Orange pan-glazed tempeh

August 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm (101 cookbooks, F (0 stars, dislike), Tempeh)

I was looking for a tempeh dish that would go well with spring rolls, and decided to try the recipe for orange pan-glazed tempeh that’s on the 101 cookbooks blog.  The pictures look pretty, and Heidi says “This might be the best tempeh recipe I’ve highlighted to date.”  Based on that strong recommendation, I decided I had to try it.

The recipe was disappointing.  The instructions work, and everything cooks just as specified, but my friend Alex and I both thought that the tempeh was simply boring.  I could definitely taste the orange juice, but that was pretty much the only flavor that stood out.  The ginger didn’t come through, I couldn’t taste the coriander seeds, nor could I detect any lime.  It pretty much just tasted like fried tempeh cooked in orange juice.  Plus,  the recipe is pretty high calorie.  I followed the instructions exactly, except I didn’t have mirin so used rice vinegar instead.  I can’t imagine that 1.5 Tablespoons of mirin could have really made that much of a difference.  If anything, I thought the recipe was too sweet and needed more vinegar/acid, not less.  I don’t think I’d make this recipe again, but if I was going to, I’d probably at least double the amounts of all the seasonings, and maybe cut down the maple syrup and add more soy sauce.

Rating: C

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Simple sweet spiced chard

August 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm (Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, My brain, unrated)

I made some chard tonight that was fantastic.  Derek said that if he was served it in a fancy restaurant, he would be impressed.  It’s a pretty simple dish, but it was just really tasty and interesting tasting.  I think it was the garam masala that really put it over the edge.  I’m not sure where this particular garam masala came from–I might have made it myself?  When you first smell it, it smells quite sweet–like cloves or allspice.  A cheap commercial garam masala usually skimps on the more expensive spices, so if yours doesn’t smell of cloves or allspice you might need to add a little extra. It’s funny, I’ve tried Italian chard recipes that call for raisins, and I never liked the addition of the sweet raisins to the chard.  But the sweet spices and the chard went perfectly together, especially with the salty, briny soy sauce flavor to balance things out.  Last week I made a much oilier chard recipe (probably the same amount of chard and 2 Tablespoons of oil, and 2 Tbs. of garlic), but this one–despite being low fat–was much tastier.

I didn’t measure everything, so the measurements below are only approximate.  I do know that I had exactly 4 very densely packed cups of raw chard, because I had it leftover from another dinner and I just managed to barely shove it all into one quart-sized tupperware.

  • 1 tsp. olive oil (this I measured)
  • 2/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1.33 cups chopped chard stems
  • 1 very large clove of garlic (maybe two teaspoons minced?)
  • 1/2? tsp. garam masala (see note above)
  • 2.67 cups chard leaves
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of water

Heat the oil in a 12-inch non-stick or cast iron skillet.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and saute over medium-high heat until starting to brown.  Add the chard stems, and saute until starting to brown.  Add the garlic and garam masala, and cook for about one minute.  Add the chard leaves and stir.  Mix the soy sauce into the water and pour evenly over the chard.  Cover immediately to trap the steam.  Cook for about five minutes, until the chard is softened but still bright green.  Do not overcook.  Serve immediately.

I think this made about 3 cups of cooked chard.  I know it seems strange that 4 cups of raw chard would turn into 3 cups of cooked chard, but the raw chard was really packed tightly, and when I measure cooked greens I don’t pack them that tightly.  Derek and I easily finished the whole dish between the two of us, but it’s probably more like four normal-person servings.

Update Sept 12, 2009:  I made this again last week and it didn’t turn out quite as well, I’m not sure why.  I don’t think there was enough garam masala, for one.  I tried again tonight and this time used 1 tsp. of garam masala, which was better, but still not as good as the first time.  I didn’t measure my chard stems, but I used a total of 2 pounds, 9 ounces damp chard leaves.  I think perhaps it was a bit too much chard for the amount of seasoning.  It wasn’t quite salty enough.

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