Monday, April 04, 2011
The word "hippie" gets bandied about a lot at my house, mock-branding various offenses against the sensibilities of our modern and disposable culture. Washing and reusing plastic bags, for one. Bringing one's own pyrex containers for leftovers to a restaurant (because, as I like to tell people, I am just that cool). Applying curry powder to any dish that doesn't really warrant it. There's a chance I'm over-applying the term.
But every so often I make a dish that is truly, undeniably deserving of the hippie label. Like these tempeh sausages (or, if you will, "soysages"). Their offenses are numerous: they're a mock meat, involve use of inappropriate seasonings (although that's partially my fault), and, most damningly, were developed at an actual honest-to-juice commune founded in the 1970s. Also? They're pretty darned good.
If you're looking for a vegetarian breakfast accompaniment, these are hard to beat. To be fair, my heart does belong to the Morningstar Farms veggie bacon, but every now and then it seems like a good idea to consume breakfast foods that don't feature disodium guanylate and artificial flavors (from non-meat sources, they point out, but still). At those times, I heartily recommend these tempeh sausages. Tempeh is steamed and grated, then mixed with a series of seasonings that give it a somewhat meaty depth. It's formed into patties and pan-fried, perfect for accompanying your waffles. Let it be known, I have no illusions that anyone would confuse these soysauges for the real thing. But I think they're pretty great in their own right. Yeah, I know I'm a hippie.
And if you're hungering for food that you wouldn't be embarrassed to serve to company, I present instead a dispatch from a Sephardic-style dinner party a friend recently hosted. The recipes are drawn from several sources, and together make for a menu that would be perfect for a sunny Passover Seder. Or any celebration of spring, really. You can read the details at Mix Magazine.
adapted from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook
yields ~12 sausages, depending on size (serves ~4)
8 ounces tempeh
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp thyme
large pinch asafoetida (this is my addition, and optional, but it gives a nice funky depth if you've got it)
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp warm water
2 Tbsp oil (I use canola)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
oil for pan-frying
Steam the tempeh over simmering water for 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, then grate on the coarse holes of a box grater. Add dry ingredients (sage, thyme, asafoetida, flour) and stir to combine, then add liquid ingredients (water, oil and soy sauce) and mix until combined. The finished product should be neither too wet nor too dry, and easily hold a shape when squeezed together.
Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over a medium flame. Pinch off small amounts of the sausage mixture (a tablespoon or two), and press into thin patties. Pan-fry the patties until brown, and then flip and brown the other side (they should only take a few minutes per side). Serve hot.