I just had a table of six vegetarians. It was a celebration so I wanted to do something really festive and “New Mexico”. I decided on vegetarian fajitas with tempeh.
Here’s the secret to tempeh, I’ve discovered. Always steam the tempeh first and then marinate it. For the fajitas I cut it in thin strips, steamed it and then marinated it in a glaze of apricot preserves, chipotle in adobo, maple syrup, olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar and sea salt. I pureed a small can of chipotle in adobo to a paste, put it in a small bowl and added the rest. Chipotle carries a lot of heat so you can go lighter with it if you don’t want things so hot. When you like your glaze, pour it in a small baking dish and add your just steamed tempeh. Turn the tempeh to cover all sides and then cover the dish with plastic wrap and let sit until you are ready for the big production.
I baked a small butternut squash, peeled it and cut it into bite size chunks. I roasted cumin seeds and ground them. I cooked a batch of brown rice. Near dinner time I wrapped sprouted corn and sprouted grain tortillas in aluminum foil and put them in a warm oven. Along with the tortillas, I put the cast iron inserts to the fajita pans into the oven.
Then as everyone started to gather, I:
- Heated canned organic black beans with the cumin and a touch of Negro Modelo beer. When they got to a simmer, I added the squash and then just kept it warm.
- Heated a small skillet with grape seed oil and sautéed quickly some of the onion and peppers. When they began to soften I added some Muir Fire Roasted diced tomatoes and heated through. I added the mix to the cooked rice.
- Then the show! I heated my paella pan (you can also use a big cast iron skillet or a wok) with grape seed oil (or other high heat oil) till it turned glossy across the pan. I added half the tempeh with the glaze and turned quickly to prevent burning. Toss, toss till they’re warm and beginning to brown. Then I added half the onion and pepper strips. Keep turning till they’re crispy like a stir fry. Carefully remove three of the cast iron inserts and load them up with rice, beans and the tempeh mix. Put in their wooden platters and squeeze them with lime for flavor and sizzle. Have your helper (be sure and have a helper!) take them to the table while you begin the process with the other 3 inserts.
- Serve them with the tortillas and the usual sour cream, cheese etc. I prefer avocado slices to guacamole.
I like to serve this with peach, pear nectars and orange juice with lime and lemon slices. It’s very cooling. And you can always add vodka if you want! I made pumpkin flan for dessert. It was really beautiful and delicious. Served from a savarin pan (a small ring pan) with its own caramel. YUM!
You can always marinate meats in the glaze as well. And next time I think I’ll try orange marmalade instead of apricot jam. That might be even better!
If you would like more info about any specifics just let me know…