Category Archives: American

BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches


easy bbq tempeh sandwich

A midsummer night's bbq tempeh sandwich

When I say “temp,” you say “eh!”

“Temp” (“Eh!”)

“Temp” (“Eh!”)

I’ve got a confession to make.  I made these sandwiches a while ago, took my pictures and have since forgotten exactly what I put in them.

It was a last-minute meal but one that was surprisingly delicious and very filling.  The end result is something resembling a sloppy Joe in texture, but with a little more crunch and a lot more bbq.

The most vivid memory I have of making these was that I thought I had way more bbq sauce than I actually had.  So, my “sauce” was half bbq and half ketchup/honey/red wine vinegar/salt/pepper/etc.

And as far as the tempeh goes, I like the three-grain.  It’s got the best texture, and it doesn’t have that bitter taste that some tempeh has.  And you can buy it in most grocery stores (well, at least Publix).

how to cook tempeh

I know, it doesn't look appetizing yet... keep scrolling.

I know, for a fact (because it’s in my pictures), that I made some roasted asparagus as a side dish.  Tossed them in a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt and placed in the oven until they were soft but not mushy.

roasted asparagus

Roast 'em.

So here’s what I remember from this meal:

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 package of three-grain tempeh (you can make your own, but it’s complicated, and this ain’t the blog for that)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 cup or so of your favorite bbq sauce (check before you start cooking)
  • 4 buns
  • vegetable broth (optional)

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Slice the tempeh into relatively thin slices and boil in vegetable broth for ten minutes or so.  This helps prevent the tempeh from getting too rubbery and gets rid of any bitterness that may develop after cooking (this step may be entirely unnecessary, but I’ve never not done it, so I wouldn’t know).

Step 2) Use tongs to remove the tempeh and lay it out on paper towels to drain off excess moisture.

Step 3) Cut the tempeh into small cubes and sautee with just the slightest bit of olive oil.  The goal is to get them golden brown on all sides but first…

Step 4) After the tempeh has been cooking for a few minutes, add to the pan (or start in another pan, as I did) some diced onions and bell pepper.  I didn’t want them fully carmelized, just a little softer than raw.

bbq tempeh filling

Stir it up, stir it up good, uh!

Step 5) When the tempeh is sufficiently golden (maybe 7-10 minutes on medium heat), add in the onions and peppers and a small bucket (okay, a cup) of bbq sauce.  Keep adding sauce until you get a sloppy-Joe-ish texture and everything is hot.

Step 6) Add to a toasted bun, and grab some napkins.

bbq tempeh

I paid extra for that sesame seed bun, just for this picture.

 


Chipotle Nachos with Beans


chipotle nachos

Perfect football game food

I really like Chipotle (the restaurant).  I know, I know, the burritos ain’t good for ya.  Over 1,000 calories, lots of sodium, fat and cholesterol, and I never feel good after eating a whole one.  But I feel great while I’m eating it.  Delicious.

As a restaurant chain, they also get brownie points for being conscious of dietary restrictions.  Everything but the meat and pinto beans are vegetarian (no rennet used in the cheese), everything but the taco shells are gluten free and they do a good job of buying local and from sustainable farmers.  They claim to buy a larger percentage of naturally raised meat than any other restaurant chain in the county, and I don’t doubt that.

Don’t listen to those who say it’s far worse than a Big Mac.  As they say, haters gonna hate.

But until a few weeks ago, I never really thought about what an actual chipotle chile is.  Turns out, it’s a jalapeno.

Apparently (and this is from Wikipedia, so if I’m wrong, it’s not my fault), jalapeno farmers pick and sell unripe green peppers early in the season and we buy those at grocery stores and produce stands and pickled in jars.  Then, later in the season, the peppers turn bright red and are picked and sold as fresh peppers in the US and Mexico.  At the end of the season, the peppers that are left usually begin to turn brown and shrivel.

Those are the chipotle peppers.  They are picked and then smoked, and you can buy them dry or canned.

chipotle pepper

Dried and smoked chipotle pepper | Photo from Wikipedia

I’ve cooked with ’em twice.  Once for this recipe and another time, where I famously (to my wife, at least) misread “add one canned chipotle pepper” for “add one can chipotle peppers.”  I added the whole can to a soup.  The whole can.  Tasted like lava.

But it’s an easy mistake to make.  It was a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which smells sort of barbeque-y, not spicy.  So keep that in mind if you try out this recipe.  You need one PEPPER, not one CAN.

Here’s what you need:

  • Tortilla chips
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (your call on the type)
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 7 oz (or half a 14 oz can) diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
  • 1 tomato (diced)
  • Shredded lettuce (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Guacamole (bought or homemade)

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Add diced onion and red peppers to a pan with a little olive oil.  Simmer until the onions become translucent (about 5 minutes).

Preppin' the onions

Step 2) Add in one finely diced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, plus another spoonful or two of the adobo sauce.  Add in the drained/rinsed pinto beans.  Add in the diced tomatoes.  Let it mingle for a few minutes, until everything is blended and hot and the mixture has reduced.

Step 3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 4) Spread chips on a cookie sheet and top first with cheese and then with the onion/pepper/bean/chipotle mixture.

Step 5) Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Step 6) Remove and top with diced tomato and lettuce, sour cream and guacamole.


Summer Pasta Salad


Pasta Salad

Perfect for weekday lunches

I did it, y’all.  The research paper is done, the presentations are done, the reviews are done.  And now I have from now until August to work, read, write, blog and enjoy the pleasant Florida summer.

You’ll have to excuse my lack of posts over the last week.  It was a rough one.

But I’ll try to make up by posting some of the things we’ve been eating.

One of our favorite weekday lunch ideas is pasta salad, which we make in varying forms about every other week.  It’s great because we can make it on a Sunday afternoon and it’s good for several days of lunches – which means having less to do in the mornings which in turn means more time to sleep.

The recipe that follows was the mix that we happened to put together last week, but I encourage you to add in whatever you can find around.  Cool, crisp summery veggies seem to be the best compliment to the pasta, I think.  We like ours heavy on the veggies, so reduce those numbers if you like it more pasta-y.

Oh, and we added in a can of garbanzo beans, which don’t have a ton of flavor by themselves but add some good protein to the lunch.

What you need:

  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 diced cucumber
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 box multi-colored rotini pasta
  • 1 cup Italian dressing (store bought or make yo’ own)

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Prepping the pasta salad veggies

Prepping the pasta salad veggies

Step 2) Dice the carrots, celery, bell pepper and tomatoes.  Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas.

Step 3) When the pasta is cooled, place in a  large serving bowl and add in the diced veggies and cheese.  Pour in the Italian dressing and stir to coat.

Baddabing, baddaboom.  Lunch for a few days.


Tasty Beer Bread


Easy Beer Bread

Easy, butter beer bread - so, so good.

Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it either.

But if someone says you can put beer in bread, or beans in brownies, I can resist trying it out.

So this one is exactly like what it sounds – it’s regular bread, except it has beer in it.  You leave out the yeast, and the yeast in the beer does the trick.  The resulting bread was extremely good.  And way easier than I expected.

The recipe I used made from a bread that had a slightly buttery, crunchy crust and a dense, moist bread.  It’s not the kind of bread you’d make PB&J on, but it’s perfect as a side to an otherwise light meal.  OR, as we did, just make it in the middle of a lazy afternoon and eat half the loaf while you watch a movie.

As far as the beer goes, I have no idea.  I’ve made this once, with Miller Light (because the other beers we had around have citrus flavors, and I wasn’t sure how that would taste), and it was delicious.  I’ve heard/read that Guinness makes a good bread as well.

Oh, and you can make it vegan by subbing vegan margarine (like Earth Balance) for the butter.

(Recipe adapted from food.com)

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 cups flour (sifted – or at least spooned into the mixing cup – do not pack!)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) can beer
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (1/4 cup will do just fine)
Here’s what to do:
Step 1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Step 2) Mix the dry ingredients and the beer in a large mixing bowl, making sure to get rid of all clumps.  Add half of the melted butter to the mixture.
Step 3) Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan, and then pour the remaining butter on top (you could leave this out if you want, but I liked the buttery crust)
Step 4) Bake for 1 hour, uncovered.  Then remove and let cool for 15 minutes (or don’t, but it’s going to be hot – fair warning).
sliced beer bread

5 seconds after I burnt my hand trying to cut the bread right out of the oven

But, if you’re in the mood for a different flavor, my good friend and fellow blogger BNF coincidentally whipped up her own batch of unconventional bread recently – I’ll guarantee you it’s good.

Vegetarian Sausage Balls


Sausage Balls

Spicy sausage balls | Photo by HFLP

Oh, the venerable sausage ball.  The friendliest finger food I’ve ever known.

These little guys are simple, and if I do say so myself, delicious.  I could have come up with a more elegant name for them, but it wouldn’t be true to the nature of the food.

A little bit of sausage, a little cheese, a little spice in a small, warm ball of dough – really, what could be better?

They are perfect for pot lucks, parties and hanging-out-watching-the-game…

These have been made for years with regular sausage, but they adapt well to vegetarian sausage.  For the latest batch, we added some dice jalapenos, and it added the perfect zip to complement the sausage (and vegetarian sausage isn’t real spicy, so it’s a good addition).

They are incredibly easy to make, the only un-fun part (and it’s really the only part) is mixing all the ingredients, which I usually convince someone else to do for me.  You can only do it by hand and there’s something unagreeable about sausage squishing through my fingers, vegetarian or otherwise.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb vegetarian sausage (use the ground Gimme Lean brand, trust me)
  • 3 cups Bisquick
  • 2 cups of your favorite shredded cheese (I usually go cheddar, but other kinds work well)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced jalapenos (optional, but recommended)
  • Less than 1/8 cup milk (really just a literal “splash”)

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Mix the ingredients, by hand, in a large mixing bowl.  When you can’t seem to get all the Bisquick absorbed, just keep going.  If you still can’t, add another splash of milk (a little goes a long way).

Mixing sausage balls

Ali mixing for me | Photo by HFLP

Step 2) Form into mounds roughly the size of ping pong balls on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Baking sausage balls

Cram 'em on the cookie sheet | Photo by HFLP

Step 3) Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes

Sausage balls right out of the oven

Fresh from the oven | Photo by HFLP

Enjoy ’em.  Thanks for reading!


Creamy Corn Souffle


Corn Soufflet

Creamy Corn Souffle | Photo by HFLP

If I had another, more sinister blog called “Unhealthy Food Lazy People,” I’d probably put this recipe there, instead of here.

But, it’s not meant to be eaten as anything other than a side dish, and for that, it’s a great recipe.  It’s a Paula Deen-ish kind of thing.

I made it last week for a Kentucky Derby party hosted by our good friends and the world’s greatest neighbors (no joke).  It was a smashing success, as it usually is.  (One of these years, the horse I bet on will net me the big prize, but that year wasn’t this year, or any of the last 10)

I call it a souffle because, frankly, that’s what it is.  But also, making things sound french is a good way to make them more impressive.  I mean, would you rather have a beignet or a big donut hole?  A cafe au lait or coffee with milk?  A pizza or une pizza?

It’s incredibly easy to make, just make sure to take it out of the oven at the right time.  It’s not cornbread, despite how it looks in the dish.  The top isn’t supposed to brown uniformly, just a little around the edges, if at all.  A toothpick test in the middle usually lets me know.

EDIT: And I just want to point out quickly, Jiffy brand corn muffin mix is not vegetarian.  I know the Martha White brand is, and they carry that everywhere right next to Jiffy, so go with that one.  Thanks, peppertree.

Here’s what you need:

  • 8oz of sour cream
  • Stick of butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup of Martha White corn bread mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of cream corn
  • 9 x 13 dish, or something similar
Corn Souffle Ingredients

Stir it up, stir it up good, ugh! | Photo by HFLP

Here’s what do do:

Step 1) Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Step 2) Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Uncooked corn souffle

Waiting for it's turn in the oven | Photo by HFLP

Step 3) Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Step 4) When the edges begin to brown, remove from oven and serve warm.

Now, just don’t sit and eat it all by yourself.

As always, thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read my little blog.


Asparagus and Parmesan Pastry


Beautiful St Petersburg, Florida

WATER!!! | Photo by HFLP

I’m still relatively new to Gainesville, and I’ve got mixed feelings on the place.  On the one hand, I can walk to school, work, about 30 restaurants and pubs and a park.  Granted, I have to make it through a variety of colorful characters to get to any of those places – affable dumpster-diving can collectors, herds of marauding feral cats and the ever-present tribes of exactly the same similarly-dressed sorority sisters (I’ve ranked them in order of most to least enjoyable).

And the heat is getting rather stifling.

I grew up by the water in a charming little town called St. Petersburg (not really little, or a town).  It’s surrounded on three sides by water and, while it gets hot, it never approaches the depressing oppression of the Gainesville summer.  And when it does get hot in St. Pete, you go to the beach or the pool and relax.

Gainesville is surrounded on all sides by nothing, which is a new sensation for me.  I can drive an hour to the Florida’s west coast and visit Cedar Key (as I will on Friday) or an hour and a half to St. Augustine on the East Coast.  For someone who’s spent all of their life within 5 minutes of a beach/boat launch/kayaking bayou, that’s a tough reality to face.

Kayaking at Weedon Island, St Petersburg Florida

Kayaking through Weedon Island in St. Pete | Photo by HFLP

In Journalism school, these first few paragraphs would be known as a “false lead.”  This post is really about a pastry, but I couldn’t help spilling my guts on the hometown blues that had been getting me down.

So, with a week off in between Fall and Summer semesters (thanks, grad school), we decided to head home and spend some time with family, which ended up being a nice respite from all the joys of school and dry land.

And (here comes the big transition), while we were in town, we tried out this recipe for Asparagus and Parmesan Cream Pastries.

They were great, although, if you follow the instructions, they make for a somewhat strangely portioned appetizer, in my opinion.  Each piece, it seemed, was larger than what I expected (more than one person could eat as an app or side dish, provided that one person wasn’t me).  So, I’ll recommend cutting them into smaller chunks if you’re having multiple people over to eat.

Asparagus and Parmesan Cream Pastry

Asparagus and Parmesan Cream Pastry | Photo by HFLP

Here’s what you need:

  • 8 ounce(s) of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough
  • 1/2 cup(s) of grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 pound(s) of fresh asparagus (16 spears)
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. of shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1 nonstick cooking spray

Here’s what to do (directly from the source):

Step 1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 2) Remove pastry dough from freezer and let thaw for 10 minutes.

Any last words, Asparagus?

Any last words, Asparagus? | Photo by HFLP

Step 3) While dough is thawing, wash and trim asparagus so it is 1 in. shorter than the pastries.

Step 4) In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, grated parmesan, chopped basil leaves, and lemon juice. Set aside.

Step 5) Spread dough onto a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cut into four equal rectangles and spread apart slightly on sheet.

Step 6) Spread cream cheese mixture onto each of the pastry rectangles, not quite to each edge.  Press four asparagus spears onto each rectangle, alternating direction.  Sprinkle pastries with a pinch of sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.

Ready to go in the oven

Ready to go into the oven | Photo by HFLP

Step 7) Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes until pastries are golden brown.

Step 8) Remove from oven, slice each pastry in half (and then half again) and transfer to serving platter.  Garnish with a sprinkle of shaved parmesan cheese and serve (I skipped this step, for lack of shaveable parmesan)

And I’d like to also note that I didn’t have a proper camera with me, so these pictures are all oil-on-canvas.  Kidding, from my iPhone.

One final thought – best of luck and best wishes to my buddy Grant, who set out this past week to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, from Springer Mountain, GA all the way to Maine.  That’s a really, really long walk.


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