Friday, May 28, 2010

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Tempeh "Wings"

There's been a whole lotta cookin' (and bloggin') goin' on around here this past week or so. Which is good, because it means that A. everyone is getting fed, and B. I'm still engaged with the idea of writing for fun in the midst of writing my thesis - which is also fun, but you know what I mean. Writing about shit: that's what I do!

Anyway, as is often the case here in New England, the weather has suddenly turned hot, which means that when one thinks of eating at all, al fresco seems particularly appealing - as Ratty observed in The Wind in the Willows, "It's a splendid day. Come for a row, or a stroll along the hedges, or a picnic in the woods, or something." Today I present the gentle reader with a summertime recipe that begs to be taken on a picnic, or at least outside on the porch, preferably with some sort of icy cold drink. It also happens to be yet another paean to the wonders of the truly spectacular and delicious Henry's Gourmet Tempeh, the current god of my fermented-soybean-specific idolatry. It's firm, it's delicious, and it has none of the bitterness that sometimes occurs in tempeh. This makes it extremely user-friendly, because you can omit any pre-recipe steaming to mellow out the flavor (an absolute boon in hot, humid weather).

Right now, thanks to my partner's recent trip to Toronto, I'm lucky enough to have a refrigerator full of the stuff, so I'm like a kid in a (tempeh) candy shop, and you can expect more recipes featuring it in the upcoming. Here in the Vegan Universe, there are always recipes that get loads of buzz, but that one somehow hasn't got around to making. For me, tempeh wings fall into this category - everyone raves about them, and I always think, "Hmmm, one of these days I'm going to do that," then dinnertime comes around, and there I am soaking lentils, pressing tofu, and/or stripping the leaves off a huge-ass bunch of kale as per usual (not that there's anything wrong with that). Well, having six - count 'em - packages of tempeh effectively removed any excuse, so I ponied up two of my precious stash to make a double batch.

These are basically a mash-up of the (by now famous) Tempeh Wingz from Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk, and the Vegan Sweet and Sticky Wingz, from another of my favorite blogs, Vegan Dad. The results were an unqualified success, with a perfect balance of hot and sweet - they're pretty filling, but so good that we ate them all in two meals, which is why I recommend you follow my example and make the quantity below. I will definitely be repeating this, especially with summer apparently in full swing; the addition of fresh corn, a potato or grain salad, and a cold bottle of white wine would make for a picnic as it exists in the mind of God, or maybe even Édouard Manet. (You just know the guy on the right is saying, "Honey, these tempeh wings are delicious!")

The Tempeh "Wings"
Ingredients
~ 2 8 oz. packages tempeh
~ 1 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1 cup flour
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, thyme, paprika, sage, parsley, garlic powder
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ 1 cup panko crumbs

Directions
~ Preheat your oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit, and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
~ Cut the tempeh into four equal rectangles, then carefully slice those rectangles in half horizontally (using both packages, this will give you 16 pieces).
~ Set up an assembly line with 3 bowls: soy milk in one, flour and spices in another, and panko in the third.
~ Take a piece of tempeh, dip it in the milk, then in the flour mixture. Dip it once more into the milk, then coat it in the panko. Continue until all the pieces are used up, and place them on your greased baking sheet.
~ Spray the tops of the tempeh with cooking spray, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove, flip over, and bake for another 15 minutes.
~ Remove from the oven and set aside.

The Sauce
Ingredients
~ 4 tbsp. Earth Balance, or other vegan margarine
~ 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
~ 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
~ 1 tsp. salt
~ 1 tbsp. each: mustard, vegan Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce (I like Frank's)
~ 1/2 cup maple syrup
~ 1/2 cup ketchup
~ 1 cup plain unsweetened soy milk

Directions
~ In a sauce pan, melt the margarine, and saute the onion, garlic, and salt over medium-low heat, about 15 minutes.
~ Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and raise heat to medium until the mixture bubbles. and bring to bubbling.
~ Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 mins, until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.

And now...
~ Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray, then ladle about a cup of your sauce into the bottom and spread it around.
~ Arrange your tempeh pieces in the baking dish, then pour the remaining sauce over them, making sure they're all nicely coated (you can flip them over once or twice to be sure, if you like).
~ Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the sauce has baked on and the tempeh is starting to blacken ever so slightly around the edges.
~ Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. We had ours with creamed spinach and a veganization of my mom's classic, old-school potato salad.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Creamed Spinach with Blue Sheese


What can I say? This is The Best Creamed Spinach in the history of creamed spinach. Ordinarily, I'm all about, "if you can't get this ingredient, go ahead and sub something," but this time the recipe actually is sort of all about the Sheese. If your local health food store doesn't stock it, you can easily order some at Food Fight (http://www.foodfightgrocery.com) or Vegan Essentials (http://www.veganessentials.com) - trust me, it will be worth it!

Creamed Spinach with Blue Sheese

Ingredients
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
~ 2 tbsp.minced garlic
~ 2 tbsp. flour
~ 1 tsp. salt
~ 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
~ Fresh black pepper to taste
~ 1 15 oz. can lite coconut milk
~ 1 8 oz. package blue flavor Sheese, grated
~ 2 lbs. baby spinach, roughly chopped

Directions
~ In a large pot, heat the oil and saute the onions and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
~ Add the flour and 1/4 cup of the coconut milk; stir to make a roux, about a minute.
~ Add the salt, nutmeg, pepper, and the remaining coconut milk, and bring to a simmer.
~ Gradually add the grated Sheese, stirring constantly until it melts and you have a nice "cheesy" sauce.
~ Begin adding the spinach by handfuls, stirring until each addition softens.
~ After all the spinach has been added, cook another 10 minutes or so, until all the greens are wilted, and the consistency of your Platonic creamed spinach ideal is achieved.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

(Not) Chicken Soup with Rice


"In January it’s so nice
While slipping on the sliding ice
To sip (not) chicken soup with rice
Sipping once, sipping twice
Sipping chicken soup with rice."


When my two oldest children were small, they attended pre-school at the local YMCA (the youngest, who came along a little later, went to the JCC, a story I'll tell when I get around to making hamentashen). Each day, at clean-up time, the teachers put on a recording of Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street, who would sing about it being time to "pick up everything and put it away." At this point, a minor miracle would occur and the children would stop what they were doing and - you guessed it - put away their toys! (I've since learned that the song is, logically enough, called "Put It Away," and released on the 1971 album Havin' Fun with Ernie & Bert and the Muppets of Sesame Street.)

This routine held every day except for the monthly parent and child swim, which was a pretty big deal, and for which occasion the song was invariably Carole King singing "Chicken Soup with Rice." The song was written for Really Rosie, a film based on a collection of stories by the straight-up genius Maurice Sendak. The animated vignettes, drawn by Sendak and accompanied by King, included such classics as "Pierre," "One Was Johnny," the eponymous title of this post, and my personal favorite, "Alligators All Around," which is actually making me a little verklempt just thinking about it.

*Sniff*

I'm not sure what the connection to swimming was, except that the locker room was always freezing cold (especially when trying to wriggle wet pre-schoolers back into their clothes), and anything hot sounded good, no matter what the season. Anyway, during a bout of the kind of horrendous seasonal allergies that are almost indistinguishable from the flu, I felt in need of something comforting, which led me to soup. Cultural signifiers being what they are, this led me to chicken soup, which led to the song, and thence to the kitchen and this restorative elixir.

The combination of herby broth, veggies, rice, and marinated soy curls makes even the gloomiest, snottiest afternoon a little brighter, and since the whole business comes together in under two hours, there is absolutely no excuse not to make it. (If you don't have access to soy curls, go ahead and substitute diced seitan or another vegan "chicken" product like Gardein, Beyond Meat, or TJ's; a 15 oz. can of drained chickpeas works, too! Just omit the marinating step and incorporate those spices and the extra broth into the recipe.)

I told you once, I told you twice
All seasons of the year are nice
For eating chicken soup with rice.


(Not) Chicken Soup with Rice
The "Chicken"
Ingredients
~ 2 cups soy curls, broken into bits (or preferred vegan chicken; see my note above)
~ 4 cups "no chicken" broth
~ 1 tbsp. finely minced garlic
~ 1 tsp. each: thyme, dill,  parsley
~ 1/2 tsp. each: marjoram, sage
~ A few grinds black pepper
~ 2 bay leaves

Directions
~ In a large beaker, combine the broth and seasonings, and add the soy curls.
~ Cover and bring to a boil in the microwave (or in a pot on the stove top). Allow to sit, covered, for at least 30 minutes; the longer the better.

The Other Stuff
Ingredients
~ 1 tbsp. each: olive oil, vegan margarine (you could use one or the other, I just like the combination)
~ 2 cups onion, chopped
~ 1 cup celery, large dice
~ 1.5 cup carrots, large dice
~ 1 tsp. salt (optional; I find the broth salty enough)
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ 3/4 cup uncooked jasmine or basmati rice
~ 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
~ 1/2 cup white wine
~ 6-8 cups "no chicken" broth

Directions
~ In a large pot, heat the oil and margarine, and saute the onions and celery over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
~ Add the carrots, salt, and pepper, and continue cooking about 10 minutes more.
~ While the vegetables are cooking, drain the soy curls, reserving the marinade for the soup.
~ Add the rice and the parsley to the vegetables and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
~ Add the drained soy curls, and cook a few minutes more, allowing them to brown just a bit. (If using a chicken substitute or chickpeas, add them now.)
~ Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan and cook for about a minute, then begin slowly adding the reserved marinade and the additional broth.
~ Stir to combine, cover the pot, then raise the heat to high just long enough to bring the soup to a boil. Turn it back down to low, and allow to simmer for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to check if it needs more liquid.
~ Check to make sure the rice is cooked (it should be), fish out the bay leaves, and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
~ Serve hot in big bowls, with crusty bread. (Pro tip: this tastes best if eaten while wearing pajamas. Just a suggestion.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Simple Sauteed Fiddleheads and Leeks



This is less a recipe than a recommendation, because it's so ridiculously simple, but fiddleheads have a special place in my heart. When I was a kid, my dad and my favorite uncle always got excited during the brief season of these delicate, local ferns. And there was none of this "going to the market and paying $8 a pound" nonsense, because my uncle would go out in the woods and pick 'em his own damn self. (I'm reminded of the scene in "Get Your YaYas Out" where David Sedaris' Greek grandmother harvests dandelion greens from the neighbors' lawns - the sort of escapade that provoke his mother to remark, "That kind of thing might fly on Mt. Olympus, but here in America...")

Anyway, my uncle would show up with a bag full of green, curly things that looked like the tiny fists of the Jolly Green Giant's babies, which would be immediately plunged into a sink full of cold water to soak. It was a fiddly business to remove all the shreddy, papery bits to get them ready to cook, but their brief season made it worthwhile. Fiddleheads have a delicate, subtle flavor, and are best prepared simply; my father invariably sauteed them in olive oil with garlic, salt & pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice (which was pretty much how he cooked all greens). I cooked up this most recent batch with chopped leeks, which was perfect alongside the tofu "scallops" in my last post. While a sprinkle of parsley or dill wouldn't do any harm, I'd advise giving these weird little guys a go on their own before painting the lily - or, fern - any further. I feel pretty sure that's the approach they take on Mt. Olympus!

Simple Sauteed Fiddleheads and Leeks
Ingredients
~ 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
~ 1 large leek, thoroughly cleaned and chopped
~ ¼ cup dry white wine
~ 1 lb. fiddlehead ferns, cleaned and trimmed
~ 1 tsp. kosher salt
~ Fresh black pepper
~ 2 cloves garlic, minced
~ Juice of 1 large lemon

Directions
~ Boil a large pot of water, and cook the fiddleheads for 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water.
~ In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the leeks over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, until softened.
~ Deglaze the pan with a splash (up to 1/4 cup) of white wine, then add the drained fiddleheads, salt, a few grinds of pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly so they don't stick.
~ Add the garlic and cook another minute or two.
~ Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice, and serve.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tofu "Scallops" Meuniere


How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.
~ Hamlet (4.5.23-26)

That's right, Ophelia - if you're trying to spot a pilgrim in a crowd, the cockle hat is a dead giveaway ("cockle," for those who may not know, is another word for "scallop"). In the lower panel of the image above, from the 14th century Codex Manesse, we see a man in the customary dress of a medieval pilgrim: a hat with a cockle-shell stuck in it was worn as a sign of having visited the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Other de rigeur accessories included a shoulder bag and, as Ophelia - mad as a March hare, yet with method in't - tells us, a staff and sandals. One theory has it that the shell represented the pilgrim's having crossed the sea to reach the shrine, but it probably has more to do with the fact that St James was a fisherman, especially since the faithful typically walked the route known as the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James). Which explains the need for a staff, but suggests that the sandals may have had something to with all the flesh-mortifying so popular among religious types in the Middle Ages: ouch! In fact, what do you want to bet that Shakespeare planned to include "blisters" in Ophelia's litany of her true love's attributes, but it didn't scan?

According to tradition, St James traveled to Spain to preach the gospel of Christianity, and on his return to Judea was put to death - with a sword, one of his attributes - by order of Herod. His body was then miraculously translated to Iria Flavia, in the northwest of Spain, and later to Compostela. In artistic representations, James is usually shown with a sword, cockleshell, and pilgrim hat; as patron saint of Spain, James is also associated with the Reconquista, so he's occasionally depicted on horseback, trampling a Moor. (Which really isn't very saintly by today's standards, but was, along with the Inquisition, all the rage for awhile. I think of it as a sort of medieval analogue of "American Idol": de gustibus non est disputandum, right?)

The earliest records of pilgrims traveling to Compostela date from the middle of the 10th century, but it wasn't long before it became a major destination spot, with thousands of the faithful making the long trek. A complex infrastructure developed to support and profit from the many pilgrims, with inns, hostels, and various commercial businesses springing up along the route to cater to the weary traveler's needs. Around 1140, the Codex Calixtinus (often regarded as the first travel guide) appeared, providing would-be pilgrims with spiritual encouragement, along with helpful information about what they would need, and where they could stop along the way. People still travel the Camino de Santiago today (I have two friends who have done it), although the cockle hat, staff, and sandal shoon seem to have gone the way of the feudal system.

At this point, the gentle reader may be thinking that this is all very interesting (or not), but appears to have little or nothing to do with tofu, or indeed with cooking, full stop. Strictly speaking, they would be correct, but the following dish is adapted from a recipe featuring scallops (the bivalves), you see! By which I was reminded of Ophelia's song, and from whence I began thinking - as one so often does - about medieval pilgrimages. Since my camera is currently AWOL, I decided that a nice picture of a cockle hat would be just the thing, along with a little contextual background, to introduce this yummy twist on a classic dish. And there you jolly well have it - scallops as medieval headgear, tofu as post-modern scallops, and a recipe, "meet bothe for the seson and the feeste," bound to ensure that your true love's pilgrimage to the dinner table ends in gustatory (if not plenary) indulgence.

Tofu "Scallops" Meuniere
The Tofu
Ingredients
~ 1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
~ 1 cup vegetable broth
~ 1/4 cup lemon juice
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, dried parsley, garlic powder, tarragon, paprika
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ 1 tsp. prepared dijon mustard
~ 1/4 tsp. turmeric (for color)

Directions
~ Slice the pressed tofu in half horizontally, then cut into "scallop"-size pieces; I got a dozen from a 1 lb. package of Nasoya. (You could use a round cookie cutter if you want to go for scallopy verisimilitude, but bear in mind that you'll have fewer pieces.) Place the "scallops" in a large, shallow bowl, or baking dish.
~ Whisk together the vegetable broth, lemon juice, mustard, and seasonings, then pour over the tofu pieces. Flip to coat with the marinade, then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour (the longer the better).

The Preparation
Ingredients
~ 2 tbsp. canola oil
~ 4 tbsp. Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
~ 2 tbsp. garlic, finely minced
~ Fresh black pepper
~ 1/2 cup dry white wine
~ 1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley (or 1 tbsp. dried)

Directions
~ In a large skillet, heat the canola oil and saute the tofu over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Reserve the marinade for the sauce.
~ When all the tofu is cooked, set aside on a plate and pour out any remaining oil.
~ Add the margarine to the pan and melt; add the garlic and the black pepper, and cook a few minutes, until the garlic is slightly browned and fragrant.
~ Stir in the wine to deglaze the pan; cook another few minutes.
~ Slowly add the reserved marinade, stirring continually, and cook until the sauce begins to thicken a bit, about 5-10 minutes.
~ Stir in the parsley, then return the tofu pieces to the pan, flipping once to coat with the garlic/margarine mixture.
~ Turn the heat to low, and cook another 5 minutes.
~ Serve hot with rice or pasta, and the vegetable of your choice - we had ours with sauteed leeks and fiddlehead ferns, because it's spring!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Breakfast Stew: An Homage


Every year, in the merry month of May, as the flowers burst into bloom, and the earth wallows in its own unbridled fecundity, thousands of medievalists (and some Early Modernists) flock like nesting swallows to beautiful Kalamazoo, Michigan. The terminus of this annual migration is the International Congress on Medieval Studies, a huge academic conference, with something like 3,000 attendees, and more than 300 sessions, scheduled over four days. World-famous professors, freshly minted PhDs, graduate students, and independent scholars alike share ideas, expertise, and cheap, screw-top wine in a unique admixture of intellectual bonhomie and practical necessity as they jockey for position at the various university press open bars. (Nothing levels the playing field like free booze.) In truth, it's a veritable orgy of intellectual stimulation, teeming - yea, even writhing - with fresh ideas, random encounters with the great and the good, friends old and new, exciting conversations, astonishing brilliance and utter silliness in equal measure, mead tastings, pub crawls, and, last but not least, the dance, which I'm afraid I can't discuss in this or any other forum. As the saying goes, "What happens at the Kalamazoo dance, stays at the Kalamazoo dance."

Each morning, after awakening in dormitory accommodations bearing more than a passing resemblance to those of a Carthusian monastery - a nice, if inadvertent, medieval touch, along with the short sheets, and the hairshirts interpreted as towels - the visiting pilgrim showers quickly in the chilly ambience of a shared bathroom whose fixtures are embossed with their year of installation (1964), and heads out to begin the day. For those up and dressed in good time before the day's first session, it's a short walk to Maggie's Campus Cafe, famous for big, greasy, affordable breakfasts; the place is usually full of conference-goers, and part of the fun is the incongruous mixture of visiting academics and bemused locals. Their signature dish is Maggie's Breakfast Stew, which is not only enormous but potentially lethal - if you don't believe me, check out the menu description: "A succulent blend of hash browns, bacon, ham, egg and cheese...the perfect hangover medicine! You can have a half order, but why? The full is twice as big and only 65 cents more!"

Indeed.

My partner and I love the yearly trip to K'zoo, and have been attending together since 2005; one of the nice things is that his birthday often falls during the trip, which means we can celebrate it with people whom we don't get to see very often. This year, however, due to a combination of work, overscheduling, family obligations, and general end-of-semester burnout, we've decided to stay home and give it a miss. On the whole, we're happy with this decision (due in no small part to the relief of not having to produce a conference paper in addition to everything else!), but when his birthday dawned, and we were not rushing to the airport, I was seized with the urge to cook up a big, greasy, good-for-what-ails-you, morning-after-the-infamous-dance, trashy-diner-tastic pile o' food. This is what I came up with, and I must say that it really hit that "starchy breakfast" sweet spot. Next time I might throw in some tofu, mashed with turmeric and nutritional yeast, for the "egg," so go ahead and try it if the idea appeals. Then again, it's pretty damn good just the way it is; next time I'm in Kalamazoo, I might even suggest it to Maggie!

Breakfast Stew

Ingredients
~ 2 tbsp. canola oil
~ 1 large onion, chopped
~ 1 bell pepper, diced
~ 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, paprika, parsley
~ 1/2 tsp. each: thyme, marjoram
~ A few generous grinds of black pepper
~ 1-2 tsp. hot sauce
~ 1 cup veggie crumbles, or 2 veggie burgers, mashed
~ 4 medium potatoes, baked, cooled, and cut into chunks
~ 1 8 oz. package tempeh bacon, cooked

Directions
~ In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil and saute onions over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes.
~ Add the bell pepper, mushrooms and seasonings, and cook another 5-7 minutes, until the mushrooms are giving up their liquid.
~ Add the veggie crumbles and potatoes, and combine thoroughly. Spread the mixture evenly across the pan, and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that the crispy bits get redistributed (think hash!).
~ Crumble in the cooked tempeh and combine thoroughly.
~ Now make...

The Sauce

Ingredients
~ 1 tbsp. Earth Balance
~ 1 large shallot, minced
~ 1 tbsp. flour
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, sage, dry mustard, paprika, garlic powder
~ 1 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
~ 1.5-2 cups plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1/2 cup grated blue flavor Sheese (optional, but great if you can get it!)
~ 1 cup cheddar flavor Daiya, or vegan cheese of your choice

Directions
~In a saucepan, melt the Earth Balance and saute the shallot over medium-low heat, about 3-4 minutes.
~Stir in the flour and dry seasonings to make a roux. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, another minute or so.
~Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 cup of the milk; keep stirring!
~When the mixture is smooth, turn heat to low and gradually add the cheeses and the remaining milk, stirring until you get a smooth, uniform texture and the thickness you like; this should take between 5 and 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
~ To serve, just put a big ol' pile of the stew on your plate, and ladle the cheesy sauce on top. Be sure to have toast on the side to soak up any excess, and some extra hot sauce in case you want to make things spicier. (Maggie's doesn't have a liquor license - quel dommage - but a bloody Mary would be the perfect thing to wash this down!)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Indonesian Tempeh Curry




Tempeh is one of those ingredients which I like, but often neglect to think of when planning a meal. One contributing factor may be that our local stores only carry one brand, which is perfectly serviceable, but nothing out of the ordinary. Another is that when it does occur to me, I often go straight to the shockingly addictive and universally popular Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes from Vegan Brunch. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

However, my partner recently returned from a visit to Canada with some locally-produced tempeh that quite honestly blew my mind (well, the fermented-soybean-product-specific lobe of my mind, anyway). It's called Henry's Gourmet Tempeh, and it's better than any I've eaten outside of a restaurant. It has a very firm, dense texture, without the tendency to crumble that can make tempeh difficult to work with, or the incipient bitterness that often necessitates pre-steaming. I only had two 8 oz. packages - I'm still hoarding the other, and may actually have to order more online (http://www.tempeh.ca) - so I wanted to make something worthy of its awesomeness, and this curry completely fits that description.

As is often the case here in Elizaveganland, what we have here is essentially a mash-up of several different recipes, adapted to suit our tastes, inclinations, and available ingredients. It came together very quickly, and was both easy and delicious, so I call that a success! Plain, steamed jasmine rice is all you need to make this meal complete, and like most curries, it improves as it sits; as good as it was the first night, the leftovers were even better. The sauce does thicken up a bit, so - assuming that you have leftovers - you might want to add a little extra coconut milk when you reheat.

Indonesian Tempeh Curry
Ingredients
~ 2 tbsp. canola oil
~ 1 tsp. hot chili oil
~ 8 oz. package tempeh, cut into cubes
~ 6 shallots, diced
~ 1 tbsp. garlic
~ 1 tbsp. grated ginger
~ 1 tbsp. brown sugar
~ 1 tsp. each: dried basil, curry powder
~ 1/2 tsp. dried lemongrass
~ 2-3 tbsp. soy sauce
~ 1/2 lb. green beans, cut into 2" pieces
~ 1 large carrot, cut into 1" matchsticks
~ 1 red bell pepper, cut into large dice
~ 4 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
~ 1 15 oz. can (2 cups) coconut milk
~ 1-2 tsp. hot sauce (more to taste; I used Sriracha)
~ Bean sprouts
~ Fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
~ Chopped, roasted cashews or peanuts for garnish

Directions
~ In a large, deep skillet or wok, heat the oils and fry the tempeh over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain.
~ Add the shallots to the wok and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook a minute or two more, until the shallots are just beginning to brown.
~ Add the sugar, curry, lemongrass, and soy sauce. Stir to combine, then add the green beans, carrot, and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
~ Add the baby spinach and stir until just wilted. Pour in the coconut milk, add the fried tempeh and hot sauce, and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot and slightly thickened.
~ To serve, place some steamed rice on a plate, ladle the curry over it, and top with a handful of bean sprouts, some basil leaves, and a sprinkle of chopped nuts.