Thursday, June 17, 2010

Double Whammy Summer Style

Totally got possessed by the cooking whirlwind this (ridiculously hot) evening.

Which meant hovering not only over an oven, but a pan of hot oil, while tempeh baked and squash fritters sizzled. Normal people eat salads when it's 95 out, right?

So! For your viewing and (possibly better suited to the autumnal months) cooking pleasure: Granola Crusted Tempeh and Summer Squash Fritters.

Tempeh first:

My aunt visited me last weekend and regaled me with tales and thrifted things (one of those cool tuppperware rolling pins you can stick ice cubes in and the coolest potato masher I've ever seen) while we ate veggie plates at Dish. She mentioned a meal she had at this bed and brekkie up in the mountains; trail mix crusted chicken, baked. Sounded awesome and totally inspired me: what other starchy, fatty things could be ground to flour-like consistency and used to coat protein?

Granola! Yowza!

Try this if you like a crusty, crunchy exterior to your soybean cake. Not greasy, but a bit dry - make some simple veggie stock gravy to lubricate as needed. I mashed some red potatoes with garlic and stewed up some kale, collards-style, as well.

She also brought me a bottle of locally made cane syrup, dark, thick, smokey and sweet. I figured we'd do a little marinating/braising with it, although she uses it mainly for her amazing pecan pies. Another prezzie - molasses. How could I not want to eat something labeled "robust"?

You'll need:

1 cup unsweetened granola (I used maple syrup sweetened, was just right)
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 cake tempeh (serves 2)
2 tablespoons cane syrup or molasses
4 tablespoons soy sauce or 1 tsp veggie stock concentrate, mixed with 1.5 cups water
Dash hickory flavoring
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil, for drizzling

In a large pot or deep-sided pan, pour your stock and water mix. Add your cane syrup and hickory flavoring and stir to mix. Gently place tempeh cake into the pot, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Braising the tempeh first gets rid of its bitterness and adds moisture to the finished, baked product.

Preheat yer oven (sigh) to 400f and lightly oil a baking sheet or pizza pan.

Mix your egg and water in a bowl. Toss your granola into a blender and pulse until it has the texture of fine breadcrumbs. Place it in another bowl.

Cut your tempeh in half, dip a piece in the egg, let it drip off a bit, and dredge in the granola. Gently dip in the egg again, and dredge again. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat with other piece.

Drizzle both pieces with oil. Bake 20 minutes, flip, bake 10-20 more, until crust is hard and golden brown.

And now, for fritter fun.

I'm growing squash this year, so there's always at least two or three on the bush that need picking. Also, I'd defrosted some homemade seitan sausage for pizza this week, so I incorporated a log of that, as well. Italian flavors, yet mild. Very yum. The recipe below makes 8 medium fritters.

You'll need:

2 medium squash
1 link homemade seitan sausage, or 2-3 links morningstar farms (or the like)
1 small onion
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4-1/2 cup parmesan
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs, scrambled
Splash milk or soymilk
Fresh chives, basil, or oregano, 1 tablespoon minced
4-6 tablespoons olive oil

Using your food processor or the medium sized holes of a hand grater, grate the squash, onion, and seitan together into a bowl. Add cheeses, mix. Add flour and herbs - mix. Pour eggs and milk in, mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides of your bowl as needed.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a heavy saute pan or cast iron skillet. Set a plate aside covered in paper towels, and a baking pan (if you aren't going to serve them immediately) or another plate (if you are). Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, scoop the batter into the hot oil, two pancakes at a time, and flatten with a spatula. Leave them completely alone for about a minute, or until you start to see brown around the edges. Flipping them early, or messing with them as they cook, will result in uncooked batter sticking to your spatula, which will then stick to the rest of the fritter, which will fall apart as you try to flip it.

Turn the fritters one at a time and brown the other side (almost burnt is good). Press down on them as you flip them - you'll see some oozy cheese if they're done, uncooked batter, if not. Set aside on the paper towels for about a minute to drain, then move them to the plate or pan - otherwise, as they set, they'll stick to your paper towels.

Delish, and best served immediately. These can sort of be crisped up again under a broiler, if the cirsumstance demands it.

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