Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lightly Smoky Baked Tempeh

Since the block of tempeh I defrosted a few days ago was two pounds I knew I had to come up with different recipe for the second pound of tempeh. ;-) I thought tempeh would be great to have on hand this week. Instead of glazing the tempeh I decided to try adding subtle flavor by poaching. This was an idea Heather suggested on her blog and thought why not give it a try. So I did. Here is what I used:

Lightly Smoky Baked Tempeh
Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a salad topping


1 pound of tempeh cut into 4 pieces
3 cups of water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dehydrated minced onion
¼ teaspoon garlic powder


Combine the water, tomato paste, liquid smoke, red wine vinegar, dried onions and garlic powder and bring to a simmer. Add the tempeh and simmer for 15 minutes (or so) to add flavor. I kept the pan covered while simmering and gently flipped the tempeh halfway through cooking.

Remove the tempeh from the poaching liquid and bake or sear in a well seasoned cast iron skillet. I baked mine on 350 degrees until it was lightly brown (about 40 minutes)

Nutritional information (assumes 4 servings):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 227.44
Calories From Fat (45%) - 102.89

Total Fat - 12.29g
Saturated Fat - 2.53g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 47.16mg
Potassium - 530.92mg
Total Carbohydrates - 12.61g
Fiber - 0.31g
Sugar - 1.01g
Protein - 21.35g


The poached tempeh is lightly smoky and subtly flavored. It would work well on any sort of salad. You could add additional flavor with a glaze but since I knew I would be using it on different salads I wanted the overall flavor to be subtle.

I like the subtle smokiness of this tempeh. Next time I may add a little Worcestershire and nutritional yeast to add a bit more umami. However I think this recipe would work with many flavors so I will being keeping the poaching liquid ingredients in mind the next time I make tempeh.

Making your own tempeh:

Have any of you made your own tempeh? I think that is next on my agenda. I was looking at the directions and it doesn’t seem too difficult only time consuming. If you have made tempeh I would like to know a few things. Does it taste different and/or better? Was the starter easy to find? Did you enjoy it enough to make it again? Thanks ahead of time for sharing your experiences with making tempeh.

Food since last post:

Knowing it was going to be a late dinner (like usual) I grabbed a bowl of watermelon chunks around 5 pm. I really love melons and miss them when they are out of season. We were lucky to get some nice organic ones from our CSA the last few weeks.

I also had a few bites of the caponata when I was making it, quality control you know. ;-)

Dinner tonight was a simple green salad topped with fat free hummus and caponata. This is very much like our chef friend Ian’s Middle Eastern plate only over salad instead of on whole wheat pita crisps.

This morning for breakfast I decided to make smoothies since the humidity was in the mid 90’s at 6am. Today I made myself a smoothie with 1/3 cup oats (ground into flour first), 1 pitted peach, 1 frozen banana, 2 collard leaves, 1 cup spinach, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and ginger and 1 cup of water and 8 ice cubes. The green color is probably off putting to some but it tastes more like fruit than anything else. The collards do add more “green taste” than the spinach. But they also add considerable nutrition which is more important to me. Since I make fresh juice mostly for Dan I try to add collards where ever I can into my food.

Speaking of juice I wanted to show you the mountain of produce that goes into Dan’s juice every morning. The tray is a half sheet pan if that gives you perspective. It includes: 4 collard leaves, 1 bunch Italian dandelion greens, 10 carrots, 3 apples, 1 beet, 1 inch ginger root, 1 lemon and 3 stalks of celery. It starts as this

And ends as this.

As I have mentioned before I do this for the nutrition. My plan is to flood Dan’s body with nutrients to give it everything it needs to keep him healthy. He takes a bottle of this to work every day and drinks it in small doses throughout the day. I also send trail mix to work with him to munch on so he gets enough fat to efficiently absorb the fat soluble vitamins. Since my food can be very low in fat the trail mix is an insurance policy for the fat soluble vitamins.

If you are thinking of buying a juicer you should know that it does take a while to clean, cut up and juice all the veggies and fruit. I have been doing this for months and the quickest I can make juice in the morning is 30 minutes. Of course I should also tell you that I am not and never have been a morning person. If you are maybe you can make juicer more quickly than I can. ;-)

Lunch today was another one of my enormous salads. This one contained a 1 head of shredded romaine, caponata, fat free hummus, cucumber, ½ serving of smoky tempeh, a few pine nuts (since I intentionally left them out of the caponata) and a sprinkle of paprika (for a bit of extra vitamin C). It was a very filing and tasty lunch.

Other things since my last post:

Dan ran to Costco last night after work to pick up a TV cabinet we saw in the Costco magazine. We needed something to go under the new flat screen in the family room and we both liked this one. Since it is still in the back of the car here is the pic of the model from the Costco floor. It should look nice and comes with a handy “cat shelf” on the bottom. I know the felines are going to claim that space for their own as soon as the piece of furniture comes into the house. I may have Dan cut a piece of plywood to cover the bottom which I can upholster for the felines knowing they insist on sitting there. At least that will keep cat toes from scratching the surface.

What’s the matter with …..:

Is it just me or does anyone else notices a down tone in the blogosphere over the last month or so? I mention this because it is the reason I haven’t started my “What’s the matter with….” posts yet. They weren’t quite upbeat enough to suit me. I suppose this means I need to work on rewriting them. So far I have substantially finished two of the posts but they need to be “happified” (don’t look that up I just made it up). I will try to make one of the posts happy this week so that I can get it posted. ;-)

Now I am wondering if down people notice similar traits in others or if there is a really has been an increase. Hmmmm, something else for me to ponder. For those that are wondering I am still clearly not myself. I have good and bad moments but at least the crying has subsided which I was happy to see go away. I think I am feeling a little better, that or I am getting used to this new me. I prefer to think I am feeling better until the evidence proves otherwise. ;-)

I have found that adding more exercise also seems to help. I wanted to mention this in case it comes in handy for any of you. Additionally I have started to add a couple of tablespoons of dry roasted edamame into my diet each time I have a cup of green tea. Since soy is reported to help with menopausal symptoms I thought the additional soy wouldn’t hurt. That is also the reason the tempeh showed up. I have soy beans soaking now to make soy milk (to add to smoothies). The okara (pulp that is strained from the soy milk) will also become something once the soy beans sprout so I can make milk.


My day has been busy already and it is only a little after noon. I started my morning with exercise and some gardening. My dad had appointments earlier so I needed to check in on my mom since she was alone. Now I need to get my behind into gear and get some things done around here.

I packed the end of the farmers’ market lentil and vegetable soup in Dan’s lunch today so I need to make soup and work on more dehydrated tomatoes. Of course I should also come up with something for dinner.

I have almost finished reading "Complete Book of Raw Food". I hope to have that review up in the next few days.

On that note I am going to get moving and get a few of those items on my to-do list crossed off. I hope all of you are having a great Tuesday.


  1. The poached tempeh recipe sounds good...I don't eat tempeh often, but I think it's better after having marinated or soaked in something before ultimately cooking it.

    I love the cat shelf feature on the TV stand! Very cute.

    I haven't notices a down tone in the blogs, but I think maybe there is less activity because folks are busy on summer vacations and/or getting kids ready for school again.

    I'm gonna eat my lunch now, cuz looking at your salads and caponata made me hungry.


  2. Rose,

    I agree with you that tempeh should not be eaten straight. Like tofu it needs a little flavor love.

    You can see the cats lined up the shelf too can't you? LOL

    I thought the down thing could just me looking at the world through my "non-rose colored glasses".

    Enjoy your lunch,

  3. Look at you with the tempeh recipes! Thanks for the mention by the way. I'm really liking poaching the tempeh. Good call on the nutritional yeast flakes too.

    Sorry to hear you're still not 100%. Exercise definitely can help, just don't go crazy with it or you'll end up more worn down. Trust me, been there. Hugs!

  4. Heather,

    Thank you for the inspiration! I told you it was big block of tempeh in my freezer.

    Good point about not going overboard on the exercise. I do tend to be all or nothing. I will try to cultivate a little moderation. ;-)


  5. I have a love/hate relationship with juicing. I love juices, but I hate cleaning the juicer and it uses SO much produce. I am excited to test out some recipes using pulp, though.

  6. I have wondered how time-consuming juicing must be. Right now that's not something I think I can handle.

    I would love to see you make your own tempeh! I don't have any advice for you there, though. I've never made any.

    I haven't noticed a "down" tone on the blogs I read, aside from yours. There are a few who have been on hiatus, either from food boredom (understandable with the heat) or vacation and business in life. Good luck with the moderation, that's not really something I'm good at, either.

  7. Looks good! I haven't seen any plain tempeh at the grocery store lately, but will check at the Asian store the next time I'm there. Should I be cautious about the brand that I buy? I'm also wondering, does your digestive system handle soy products well?

  8. Krystina,

    I hear you on the love/hate relationship with the juicer. It is definitely more work than I expected. However for the nutrition I am going to continue to do it, for now anyway. ;-)


  9. Jessica,

    When I first started juicing it took me about 45 minutes to make 5 or 6 cups. I have got it down to 30 minutes but that seems to be my best time. The nutrition is so good I want to keep doing it as long as I can.

    The menopause/perimenopause hormonal shift is much worse than I expected. I hope that doesn't happen to you too.

    As soon as I find tempeh starter I am going to give it a try. No idea how well it will work but it sounds like a fun experiment at least.


  10. Laura,

    I haven't seen any crazy ingredients in tempeh but I do always buy organic and read the ingredients list. Mine came from the health food store.

    My system has no trouble with soy. Are you having troulbe with digesting it?



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