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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Vegan Italian

Time for some Italiano!

Let's talk tempeh!



Tempeh, is a traditional soy product that is originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty. Tofurky brand is the one I get. It's vegan. It's a great alternative for us vegheads. It's a superfood, really. Reduces cholesterol. Increases bone density. Reduces menopausal symptoms. Provides faster muscle recovery. Satisfies hunger, and has the same protein quality as meat. Plus, the fermentation process adds even more health benefits.

It has a texture to it...so it's not like tofu at all. It's compact, has some weight and consistency. It can be substituted for chicken...patties or fingers or nuggets. It can be grilled, fried, sauteed, baked. Like tofu it takes on the flavor of what you give it. You can soak it in soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce.  It can also be used in the place of bacon...it's all in the thickness you cut it.

Tonight's dish was Italian and I wanted some sauce. I had tomatoes, so I made my own. It's very easy.  First, set up your tomato station. Boiling water. Cold water bath. Towels to put the tomatoes on. This is for getting the peels off the tomatoes and it couldn't be easier.



Cut the bottom of the tomatoes in a cross pattern.


Put them in the boiling water for about ten seconds or so. You'll see the peel start to come off...



Then place them in the ice water bath for a second or so....


Then put them on a towel to soak up the water...


And finally, peel them.


Usually, you strain the juice and seeds and blablabla...I don't bother with that. I use the entire tomato.  I heated up some olive oil and cooked a little chopped garlic and added the entire bunch of tomatoes. I used my handy dandy hand potato masher and added some basil and oregano and salt and pepper. The longer you cook it, the softer the tomatoes become. About twenty minutes or so, with a lid, and I smashed the tomatoes off and on.



I love it. It's hearty and chunky and has a great taste.

Then I took a moment to photo my mug.


Also, a moment to video Ruby...who is under my feet every time I cook in the kitchen.


Now, onto the tempeh.

Tonight I soaked my tempeh in Worcestershire for about twenty minutes after I sliced it.  I then dredged it in a mixture of panko, flour and corn starch with seasonings and fried it in vegetable oil.



I made some wheat pasta and voila!



Even my meatavore ate it!

Ruby....he didn't care so much.



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