Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chopped Vegan Style: This Is How We Do It!

Pistachio Toasted Coconut and Mint Crushed Tempeh with a Drizzled Blackberry Mint Reduction, Lemon Mint Sugar Snap Peas and Mojito Black Eyes Peas, Topped with Shaved Bittersweet Chocolate
Vegan Chopped Competition
     Just one short year since I started this thing and I'm entering a cooking competition. That's just how I roll. But before I began and no matter how this turns out, I want to thank some people. Of course, my mom for showing me how delicious vegan food could be in the first place. Kevin & Brett of for inspiring to cook with their awesome meal ideas, even if their site is lacking in updates. Beth for being my arch-nemesis (and sending me award-winning cupcakes) in our informal cooking competition and telling me about this awesome competition. The special one for allowing me to cook for her and try out new meals, not to mention cleaning up my mess! Thanks! Most importantly, however, I wanted to thank Isa. It was her cookbooks, specifically Vegan Brunch, that really made me a believer in cooking. And now, she's the reason, I'm entering this competition. Thanks, Isa! 
     Mystery Ingredients: Blackberries, Mint, Black Eyed Peas, Bittersweet Chocolate 
Organic And Fair Trade Ingredients!
    When the ingredients were announced, I must have bite my nails down to the cuticle. I was so nervous thinking about how to combine everything into one entrĂ©e. It happens whenever something "creative" is required. I've had some practice combing different recipes together for what would be an awesome meal, like THIS and THAT. After some brain simmering, I had that aha moment. The results? I was definitely impressed by how everything went together. The blackberry mint reduction went perfectly with the crusted tempeh.
     The biggest question mark was how the black eyed peas would work as a rice replacement to serve the tempeh over. Needless to say, even I was impressed. It's exactly what I expect when I go out to a meal, but sadly only Vedge/Horizons (I'll post my review soon! I promise!) exceed that expectation. Since I adapted some of the recipes, I'll post them below in case you want to give it a whirl. As for getting to the 40 minute mark which this comes right up against, I switched out tofu for tempeh to avoid the pressing and used one of those food choppers to save time on chopping because I take forever with a knife.You'll also have to be quick and have three burners and a stove going at the same time! I also made blackberry mint mojitos to serve with the meal as well, but this took outside the 40 minute time, but it's worth it! Oh, and I had to use jam that I acquired from the farmer's market, instead of the fresh berries that I wanted. To be honest, the plating and picturing taking took me over the 40 minutes, but plating and photographing doesn't count, right?

Pistachio Toasted Coconut & Mint Crusted Tempeh
Adapted from Mark Reinfield's 30 Minute Vegan
Ready To Be Cooked

8 ox box of tempeh ( I recommend Turtle Island's/Tofurkery
1 tbs Shoyu, Soy or Tamari (I used Shoyu)
1 tbs Toasted Seaseme Oil (don't substitute!)
1 tbs Water

Tahini Marinade:
2 tbs Tahini
1 tbs Shoyu, Soy or Tamari
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs water

1/2 cup pistachios
2 tbs toasted shredded coconut
2 teaspoons cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon seal salt (I recommend Realt Salt from Redmond, Utah)
1/4 black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon dried majoram
2 tbs chopped fresh mint

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Now, slice the tempeh in half, then hold the blocks up again and slice those in half so you have four equal sized blocks. Place them on a cookie sheet and combine the marinade of oil, soy sauce and water and brush onto the tempeh cakes. Let stand for 5 minutes, flipping sides. Now, prepare mix the marinade ingredients together and set aside. Place the tempeh into the oven for 6 minutes, per side. It should have a nice carmelized color when it's ready. When it's cooking, prepare the crust. Use the food chopper (or a knife if you have the time) to chop the pistachios. Combine everything else. Now move onto getting the Black Eyed Peas together. When the tempeh is ready (12 minutes), dip both sides into the marinade and then into the pistachio mixture and then cook for 5 minutes each side. 

Mojito Black Eyed Peas
Adapted from Kathy Hester's The Vegan Slow Cooker

1 Can Black Eyed Peas ( I recommend Eden Organic or Fig Foods, both are BPA Free!)
1 small onion, maybe a cup or so
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup rum
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1-2 teaspoon of veggie stock powder
1 1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
Juice on lime (2 tbs of lime juice)
zest of a lime
1/4 cup of mint leaves, plus more for garnish, if you wish.

Chop up the onion and pour everything else into a pot and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes or until everything else is ready. You're just trying to reduce to liquid. Now that this is set, move onto the blackberry mint reduction sauce.

Just What Summer Ordered!
Blackberry Mint Reduction Sauce
The Perfect Couple, Mint And Blackberry!
1/2 cup of blackberry jam (I used Utah's Weeks Berries of Paradise)
1/2 cup of packed mint, the more the merrier
3/4 cup vegan beef broth (I used Edward's & Son's Not-Beef)
1 tbs of balsamic vinegar (optional, I forgot it and then added it afterwards and liked it without)
1 teaspoon of corn or tapioca starch 

mix everything together and simmer for just a few minutes until the mint wilts or until everything else is ready. Now move over to the sugar snap peas.

Meal With Mojito
A Very Minty Meal
Sauted Lemon Mint Sugar Snap Peas
From Bell Organic
1 bag of sugar snap peas from your CSA (or 1lb from the farmer's market)
3 tbs of fresh chopped mint
juice and zest of a lemon
3-4 green onions
olive oil for cooking
salt and pepper
sugar, maybe 1/2 teaspoon

heat up the oil over medium heat, throw the sugar snap peas in and toss to coat. sprinkle with some salt, then some sugar. cook for a minute or two. Turn off the heat then throw in the mint and the lemon juice/zest and toss to coat. 
One Dirty Kitchen
Controlled Chaos, I Say!

Now plate everything up, make it look pretty top it all with a beautiful sprig of mint and a few bodacious blackberries and then shave some bittersweet chocolate over the tempeh and beans. now eat and enjoy! hopefully, you exhibited more controlled chaos than I and ended up with less burns! I have lots to learn before taking stone from master, Isa! 

Just Two Burns
Battle Scars!

1 comment:

crd said...

Your crusted tempeh looks delish!