Sunday, July 05, 2009

Tempeh nouveau

Above: my new way to treat tempeh. I'm always hankering for different means of preparing tempeh. Usually, we do something like this: crumble the tempeh into a large Pyrex with a ton of olive oil, some tamari, a bit of sesame oil and Sriracha, and as many coarsely-chopped potatoes, carrots, onions, and green beans as will fit in the pan. Bake for thirty minutes, combine with rice. It's seriously tasty, especially considering how little prep work the dish requires. I've tried other ways of preparing tempeh, but it's hard to infuse the stuff with flavor while keeping it in cutlet form.

Tonight I made another attempt (photo above!). This is panko-crusted tempeh over a garlic-almond sweet potato crepe, with fresh spinach and a red wine reduction.

The reduction sauce was great, and so was the sweet potato-spinach combination. The tempeh was good -- not great, but good. Dryness and medium-low flavor are perennial problems with tempeh dishes, and they reared their ugly heads here, too! Next time, I'll make ample sauce to serve over the tempeh, or perhaps a variation of the French Meadow's blood orange reduction, and when I dredge* the tempeh in preparation for baking, I'll saturize my flour mixture with lots more spices (this time, it was just a pinch each of thyme, paprika, garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne -- a good mixture, but I could have doubled the quantity!).

* A recipe note: before dredging the sliced tempeh, boil it for 10-15 minutes. Let it cool, then coat it like this... set up three bowls: the first contains soy milk, the second contains about 1/3 c. flour with your choice of spices, and the third is a bowl of panko crumbs. Take a piece of tempeh and dunk it in the soy milk. Then dredge it in the flour mixture. Then dunk it in the soy milk again (quickly). Finally, dredge it in the panko crumbs. Place in a lightly oiled pan. Repeat. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, turning the tempeh halfway through.


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