Experimentation for the win ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

25 April 2009

Experimentation for the win

Last week I spontaneously had a day off work, so I decided I was going to have the most awesome lunch ever: tempeh and greens.

Normally when I marinate tempeh I end up getting it too salty, which is clearly due to using too much soy sauce. I don't even like soy sauce that much. So I started looking around the kitchen to figure out a better marinade base, and came up with tahini. I love tahini! So I mixed up a marinade a lot like Jo Stockton's tahini sauce. I'd liked it as a straightup sauce with soba; as a marinade, with cooked component, it's possibly even better.

Chard is the best because it has two separate edible components: stems and leaves. The stems are all crunchy yet soft, soaking up liquid like bok choy, and the leaves are intense and green-flavored and delicious. You have to love a vegetable that gives you two completely different experiences like that. The secret is to separate them out, since they need to cook for different times. Chard!

Tahini tempeh with chard

soy sauce
white wine vinegar/other vinegar
olive/tasteless oil
sriracha/other hot pepper sauce
fresh ginger
brown short-grain rice/other grain
a bunch of chard/similar greens
salt, pepper

Marinate tempeh, make rice, sear tempeh, add chard.

For marinade, I mixed up a big spoonful of tahini, a few small splashes of soy sauce, vinegar, and olive oil, and a substantial squirt of sriracha, then thinned everything down with some water. Cut a big slice or two of ginger and add it to the marinade; smash and peel a big clove or garlic and add that too. I never measure any of this stuff, so just play it by ear.

Cube up a bunch of tempeh and throw it into the marinade to soak up all the delicious, delicious business. I used half a brick of tempeh, since I was only going to feed myself. Marinate for an hour or so, longer if you want. I think tempeh can get soggy if you marinate it too long, though, so I wouldn't leave it soaking overnight.

When the tempeh is nearly done marinating, throw some rice and water in the rice cooker (or, you know, a pot) and cook it. You could sub pretty much any grain in place of the rice, so use whatever you have lying around. I like the chewiness of the rice here, so I'd probably stick to something in the barley/wheat family, but things like quinoa and millet should be fine too.

To sear your tempeh, heat up a saute pan to medium-high. Add a little bit of oil, spread it around the pan, and add your drained tempeh in one layer. (Keep the marinade to one side for later.) Cook, shaking the pan and flipping every few minutes, until your tempeh is happy and browned and sizzling all over.

While the tempeh is cooking, wash your chard. I used an entire bunch for just me, because 1. greens reduce and 2. I like chard. Remove the stems from the leaves, and chop each into small pieces. You can throw your stems into the marinade to pick up some of that flavor, if you feel like it.

When tempeh is fully seared, turn the heat down to medium, then add the chard stems and a generous splash of marinade to the pan. Maybe add a touch of salt and pepper here as well. Stir it around to cook the stems for two or three minutes.

Then add the greens and a little more marinade (I just threw all of mine in, minus the ginger and garlic), stir the business up, and slap on a lid. Let everything steam together for a minute or so, or until the greens are fully wilted.

You are done! Fill a big bowl with rice, tempeh, and chard, grind some pepper over it, and eat it hard.

Hooray, lunch!

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