see how that works out.  Summers have always meant later meals for us.

A rare lunch out just Rob and I, a "quick" bite at Cafe Kopi.  Well, it takes a lot longer to get a sandwich at Kopi than it should, but we did enjoy our Thai Tempeh Panini and coffee (mine was a decaf, soy iced latte with a hint of mint).  I've had the Thai Tempeh before and need to try to recreate it at home.  A little insane that our one meal out, we chose to have more tempeh.

My favorite tempeh dish this week was Tempeh and Eggplant Pot Pies from The Vegan Table.  Oh my, you have to try this one!  I didn't have individual pots to make personal pot pies so I used a larger casserole dish.  I think this style is perfect for my family.  We ate outside on the porch to try to catch some kind of breeze.  
Here is another picture of the pot pies served with garlicky kale and you can just see my glass of sun Raja's Cup tea from my longtime friend, Julia's newish tea business.  She may not approve of me brewing this tea in the sun, but it is marvelous done this way and served with ice.  Heaven!  The leftover pot pie was as good or even better than eating it fresh from the oven.  I will make this again and again.  I have officially fallen for The Vegan Table.  It is laid out well for people who like to eat in season and into sections for entertaining.  The pictures are fab and I literally have drooled over several recipes.  I can't wait to try more!

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