The challenge this week at IHCC is to post a Heidi Swanson’s dish using an ingredient which we have not used before. “Expand the pantry” is our mission. That gave me pause. I literally went through Super Natural Everyday page by page, including the index section, before I came up with a few ingredients I’ve never heard of before, let alone cooked with them. They are tempeh and seitan. I am not familiar with these products because I’m not a vegetarian, although I eat mostly vegetables.
Tempeh, pronounced tem-pay, an ancient food from Indonesia that is made with soybeans. It is similar to tofu, which is made from soy milk. High in protein and a good source of iron. This is all new information to me.
Now the taste test. While tofu is soft and smooth, tempeh is rough and dense. Both are like a blank canvas waiting to be transformed. It would take on bold flavor from a sauce. The pomegranate sauce adds savory spicy and garlicky notes to the otherwise bland taste of tempeh. The sauce makes the dish as you’d expect.
Somehow my dish, as show above, turns out just like the picture in the book. There are no other ways this dish could turn out differently. A dish of everything brown. A sea of brown. Other key ingredients are eggplant and sweet potatoes. Glazed with the pomegranate sauce and roasted in the oven after 40 minutes, everything turned decidedly brown. The dish would be lacking any visual interests if not for the additions of the green parsley and the goat cheese (my substitution).
This experiment is a success in trying out a new ingredient. A resulting healthful plate high in protein is a bonus. The only misgiving: all that brownness. I should have added some bright red pomegranate seeds. Too late!