Friday, August 5, 2011

Fast Food Friday: TLTs

Since we're in the midst of the Dormition fast, I thought I'd share a favorite summertime fasting recipe. At the beginning of August tomatoes start coming on fast and furious in central Indiana. It's also usually so hot and humid that anything that requires much cooking is pretty unappealing, making the classic Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich a perfect dinner. I remember having them often this time of year as a kid, but of course, I've been a vegetarian for now for about 10 years. So, no bacon for me.

Enter tempeh "bacon."  While we occasionally eat vegetarian meat substitutes, I avoid them during fasting periods. I just don't see this as one, because honestly, it's nothing like real bacon. It has a totally different texture, and it just doesn't taste like meat. But it does make a smoky, flavorful sandwich filling that's a great foil for lettuce and tomato. This recipe is adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

The ingredients:

3 Tbs. soy sauce
3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. molasses
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 Tbs. water
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 8 oz. package of tempeh
2 Tbs. oil for frying

Measure all the ingredients but the last two ingreients into a container for marinating, such as a covered baking dish.  Whisk them together until well combined. Slice the tempeh into 1/4 inch. thin strips. The shape doesn't really matter, but I cut them like this:

Add your strips to the marinade and make sure the strips are well coated. Treat them fairly gently, or the tempeh will crumble. Put in the refrigerator to marinate for at least an hour. I did this in the morning before I went to work. The night before works great, too.

When you're ready, heat your oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add your tempeh strips, and cook about 3-5 minutes.  How long it takes will depend on your pan and how hot your stove cooks. They go from nicely browned to burnt to a crisp quickly, so watch them carefully. When they are browned flip them over and cook for another 2-4 minutes, until the other side is browned. Remove from heat.  You can toss them with the remaining marinade (take out the garlic), if you like.
Enjoy on a sandwich with fresh tomatoes and lettuce. Yum!

If you are looking for an easy, no-bake fasting dessert , I made these PB Crispy Treats last week, and, well, they are long gone now, so James and I recommend them.

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