Category Archives: Recipes

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.

 

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Quick and Easy Guacamole


Quick and easy guacamole

If it takes more than 5 minutes, you did it wrong.

Avocados are the best.  According to an Applebee’s commercial I  heard a few hours ago, avocados are a “superfood.”

Guacamole is a quick and easy topping for a lot of Mexican dishes, and it’s also darn good as a simple dip.

I wanted to drop this little recipe nugget in with the Chipotle Nachos post, but that one was getting a little long-winded already.  So, here it is: Casey’s patented 3 minute Guacamole (makes enough for immediate consumption by 2-3 people).

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon diced cilantro
  • 3-5 shakes of salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 cup finely diced tomato (optional)

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Cut the avocado in half.  Remove the pit and the outer shell.  Then cut the avocado into small chunks and put in a bowl.

Step 2) Take a fork or potato masher and mash the avocado until it turns into a chunky paste.

Step 3) Add in the juice from half of a small lime, the salt, cilantro (yum!), olive oil.  Using the fork, mix it all together.

Step 4) Add in the tomatoes, if desired.

guacamole on nachos

See how nicely it finishes the nachos?

A quick note on avocados and guacamole.  They go brown real quick, so make this right before you are ready to eat.  If you have to refrigerate for a while, take a piece of plastic wrap and push it right down over top of the guacamole in the bowl, so that there is no air between the guac and the plastic wrap.  If you just cover the bowl, your guacamole will look like mud in about an hour.


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.


Vegetarian Gyros


Vegetarian Gyro

Vegetarian Gyro with Homemade Tzatziki

Every word I type right now is one less word that is going into my research paper.  This blog is a lot of things for me – an outlet, a collection, an experiment – but it’s also an excellent tool for procrastination, alongside my guitar, my dog and the rest of the internet.

I bounce between them in order to stretch my homework in to the early morning hours, which is something I regularly do, but wouldn’t recommend.  It’s difficult going back and forth, too.  As I typed that last sentence, I questioned whether I should be writing this post in AP style or APA format, which is probably as depressing to read as it was to type.

Grad school isn’t for the faint of heart, I guess.  It’s Saturday afternoon, and I’ve got another 15-2o pages of research paper to knock out before Tuesday at 5 p.m., and all I can think about is making a milkshake.

So, here I am, boring you and unclogging my writer’s block.

Brave New Food, ever a bountiful source for good ideas, recently sent me a link to a post about vegetarian gyros at Curvy Carrot.

CC’s recipe looked good, so I stuck to it pretty close, with the exception of two pretty big diffs.  I made my own tzatziki sauce and instead of seitan, which I had none of, I used Gardein brand fake chicken breasts (which, for the record, taste pretty much like whatever you season them with – and they’re BOGO at Publix this week).

Traditional gyros use lamb, but if you’re veggie, seitan or any other meat sub would work nicely.  Also, I know of those who make them with broccoli, instead of a meat-less sub.

Wanna complete the deal with homemade pita?  Check out My Diverse Kitchen’s recipe here.

Without further ado.

Tzatziki Ingredients

Easier to make than it is to spell - Tzatziki

Here’s what you need (for the tzatziki): (makes more than you will use for two gyros, by the way)

 

  • 8 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you need (for the gyros):

  • 2 warm pitas
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • lettuce
  • 2 fake chicken breasts, or 1 package of seitan strips, or 2 cups of broccolli
  • 1/4 red onion, diced or cut into strips
  • Cumin (two shakes)
  • Cinnamon (one shake)
  • Cayenne pepper (one shake)
  • Nutmeg (a pinch)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) To make the tzatziki, peel and seed (scoop out the seed junk with a spoon) the cucumber.  If you don’t seed the cucumber, your tzatziki will be unecessarily runny.  Once prepared, dice the cucumber into pieces roughly the size of peanut M&M’s (that’s the best I’ve got today)

Scoop those seeds out!

Step 2) Mix the cucumber into the Greek yogurt, and add in two to three minced cloves of garlic, depending on how spicy you like things.  Add in the olive oil, most of the juice from half a medium sized lemon, and some salt and pepper.  Fold it all together, but don’t beat it to hard or the yogurt can begin to break down.

Step 3) Place the tzatziki in the fridge for a while, so it is nice and chilled when it’s time to serve.  Oh, and don’t leave the cucumber out for too long after it’s been peeled.  It’ll start browning like an apple.

Step 4) Place your fake chicken/seitan strips in a pan with a little evoo and cook according to package directions (plus a few minutes if you like it a little crispy like me).  Once it is cooked through, season with the cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper.  Let the flavors cook in for a minute or two, then remove.

Step 5) Place the chicken/seitan in a warm pita, and top with diced tomatoes, onions, lettuce and a generous helping of tzatziki sauce.  Wrap it up in foil like they do on the mean streets of Greece.

Fake Chicken Gyros

If you’ve got leftover tzatziki sauce, which you will unless you are a tzatziki glutton, try them out as a topping on these Greek-inspired homemade spinach veggie burgers.


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 Stuffed Bell Peppers


Stuffed Peppers

Easy, cheesy, beautiful | Photo by HFLP

I hope everyone out there had a great Memorial Day weekend.  We spent a lot of time on the boat, the jet ski and in the pool, saw some old friends, caught a Rays game and ate lots of good food – which was as good a break as I could hope for from the heat and tedium of school in Gainesville.

We went bowling, too, which is something that, despite my enthusiasm for, I am absolutely terrible at.  You’d think rolling a ball in a straight line would be easy, but it ain’t.  I did, however, win $1 during the aptly-named “Strike it Rich” competition held Saturday nights at that bowling alley, which was enough to make me smile but not quite enough to get a pack of gum from the vending machine.

Back in Gainesville now, and back to the blog.

Before we left, I whipped up some stuffed peppers, which is a great thing to make if you’ve got a few peppers around and don’t want to the grocery store.  Really, you can stuff them with anything you’d like.  I used a hefty amount of yellow rice, but brown rice works great as well – some people even like to use quinoa or cousous.  Feel free to experiment.

Also, this particular recipe made more stuffing than I could fit in four peppers.  I could have used more peppers, but decided instead to save the extra stuffing to make a burrito the next day – which was delicious.

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 large bell peppers of any color
  • 3 cups cooked rice (I used yellow rice, but brown is good as well)
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1/2 can corn
  • 1/2 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 oz crushed tomato (jarred or fresh tomatoes crushed by hand)
  • 1 cup cheese (Mexican blends are good, but whatever you have handy works)
  • 1/4 cup diced jalapenos (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Serve with salsa and sour cream
  • 1/2 packet or a few shakes of fajita seasoning (optional)

Here’s what to do:

Step 1) Cook rice according to package instructions and set aside.

Step 2) Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds and white stuff.  They need to be softened before being stuffed, so either steam them for a few minutes or boil them (which I did) for about 8 minutes.  You want them “soft” but not “floppy.”  They should still stand up by themselves and hold their shape, but they shouldn’t be “crisp.”  That’s the best I can do – use your judgement :)

Step 3) In a small fry pan, sautee the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until the onions become translucent.

Step 4) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, sauteed onions, garlic, jalapenos, black beans, corn, fajita seasoning and 1/2 a cup of cheese.  Stir it up good.  This is your filling.

stuffed pepper filling

Filling for the peppers | Photo by HFLP

Step 5) When the peppers are softened, stand them upright in a baking dish and fill them with stuffing mixture and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

uncooked stuffed peppers

Pre-cheese, pre-oven

Step 6) Pour a 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the dish around the peppers (this creates a steamy environment and prevents the peppers from browning too much).

Step 7) Cover with foil, but make sure not to let the foil sit on top of the peppers or your cheese will melt to the foil.  Set the oven to 350 degrees, and bake covered for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese on top is golden brown.

stuffed peppers in the oven

Vegetarian stuffed peppers | Photo by HFLP

The water in the bottom of the dish should have cooked off, and the peppers should be tender but not mushy.  Serve with a little sour cream and salsa, or hot sauce if the jalapenos didn’t do the trick.

Thanks for reading!


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