Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tempeh Sausage and White Bean Gravy; Rich Chocolate Vegan Brownies

Today is my day off, so of course I've done some cooking. Most of this past week has just been cereal or maybe a grilled sammich. Just haven't been in the mood for cooking. Work has been getting on my one last nerve, so I've been sorta stressed, and that wears me out. Retirement is looking better and better, and I've only got to wait another seven months before I semi-retire. That's good enough for me, the social security will pay the rent, and I can cut back to four, or possibly even just three, days a week. Ahhhhhhhh...really looking forward to it, too, I am, I am.

The tempeh recipe is from "Vegan With A Vengeance," by Isa Chandra Moskovitz, one of my favorite cookbooks. I tried the recipe because it sounds good, and as I've said elsewhere on this blog, I'm on a quest for recipes that will let me like tempeh. This one came pretty close, but still not quite there yet. But, it's the first one that I've basically enjoyed, and I actually ate two helpings of it. Ok, so I guess I like it, lol. Anyway, it takes two recipes to make this, so let's get down to business here, ok?

Tempeh Sausage Crumbles and White Bean Gravy

Tempeh Sausage Crumbles

1(8-ounce)package tempeh
1Tb. fennel seed
1tsp.dried basil
1tsp.dried marjoram or oregano
1/2tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2tsp.dried sage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2Tbs.tamari or soy sauce
1Tbs.olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon

In a small pan, crumble the tempeh and add enough water to almost cover it. Over medium-high heat, simmer the tempeh until most of the water is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes. Drain the remaining water and add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

White Bean and Tempeh Sausage Gravy
Tempeh Sausage Crumbles...recipe above
2C cooked white beans or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
2Tbs. olive oil or margarine, softened
1/4C vegetable broth or water
1/2 tsp. salt
A few dashes fresh black pepper
10-12 leaves fresh sage, chopped

Prepare the Tempeh Sausage Crumbles and keep them warm in the pan.
Puree the white beans with the olive oil and vegetable broth in a blender or food processor until relatively smooth. Add to the tempeh crumbles along with the salt and pepper. Heat through for a few minutes. If you want to make the gravy thinner, add a little more vegetable broth. Mix in the sage and cook for another 2 minutes. This makes enough to cover 12-14 biscuits.

So, I had to make a couple changes, because I don't use basil nor do I use fennel, so obviously I left those out. I also used only 1Tbs. of soy sauce, as I don't like a strong soy sauce taste...unless it's in my fried rice, that is. When I added the bean mixture to the gravy, it wasn't even close to thin enough, and altho I didn't really measure, I think I added at least another cup of water. It was still thick, but only like a gravy, not paste, so that was ok. I put it on buttered biscuits, and like I said, ate two helpings of it. Will I make it again? I'm not sure, maybe, maybe not. There's a lot leftover, and I'm not sure what I'll do with the leftovers, either...probably freeze them, and then the next time I want biscuits and gravy, all I have to do is thaw and re-heat and make biscuits. I can live with that!!

In case you're new to vegetarianism, here's a quick rundown of what tempeh is. It's made from soybeans, and somehow, they've been inoculated with a mold to cause them to ferment, and then formed into a elongated patty, usually about 1/2 inch thick. It is very high in protein, and because of the soy, it's also high in fiber, as well as B vitamins and some other nutrients. That's not the most exact description of tempeh(pronounced tem-PAY,btw)ever written, but hey, I'm no scientist or food expert. If you want to more specifics about it, I imagine you can google it.

Now for the brownies. I found the recipe on the Care2Green website...and being the chocoholic that I am, I decided that today would be just the perfect day to try it. All in all it's very moist, chewy, very chocolatey, and I'm enjoying it right now, lol.

Rich Vegan Chocolate Brownies

1Cflour(you can use half whole wheat flour if you wish)
3/4C cocoa powder
1 1/2C sugar(or Sucanat)
1/8tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4C chocolate chips
1/4C walnuts(optional)
1/3C soy milk
1/3C extra light olive oil
1/4C silken tofu
1Tbs.vanilla extract.

Preheat oven to 350ºF
In large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, walnuts, and chocolate chips.
In blender, blend soy milk, oil, tofu, and vanilla.
Add blended mixture to flour mixture in bowl, stir just until combined. Batter will be thick(she ain't jokin', either!)
Spread batter evenly in 8 inch square oiled baking pan.
Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the mmiddle comes out clean.

Ok, these turned out very tasty, they really did. The batter is as thick as bread dough or cookie dough, and it took me a long time to incorporate all the ingredients together. I don't have an chocolate chips, no way to get to Kroger to buy them, so baked without them. My oven may not be calibrated correctly, and I have no oven thermometer, so I'm not sure, but by the time 35 minutes was up, the crust around the edge of the pan was rock-hard, while the middle was still kinda gooey. There's no eggs to worry about, so the gooeyness shouldn't be a health problem, and as it sits, the stiffer it becomes, sorta like a really fudgy fudge...I hope that made sense to you, 'cause it did to me, lol. Anyway, I like them, and will bake them again...oh, I think 1 Tbs vanilla is too much, btw, as I can taste it a little bit, so the next time, I'll try only one tsp.

And that's it for now, so, until next time, Happy Eating!


Sherrie said...

Okay I am intrigued by your tempeh sausage. But then anything that has "fennel" seed and basil has to be good right? It's sounds like it might be on the "Italian Sausage" kinda tasting? I love Italian Sausage and I have never found it here in UK. I did order some "spices" which I pick up next month to see if I can "make" some. I might have to try this tempeh sausage though. Love your counter, I might have to change mine now....rofl

Diane Bassett said...

I just made this recipe tonight (have the cookbook) and I did follow the "tempeh sausage" flavorings per the recipe. LOVE it. My gravy, too, was too thick so I added more broth. Super yummy gravy. I'm having mine on a bowl of hot rice, lentils, tomatoes, and kale. Very satisfying and tastes like I ought to feel guilty!

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