26 Oct 2012
Vegan MoFo 2012 – Dreena’s tempeh capers
Sorry, but I just can't resist a bad pun ;)
Today as my MoFo adventures come to a close, I’m trying three new things from Dreena Burton’s latest book, Let Them Eat Vegan.
I haven’t owned Let Them Eat Vegan for very long, and admit that the only thing I’ve made so far have been the Berry Patch Brownies.
But my gosh, are they good.
These brownies are now my favourite and I’ve made them about 5 times for friends and work colleagues. They’re guaranteed to be devoured with gusto and you’ll be sure to win new friends in the process!
But at this risk of me retitling Dreena’s new book to “Let Them Eat Berry Patch Brownies”, it’s time to turn the page to something new…Back away from the sweets!
Generally, if I’m cooking weeknight dinners, I usually go for salads or one-bowl meals. Tonight however, I had more time so thought I’d make a couple of side dishes to go with a main.
In expanding my ways with tempeh, I’ve chosen a recipe that does not involve chilli nor satay, but rather a grown-up sauce of piquant capers, thyme, white wine and lemon.
The tempeh is baked for the most part, and as the oven was going to be on, I’ve chosen sides that can also be baked or grilled at the same time.
Almond Roasted Cauliflower
I started preparing the Almond Roasted Cauliflower first as it had the longest cooking time.
The ingredients included a head of cauliflower, oil, salt, pepper, almond meal and nutritional yeast.
The cauliflower is cut into bite-sized pieces and tossed with a little oil, salt and pepper. I baked it in the oven for about 15 minutes while I prepared the tempeh.
Braised Tempeh in a Lemon, Thyme and Caper Sauce
Moving on to the main, the tempeh ingredients included olive oil, salt, pepper, sliced shallots, white wine, lemon, capers, maple syrup, tamari, thyme and lemon slices.
I thought this recipe was going to require more preparation, but I was pleasantly surprised. The method was very straight forward.
Basically, the tempeh slices are browned lightly in a pan with olive oil and once both sides were done, white wine is then added simmered for a few minutes. Following that, remaining ingredients are dumped into the frypan, and this is then covered and put into the oven.
About 10 minutes after the tempeh was baking, I checked on the cauliflower. By this time it had started to soften and brown and it was time to mix in the almond meal and nutritional yeast.
After another 15 minutes, both dishes were done so I prepared the last side.
I don’t think I’ve bought asparagus in years. When I saw it on special in the supermarket I knew I’d have to find a use for it during MoFo.
Simplicity Asparagus really does live up to its name. Its only ingredients are asparagus, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon.
After cutting the ends off the asparagus, I arranged the spears on a tray lined with baking paper. The asparagus was then sprinkled with salt, pepper and a little oil and grilled for around 6 minutes. I turned these once during cooking and they had both brightened and browned lightly.
Dinner is served
I was very happy that I’d got my timing down perfectly to serve these dishes together.
I opted to serve the asparagus uncut as they looked so appealing.
The asparagus was drizzled with lemon juice and a bit of extra black pepper. It was cooked to perfection, a little crunchy but full of flavour. I’d forgotten how good fresh asparagus can be and could have just devoured this whole plate!
The roasted cauliflower had browned up nicely in the baking dish. The light coating of nutritional yeast and almonds gave it a somewhat light cheezy flavour that was just delicious. I’ve roasted cauliflower before but these two simple additions really took it to another level.
In serving the main – Braised Tempeh in a Lemon, Thyme and Caper Sauce – I was a bit worried that the sauce would have evaporated after being baked in the oven for 25 minutes but there was still a fair bit of thick glaze over everything.
Dreena suggests that you don’t eat the lemons but we like bitter flavours and absolutely loved this whole combination. I chased every last caper around the plate ;)
Here’s our fabulous fuss-free trio of dishes from Let Them Eat Vegan. The whole meal was just stunning with a chilled glass of semillon.
After serving this, I’ve really been encouraged to think about adding simple vegetable side dishes to meals more often. This was a great example of where two extra dishes didn’t increase the overall preparation or cooking time.
I have flagged all three recipes as new favourites and I’m planning to check out more of Dreena’s ‘Side Stars’ in future.
And so this makes my 20th post for Vegan MoFo! *balloon drop*
Next week is going to be super-busy, so this may well mark the end of my October posts. We’ll see…