Wilted Escarole with Garlic and Lemon

August 24, 2006 at 4:33 pm (Dark leafy greens, F (0 stars, inedible), Italian, Jack Bishop, Quick weeknight recipe, Vegetable dishes)

I was surprised to see escarole at the farmer’s market this summer, but was pleased to be able to diversify my greens selection. I have mostly used escarole for a “beans and greens” dish like at Girasole here in Pittsburgh, but decided to branch out and try something new. This recipe is from the Complete Italian Vegetarian cookbook by Jack Bishop. Read the rest of this entry »

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White bean and beet green soup (B)

August 24, 2006 at 4:05 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, B_minus (2.5 stars), Dark leafy greens, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, soup)

Lately I’ve been too tired to cook much for dinner, and have just been throwing some white beans and veggies in a pot and calling it “soup.” But today my improvised soup came out better than normal.

a spray of canola oil
1 small dark green, mild chile pepper (don’t recall what type it was)
beet greens from one small bunch of beets (maybe 1/3 cup chopped greens?)
1/2 cup white beans + some of the bean cooking liquid
a little water

I let that cook for a bit until the pepper and greens were soft then added:
1/2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1/2 Tbs. parmesan cheese
some soysauce to taste

The beet greens went very well with the pepper and beans. I think it was better than the kale and white bean combo I had last night. The yeast and parmesan gave the soup a full body and flavor.

I tried making something similiar to this again today, but with kale. I forgot about it and let it boil on high for probably a good 10 minutes. The kale got that unappetizing color and flavor that is a common result of boiling it. The soup was edible but not great. When will I learn?

Update Oct 2007: I sauteed 1 mild 6-inch green chile in 1 tsp. olive oil, then threw in about 1.5 cups raw beet greens. I added 1 cup large white beans and 1/2 cup bean juice, plus 2 cups vegetable broth. When everything was cooked I added 1 Tbs. newt and 1/2 ounce parm. The beans were salted so it didn’t need soy sauce. The soup was unfortunately, pretty gross (for lack of a better word). The broth was almost like a thin nutritional yeast gravy–wrong texture for sure, and not even very tasty. Why, oh why, can’t I make beans and greens soup consistently?

Rating: B

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Jerk Tempeh

August 24, 2006 at 8:09 am (Caribbean, F (0 stars, inedible), Other, Tempeh)

Derek loves jerk seasoning, so I was excited when I found a recipe for jerk tempeh in the cookbook Some Like it Hot by Robin Robertson, a vegetarian cookbook for people who love spicy, hot food. But the recipe didn’t work out so well.

It called for boiling the tempeh for ten minutes, then sauteeing with oil for 10 minutes, then adding the spices. But the oil was absorbed into the tempeh after just a few minutes. By the time I finally added the jerk seasoning the pan was totally hot and the tempeh dry, and the seasoning didn’t stick, just fell to the bottom and sort of burnt. But Derek still liked it once I added okra and tomatoes to save it. He said he could taste the jerk seasoning, but I couldn’t. I’m going to have to try it again with a better technique next time. I’d love a better recipe for Jerk Tempeh. Anyone have one?

Rating: D

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Tempeh Stir-Fry with Ginger and Lemon (B-)

August 24, 2006 at 8:04 am (C (2 stars, okay, edible), Cruciferous rich, East and SE Asia, Miso, Tempeh, The Vegan Gourmet, Vegetable dishes)

My friend gave me this tempeh recipe from 15-Minute Vegetarian by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay.

Tempeh Stir-Fry with Ginger and Lemon


2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. light-colored miso
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cups sliced crimini mushrooms (button mushrooms also okay if you can’t find crimini)
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
8 oz. soy tempeh, cubed
1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained

In a medium bowl, whisk the conrstarch into 1 cup water. Add the lemon juice, honey, miso, soy sauce, and ginger, and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir and saute for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms, broccoli, tempeh, and water chestnuts. Stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine and add it to the pan. Increase the heat to high and cook until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Each will have: 285 calories, 9 g fat, 16 g protein, 41 g carbohydrate; 5 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol.

My friend’s notes
I had to double the honey because it was so lemony, and I also substituted snow peas for water chestnuts (just because I wanted to). It came out pretty well, but not stellar.

My notes

I made a similar looking stirfry years ago from the same authors but from the cookbook The Vegan Gourmet that had what seems like 3 times as many ingredients. I never made it again because it was a lot of work but I remember it after all these years because it was probably the best stirfy I’ve ever made (I’m not so good at stir-frying). This one looks similar but more manageable. I wonder if it will be as good?

Okay, I tried it and thought it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t as excellent as I remembered from my version of the recipe, however, so I dug out my cookbook to see what was different in the “gourmet” version, and the biggest differences I noticed was that the 15-minute version used 3 Tbs. brown rice syrup rather than the 2 Tbs. honey (a sweetener) and mirin (which is also sweet). I enjoyed the lemon flavor, but found it a bit overpowering. It needed something to counter balance it. Derek suggested fish paste or anchovies to give it some depth, but I don’t eat either of those… Derek picked out all the tempeh cuz it was his favorite, and I preferred the vegetables, so we made a good team! Anyhow, I’m not sure if I’ll make it again, but I’ll enjoy it for lunch today 🙂

Update Dec 2006: I tried the original version again.  It’s the recipe above except another Tbs. of canola oil, only 4 ounces of tempeh, only 2 cups mushrooms, a 1/2 pound snow peas, 2 Tbs. mirin, and 3 Tbs. brown rice syrup (I used 2 Tbs. honey).  The consistency of the sauce was very good but it was too sweet, and just not that great.  Derek and I had it for lunch but threw out the leftovers.

Rating: B-

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Tempeh Rancheros (B-)

August 24, 2006 at 7:57 am (breakfast, C (2 stars, okay, edible), Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh, The Vegan Gourmet)

This recipe is from 15-Minute Vegetarian by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay.Tempeh Rancheros

1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice
2 Tbsp. diced pickled jalapeno pepper
2 tsp. crushed garlic
2 tsp. pure chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
Several grinds black pepper
12 oz. soy tempeh, cut into 1/2 x 3-inch strips
8 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers and saute, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover, and cook 8 minutes.

Remove the lid and nestle the tempeh pieces into the sauce. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Just before serving time, wrap the tortillas in a tea towel and heat in a microwave oven until steaming hot, about 1 minute (alternatively, you may toast the tortillas one at a time in a hot, dry skillet or over a gas flame, turning frequently).

Serve the tempeh in shallow bowls with a generous helping of sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese and nestle folded tortillas in each bowl.

Yield: 4 servings
Each will have: 401 calories; 16 g fat; 21 g protein; 44 g carbohydrate, 5 g dietary fiber; 3 mg cholesterol.

My notes:

I didn’t follow the recipe perfectly, since I had all green pepper and no red pepper, and fresh tomatoes rather than canned, but other than that I was pretty close.

Although it was a very pretty dish, with red and yellow tomatoes, green peppers, purple onions, and brown tempeh, the flavors didn’t excite me. The tempeh flavor was very strong, and I typically prefer tempeh when the flavor is more muted. This tasted pretty much like raw tempeh with the other flavors added–it didn’t combine to one new flavor. The veggie, cumin, chili combo was okay, but not exciting to me. I think Derek would have liked it though, since it was a relatively strong flavor combo which he tends to like more than me.

On corn tortillas and topped with salsa, more fresh tomato, and a bit of melted cheddar cheese this dish was reasonably tasty, but by itself I don’t think I would make it again. I preferred my bean rancheros that I posted last week to this dish.

This recipe actually reminds me of a dish I made from the Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley for a mediterranean style tempeh with tomatoes and olives, that I also didn’t like that much (nor did Derek for that matter).

My favorite tempeh dishes all require baking it in the oven, but I’d love to find a quick stovetop recipe that I really enjoyed. Any suggestions?

Update: I added some Pace Picante Sauce then took the leftovers to work with some corn tortillas and a tomato and thoroughly enjoyed my tacos. Mostly I tasted the crispy corn and the fresh tomatoes, but the tempeh texture was pleasant. Occasionally I got a whiff of something very familiar, but I couldn’t place it–maybe chiliquiles?

Rating: B-

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