First, I’m on a mission to win me some BARNEY BUTTER!!! A Teenage Gourmet is hosting a Barney Butter giveaway, and one of the ways to win is to mention her site on a blog post, so viola! Blog shout out, check!
I hope I win. I REALLY want to win. I am a food brandwhore, so it is VITAL that I try Barney Butter, pronto. So send me some good vibes!
In other news, I figured out a way to make tempeh delicious! It was definitely a bad decision to judge tempeh after only eating it raw. After trying it raw (by itself and in a sandwich), I decided that tempeh wasn’t worth my time and promptly shoved it to the back of the fridge. This past weekend, however, I had a hankering for something crunchy and Panko-encrusted and decided to give tempeh another whirl. I came up with this recipe myself, I’m proud to say. I mean, I’m sure someone’s done it before, but that’s not important. What IS important is that I didn’t look this up on the internet AND it made tempeh taste delicious.
This lovely recipe was influenced (in a big way) by the Walnut Rosemary Oven Fried Chicken I had last week. I like to call it “Buffalo Tempeh.”
Real original, right? Whatever, even if this recipe is totally non-revolutionary, I definitely figured out how tempeh can taste “meaty,” almost in a chicken-y way. So, if you need some Panko crunch and fermented soy in your life, here’s how to make Buffalo Tempeh fingers.
Buffalo Tempeh Fingers
Serves 1, Taken from…MAH BRAIN
– 1/2 block of tempeh, cut in half (hamburger style – I can’t think of another way to describe it), then cut each half into three strips
– 1/3 cup milk
– Splash of vinegar
– 2 tablespoons buffalo sauce, plus another tablespoon for dipping sauce
– 1/3 cup Panko
– Mozzarella cheese or Pepper Jack Cheese, for sprinkling
– 1/4 cup plain yogurt
Preheat your oven to 375.
Pour milk into a bowl, then mix with the splash of vinegar to make buttermilk (so handy!), then mix in two tablespoons of buffalo sauce (like Frank’s – yum). In another bowl, pour the 1/3 cup of Panko.
Before commencing the tempeh dunking, put a baking rack on top of a baking sheet. This will make for some CRUNCHY tempeh fingers.
Take one tempeh strip and coat it thoroughly with the milk mixture, then roll the strip around in the Panko crumbs and put it on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining tempeh fingers. After all of the fingers are coated in delicious buffalo and Panko goodness, bake them for 20 minutes. During the last two minutes of baking, coat some (or all) of the fingers in a sprinkling of cheese. It doesn’t really make much of a difference taste-wise, but honestly, it’s cheese. It’s always welcome, whether you can taste it or not.
To make the dunking sauce, just mix the yogurt and the tablespoon of buffalo sauce together. Add more sauce if you think it’s lacking in flavor.
Dunk the fingers in the sauce. Revel in the deliciousness of Panko and fermented soy.
In all honesty, I would never pick these over chicken fingers, but I definitely enjoyed them. Baking them in Panko helped hide the weird raw flavor I don’t like, which allowed the unique texture of tempeh shine. The sauce was just a way to add more buffalo flavor – obviously I’m addicted to buffalo sauce.
Transitioning to a restaurant review……
Our local restaurant destination this week was The Grit, which has a 100% vegetarian menu. I was really excited to FINALLY eat at The Grit – it was one of the first local restaurants I heard about during my freshman year. The Grit pretty much embodies a stereotypical hippy/college restaurant – from grungy looking employees (no offense intended…I thought they looked cool) to the random decorations (like a model of the Titanic over the doorway and a random Jesus painting behind the counter). All of these factors give The Grit a really cool vibe, though – I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the company and the food. The menu is pretty daunting – there are SO many choices! I couldn’t decide between something ethnic or a Grit staple. In the end, I chose The Golden Bowl – sauteed tofu and veggies over brown rice and topped with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
Sorry for the terrible picture quality – the lighting was obviously pretty low.
Anyways, the tofu’s texture was total perfection! It had a crunchy crust and a nice chew. The soy sauce gave it delicious flavor and the nutritional yeast was a great topping. Nutritional yeast really does have a cheesy flavor. It’s also pretty cool that it’s full of B vitamins, including (if fortified) B-12. I don’t really have any reason to buy any for myself, but I’ve always wanted to try it. The little onion strips also added a lot of yummy oomph to my Golden Bowl – it’s amazing to me that a year ago I HATED onions.
The dish as a whole was super delicious – the only “complaint” I have is the lack of vegetables in my bowl. There was tons of tofu, though, so I left The Grit full and satisfied. Adam ate a Mediterranean sampler of sorts (pita, falafel, hummus, and tabbouleh) and Chris attempted to eat the Mondo Burrito. Both dishes were excellent, in case you were wondering.
We are thinking Vietnamese next week. Kathy will be back from her 2 week road trip, so she’ll be able to guide us through the mysteries of a Vietnamese menu. Exciting!