Later On

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Archive for the ‘Tempeh’ Category

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

Opo Delight

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This is another recipe I improvised from what was on hand — foods that I had bought simply because they looked good and/or interesting.

One of those foods was the opo squash shown at the right. I figured I would cook it like any summer squash. Another was a Taiwanese cabbage, which grows rather flat. The one I had was not particularly dense, but that may not be the rule.

I used my 4-qt sauté pan, and I Evo-sprayed it with 4 sprays of extra-virgin olive oil, so about 1 teaspoon.

Step 1: Chop cabbage and mince garlic and let them rest

I first cored and chopped the 3/4 head of cabbage that I had. (I had used 1/4 earlier in cooking something.) I let that rest for 45 minutes so I could benefit from the sulforaphane in the cabbage. (Cooking it sooner doesn’t allow the sulforaphane to form.) 

I also peeled and chopped small about 10 large cloves of garlic and let that rest. This wasn’t Russian red garlic, but a white head that was stunningly easy to peel: trim off the attachment point, twist the clove, and the skin pops off.

I put cabbage and garlic in a large bowl, to which I would add other vegetables as I prepped them.

Step 2: Put into the pan the first tranche of vegetables

As I prepped these, I put them directly into the (cold) pan, since they will be cooked first.

• 1 large red onion, chopped
• ~8 ounces soy-oat tempeh, diced fairly small: slab cut into two thinner slabs, then diced
• ~3″ large fresh ginger root, minced 
• 3 good-sized Serrano peppers, chopped small
• about 1/4 cup firmly packed dry (not oil-packed) sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly

Step 3: Prep the other vegetables

The large bowl already contained the cabbage and garlic; I prepared and added the others:

• 3/4 head Taiwanese cabbage, cored, chopped, already resting 
• ~10 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped small, already resting
• 1 opo squash, diced (no need to peel)
• about 3 tablespoons dried marjoram
• ~1 teaspoon Windsor Salt Substitute (no sodium, high in potassium, and iodized)
• 1 teaspoon MSG (it’s okay)
• 2 good-sized fresh turmeric roots, chopped small
• 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

Step 4: The cooking

First, turn the burner on to “3” and start cooking what’s in the pan from Step 1, stirring frequently. After the onions start to become translucent, add the vegetables from the bowl in stages. (Their volume is too large to just dump them all into the pan, so add them little by little as they cook down, until they’re all in the pan.)

Let them cook a while to wilt further, stirring frequently.

Step 5: Now add some liquid

After the vegetables in the pan have wilted, add:

• 1 18.3-oz can Aylmer’s Garlic and Olive Oil Tomatoes
• good splash of Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar (about 3 tablespoons)
• good splash of Red Boat fish sauce (about 2 tablespoons)

Stir well, cover pan, and turn burner to 225ºF and the timer to 30 minutes. Stir every now and then as it cooks.

Step 6: Eat it

I filled a bowl with the cooked vegetables and topped it with:

• about 1.5 tablespoons hemp hearts, and
• 1 teaspoon Bragg’s nutritional yeast

Bragg’s nutritional yeast is fortified with B12; not all of them are. (Red Star is another good brand.)

I thought about including mushrooms, but the pan was pretty full. Another time, but obviously an option.

Written by Leisureguy

13 October 2022 at 2:51 pm

Tempeh update

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I’ve updated my soybean-and-oat tempeh post. After 72 hours, the batch is looking extremely good.

And this really is a super batch. Here it is after cutting (and after about 80 hours of fermentation).

Written by Leisureguy

10 October 2022 at 12:42 pm

Soybean, rye, and oat tempeh

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Just started this at 11:00am. The grain part is mostly oats (groats), with some rye I had on hand. It was pretty moist, so I’m interested to see how Rhizopus oligosporus will fare. Rhizopus generally likes its dinner on the dry side, moistened with a little vinegar.

I’ll know by Thanksgiving (Monday) how well it turned out.

24 hours later it was slow starting — I imagine because of the oat groats. I left it in the incubator for another few hours, then put it on the table. By the time I went to bed, about six hours later, it had not done much (because, I think, the room is fairly cool — I have the window open and the outside temperature is in the low 60s).

So for the night, I put it back on the rack in the incubator, but I did not plug in the warming map, just put the lid on to conserve the heat from the fermentation. This morning it looked much better (see photo at right). The slab was warm and covered with a thin growth of mycelium. So it has now moved back to the table since it seems now to be generating enough heat to keep going.

I expect by tomorrow afternoon it will be ready to be butchered and stored in the fridge.

Yesterday’s photo above was taken after about 48 hours. The photo at right was taken after about 72 hours. As you can see, the mycelium has filled in nicely with strong growth. I could probably cut it up now, but I’m going to let it continue its growth today and do the butchering tonight.

I’m wondering whether our somewhat cooler temperatures help the mycelium once it has become established in the medium.

Despite my worries about oat groats being too damp, they do seem to work, and I think soybean-and-oat tempeh sounds very healthy. (There’s just a little rye — about 2 tablespoons of grain, measured before cooking, compared to 1 1/2 cups total grain.)

.Barley grains also burst open when cooked. (I use hulled barley, which has the grain intact, unlike pearled barley (grain removed by polishing, as with white rice) or pot barley (with the grains cut, steel-cut oats)). I’m now inclined to make a batch using some kind of beans and barley

And above you see the tempeh finished and cut. This looks to be a really excellent batch. I’m eager to try it.

Written by Leisureguy

7 October 2022 at 11:21 am

Summer joy: Cooking fresh vegetables

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Just cooking some dinner. Starting at upper left and going roughly clockwise, we have:

• Russian red garlic — I used two of the (enormous) cloves
• ginger root — I used all of the piece shown
• turmeric root — just below the ginger and mostly hidden — chopped fine
• red habanero pepper — just to the right of the ginger; I seeded this and chopped it
• 2 red cayenne peppers — above the habanero; I chopped these without seeding
• 3 garlic scapes — mostly hidden; cut into short sections
• 2 long sweet peppers, 1 red, 1 yellow — seeded and chopped
• 1 zucchini — quartered lengthwise and cut into good-sized pieces
• a few kale leaves — chopped
• diced red kidney bean and millet tempeh, marinated in Smoky-Maple overnight
• 1 leek, chopped including leaves
• a few scallions, ditto
• several cremini mushrooms, sliced
• a few spears asparagus, chopped
• 1 San Marzano tomato, chopped

That’s my Bulat knife in the photo. Not shown but added:

• a couple of pinches of MSG
• a good amount of ground black pepper
• roughly 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• roughly 1.5 tablespoons dried mint
• good shaking of salt substitute (potassium chloride, iodized)
• good dash of tamari — a tablespoon or two
• about 1/4 cup Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar

I added all of the above to my 12″ MSMK nonstick skillet which was sprayed with about 1.5 teaspoons olive oil, covered the skillet, turned the induction burner to “3,” and cooked it for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

And here it is after cooking.

It tastes good, and the presence of the habanero is definitely noted. It was a good decision to use only one. (I bought three.)

The Smoky Maple Marinade is a hit, and the tempeh tastes great. I think I probably should have used the entire 8 ounces I made. I’ll add the rest now and cook the dish a bit longer. 

Overall, a good meal. Other elements of the Daily Dozen I got earlier — for example, the chia pudding included spices (cinnamon and cloves), walnuts, flaxseed, and berries (frozen berries plus dried barberries plus 1 teaspoon amla). And I had a 1.71-mile walk (3.32 mph, so 31 minutes).

Update: I added the rest of the tempeh, including the marinade, and cooked for six minutes. I just had a bowl of that — also delicious. Also, the aftereffect of the habanero (and cayenne, I imagine) is a sustained warmth in the mouth — not heat, not painful, but warm and pleasant.

Written by Leisureguy

16 September 2022 at 4:31 pm

Smoky Maple Tempeh Marinade

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While I was walking, I got to thinking about dinner and decided I wanted to marinate my tempeh before I used it in a stir fry, so I did a search and found this one (a couple of adjustments made in the version below):

Smoky Maple Tempeh Marinade

• 1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp liquid smoke
• 1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 1 garlic clove, crushed

  1. … Add all the ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined. Alternatively, add all the ingredients into an air-tight jar and shake until combined. You can either store the marinade in the refrigerator or freezer as is or marinate the tempeh (steps below).
  2. Pour marinade over tempeh in a freezer-safe container or bag and toss until tempeh is fully coated in the marinade. Each marinade is enough for 8 ounces of tempeh.
  3. Immediate Use: Refrigerate and let the tempeh marinate for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight).
  4. Freezing: Transfer the marinated tempeh to the freezer and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to cook, place the frozen marinated tempeh in the refrigerator overnight or until completely thawed. Alternatively, place the tempeh in a bowl of hot water and change water as it cools until thawed. Now the tempeh is ready to be cooked!

I cut off a chunk of my red-kidney-bean-and-millets tempeh that weighed 7.9 oz. (Good eye, eh?) I diced it bite-size put it in a Glasslock storage container, and poured the marinade over, snapped the lid in place, and gave it a shake. It will marinate a total of two hours, and then I’ll make my stir-fry.

Written by Leisureguy

12 September 2022 at 3:00 pm

Red Kidney Bean and Millet Tempeh done

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This is the red kidney bean and millets (fox-tail millet and little-millet, both unpolished) that I started three days ago. It fermented about 75 hours total. The very pale areas in the photo are an artefact of the lighting. 

It turned out okay, though I think the millet was a bit challenging. Here is a cross-section:

This will meet my bean and grain quota for a few days. I think I had better luck with my soybean and kodo millet tempeh, and also with my chana dal and barnyard millet (which was more matched in size).

It definitely has a different look.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 6:26 pm

Peppers galore!

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Our produce market had many peppers of different varieties so I got a selection:

• Red cayenne peppers
• Red habanero peppers
• Pale green Hungarian peppers
• Banana peppers, some red, some yellow, some orange
• Dove peppers, some yellow, some red

I just made a dish to use a bunch of the peppers. I sprayed my MSMK 12″ nonstick skillet with a few sprays of EVOO and then added:

• 3″ or so of ginger root, sliced thin and then minced
• 3 large clove Russian red garlic, sliced thin on garlic mandoline

I let that rest for 10 minutes, then put it into the skillet along with:

• 2 San Marzano tomatoes, diced fairly large (quarter lengthwise, then cut into pieces)
• 1 seedless lemon, peeled and then diced (as described at the link)
• 1 large yellow zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into thick pieces
• 3 red cayenne peppers, chopped small
• 1 Hungarian pepper, seeded and chopped
• 3 banana peppers (2 red, 1 yellow) seeded and chopped
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped
• about 1/4 cup walnuts
• about 8 oz soybean and Kamut tempeh, diced medium-large
• about 8 stalks asparagus, chopped
• 4 or 5 leaves kale, chopped
• 1 large baby bok choy sliced
• about a tablespoon of dried mint
• about a tablespoon of dried majoram
• about two tablespoons dried oregano
• about 1 teaspoon MSG
• about 2 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce
• about 2 teaspoons Windsor salt substitute (iodized)

I covered the skillet turned my induction burner to “3” and cooked it for six minutes. The I stirred to mix, covered again, and cooked on “3” for another six minutes (the last two minutes with cover removed).

This will be enough for several meals. I have some Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce and some Kikkoman Stir-Fry Sauce and I’ll use one of those on a bowl. I also have some fermented raw Stokes Purple potatoes, diced, and I think I’ll put some of those in a bowl, top with the dish I made, and add some sauce.

When I write up what I’ve done to make a dish, I’ll often forget an ingredient or two; when I remember, I return to the post and revise the recipe — in fact, I just remember something I left out: a diced peeled lemon — so I’ll add it now.

I’m having a bowl. Damn good.

A couple of additional notes

First, I use tempeh just because I like it, and also it takes care of two Daily Dozen categories: each meal (if you follow the Daily Dozen) includes both beans (or lentils) and grain (or pseudograin like quinoa, amaranth, or buckwheat). By making tempeh that includes both, in a 50-50 ratio, I can use a serving of tempeh to meet that requirement. And, as I said, like tempeh. I also like to make it. But certainly one could just eat some beans and also some (intact whole) grain.

Second, I put the above meal together by just looking around and seeing what I had on hand. But take a look at how it relates to the Daily Dozen and, parentheses, what I had in mind.

• ginger root – Other Vegetable (good health benefits, says Johns Hopkins University)
• garlic — Other Veg (good taste, health benefits, with excellent prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (FOS))
• tomatoes — Other Veg (good source of lycopene if cooked; umami; adds liquid)
• lemon — Fruit (vitamin C, acid to brighten taste, adds liquid)
• zucchini — Other Veg (good fiber, good taste, adds liquid)
• cayenne peppers — Other Veg (capsaicin good for diabetics, good taste)
• Hungarian pepper — Other Veg (good taste, vitamin C, fiber)
• banana peppers — Other Veg (ditto)
• scallions — Other Veg (good fiber (FOS), good taste, leaves with good flavonoids)
• walnuts — Nuts&Seeds (omega 3, good fiber, good texture and taste)
• soybean and Kamut tempeh — Beans and Grain (fiber, protein, minerals, taste)
• asparagus — Other Veg (FOS, taste, phytonutrients)
• kale — Greens; Cruciferous Veg (fiber, minerals, phytonutrients)
• bok choy — ditto
• mint, marjoram, oregano — Spices&Herbs (loads of antioxidants, good taste)
• MSG — umami and flavor enhancement
• fish sauce — umami
•  Windsor salt substitute — potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iodine; no sodium; taste)

One thing I omitted that I should have included: turmeric (and of course black pepper so I can get the benefit of it). I have some fresh turmeric root, or I could have used dried turmeric or turmeric paste. I’ll add that when I warm up a serving.

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2022 at 3:20 pm

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