Tempeh Bacon

September 23, 2007 at 3:30 pm (F (0 stars, inedible), Isa C. Moskowitz, Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh)

Having never eaten bacon, I don’t have to worry about this recipe living up to any preconceived notions. The recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance.

  • 3 Tbs. Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 8-ounce package tempeh
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil or vegetable oil
  1. To make the marinade combine the soy sauce, cider, tomato paste and liquid smoke in a wide, shallow bowl or pan and mix with a fork until the tomato paste is fully dissolved.
  2. Cut the tempeh into thin strips (less than 1/4 inch thick) lengthwise. You should be able to get about 12 strips. Rub the strips with the crushed garlic, then toss the garlic cloves into the marinade. Submerge the tempeh strips in the marinade and let sit, for at least an hour and up to overnight. After marinating, discard the garlic.
  3. Heat the oil in an 11 or 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh strips and cook for 4 minutes on one side; the bottom should be nicely browned. Flip the strips over and pour the remainder of the marinade over them. If there isn’t much marinade left add a splash of water. Cover and let cook for 3 more minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Uncover and check for doneness; if necessary keep cooking uncovered until all sides are nicely browned. Remove from heat and serve.

My Notes:

In writing this up I just realized I misread the cider as cider vinegar. No wonder it seemed like it needed some sweetener. I only used 2 Tbs. of full sodium soy sauce, and 1 Tbs. of olive oil. I cooked the tempeh in my 9-inch cast iron skillet, which was a bit crowded. The final tempeh had a very delicate yet toothsome texture which I enjoyed, and almost no “tempeh” flavor that I don’t care for so much. I can’t imagine this is what bacon tastes like however. On a pita bread with sliced tomato and lettuce I found the tempeh too bland. Maybe with the cider and the extra soy sauce and oil it would have been better? I’ll have to try it again, but I think I’ll wait til Derek comes in case I don’t like it that much. Tempeh here in Montreal is $4 for 8 ounces! That’s alot to waste on a dish you don’t care for all that much. (Anyone know where to get tempeh for less in Montreal?)

A day later the tempeh had more “tempeh flavor.”

Update January 5, 2008: I made this recipe again, properly this time, for Derek.  The only issue was that I had white wave tempeh which comes in very square blocks so you can’t really cut it into long strips, and I had trouble even getting  8 slices, nevermind 12.  I fried it in the full amount of oil and it came out extremely greasy.  I took one bite and that was enough: the flavor was too in-your-face, and the amount of oil was overpowering.  I served it to Derek anyway, and he liked it quite a bit, eating it plain for breakfast with a half a grapefruit and some leftover celery root salad.

Rating: D

Derek: B

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Braised Fennel

September 23, 2007 at 12:05 pm (B_minus (2.5 stars), Italian, Jack Bishop, Quick weeknight recipe, Vegetable dishes)

This recipe is from Jack Bishop’s Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook. He says “While sauteing fennel emphasizes its sweetness, braising it in butter and white wine highlights the dense, almost unctuous texture of this versatile vegetable. A dusting of Parmesan complements the rich flavors in this dish.”

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs (about 2 pounds)
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Trim and discard the stems and fronds from the fennel bulbs. Trim a very thin slice from the base of each bulb and remove and tough or blemished outer layers. Slice the bulbs through the base into 1/2-inch-thick pieces that resemble fans. Do not remove the core.

2. Melt the butter in a saute pan large enough to hold the fennel in a single layer. Add the fennel and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add the wine, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Turn the fennel and continue to simmer, covered, until it is quite tender and has absorbed most of the liquid in the pan, about 10 minutes. (I like to carmelize it a little bit at this point, but make sure to watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn).

3. Sprinkle the fennel with the cheese and serve immediately.

My Notes:

I had one very large fennel bulb, which weighed almost 1.5 pounds. I used 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1/2 Tbs. butter, along with the white wine. I made my fennel in a tall narrow 2 qt pot, so it didn’t get carmelized at all. After flipping and cooking for another 10 minute I thought it still wasn’t soft enough, so I cooked it for another 10 minutes. I added 1/2 ounce parmesan, and sprinkled with a little truffle salt. The dish made about 3 cups, and would make 3-4 side servings.

This dish doesn’t have a strong fennel flavor, but it is definitely “unctous” as Bishop says. Yes, it is rich, but it tastes way richer than it actually is. I liked the truffle flavor, but I think it would be tasty even without the truffle salt. I’m not sure how it would taste without the cheese. I’ll try it next time. I also want to try it with only 1 Tbs. of olive oil, as it is still quite rich.

The appearance of this dish isn’t great. It’s not very colorful, and the pieces are odd shaped and get kind of long and limp as they cook. So it ends up looking like a pale green pile of limp stringy stuff, with a creamy sauce. Anyone have any ideas on how to improve the presentation? Or alternative ideas for seasoning the fennel?

I made a marinade for tempeh bacon with apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and liquid smoke, and I accidentally splashed a bit on a little of the fennel. The combo was delicious! Something to try next time.

Serving Size: 1/3 recipe

Amount Per Serving
Calories 157
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 2.6g
Cholesterol 8mg
Sodium 378mg
Carbohydrate 15.6g
Dietary Fiber 6.5g
Sugars 0g
Protein 4.3g
Vitamin A 7% Vitamin C 42%
Calcium 16% Iron 9%

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