Friday, June 11, 2010

Grilling is Nice

It seemed like the perfect day. The sun was shining, the breeze was cool, everything was perfect.

I've wanted to make a chimichurri sauce for quite some time, and it's time had finally come. Another feast was about to come into being.


Grilled Tempeh with Scape Chimichurri & Miso-Ginger Dressing on a Quinoa-Bean Salad

First thing to do is prep the temp. Eh? Prep? Yes. Do this a few hours ahead of time so it has time to marinate. As may have been mentioned previously on Oops, tempeh can sometimes have a slight bitterness to it, which a thorough steaming should take care of while simultaneously making the tempeh nice, creamy, and mellow.


Tempeh, 2 bricks
1 1/2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Hot sauce of your choice
Steaming apparatus (pot + colander, bamboo steamer, metal foldable tray, etc)

So! First, get your steamer started up. While it's heating, cut up tempeh into sizes you like that would work for grilling (broiling is another good option!), we left ours in pretty large chunks so they wouldn't fall through the grill rack. Place into the steamer and let them go for ~15-20 minutes. When that's done, turn off the heat, and get read to open it up, CAREFULLY. Steam burns are quite nasty, and an absent-minded opening of a steamer can send a jet of steamy pain right to your face. So either wait for it to cool down before opening, or remove the lid by opening it away from you, letting the steam escape first. Just please don't burn yourself, we'd feel really bad. Once cooled a bit, toss tempeh into a plastic container or zip bag and add the marinating ingredients and set it in the fridge for a few hours. I prefer the bag method since you can squeeze the air out and maximize food-to-marinade contact.

So, when the time is right for cooking the meal, here's what to do.

First, the Scape Chimichurri. Scape? Garlic Scapes. The flower stalks of growing garlic plants that are hyper-good and come about this time. They get cut so that the garlic bulb gets larger, or so they say. In any case, if you imagine a fresh green bean infused to its very core with a fresh garlic twang, you have imagined scapes. Also, they curl in a fun way that makes them useful for many non-eating purposes.
Go! Super Scape Vision!

Note: When I was hunting for a reliable traditional chimichurri recipe, I found it mostly hopeless. Every recipe was significantly different, which in many ways was good, reassuring us that we probably couldn't mess it up. So, to further muddy the waters, I offer our own, different, recipe.

Garlic Scape Chimichurri

Parsley, flat or curly (though most suggest flat), two large handfuls.
Scapes, 3-4, chopped roughly
Lemon juice, from 1 large lemon, OR Vinegar - apple cider, red wine, or white - ~1/4 cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/3-1/2 cup (or to preference)
Red Wine, 2 Tablespoons
Red Chili Flakes, to taste
Salt + Pepper to taste

Using a food processor, blitz the parsley, scapes, and souring agent of choice until the greens are chopped up pretty well. Add in the wine, then dribble in the olive oil (like the fancy cooks do on TV) while the machine is running. Then add a good shake of chili flakes and a good pinch of salt of pepper with the machine off, giving it a few quick pulses to mix. Taste, adjust for heat, salt, and sour, and it should be pretty darn good. We were pretty happy with this recipe, though next time we might up the number of scapes for a more garlicky taste (or just add garlic). Also maybe pass on the wine simply for color, though it did add a nice layer of yum-ness. Let it sit in the fridge while you do other things

Now to get the salad going.

Quinoa-Bean Salad
1 1/2 c Cooked quinoa
1 large can red kidney beans
1/2 cup chopped chives
2 large (surprise!) garlic scapes, diced

Ginger Miso Dressing (adapted from The Perfect Pantry)
1 generous tablespoon miso (something mild)
2 tablespoons vinegar (we only had white distilled at the time)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (from our own trees even! Remember?)
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons water

For the dressing, combine the miso, vinegar, syrup, and ginger in a small bowl, mushing the miso into the liquid until it's dispersed. Add the oils and give it a whisking. Add the water little by little until the dressing reaches a consistency you like. Set aside.

Salad now, combine the components in a medium/large bowl, taking care to drain and rinse the beans (their extra liquid is unnecessary, and often high in sodium. If you cooked your own from dry, still remove the liquid). Add the dressing in small amounts to the bowl and toss, tasting for the appropriate amount of dressing. When it's to your liking, toss it in the fridge until everything else is finished.

So, that's almost everything! Chop some veggies of your choice to throw on the fire with the tempeh and toss them with a little oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like. Even the chimichurri if you like. We didn't since the tempeh was going to get it.

Turn on your grill, lay down some foil on one side for the veggies (so they don't fall through the grate), and when it's good and hot, put the veggies and tempeh on. Spoon or brush some chimichurri onto the tempeh, and close the lid. Check it every so often to toss the veggies and flip the tempeh when you have nice grill lines on the bottom. Add some chimichurri to the other side too! When it's all done, stick everything on a plate and enjoy!

This chimichurri sauce is good for lots of things. Using the leftovers to marinade some tofu and sticking it under the broiler was a tasty follow up the next day. See?

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