Tempeh Mole

I got a new cookbook! It is from Candle 79, a vegan restaurant in Manhattan that I have read about a ton online. Since I have no idea when I'll get to New York next, and I do kind of long for fancy pantsy food (too much Food Network, I guess), I figured I'd make it myself!

I'm finding a trend with the restaurant cookbooks. They tend to have really complicated (or at least time consuming) recipes that generally involve more than one recipe per dish, but it's all so worth it (I've talked about this a lot). This dish was no exception. The recipe was for the Tempeh Mole. The photo showed pretty much what I have here, only they put microgreens on top, which includes a sweet potato mash and braised green beans. I'm so glad that I made the whole shebang because the flavors balanced really well!

The mole sauce was really very good. The last mole that I made was such an ordeal, that I've not gone near it since. This one was comparatively super easy. The whole combo of dishes was hours of cooking, but the sauce wasn't too involved by itself. The tempeh gets marinated for 4+ hours, then there's the mole to make, the sweet potatoes to bake (they're baked, than mashed), and the beans to braise.

Also, how I've gone 21 years as a vegetarian and never braised green beans is beyond me. That method really packs them with super flavor. The potatoes were incredibly sweet, but all three dishes went together beautifully. The crunch of the beans was a refreshing addition to the heavy mole and tempeh and the sweet taters.

All in all, it was quite a big production, but totally worth it. I'm excited to try more recipes from this book (probably not for at least a week though!)

Tamarind BBQ Tempeh & Sweet Potatoes with Polenta Stuffing

These two recipes are from Appetite for Reduction, and though I've only tried three or four from this book, these are the best so far. I picked this dish solely b/c I wanted to use my Tamarind Concentrate that I bought at Indian Sweets and Spice. The tempeh/ sweet taters get marinaded and baked in a high heat oven similarly to RFD's tempeh treatment for the Sweet and Sour Tempeh, which is amazing. Tempeh is so nutty anyway, that marinading it and roasting or baking it like this really makes it hearty and flavorful. I could make these types of tempeh and pretty much throw it in a bowl and eat it like popcorn. But, the other flavors help too. The marinade was smoky, sweet and tart all at once. The sweet potatoes balanced the nutty, hearty tempeh, and the polenta (a separate recipe) was a lighter, delicious compliment to the BBQ dish.

Also, the "Appetite..." book lists calories and nutritional info, so it's nice to see that the BBQ dish has 530% of the daily required Vitamin A, 17 g of protein, and only 380 cals per serving. Coupled with the polenta, it was still around 600 cals or so each for dinner, which is great when a dish is this delicious and filling. Davey put in a request that we make this once a week- which I'll add to the list of 20 or so other recipes that he'd like to have weekly! (It's great to cook for such a fellow foodie!)

BBQ Tempeh Sandwich

This BBQ Tempeh Sandwich is from "The 30 Minute Vegan" (I was trying to counteract the longer RFD recipes). It took about an hour though, so... the title is a mite bunk.

Anyway, the home barbeque sauce was good, I doubled the liquid smoke called for because- 1/4 t, c'mon! That's loony. I also added 1T of Liquid Smoke to the marinade, which gave everything a better, more intense bbq flavoring. The buns were from Trader Joes and suited the sammy perfectly.

The recipe was great, the barbeque was very tangy (lots of extra sauce, too),a nd the recommended lettuce, tomato and red onion are necessary- don't skip them.

RFD Tempeh meat loaf (and golden gravy)

Ah, comfort food. It's just so... well, comforting. Last week, before the current summer renaissance that's going on in L.A., temps had dipped to about 70 or so (I'm adapting to west coast weather- that signalled fall) and I decided to make some cozy food. This is from the amazing, fantastic, wonderful Real Food Daily cookbook- the loaf is p 177, the Golden Gravy is p 68.

This recipe is amazing. Like all RFD recipes, it took a good 2 hours to make, but it's so worth it. I highly recommend making the gravy with it as well, that recipe makes enough that you'd have some left for the salsbury seitan too. Potatoes are also a must as it's a good balance to the other flavors.

This is hearty, and has a rather complex- but really good flavor. It turns out that we also went to the RFD West Hollywood restaurant a week after I made this and Davey ordered their version. He preferred mine ;) Also, on the gravy, I used about 1/2 to 2/3 the amount of nutritional yeast, because I feel that that flavor is just too overpowering in most recipes. In the restaurant, where they use the recommended amount (I assume), you can really taste it far more than in mine. So, adjust to your preference, but to me- that ingredient is like cilantro- too much of a good thing wrecks the whole dish.

Bayless' guac

The non-veganized recipe is here

This unique guac is from chef Rick Bayless of Chicago's Frontera Grill, which, having lived in Chicago, I know to be amazing. My husband saw him on GMA and sent me the link, so I veganized it with tempeh bacon and made it the other night.

Holy. Phenomenal. Guac is pretty much always good anyway, but the Chipotle chilis and tempeh bacon really add another dimension to it. Mr. Bayless also advises to rinse off onions, which I think is a great technique that keeps the onion from overpowering the dish (maybe everyone knows about this, but it's the first time that I've seen it in a recipe).

The tempeh needs to be marinaded for at least 4 hours before frying it up in a pan for this dish. That sounds like a hassle, but on a afternoon that you'll be home anyway, it's totally easy peasy. I printed the tempeh marinade recipe before, but to save you from digging, here it is...

I use an 8 x 8 baking pan and whisk ingredients

4 T Tamari
1/2 c water
1 T Agave Nectar
a pinch- 1/8 t garlic powder
1 T Liquid Smoke

Mix all 5 ingredients in pan. Slice tempeh about 1/8" thick lengthwise, coat each slice in marinade, and leave for 2 hours. After 2 hours, turn to coat other side of slices.

Sweet and Sour Tempeh

This is from the RFD book. The tempeh treatment is amazing. I halved the marinade time after the yin yang tofu incident last week- that worked amazing! then it's broiled- I could've just ate the broiled tempeh plain for dinner, it was that good.

I was excited to make this because of the variety of veg in it; bell peps, cabbage, carrots, corn, onion, etc. All of which are great together and the directions on cooking create a well blended mix of flavors that's not too mushy.

The bulk of the cooking time was spent marinading and chopping, so it wasn't too horribly labor intensive. I halved it and still had enough for at least 4 meals- none of which are for the faint of heart. There's crushed red pepper sauteed into it- and holy-burn-your-soul- it is HOT! Almost to my limit of edible-ility. We'll see if I can handle it tomorrow.

So, in the future, I'd half (or quarter) the crushed red pepper and proceed with the halved recipe. It's really very delicious.