This post gets into both Tempeh, commentary on my food plan for the month, recommended yogurts, and the like. No, the tempeh recipe does not contain dairy — this recipe is strictly vegan.
I am actually on my own strict food plan this month. No wheat, rice or corn, or anything with gluten in it. No processed sugars (sugar from fruit is fine, just not fruit juice). Soy has to be fermented (and contain no wheat), which limits one to miso, natto (whatever that is) or (some) tempehs. No HFCS, no “soy protein isolate” (which also goes under the name of “textured soy/vegetable protein”. Minimal dairy — fermented yogurt from really good sources is fine; and some cheese (the latter only because I have some still in my fridge to finish off, and cheese gets really noxious and crumbly when you freeze the two types I currently have). Grass-fed butter (I am picturing a little pat of butter with arms and legs chowing down in my lawn…) Only well-vetted packaged goods this month. Meat and eggs and yogurt have to be pastured. Limited starchy veggies, predominantly turnips, winter squash and parsnips. Non-starchy vegetables can be juiced — I use my immersion blender so the pulp is definitely still there. I do have wine, which technically I should not allow, but this is my food plan.
But anyhow, today’s meal is about tempeh. A soy product. There’s lots of things being said against soy… quite often for good reasons.
Most tempeh on the market these days here in the US does have wheat in it. The main brand you find in supermarkets, in addition to that, is produced by ConAgra, which isn’t a company I’m really up for supporting to begin with.
Tempeh, however, is a long term traditional Indonesian food. At some point, the Indonesians figured out how to ferment the soy bean, and they invented tempeh. I’ll admit it is an acquired taste, but that’s what herbs, spices and sauces are for. At any rate, fermenting the bean helps vastly towards diminishing the phytotoxins found in this “food”, turning it into a food.
At some point, I’d like to figure out how to ferment my own pile of soy beans, but meanwhile, my health food store (New Morning, Woodbury, CT), sometimes carries alternate brands of tempeh, and I will then so buy a package or two.
Rhapsody makes a tempeh where the only ingredients are: (organic) soybeans, filtered deep well water, and Rhizopus cultures. The soybeans are at least for now safe from GMO contamination. (GMO’s are their own story which I see a few nuances over, but that’s for some other post.)
Anyhow, the Sauteed Tempeh: (3 servings by my guesstimate)
1 package (8 ounces) tempeh. Slice in 1/4 inch strips across and then turn the strips into 1/2 – 1 inch segments.
1/4 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 cup tomato sauce (I get mine out of a glass jar & read the ingredients first. Or use home canned!)
1/2 – 1 coarsely chopped Asian pear (I used the other half of the pear from the previous recipe. More would have been great.)
1/4 or so teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt (or Celtic sea salt)
1/4 or so teaspoon ground pepper
a little heat — I used about 1/4 teaspoon unsalted chipotle powder
1 tablespoon olive (or coconut) oil
Set aside the onion and fennel seeds, and the olive oil
Marinate the tempeh with everything else, for say, 20-30 minutes.
In a skillet, heat up the oil at a medium heat, and add the onion and fennel seeds. Saute the onion until it is at least translucent, or perhaps lightly browned.
Add the tempeh and all the other ingredients, keeping the stove top burner at about medium.
Stir occasionally, for about 15- 20 minutes, until everything is thoroughly cooked, and hot all the way through. The tempeh may itself brown a little.
Things I might do differently if/when I make this again: I think bell peppers would be a GREAT addition here. I would certainly add the WHOLE Asian pear.
(What do I hope to gain from this dietary plan? For one, weight loss. I am tired of hovering at the number I am hovering at, and creeping up above it. For another, I recently read Wheat Belly, a book that remarks about how even those who have no full-fledged gluten intolerance could be impacted by gluten in negative ways. Studies I’ve seen on processed sugars and food additives. I’m less convinced about problems with legumes in general, if cooked properly, than with some of these other things. And I think pro-biotics are good. Will I continue this food plan out past the month? Probably to a large degree, but I will then make allowances for eating food prepared by other people, as yes, I am a social person. February is not a particularly social month, and I was prepared to eat my way at the one last minute thing that cropped up yesterday, supplying my own food, but it got snowed out anyway… )
Good yogurt sources, in order of preference, as an aside:
Arethusa Farm, Litchfield, CT – I get the whole milk plain yogurt.
Redhill Goat Yogurt – whole milk plain.
Stonyhill Yogurt – as whole as I can find.
If I ever do get a flavor, it will be vanilla. All the others are overly sweetened. I’ll add my own fruit in, if I wish — raspberry season around here makes for excellent yogurt, no sugary syrups needed.