Tempeh Talk

I’m starting to think that Isa believes in tough love. That’s why the boards are down. It’s to make us fill our commitments to blog. I miss the PPK but probably wouldn’t have done this if the boards had stayed up. Some of you might be in the same boat…and the fact that we’re blogging might actually make more vegans. I can hope, right? (Damn, I miss the PPK!).

With our first snow falling, it really drives home the idea that this is soup weather. You’re warned: I love soup and have a few new recipes to try. But for starters I’ll go to an old favorite. It may sound far-fetched, but believe me when I tell you that Cleveland used to have a vegetarian restaurant in the mid 1980’s called the Noble Bean. It was owned by a woman named Lynne who was also the cook. They made their own tempeh and had a cool incubating room you could see from the restaurant. It’s the first place I had tempeh and loved it from the start. She made wonderful dishes like tempeh fries, tempeh salad, tempeh paprikash and lots of others. They hosted vegetarian dinners for the holidays. I remember for Easter they made these adorable tempeh bunnies that they served with a chick pea gravy. She also made tempeh noodle soup and since then some version of it has always been in rotation at our home. Here is the latest.

Tempeh Noodle Soup
8 oz tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp oil (or less, if you can)

1 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 carrots, cut in 1/2 inch slices
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp sage
2 Tbsp Bryanna’s Chicken stock powder
1/2 cup white wine (to deglaze, you can just use stock if you prefer)
3 or more cloves garlic, crushed (5 cloves roasted is nice, if you have it)

1/2 cup peas
1 cup swiss chard, cut in bite size pieces and loosely packed
8 cups (or so) stock (how soupy do you like your soup?)
1 cup ditalini or pasta choice, cooked
salt and pepper to taste

Mix first 3 spices together in a small bowl. Pop the tempeh in and toss it around til they are coated. Heat the oil in a soup pot. When hot, lightly brown the tempeh. Add onions, celery, carrots and the spices left in the tempeh tossing bowl. When onions are translucent, add garlic and the other spices. Cook for a few minutes, then deglaze the pan with either wine or broth. Add the stock and Bryanna’s Chicken Powder. Let simmer about 1/2 an hour. Add peas and chard. Adjust seasonings. To serve, I put a little cooked pasta in a ball, then top with soup. I hate when my pasta gets all bloated and mushy in soup. You can also add potatoes early on, or sub barley or rice for the pasta.

For the record, I’m one of those who almost always steams my tempeh before using it. Except when it’s going into a soup or a stew. Steaming not only makes it more digestible, it also helps it absorb marinades. If you haven’t tested the difference for yourself, give it at a try.

With the boards down, I’ve been a little (actually a lot) more productive. By 9:30 this morning, I’d already made those sweet somethings up top. If that isn’t a good use of time, I don’t know what is.

Yep, they’re Peanut Butter Cups! Testers for Autumn Vegan and Garrick. We have an omni friend who is peanut butter crazed and he’s coming over tonight. I thought they’d be a great surprise.

Since I had dessert figured out so early, what could I do but think about dinner? I was itching to try the mustard sauce from V’con, so we had that over the chickpea cutlet with asparagus (of course, the book told me to use it with the sauce so I had to do it!) and caramelized leek mashed potatoes. This is comfort food, but more like hip, gourmet comfort food.

The PPK is back up! If you don’t see me blogging for a while, you’ll know I’ve given in to my old vice. You’ll know just where to find me.

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 7, 2007 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    ohhhh pb cups!

    the forums are back – good news!

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