19 February 2009

Israeli Couscous and Orange-Glazed Tempeh

Well, I really enjoyed lunch today, but unfortunately I'm going to have to
label it an unqualified failure. I failed utterly in my two goals: 1)
convince George that he actually enjoys tempeh in some forms 2) make and
clean up lunch in about 1/2 hour. I just finished lunch, it's 2:20, I
started at 12:30, and I have some awful dish washing ahead.

My first mistake was making one of our favorite dishes, Israeli Couscous
with Peas and Corn, on the stove instead of in the rice cooker. When I use
the rice cooker, I don't have to stir, I don't have 2 different pots and a
steamer basket going, the food stays warm until I need it, and cleanup is
laughably easy. Instead I can look foward to scraping the couscous
laboriously off the bottom of a pot because I didn't stir enough because I
had to keep track of 3 cooking items at once.
My second mistake was underestemating George's aversion to tempeh, although
he admitted that it was the best tempeh he had ever had.
My third mistake was making the orange sauce for the tempeh before I started
cooking the tempeh, adding an unnecessary ten minutes to the process.
My fourth mistake was thinking that the grapefruit juice in the
refridgerator was in fact orange juice, which meant that I ended up having
to hand-squeeze 8 clementines.
My fifth mistake was using too big a frypan for the tempeh so that I had to
cook half of the tempeh twice as long as the other half because it was too
far off the burner.

Well, I won't make those mistakes next time. Here's my tasty, tasty,
rejected lunch that serves 3 to 4 people:

Israeli Couscous (this is toasted pasta balls slightly smaller than
peas with a delightful chewiness)
1 Cup israeli couscous
1 1/4 Cup broth (I used leftover No-Chicken Broth plus water)
frozen peas
frozen corn
optional for rice cooker method: 3/4 C. more stock, 1 shallot or 1/2 onion,
1 T. olive oil, fresh chopped parsley

Rice Cooker Method (I might have adapted this from the Rice Cooker
1. Set rice cooker for regular cycle. Heat oil in it and add onion.
2. When onion is somewhat cooked, add couscous. Toss to coat.
3. When couscous deepens in color, add 2 C. stock.
4. Let cycle finish. Fluff with rice paddle. Mix in microwave-defrosted peas
and corn and fresh parsley. Serve.

Stovetop Method:
1. Bring 1 1/4 C. stock to boil. Add Israeli couscous. Partially cover and
simmer, stirring very very frequently. When liquid is absorbed, turn off
heat and remove couscous quickly.
2. Steam peas and corn. Add to couscous.

Orange-Glazed Tempeh This is a good way to counteract tempeh's
bitterness; it looks like it would be too sweet but it's not. I found the
recipe at 101 Cookbooks, and these are the alterations I made which worked out
I used 7-8 clementines instead of oranges 'cause we've got about 50
I used shoyu instead of tamari.
I used a standard 8 oz. package of tempeh instead of 10 ounces.
I minced the garlic instead of crushing it because I hate cleaning garlic
After grating an unmeasured knob of ginger, I just threw it in without
squeezing out the juice. I could barely taste it anyway.
Doesn't need lime or cilantro in the least.
I cooked the tempeh in the orange glaze more like 5 minutes on each side.
I didn't pour more glaze over when it was done because the dish tastes more
like orange glaze with tempeh than the reverse, if you know what I mean.
I think Heidi's wrong: this would be waaaay too sweet for tofu.

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