Friday, January 19, 2007

Tempeh & Lightlife Part I

Two things to post about today. First, more recipes for ED&BV. These are Sweet and Sour Tempeh with Sweet Potatoes and Coconut Lime Basmati Rice.

Still tweaking the sweet and sour recipe, and it can be made as a side dish without the tempeh. Also, if you prefer, the tempeh can be swapped out for tofu or even seitan. The rice dish is finished - though, I could test it over and over - I love eating it! The two dishes complemented one another perfectly, with the creamy rich rice balancing the tangy, sour sauce coating the tempeh and sweet potatoes.

With this recipe test, I used Lightlife Organic Flax Tempeh. Like some other bloggers, I received a sample box of products to try. There were a few items I was eager to try, and this was one of them. I was quite impressed with this tempeh. It's taken our family a little while to accept tempeh, mostly because some trials it has tasted a little bitter and even marinades couldn't mask that flavor.

(As a tip, you can simmer tempeh for 15-20 minutes in a couple of cups of vegetable broth to help draw out some bitterness. This helps, though sometimes the tempeh loses its firmness.)

I didn't simmer this Lightlife tempeh, and tasted little to no bitter flavor which really pleased me. One less cooking step! If you don't need to simmer the tempeh, that makes cooking a whole lot faster and simpler.

Unfortunately this and the other varieties of Lightlife Tempeh are not availabe in our area, which really is too bad (for me!), because with this first trial I prefer the clean taste of this tempeh to the other variety I can purchase here.

If you are interested in trying some of Lightlife's products, they are offering $1 off coupons here. I will do a "Part II" post about some other Lightlife products soon, including their Tempeh Bacon, Ranchero Tortilla Wrap, and their Smart Chili.


*a* said...

hi Dreena...Thanks for the tempeh tip. I have lots of troubles with soy (especially tofu) but have heard that tempeh is much easier to digest. I've been wanting to try, but haven't heard anything good (or bad) about any specific brands. I'll give this one a try! (But only a very small amount!)
Coconut Lime rice sounds like one of my favorite cookies! Yummy!

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Dreena - I'm very glad you mentioned the bitterness of tempeh. I never noticed it before, but recently while eating leftover tempeh, it had a strong bitter taste (ick). I wonder if something scientific happens while in the fridge. Hmmm...I'll pay more attention in the future.


laura jesser said...

A tempeh recipe! Lightlife is actually one of the two or three brands that I have been able to find, and I agree--it's got a nicer flavor. It's also easier for me to work with than other brands--some of the ones I have tried are too crumbly.

Vicki said...

the coconut lime rice sounds delicious, dreena -- what a taste sensation it must be. i like tempeh and lightlife is my favorite brand, but my husband & girls don't, so unfortunately i don't get to eat it very often. hubby doesn't like the texture...

maybepigscanfly said...

MMMM... That sweet and sour tempeh with sweet potato dish sounds yummy! While I patiently wait for the cookbook, I think I might have to try creating that on my own. I also love Lightlife Tempeh. I usually buy their 3 grain variety, although I think that I have tried all 4, including the garden veggie. I usually marinade it in something so I never notice a big difference in taste. I'm sorry to hear that it's not available in your area:(.


Urban Vegan said...

I got a LightLife care package, topo--but it seems as if my contents were slightly different than yours. The sweet and sour tempeh sounds yummy. I love tempeh, but then again, I am attracted to bitter foods like broccoli rabe, chinotto (butter orange Italian soda), etc.

Carrie™ said...

Ooo! Free stuff in the mail. Aren't you lucky? Too bad the ice cream company couldn't have mailed ice cream instead of just coupons. It would have saved that time consuming trip to the grocery store. :o)
Coconut lime rice sounds to die for! How inventive are you? Mmm-mmm-mmm! I STILL have never cooked with tempeh. I've had it and really liked what I've eaten, but I've heard it's finiky to work with and can sometimes taste gross. I have a piece in my freezer. It's by a company here in Ontario called Noble Bean. I've got to just take the plunge. There are some Lightlife products available in the stores here in Burlington, but I've never seen the tempeh. Hopefully, the company is planning on expanding their line in Canada.
I also wanted to comment on your Nut post. Yum, Yum, Yum. I'm a nut nut, as you know and I think these would be perfect for Hockey Night In Canada! Sorry to say, I'm not a Coronation Street watcher. I know lots of people who are. Men & women. I read once that it is the Queen's favorite TV show. So there you go. You're in good company.
Have a great weekend Dreena!

Dreena said...

Hi Aimee, yes, generally tempeh is easier to digest because of the fermentation process. Also, because tempeh retains the whole soybean, it also retains fibre, whereas tofu does not. Yes, try it in small amounts - and simmer it first if you need to. Also, having it bake in a sauce that it will absorb some flavors will help - or processing it with other ingredients into a veg patty - that might be a good way for you to 'warm up' to it. Good luck!

Crystal, yeah for sure I think we can hit a brand or batch that isn't as fresh tasting as another. Also, if it was leftover, it might have spoiled a little (depending on how long it was kept). When you are picking up another package, try to look for one without much blackened areas. Mostly it should have whitish/gray areas and just a few black spots.

Laura, yeah, I really liked the texture and taste of this Lightlife tempeh, and if it's very crumbly as you've found with some brands, then it will only work in certain recipes. I need to get our grocery store to bring in the Lightlife tempeh!!

Hi Vicki! I must admit, the coconut rice is creamy and rich (but not too rich), and just comforting good!! Tempeh's texture definitely takes some getting used to, but once I starting thinking of it as beans all pushed together (which well, it is!), I was fine. Sometimes my husband doesn't 'love' it, but most times he's fine... I think! :)

Thanks Teresa. I'd love to try those varieties too... I'll have to get working on it with our grocery store - we need more tempeh too!!

Urban Vegan, I can't wait to see what you create with some of your Lightlife products. I thought from some of the other blogger's posts that the boxes were all the same... now I'm curious what goodies you received! :)

Ha, Carrie, that would send me into a whirlwind of delight... shipments of free soy delicious ice-cream. Hoo-ahh!! Now I've never seen the Noble Bean brand either. I guess there are so many local manufacturers out there. Ohhhh, the disappointment Carrie... that you aren't a Corrie fan!!! How can you NOT be?! Seriously, it's my favorite show!! I'll have to tell my mom that about the Queen - that's funny! :)

Candi said...

ok, I am reluctantly going to give tempeh another try. Lol! I was put off by the bitterness the first time I tried it. I've heard so many people say it's great...I should give it a go!

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

Wow! I feel so lucky - I have been eating this tempeh (though not all of these neat flavors until recently) for several years now, and getting it at our local grocery store! I have never poached it until recently, and my favorite quick recipe is to throw it in spaghetti sauce and just heat it through - nothing easier!

Danielle said...

I love, love, love the Lightlife Flax Tempeh. It seems softer than the other varieties. It's also good for crumbling into a chili! I just hope the flax is digestible.

Dreena said...

Candi, I think it takes a little adjustment, and also preparing it in a way that you like, so you may have a few hits/misses (hopefully more hits! Good luck!!

Peace, love - now you can feel very grateful to have access to this tofu, huh? :) What are your favorites of the flavors you've tried?

Yeah, Danielle, I thought about that too with the flax. The ingredients show both ground and whole flax seed. To me, the whole flax seed looks like it's there for visual appeal because there's not a lot of it in the tempeh - I think the ground flax seed is mostly contributing to the omega 3 count in the tempeh - if so, that's good because that form is absorbable.

Vanessa said...

Hi Dreena - for the record I love lightlife tempeh. I get the soy version. I saute it in olive oil on both sides (without simmering first) until it turns this great red-gold color. I dust it with sea salt and it's really great just like that! (also fab with bbq sauce.)

Anonymous said...

Hey Dreena,
About tempheh and bitterness
I have found that If I steam the Tempeh for about 5 to 10 minuets before I cook with it that gets rid of the bitter taste.
just dont grab it while its hot!
the flax one looks yummy

Loved hearing you on the vegan freeks show.


Peace, Love and Veganism said...

In response to your earlier question: I like the three grain one the best, I think, and the garden veggie. After I use it in a recipe, I really can't tell what flavor it is, most of the time. However, I don't like the plain soy style that much.

d. chedwick bryant said...

I have been using tempeh and tofu for years and love them... and enjoy your blog.
but I have a question: a long time ago, I read an essay written by Alice walker about sea vegeatbles, in it she spoke of these "oysters" made from flour & sea veg. (sauteed in olive oil I guess??? ) do you have any recipe for sea veg dumplings or appetizers?