Most times of the year, when I go to the grocery store, 75% of my basket is filled with fruit and vedge. However, lately I’ve been swimming in honeycrisps and butternuts and greens from the farmer’s market where I work. My grocery trips have been minimized, and my produce budget even more so.
Now when I go to the store, I end up with a basket that looks nothing like myself.
I am a people-watcher. I love the art of observing others. So when going stir-crazy in the Whole Foods check-out line, I’m watching. I’m analyzing what the people in front of me plan to make for dinner. I’m picking out recipes for them in my mind, and I’m judging — er, I mean guessing — their lifestyle and personality traits. All from the items cruising their way to the cash register.
I, of course, am also seeking out my future husband. I’m scanning the lines in search of the handsome guy who’s buying figs and sweet potatoes, brazil nuts and oatmeal, and ingredients you can actually cook with. If you need to find me, I’ll be in that line. And hopefully exiting it with dinner plans. Just kidding.
Lately, however, trips to the grocery store have been scarce, and the farmer’s market is my new best friend. From it, I was able to pick up the fresh fall arugula and apples that compose this meal. Complimented by the rich flavors of caramelized onion, curry and parsley, this creates a surprising and satisfying sandwich. I love adding a sweet crunch in unexpected places, and here the apples carry this out beautifully. Choose your favorite eating variety, and make sure to thinly slice.
When I’m craving meat, I often turn to tempeh. It’s dense, but not dry, with a heartiness that won’t leave your stomach empty. And there’s no antibiotics or hormones ever needed to get it that way. Amen.
As a vegetarian, I’ve found my “craving for meat”, is often actually a hunger for the sauces and marinades that go with it. I could care less about BBQ ribs. Wanting them on my plate is like saying I’d want Mountain Dew in my cup for breakfast. Gross.
So tempeh works for me (and seitan), especially when there’s BBQ involved. The summer nostalgia of BBQ is what I really want, not the meat on the grill that it often coats. I want the slightly sweet but tangy sauciness, grass on my bare feet, and a cup of mint tea or cold IPA in my hands.
If you want all that too, well, we might make a good fit. But seriously, even if you love a smoky brisket or BBQ pulled pork sandwich, this Srirarcha Tempeh recipe could likely make its way to the top of your summer eating list, too. Especially with all the comforts of a warm spring or summer day.
I’ve kept the sauce for this on the not-so-sweet side because I’m not a huge fan of a super sugary BBQ. I’d rather save that sweetness for dessert. However, if BBQ’s your summer sweetheart, simply add an extra spoonful of honey to the mix. The spiciness and color from the Sriracha lends itself well to a nutty, black rice. However, feel free to put this on bread, lather it with slaw, and call it a meal. A good one at that.
I don’t like bacon. Yes, shoot me now all you bacon lovers, especially those of you who are jumping on the nonsense bacon-in-my-milkshake fad. Coming from a pescetarian, the contentious statement probably doesn’t mean much, but even when I ate meat, I hated bacon. I found it to be overpowering and always oppressive to all the other ingredients it sat next to in a dish. But hey, that’s just me. At this point, I’m used to all the “Are you an alien?” looks I get when the I hate bacon concept is brought up.
There is one kind of bacon though that I must say I absolutely love—make it a Tempeh variety, and I’m sold. Sliced and baked, this is one of the easiest ways to infuse flavor into tempeh. It’s the kind of flavor that can really perk up something like a sandwich but is multidimensional to avoid coming off as overpowering.
I chose to go with a smoky maple combination for this version of tempeh bacon. I once had a friend say that the key to every breakfast is having everything taste like maple syrup and bacon, no matter what’s on the plate. I guess you could say this is my version of that.
While I wouldn’t want this topping my ice cream, the bacon does make a killer sandwich. The smokiness here is the perfect compliment to the tomatoes layering the bread on this one, and the hints of maple go well with the kick of arugula I’ve swapped for lettuce. I may be crazy for not enjoying traditional bacon, but you’d be crazy not to love this vegetarian version of a BLT.
Sugar snaps are the jackpot of the pea family. They’re as sweet as fresh spring peas, but their entire pod is edible. If you’ve ever spent some time shelling peas, you know this is a godsend. Sugar snaps’ pods also pack them with an extra boost of nutrition, for instance 150% more vitamin C than regular garden peas. They’re comparable to snow peas, only far more sugary and delicious. I.e., the golden jackpot of the pea family, especially when it comes to stir-fry.
Here, I’ve spruced them up with some of the classic flavors of Asian cuisine – soy sauce, hoison sauce, and sesame oil. Tempeh takes to these flavors well, too, generating an almost “meaty” consistency for this vegetarian dish.
For the spring season, sugar snaps generally peak around June, so be on the lookout at your local farmer’s markets in the upcoming weeks. I know I’ll be looking to purchase more of these perfect pods.
Click here for recipe…