Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winning Hearts and Stomachs.

Spicy Cornmeal Crusted Tempeh with Tamarind Sweet Potatoes and Gingered Green Kale
     I've been told the way to win over a woman's heart is through her stomach. So when someone special came over I decided to don my apron and chef's hat and see what I could come up with. I love trying to combine different recipes together to come up with a restaurant style meal (see my A Feast Fit for a Joe). The theme for this meal was ginger, which was found in every dish.  
    Gingered Green Kale
     One of my New Year's resolution is to break my addiction to making broccoli. It's just so easy to through some in the steamer basket and serve alongside the dish. I've been looking for new ways to cook greens that I normally overlook in the produce department. Not to mention that Kale is one of the most nutrionally dense greens out there. Well, it's tied for first, anyway. This recipe comes from The 30-Minute Vegan: Over 175 Quick, Delicious, and Healthy Recipes for Everyday Cooking. One of the best parts about this and their other cook book (Taste of the East), is that they include variations with each recipe, which was good because Whole Foods was out of Collard Greens that the recipe called for. The variations for this recipe call for kale or swiss chard, which turned out well since the kale was on sale. So now I just need to find a recipe for mustard greens and I'll be done with one resolution. The recipe came together really easy (and in much less time than the 30 minutes stated) and had a great taste that didn't overpower the kale. I might double to ginger and leave the spines on for a more crunchy texture.
 Tamarind Sweet Potatoes
     My second resolution is to break my addiction to brown rice. Like broccoli, making brown rice is simple soak and press start on the rice cooker. I was hoping to make this be the starch of meal. It was also the wild card. I've been meaning to do more with sweet potatoes. The results were incredible. The tamarind provides an excellent tangy flavor that is hard to describe; just dip in finger into the paste and you'll understand. My local Indian grocery store, which also carries fresh curry leaves!, had about 5 different types. I used concentrate, yet the recipe calls for paste. Not sure what, if anything, the difference is. The sauce also calls for Medjool dates that I've been snacking on lately. A new love for sure. The recipe from The 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of the East: 150 Asian-Inspired Recipes was spot on. I wouldn't change much but try the variations listed (broccoli, cauliflower or carrots). Oh and I probably wouldn't overcook the sweet potatoes. 
Spicy Cornmeal Crusted Tempeh
     My friend, Kevin over at Veganbrew.com, bought me the Candle cookbook. I've been to both Candle locations and they're both impressive. Living out West, I don't have the opportunity to eat there often so the cookbook is a good way to get my fill. Though my local Whole Foods does carry their 3 of their desserts, but I have yet to try them. Since I was trying to impress, I didn't want to try something new so I turned to this tried and true recipe. Normally, I lower the soy sauce and bake them after breading instead of frying, but I followed the recipe exactly. The frying is great because it doesn't dry out the tempeh. Well, I did alter slightly and dipped the tempeh triangles in some soymilk before breading. I've also used Egg Replacer and that works well.

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