Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Tempeh’ Category

Kale ‘n Stuff recipe

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A cutting board on which are two bunches of thick scallions, 7 large crimini mushrooms, a lemon, 7 garlic scapes, 1 bunch green kale, a metal cup holding ginger slices and fresh rosemary leaves, 3 pieces of homemade tempeh, 2 jalapeños, 1 poblano 1/2 red bell pepper, 8 peeled garlic cloves, 8 asparagus stalks.
Included in recipe but not shown: 1 San Marzano tomato

I thought I’d cook up the kale I had. I used my 4-qt sauté pan, into which I put:

• about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

I took the metal cup from my spice & herb grinder and put into it:

• leaves from three sprigs of rosemary
• thin slices from a 1″ knob of ginger root
• 8 garlic cloves

The metal cup is shown in the photo with the rosemary leaves and the thinly sliced fresh ginger root. I add the garlic cloves shown in the photo and ground them all together, which made a kind of paste. I let that sit (so the garlic could rest) while I prepped the remaining vegetables (and fungi), which I added to the sauté pan as I chopped them.

Update: The inclusion of rosemary, which I’ve not been routinely using, turns out to be a very good thing. I’ll now use rosemary much more often — and I do like grinding the leaves, either by themselves or, as here, with other things.

Three pieces of tempeh are shown in the photo, and I noticed that two of them — edge pieces — look like sausage (but they’re not).

soybean-rye tempeh, slabs halved to make thinner slabs and then diced
• 2 jalapeños, chopped
• 1 poblano, chopped
• 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
• 7 garlic scapes, chopped small (they’re wrapped around the lemon)
• 7 largish crimini mushrooms, halved then sliced thick
• 2 bunches thick scallions, chopped
• 1 lemon, diced
• 1 San Marzano tomato, chopped

At this point, added the paste from the grinder cup — garlic, ginger, rosemary — to the pan and turned the induction burner to “3.” I added:

• a splash of red-wine vinegar
• several good dashes fish sauce

As the pan heated, I finished the prep, occasionally using a spatula to stir and mix the veggies in the pan.

• 1 bunch kale, chopped fairly small (especially stems)
• 7 or so stalks of asparagus, tough end removed and then cut into 1″ sections.

A whole-food plant-based diet provides a good amount of fiber, and the fiber from asparagus and alliums is particularly beneficial.

A pan full of vegetable stew, most green but with bits of yellow (lemon), red (bell pepper), and white (tempeh). Pieces of mushrooms and asparagus and chopped kale leaves are visible

I had to add the kale a little at a time, carefully using the spatula to lift and mix it in with what was starting to cook. Halfway through adding the kale, I covered the pan and let the veggies cook for a few minutes so they would wilt down.

Finally I got in all the kale and then added the asparagus and a splash of water. I covered the pan again and turned the heat to 225ºF for 15 minutes. I did stir a couple of times before the timer sounded.

It looked good, so I stirred again, covered the pan, and let it cook at 225ºF for 15 more minutes. The little photo shows the finished result.

I have some cooked Kamut® (organically cultivated Khorasan wheat) in the fridge — intact whole-grain — and I think I’ll serve this over some of that. Obviously I have enough for a few meals.

In terms of the recipe checklist:

Beans (3) — tempeh (soybeans)
Whole Grain (3) — tempeh (rye), Kamut
Fruit Other Than Berries (3) — lemon, plus included in breakfast
Greens (2) — kale
Other Vegetables (2) — scallions, jalapeños, poblano, red bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, garlic scapes, tomato, asparagus
Cruciferous Vegetable (1) — kale
Berries (1) — breakfast
Flaxseed (1) — breakfast
Nuts & Seeds (1) — breakfast, though I’d eat this with some pumpkin seed if I had any
Herbs & Spices (1) — rosemary, ginger
Other — vinegar, fish sauce

Update and afterthought: It’s very tasty, with a light, fresh taste — the lemon helps. I might have added pitted Kalamata olives — I have them but didn’t think about it. I cut them in half, then add.

Second bowl — I found some redskin peanuts and included a few of those in the second bowl. This batch is really exceptionally tasty.

Written by Leisureguy

6 June 2023 at 3:29 pm

Soybean & rye tempeh harvested

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It’s been 72 hours since I started this batch, and I figured I might as well harvest it. To reprise: this is 1.5 cups intact whole (skin-on) soybeans and 1.5 cups intact whole-grain rye (with a little Kamut®, since I didn’t have quite enough rye), measured before cooking and cooked separately. 

I followed my usual method, which uses a Ziploc Fresh produce bat, and if you look closely at the block above you can see the tiny dots that mark the placement of perforations in the bag.

The tempeh, cut into sections, is now in storage jars in the refrigerator and I’ll be using it in cooking various things in the coming days. The idea of combining beans and grain my tempeh recipe is from the Daily Dozen idea of having beans and grain at each meal: a serving of my tempeh takes care of that.

Written by Leisureguy

18 May 2023 at 12:41 pm

Productive day so far, including tempeh

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A plastic baggie lying flat and filled with a mix of being beans (cooked soybeans) and brown grains (cooked whole rye).

I have gotten some things done — including starting a new batch of tempeh: 50-50 mix of soybean and rye (with a little Kamut® because just a little short of the amount of rye). I cooked them separately, of course, then let them cool, making sure they were relatively dry. Then mix them together with 3 tablespoons vinegar and a teaspoon of Top Cultures tempeh starter, bag them in a Ziploc Fresh Produce bag (because those are perforated), and put the bag on a raised rack in the incubator to get started. The tempeh should be ready Thursday. (General method)

And a big load of laundry to get winter clothes clean to put away since hot weather has definitely arrived. 

And I baked 4 good-sized Stokes Purple® potatoes. I’ll refrigerate them, then cut them in half and have a half as a midafternoon sweet snack.

Now I’m having a pitcher of (filtered) water over ice, the water flavored with Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters: nice chocolate, but light and without sugar-sweetness. 

The tempeh after 20 hours

A plastic bag of light tan beans mixed with dark brown grain, looking a little hazy with the developing mycellium of the tempeh fungus.

At right is a photo of the batch after about 20 hours. In this photo, you can clearly see the pattern of small perforations in the bag. The perforation is in the center of the small circles, and the circles are the area of the developing mycelium that is directly affected by the air the perforation admits. 

This batch is taking hold quite well. In another 14 hours, if not before, I’ll be able to remove the batch from the incubator and put it on a raised rack on the table.

Now I don’t know why I got diverted into tofu. I do like tempeh better, and of course it’s much more a whole food, given the amount of processing a bean undergoes to make it into tofu.

After 48 hours

A wrinkled plastic bag lying flat and ffilled with a white mass with some light-tan and dark-brown specks.

At left is the tempeh after 48 hours. I have seen reports from some that it is at this point that they stop the fermentation and refrigerate the block of tempeh, but I will go for at least 24 more hours. 

I like the mycelium to be thick and strong, and that generally takes 72 hours. I might even go another 24 hours beyond that, but that decision will be made tomorrow.

An interesting note: when I tried soybeans by themselves — with their skins still on and the cooked beans intact — it was an utter failure. But I had consistently had good success with mixed soybeans and grain, and — as you see — I’ve had another success with this batch of (intact, whole) soybeans and (intact, whole) rye. I don’t know (a) why soybeans by themselves failed, nor (b) why at the beginning I had good success with soybean only batches (using intact whole soybeans). The mystery of tempeh!

And after 72 hours, the harvest

Cross-section of a slab of tempeh show beans, grain, and white mycelim cut across. It looks somewhat like concrete if cement were white.

72 hours seems plenty, so I have harvested and butchered the block, and the sections are now in glass storage jars in the refrigerator. I generally use tempeh in stir-fries, chili, curry, and diced and fried or roasted to serve as croutons. See this post for a photo of the entire ripe block.

Written by Leisureguy

15 May 2023 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Tempeh

Bad news on the all-soybean tempeh

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It’s a failure, and I’m not sure why. The soybean-and-Kamut-wheat tempeh I made a short while back was the best batch to date.

I had to discard the batch, and here’s what I plan to do.

  1. I’ll make one of my usual legume-and-grain tempehs, using 1.5 cups whole intact soybeans and 1.54 cups whole intact Kamut wheat kernels, measured before cooking and cooked separately. This worked before, no reason it should not work again.
  2. I’ll then try another pure soybean batch: 2 cups of soybeans. I’ll not be so quick to remove it from the incubator — that may have been part of the problem with this last batch.

I admit that the failure surprised me.

Written by Leisureguy

13 February 2023 at 4:46 pm

Soybean tempeh at 48 hours

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Tempeh in a plastic beg, not completely white but white spots emerging.

Here’s the tempeh at 48 hours (about 30 minutes longer). After it had been out of the incubator a couple of hours yesterday, I felt it and it was not warm, so it wasn’t yet generating heat. I returned it to the incubator with the warming mat turned on, and continued it there until just now.

The mold seems to have taken better hold, but I’m not sure it’s ready for the chill of the room, so after taking the photo, I returned it to the incubator box, put the lid back on, but turned off the warming mat. If it has really started, it will generate enough heat inside the box to keep warm. If after a couple of hours, the box is not up to temperature, I’ll plug the mat back in.

Written by Leisureguy

12 February 2023 at 3:56 pm

Soybean tempeh at 24 hrs.

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I’ve mentioned before how vigorous the TopCultures starter seems to be.

I’ve mentioned before how vigorous Top Cultures tempeh starter seems to be, and this degree of coverage in 24 hours is an example. The tempeh now moves out of the incubator, to a raised rack on the table. The apartment is in the low 70ºs F. 

I imagine that I will be able to call this one done at 48 hours, but I’ll still go for 72.

Written by Leisureguy

11 February 2023 at 3:39 pm

All-soybean tempeh, Malaysian style

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A baggie filled with cooked soybeans.

I continue to see remarks about “having” to hull soybeans to make tempeh — but removing the hulls is totally optional, and in Malaysia (unlike Indonesia), the custom is to make tempeh with whole soybeans.

I understand that some prefer tempeh made with hulled soybeans, but many don’t realize that removing the hulls is a matter of custom in some regions and/or personal preference. My own personal preference is to leave them in place, for two reasons: 1) the hulls, like the bran of grain, have nutritional value beyond being dietary fiber (good in itself) because they contain vitamins and minerals; and 2) it’s easier just to leave the hulls in place.

It’s worth noting that normally people do not remove the skins of other beans when making tempeh with them — black beans, kidney beans, Great Northern beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and so on.

But TopCultures told me that he had difficulty in getting good tempeh from soybeans with the hull left in place, so I thought I should try a pure-soybean tempeh again, rather than my usual combination of legume+grain. And to make the comparison valid, I am using TopCultures tempeh starter.

Above is the batch I just put into the incubator, where it will remain until around 3:00pm Saturday. This is 3 cups of soybean (measured before cooking), after cooking, draining, drying, cooling, and mixing in vinegar (3 tablespoons) and tempeh starter (1 teaspoon). The batch is in a Ziploc Fresh Produce bag, which is perfectly perforated for making tempeh.

I’ll update this post as I go. I am following the method described in a previous post.

What a difference a day makes! Just 24 little hours…

I’ve mentioned before how vigorous the Top Cultures tempeh starter seems to be, and that vigor is evident from the initial growth spurt. 

At this point, the developing slab has been removed from the incubator and it is on a raised rack on the table. The apartment is around 73ºF. 

I imagine that this batch could be done in another 24 hours, but I’ll let it go for 48 hours more since I like the mycelium to fill in solidly.

In this post, you can use a slider to do a side-by-side comparison with the starting photo.

Written by Leisureguy

10 February 2023 at 3:43 pm

Tempeh Spinach, a What-I-Have-On-Hand™ recipe

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A cutting board on which are a large carrot, a beet half a small red cabbage, a large red onion, 2 boxes frozen spinach, 2 large jalapeños, 3 small red Thai chiles, half a head of red garlic, a turmeric root, a piece of ginger root, a block of tempeh, a tin of smoked paprika, a jar of dried marjoram, a pepper grinder, Windsor salt substitute, a jar of chipotle-garlic paste (homemade), and a big slab of tempeh (also homemade).
Tempeh Spinach (before)

I have eaten through the dishes previously prepared, and so I looked around for what is possible with what I had on hand. I came up with this, for which I used my 4-qt sauté pan:

Tempeh Spinach

• extra-virgin olive oil
• 10-12 oz diced tempeh (chickpea and rye)
• 1 big red onion, chopped
• 1 enormous carrot, diced
• 1 red beet, diced
• 2 jalapeños, chopped small
• 3 Thai red chiles, chopped small
• 1 tablespoon chipotle-garlic paste
• 5 dried tomatoes, chopped
• 3 cloves red garlic, chopped small
• 1 small piece ginger root, minced
• 2 turmeric roots, minced (only 1 in photo; didn’t seem enough)
• 3 small Meyer lemons, diced
• 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• 1/2 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
• about 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon Windsor salt substitute

Sauté the above for a while. Then add:

• 2 pkgs frozen spinach
• about 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• good splash of tamari
• about 3 tablespoons Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar
• about 1/4 cup no-salt-added vegetable broth

Cover and simmer 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

A pot of greens, with pieces of lemon, carrot, and other vegetables visible.
Tempeh Spinach (after)

This recipe covers seven of the Daily Dozen:

Beans, Grain: Tempeh (chickpeas+intact whole rye)
Greens, Cruciferous Vegetable (cabbage) – Spinach, red cabbage 
Other Vegetables – Onion, carrot, beet, chiles, tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic  
Fruit – Meyer lemons 
Herbs & Spices – Marjoram, paprika, ginger, turmeric pepper 

And breakfast took care of

Berries (frozen mixed, dried barberry, amla)
(rolled oats)
Nuts & Seeds (walnuts; chia seed)
Herbs & Spices (cloves, marjoram, spearmint, cinnamon, cocoa)
Fruit (3 pieces: mandarin, Bosc pear, apple)
Beverages (1 pint of tea)

But no real Exercise today, I admit.

I’m having a bowl of Tempeh Spinach now, generously sprinkled with roasted pumpkin seeds (more Nuts & Seeds). Very tasty, and not so hot as the chiles might suggest — but definitely some spicy warmth, good on a cold night.

Next day: I put some fermented beets in a bowl, topped it with Tempeh Spinach, and sprinkled roasted pumpkin seeds on top (a good source of zinc).

Written by Leisureguy

27 January 2023 at 4:58 pm

Why I added baking soda when I cooked dried beans

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In my guide to making your own tempeh, I include a warning on not adding any baking soda to the water when cooking dried beans: Rhizopus oligosporus, the fungus that turns beans (and grain) into tempeh, requires an acid environment and will not grow if the beans are alkaline.

Someone in the Tempeh Makers group on Facebook asked why would I even add baking soda when I cook dried beans. Here’s why: if you’re just cooking beans to eat, a little baking soda makes them cook much faster, be more tender, and (some say) less gassy. See this Cook’s Illustrated article. It worked so well when I tried it, I made it a habit. All well and good, until I tried to make tempeh with beans cooked that way: consistent failure until I twigged to the problem.

Written by Leisureguy

25 January 2023 at 7:22 pm

A simple chili, the kind with asparagus and sweet vermouth

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A pot of chili, in which are visible mushrooms, tomatoes, and asparagus.

I was in a chili mood, so I got out my 4-qt All-Clad Stainless sauté pan and drizzled in:

• about 1.5-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

And then I started prepping, adding to the skillet as I went:

• 1 large red onion, chopped coarsely
• 3 BBQ/spring onions, chopped (or use 1 bunch thick scallions)
• 10-12 small white mushrooms, quartered
• about 8 oz chickpea-rye tempeh, diced large
• about 2 tablespoons chipotle-garlic paste
• about 2 tablespoons chimayo chile powder
• about 2 tablespoons ground cumin
• about 3-4 tablespoons Mexican oregano
• about 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• about 1 tablespoon dried thyme
• about 1 teaspoon MSG (it’s okay)

I then turned on the induction burner to 4 and sautéed that, stirring frequently with a wooden spatula. As it cooked, I added:

• 1 small can tomato paste

and continued to cook and stir until the tomato paste darkened somewhat. Then I added:

• 1 19-oz (540ml) can Aylmer’s Italian Seasonings stewed tomatoes
• enough sweet vermouth to fill the little can that held the tomato paste
• 2 squares Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
• 1 tablespoon ground coffee

I turned the burner to 225ºF and the timer to 10 minutes and covered the pan. When the bell went off, I added:

• about 12-13 ounces thin asparagus, chopped

I had a pound of asparagus, but I didn’t use the bottom portion of the spears.

I stirred that in, turned the burner on to 225ºF for another 10 minutes, and covered the pan. I just had a bowl, with a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast on top. 

It’s extremely tasty. The vermouth was a good idea, and the chocolate and ground coffee worked well. 

Written by Leisureguy

20 January 2023 at 4:02 pm

Chickpea-Rye Tempeh done

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Cross-section of a slab of tempeh, the top perfectly white, the cross section revealing large tan blobs of chickpeas sliced in two along with smaller grains of rye.

The batch of tempeh that I blogged earlier is now done. It took 72 hours, the usual time for the method I follow. At right is a photo of the tempeh still in its Ziploc Fresh Produce bag; above is the tempeh cut free of the bag and the first cut made to break it down to fit my storage jars. The chickpeas are the large beige blobs, with the grains of rye smaller and darker. The mycelium has filled the interstices nicely.

This is a very good batch: solid, rigid slab. I really like the TopCultures starter. It produces a vigorous mycelium.

Once I finish the lentils and the cooked amaranth (seed) I have on hand, I’ll use this tempeh for the beans and grain in my meals.

Written by Leisureguy

6 January 2023 at 4:26 pm

Chickpea & Rye Tempeh

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Plastic bag in which you can see a mix of chickpeas and rye grain.

I’ve run out of tempeh, but on Friday this new batch should be ready. I’m following my usual procedure, except that instead of 1.5 cups of beans/lentils and 1.5 cups of intact whole grain (measured before cooking and cooked separately), I used 2 cups of chickpeas and 1 cup of whole-grain rye. The reason is that the chickpeas came in a 1-pint container. I did not want to deal with 1/2 cup of uncooked chickpea, so I just cooked the lot and cut back on the rye. I could have gone with 2 cups of rye as well, I suppose.

Lesson learned: use a little less water when cooking the rye so that the grains don’t burst open so much. When they do, they are sticky and tend to mass together. With less water, they will be cooked but intact.

I again used the starter culture from TopCultures. Last time that seemed to provide a vigorous start. I used 1/2 teaspoon, along with 3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar, and added the starter gradually, mixing well after each addition to ensure even distribution.

Above you see it ready for the incubator, in a Ziploc Fresh Produce bag, nicely perforated and ideal for tempeh growth.

After 24 hours

Chickpeas and rye in plastic bag mut mold covering them enough so that they are difficult to distinguish. Looks like white haze with dots stick through here and there

The mold has taken hold very well, but clearly more time is needed. At this point, the developing slab is removed from the incubator and put on the table to continue at room temperature (low 70s F). 

I have to say that the starter from TopCultures seems quite vigorous. This was a free sample, but when it runs out, I’ll buy my replacement from them.

Click the photo to see an enlargement in a new tab. 

After 48 hours

Tempeh in plastic bag: white with speckles of brain and tan where beans and grain poke through.

I probably could stop fermentation at this point, but as usual I want more mycelium — it’s like cowbell, you always want more — so I’ll go for another 24 hours.

The slab is rigid and strong at this point, but that will increase over the next 24 hours. Some slight signs of sporing on the other side, which is why I turned it over. The sporing areas are a light gray. In previous batches, putting the sporing areas on the bottom resulted in the sporing ceasing or being overgrown.

Yeah — after I turned it over and several hours had passed, the sporing was no longer visible.

After 72 hours — it’s done!

Click image above to enlarge. On the left, is a photo of the batch still in its Ziploc Fresh Produce bag. On the right, the slab is cut free of the bag, with the first cross-section cut made as I break it down to fit storage containers. With the full 72 hours, the mycelium is nicely developed and the white coating is velvety smooth. The interstices between chickpeas and grains of rye are packed with mycelium.

I find that the starter culture from produces vigorous growth of mycelium. I like it a lot.

I’ll use this tempeh for the Daily Dozen beans and grain checkboxes. 

Update: A summary of nutritional research on chickpea tempeh. The article mentions separating the hulls from the chickpeas (Indonesian style) as well as leaving them in place (Malaysian style). I follow the Malaysian style because it’s easier and Rhizopus doesn’t seem to mind.

Written by Leisureguy

3 January 2023 at 4:00 pm

Broccolini du jour

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Prep board on which sit: a tin of bittersweet paprika, a jar of "Umami Bomb," a jar of Georgia Gold turmeric paste, 4 large peeled garlic cloves, 1/4 large red onion, two sprigs fresh tarragon, 1 bunch of broccolini, 3 largish mushrooms, a lemon, 2 spring (or BBQ) onions, a large jalapeño, a small piece of tempeh, and 4 small knobs of fresh ginger.

I’ve not blogged a dish for a while, and tonight I decided to cook a bunch (not meaning “a lot,” but one bunch) of broccolini, and the rest came along for the ride, though I did have the BBQ onions in mind.

Drizzle my 12″ MSMK nonstick skillet with about

• 1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (actual olive oil)

Then prep the vegetables, starting (always) with garlic, since it must rest 10-15 after being cut up. So:

• 4 large cloves Russian red garlic, sliced thin (with my garlic mandoline)
• 4 small knobs fresh ginger root, minced or chopped small (not grated)
• 1/4 large red onion, chopped
• 2 BBQ/spring onions, chopped including leaves
• 3 largish mushrooms, halved vertically then sliced
• 1 piece of Du Puy lentil + Kamut wheat tempeh, diced small
• 1 large jalapeño, cap removed, quartered lengthwise, and chopped
• 1 lemon, ends removed, then diced
• 2 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves stripped from stem and chopped 
• about 1 teaspoon Spanish bittersweet smoked paprika
• no Umami Bomb — decided against it at the last minute
• 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, as much for antioxidants as flavor
• 1 teaspoon Georgia Gold turmeric purée, and therefore:
• 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

A stir-fry with a slight orange cast from turmeric,  Visible are broccolini, mushrooms, onion, and tarragon.

The tarragon was purchased on a whim, and this seemed a good place to use it. Having the tarragon made me decide against Umami Bomb (which is added after cooking). I wanted to get the full effect of the tarragon.

I put all the prepped vegetables in the skilled as I went, adding the garlic at the end (when it had rested 14 minutes). I stirred the vegetables to mix, turned the burner to “3” (of 10), and covered the skillet.

Once the glass lid was covered inside with condensation, I stirred the veggies to make sure the skillet was now hot. I added:

• about 2 tablespoons water

And put the lid back on. I cooked it for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooking was well underway. Then I turned the burner to 200ºF, the timer to 10 minutes, covered the skillet, and came in to start this post. 

When the timer went off, I had a bowl of it. Extremely nice. Tarragon comes through strongly, of course, and the lemon was a good addition. Nice warmth from the one jalapeño. Good mouth feel and chewiness from broccolini and tempeh. Glad to get the turmeric, which I have been missing.

A success.  

Written by Leisureguy

29 December 2022 at 6:18 pm

Soup thoughts

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A pot of crowded vegetable soup, vegetables in a broth that's dark red from smoked paprika. Visible are disks of purple potato, mushrooms, thinly sliced leek leaves, and pieces of Shanghai bok choy.
The soup at the beginning

The day is very sunny — clear skies, with the brightness of sunshine bouncing off snow. It’s a trick: the temperature report is that it “feels like” 19ºF (-7.2ºC). This is a day indoors, and another soup day. (I still have vegetable broth to use up.)

I will use my 6-qt wide-diameter soup pot, the wide diameter being good for sautéing the vegetables before adding liquid.

Solstice Soup

Drizzle in about 1.5-2 Tbsps EVOO (true EVOO) and then cook:
• 6 large cloves garlic, chopped fairly large and rested
• 1″ ginger root, minced (all I had on hand; would have used more)
• 3 BBQ onions (like spring onions), chopped
• leaves from the tops of 5 leeks, rinsed well and sliced thin (leftovers from this)
• 10.7 oz lentil-and-wheat tempeh (this one), diced medium
• 12 medium domestic white mushrooms, sliced thickly
• 5 dried tomatoes (not in oil, just dry), chopped
• 4 Shanghai bok choy mue, chopped
• 2 medium-large beets, diced small
• 1 tablespoon Spanish smoked hot paprika
• 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• 2 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon (Cassia cinnamon toxic to liver at high doses)

Once that has cooked pretty well, add:
• 2 Tablespoons tomato paste (I buy it in a tube so I can use small amounts)

Continue cooking until the tomato paste darkens, then add:
• 1 540ml (19-oz) can Aylmer Italian Seasonings tomatoes
• the aforementioned veggie broth — a little more than 1 quart; had also to add water
• 2 large roasted Stokes Purple® potatoes from the fridge, sliced into disks
• good dash of Red Boat fish sauce
• splash of Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon MSG (it’s okay)

I decided against adding spinach. The pot is filling up, and the leek leaves add plenty of green.

A thick soup, dark red, crowded with vegetables. Cubes of tempeh are visible, and thin slices of leek leaves, along with the cooked millet and rolled oatss.
The finished soup

Simmer for 35 minutes, and then add:
• 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
• 1/4 cup unpolished little millet

I decided to add those because, although the overall soup is thick, the liquid is not. My thought is that these will thicken the liquid. [Bonus: when I retrieved the millet from the cupboard I saw I had an unopened bag of barnyard millet, which is particularly good.] You can see the millet in the finished soup in the photo at right.

At the end, just before dishing it up, I added:
• 3 lemons, peeled and then blended to make a pulp

I just stirred in the lemon pulp and have a bowl cooling. I did taste it. The soup is amazingly tasty, which is lucky, because there are 5 quarts of it and only I eating it. I’ll undoubtedly freeze some. The smokiness of the paprika definitely comes through.

I served it with
• a sprinkling of pumpkin seed (unsalted)

The little cubes of tempeh are nice and chewy. They give the stew a meaty mouthfeel.



Written by Leisureguy

21 December 2022 at 1:31 pm

Christmas Beets

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A kind of stew-fry with the ingredients listed in the post — red and green dominate the color.

I had two beets left over from making the ferment, and I decided to use one immediately. I made up a recipe using what I had on hand, and it ended up with a red-and-green color scheme, overall, so: Christmas. It also serves as an example of a stew-fry — a cross between a stir-fry and a stew. (I’ve not heard of this category, but it makes sense to me.)

I used my 12″ MSMK nonstick skillet, which has a lid. I first drizzled into the skillet about

• 1-1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Then I prepped the veg, adding them to the cold skillet as I went:

• 1 beet, diced small
• about 6 oz Du Puy lentil and Kamut wheat tempeh, diced small
• an ample handful of gai pan mue, chopped (The link says “mui,” my store says “mue.”)
• green leaves from the top of a leek, rinsed and sliced (left over from ferment earlier)
• 1 spring onion (a young onion, bigger than a scallion, with a definite bulb), chopped
• 5 medium-large mushrooms, halved and sliced
• 2 red Fresno peppers, sliced including core and seeds
• 1 small orange bell pepper, chopped
• about 1.5″ thick ginger root, minced
• about 2 tablespoons dried marjoram (very high in antioxidants)
• about 1 tablespoon La Chinata smoked Spanish hot paprika (tastes good)
• about 1/2 cup low-sodium veggie broth
• good splash of Red Boat fish sauce
• good splash of Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar
• about 1/2 teaspoon Windsor iodized salt substitute
• about 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste

Three young onions, leaves slightly trimmed, bulbs just starting to form, bound together as for a supermarket.

I turned the heat to medium and covered the pan. When the liquid was simmering, I turned the burner to 225ºF for 25 minutes. I stirred occasionally, and after 10 minutes I added:

• about 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Extra whole grain is good, plus I wanted the oats to take up and thicken the liquid. The onion I used is like those in the photo, and the store calls them “BBQ onions.” It’s certainly not the season for spring onions, at least not in the Northern Hemisphere, and the bulb of spring onions is somewhat larger.

As usual, I was guided by thinking of the templates provided by Greger’s Daily Dozen and Heber’s color palate. Gai pan served as both greens and a cruciferous vegetable.

It was tasty, and I have enough for 2-3 more meals. 

Written by Leisureguy

16 December 2022 at 5:42 pm

Tempeh Two-Step

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A blue bowl that contains a stir-fry of vegetables and marinated tempeh. A  piece of cauliflower is visible, along with a coup of pieces of purple potato, diced tempeh, and the green leaves of gai pan.

Step 1: Marinate the tempeh

I took a slab, about 6 ounces, of my Du Puy lentil and Kamut wheat lentil tempeh and cut it in half to make thinner slabs, which I then diced.

I took a storage dish with a tight lid and put into the dish:

• about 3 tablespoons ponzu sauce
• a dash of tamari
• about 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
• a couple of dashes of Frank’s RedHot Xtra Hot Sauce
• about a tablespoon of Smak Dab beer+chipotle mustard
• a little Spanish smoked paprika
• a pinch of MSG (it’s okay)
• a splash of rice vinegar

The mustard is for flavor but also to help the mix emulsify

I whisked that together, added the diced tempeh, clipped the lid on the container, and gave it a good shake, then let the tempeh marinate on the counter for the afternoon.

Step 2: Cook the dish

I used my 12″ MSMK nonstick skillet and its lid, and I started by drizzling the skillet with

• about 1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Then I prepped the veg:

• 5 cloves Russian red garlic, chopped small
• about 1″ thick fresh ginger root, minced
• 1  bunch of thick scallions (6 scallions), chopped including leaves
• 5 large domestic white mushrooms, halved and then sliced
• chopped Taiwan cauliflower, about 1 cup total
• chopped gai pan mue, about 2 cups total
• 1/2 of a roasted (long, skinny) Stokes Purple potato from the fridge, cut into disks
• sprinkling of about 2-3 teaspoons dried marjoram
• sprinkling of about 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper

I turned the heat to medium (3 on my induction burner) and after the pan was hot and the gai lan leaves had wilted a bit, I added:

• the tempeh and its marinade
• a splash of vinegar 
• a small splash of Red Boat fish sauce

I covered the skillet and cooked that for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I just had two bowls of it, and it’s excellent. The rest is for tomorrow.

Written by Leisureguy

12 December 2022 at 5:35 pm

Tempeh Chili

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Ingredients that will go into the chili, listed in post.

I thought I’d make a chili today, which is overcast and cold with snow predicted late this afternoon: a good day for chili. Shown above is the IKEA view — i.e., prior to assembly. Here’s what I’m doing. 

Garlic mandoline and six large peeled cloves of garlic.

The first step is to cut up the garlic so that it can rest for 10-15 minutes before it goes into a hot skillet In the photo above, the six cloves of Russian red garlic can be seen in front of the bowl of red kidney beans. At the right are the peeled cloves, next to the mandoline that will reduce them to thin slices. 

A pile of thinly sliced garlic.

At the left is a photo of the same cloves, now sliced. It took about one minute, which is why I like my garlic mandoline so much. Allowing the garlic to rest means that a heat-sensitive enzyme, necessary to produce the nutrient we want from garlic, has time to complete the reaction before it is destroyed by the heat of the skillet.

Once the garlic has rested, the process begins. First step was to drizzle about a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil into the 12″ MSMK nonstick skillet. In hindsight, a better choice would have been the 4-qt All-Clad Stainless sauté pan — the skillet got very full, and finally I had to transfer the batch to the sauté pan. 

I added to the skillet:

• 1 large red onion, chopped
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped
• 10.6 oz lentil-&-wheat tempeh, slabs halved to make thinner slabs, then diced
• 1″ piece of ginger root, minced (in the photo, it’s in front of the ancho chili powder)

As I have said, my recipes are descriptive rather than prescriptive. I’m not saying to use 10.6 oz of tempeh, just that the amount I used turned out to be 10.6 oz.

I turned the heat to medium and cooked that, stirring frequently, until the onion started to get transparent. At that point I added:

• the sliced garlic

I cooked that for a few minutes, stirring to separate the garlic. Then I added:

• 1 small can tomato paste

I cooked that, stirring frequently, until the tomato paste darkened. This improves the taste. Then I add:

• 1 540ml (19-fl oz) can Aylmer® Accents® Chili Seasonings Diced Stewed Tomatoes
• 1 10-oz can Ro•Tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
• 1 small can diced green chiles

I sure thought that can of green chiles was a can of chipotles in adobo, which I was going to blend and add. So it goes. So while those came to heat and began to simmer, I collected the herbs and spices in a little bowl and included some crushed red pepper and some ground chipotle in lieu of the chipotles in adobo. I put into the bowl:

• about 3 Tbsp Mexican oregano
• about 1.5 Tbsp ground cumin
• about 2 teaspoons dried thyme
• about 2 Tbsp dried marjoram (very high in antioxidants)
• about 1 Tbsp ground ancho
• about 2 tsp ground chipotle (not shown)
• about 2 tsp crushed red pepper (not shown)
• about 1 Tbsp Spanish smoked paprika (I store it in the Club House)
• about 1.5 teaspoons MSG (it’s okay)

I added those to the pan, along with;

• 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (see this post)
• cooked red kidney beans (1 cup, measured before cooking)
• 2 Tbsp Gemai miso
• 5 domestic white mushrooms, halved then cut into thick slices
• 2 squares Baker’s unsweetened baking chocolate
• about 1 Tbsp Wright’s liquid smoke
• about 1.5 Tbsp Georgia Gold turmeric purée 
• about 1.5 Tbsp ground black pepper
• good splash of Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar
• about 3/4 cup water

I stirred to mix, covered the pan, and simmered it for about 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. I’m having a bowl now, topped with about 1 Tbsp of Bragg’s nutritional yeast. Tasty, but a little spicier than I like — too much crushed red pepper is my guess. But I’ve noticed that after I refrigerate something spicy overnight, it seems noticeably less spicy the next day. We’ll see. In the meantime, it’s certainly good.

Update: The second bowl doesn’t seem so spicy as the first.

Pot of chili, mushrooms visible in the mix.

Written by Leisureguy

2 December 2022 at 3:42 pm

Latest tempeh complete after 72 hours

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Cross section of lentil and wheat tempeh, showing closely packed seeds with white mycelium filling any available space.

The new batch of tempeh is complete.’s starter culture turns out to be vigorous. The leftover is sealed in a big in the refrigerator for the next batch.

The full report on this batch can be found in this post, along with an irrelevant recipe.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Tempeh

Du Puy lentils and Kamut wheat tempeh

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Above, Du Puy lentils on the left and Kamut® (organic Khorasan wheat) at the right. These were 1 1/2 cups each before cooking (and cooked separately), and after cooking weight 1.37kg (3 lbs). I made this batch following the basic method I worked out.

After the lentils and wheat were cool, I picked up the towel by the corners and dumped them into a bowl. I added 3 tablespoons vinegar (1 tablespoon per cup), and used a silicone spatula to mix them well.

I received a 70g sample packet of tempeh starter from TopCultures, so I’m giving that a try. For this batch, I used 1 teaspoon. I put the starter in a small bowl and sprinkled a little over the lentils and wheat, then used the spatula to mix well. I repeated — sprinkle a little starter, mix well — until all the starter had been added, about six additions. The reason for the slow adding and much mixing was to ensure that the starter culture is distributed evenly, which makes for a good batch.

Then bagged the lentils and grain in a Ziploc Fresh Produce bag, whose small perforations are idea for making tempeh.

Ziploc bag holding mix of cooked Du Puy lentils and whole wheat kernels.

The bag is now on a rack in my homemade tempeh incubator. It will probably take 24 hours for the mycelium to develop and become well-established. At that point, I will remove the bag from the incubator and put it on a rack on the table to finish at room temperature. The developing mycelium generates plenty of heat, so the incubator is no longer required and even can cause the mycelium to spore. That results in black or gray patches — perfectly edible but somewhat off-putting.

After 24 hours

Flattened Ziploc bag containing Du Puy lentils and whole grain wheat covered with thin, light coating of white mycelium.

Click photo to enlarge. The mycelium at this point is hazy, just a sort of white dusting of the lentils and grain, but it is well-established and the slab of developing tempeh is quite warm.

I removed the batch from the incubator and it’s now on a rack on the table, where it will continue to develop at room temperature — well, warmer than room temperature, since it is now generating its own heat.

I am pleased at the evenness of the development, the result of my adding the starter culture just a little at a time and mixing well after each addition.

After 48 hours

Slab of tempeh in Ziploc bag, almost all white with mycelium, a few scatter brownish spots where lentils or grain still is showing through.

The mycelium has developed quite a bit, and I think that after 72 hours the tempeh will be ready. I have the strong impression that this particular starter culture is quite vigorous — more vigorous than what I’ve been using, though in fairness the Cultures for Health culture I have on hand is fairly old (though it has been stored in the refrigerator to keep it fresh).

Still, I’m impressed by the TopCultures starter, and when my sample is done, I’ll order more. 

And I’m very eager for this to be done. Having no tempeh on hand, I instead used tofu in my meal tonight. Following a tip I read on Mastodon, I cut the block of extra-firm tofu in half and froze each half in its own Ziploc baggie. I thawed one overnight in the fridge and used it in cooking dinner tonight. 

The thawed tofu was interesting — it becomes like a water-filled sponge, and as I squeezed it gently in my hands over the sink, the water gushed out. I continued, rotating the block and squeezing gently until no more water came out. Then I diced the tofu and used it in my veggie stir fry, which consisted of:

• 1 bunch broccolini chopped
• a good-sized handful of yu choy mue (“mue” meaning “baby”) chopped
• two sweet-tooth peppers (one red, one yellow) chopped small
• 1 Chinese long onion chopped
• about 1/4-1/3 cup rolled oats — I wanted a whole grain to go with the beans (tofu)
• 4 cloves Russian red garlic (a hard-neck garlic) chopped small and allowed to rest
• about 1.5″ minced fresh ginger (locally grown, very juicy)
• 3 minced fresh turmeric roots
• 3 large mushrooms halved and sliced
• 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
• 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• about 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary needles
• about 1.5 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper (for the turmeric, you know)
• about 3-4 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
• about 2-3 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce
• 1/2 cup water

I put all of the above in my 12″ nonstick skillet, put on the lid, and cooked at 225ºF for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  I topped my bowl of veggies with some oyster sauce.

After 72 hours

Ater 72 hours, it looks damn good. Above on the left is the slab still in the bag; on the right, unwrapped. The slab is quite rigid — also heavy and, as shown in the photo below, dense.

A slab of lentil and wheat tempeh cut across to shown the dense packing and the internal white mycelium.

The photo shows the internal structure of the slab of tempeh. Because the Du Puy lentils are small, the lentils and wheat are closely packed. If you click the photo to enlarge, though, you can see that all available space is filled with the mycelium.

I cooked some that did not fit into the two storage dishes I used. It’s very tasty and chewy. I definitely see that a chili and also a curry are in the future of this batch.

Written by Leisureguy

24 November 2022 at 3:34 pm


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I once again improvised a dish and, after having a couple of bowls of it, realize that it’s really tasty. I just my 12″ MSMK nonstick skillet, which conveniently came with a lid.

This time I did spray the olive oil but drizzled it over the bottom. Then I put the prepped food into the cold skillet as I prepared it. I used what I had on hand, so you can vary this as you want

• 5 cloves garlic, chopped small — Russian red garlic so the cloves are large
• 7 or 8 thick scallions (the whole bunch), chopped
• 5 large domestic white mushrooms, halved and then sliced
• 1/2 bunch thinnish asparagus, chopped
• 1 celery heart (the package holds a pair), chopped
• 2 Serrano and 2 yellow cayenne peppers, chopped
• about 8 oz soybean+oat tempeh, diced medium
• ~2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste (which I buy in a tube so I don’t have to use a whole can)

I started cooking it over medium heat, stirring occasionally. It seemed to need some liquid, so I added:

• 1 540 ml can Aylmer® Accents® Chili Seasonings Diced Stewed Tomatoes

Once the tomatoes were added, and thinking of chili, I also added:

• ~2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
• ~1 tablespoon ground cumin
• ~2 teaspoons dried thyme
• ~2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
• ~1 tablespoon Wright’s liquid smoke
• dash of tamari
• about 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (to finish the bottle)

I cover the pan, set the burner to 225ºF and the timer to 20 minutes, and let it simmer. I stirred it a couple of times along the way.

When it was done I dished up a bowl and added:

• about 1 tablespoon Bragg’s nutritional yeast.

For the second bowl, I also added

• about 2 tablespoons unsalted roasted pumpkin seed.

Lots left for future meals.

Written by Leisureguy

11 November 2022 at 8:39 pm

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