Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tempeh Fajitas

March 28th, 12:20pm
To: Beerdsmith, Pancake
Subject: Friends, We Must Blog

"I have steamed tempeh marinating. And Frog Holler peppers from the freezer. Cy has a tortilla maker. Jaygef is the master of vegan queso.

Shall we have fajitas 2nite? and blog about it?? i wanna grill. maybe the weather will cooperate.


The above email is an example of the extensive behind-the-scenes work that goes on around Oops! It's Vegan. And the weather did not cooperate on Sunday. It rained. All day. However, that did not dampen - heh heh heh - my enthusiasm for fajita night! Vegan style!

Tasty fajitas require, in my humble opinion, a wee amount of forethought and prep. Around 1pm, I sliced one package - about eight ounces - of tempeh into strips. I steamed the pieces for twenty minutes, then poured the combined ingredients for the marinade on and stuck 'em in the fridge while I did some volunteering. Easy.

Marinade for Fajitas, loosely adapted from this recipe:
1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons chile powder

1 teaspoon paprika

2 dashes of cayenne - cause I like it spicy

2 cloves garlic, minced

juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 long splashes soy sauce

1 short splash liquid smoke

pinch of salt and a little black pepper, to taste

At five-thirty pm, my friends and fellow bloggers arrived. Having three capable cooks, each working on a different piece of the meal, in the kitchen made quick and easy work of this dinner. Beerdsmith was in charge of the homemade tortillas - see above post. Pancake whipped up a batch of our favorite vegan cheese sauce, and I did the rest. First I browned the tempeh on both sides in a bit of olive oil, until it was crispy and golden and delicious-looking. While the tempeh cooked, I prepped the veggies. I had one red onion and three precious peppers - quickly thawed out of the freezer - from my favorite organic farm of all time, Frog Holler.

The great thing about working with vegetable products instead of meat is that you can use leftover marinade to create sauces or gravies to accompany your dish - there's no poisonous bacteria to worry about like you would with chicken or beef! For this meal, I decided to saute the sliced peppers and onions in the leftover tempeh marinade to add flavor and to reduce, reuse, recycle. It worked out great. The veggies took about ten minutes to cook down, until the onions were soft and mellow and the peppers were on the softer side of crisp-tender. I sprinkled some extra salt and pepper onto them as they cooked.

All of a sudden, each piece of the meal was complete! An amazing homemade tortilla? CHECK. Deliciously tangy and flavorful protein? CHECK. The best locally-grown veggies you can imagine, and miraculously preserved in the freezer until March to boot? CHECK. And everyone was glued together by the zesty "cheesy" sauce. Incredible.

And we didn't even need the grill.

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