19 April 2010

Foodie Bookshelf: Barbecued Tempeh Spread

Just a head's up first about some changes around the blog. I have a bit of a recipe-collecting obsession, but I rarely actually *cook* from the recipes I collect! I'm trying to remedy this by paring down my google reader from 150 blogs to 75 to give me more time to cook and to blog. I'm going to try to blog twice a week and to cook more from blogs and cookbooks that I've been meaning to try. I also left Tuesdays with Dorie, in hopes that I'll have more time to do desserts from different sources now.

So we're back into spring/summer recipes, and I'm going back through stuff I cooked last year that I never got around to blogging. I can't believe I missed this one, because it's one of my favorite recipes! This is barbecue tempeh spread, and it comes from an unassuming little book called Simple Vegetarian Pleasures. The book isn't illustrated, but it's chock full of tasty vegetarian recipes, most of which are actually quite easy.

This was my one of my first attempts at cooking with tempeh, and I found that I love the stuff. At my co-op in Iowa City, it wasn't much more expensive than tofu, but the texture is to me much more palatable. As you can see here, when you chop it up and combine it with other ingredients it's not unlike meat, and the barbecue spread is rich and flavorful. It may not taste exactly like barbecue, but it's an entirely pleasant substitute for sandwiches.

I also tried a dessert recipe called "Wacky Cake." Apparently this is a fairly well-known retro cake, but I'd never tried it. I had run out of vanilla, so I actually replaced the vanilla in the recipe with anise extract for a licorice-flavored Wacky Cake, and it was a pretty good substitution! The glaze is sweet and sticky, and I liked pouring it on the cake in the pan because that's a much less messy way to do it. It's best the first day, but stays fairly moist.

Barbecued Tempeh Spread
Simple Vegetarian Pleasures

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp chili powder
8 oz. tempeh, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely diced
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp molasses
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a medium, non-stick skillet over medium. Stir in chili powder and cook ten seconds, then stir in tempeh and toss to coat. Cook, tossing frequently, about seven minutes or until golden. Scrape into a bowl and let cool. Stir in celery and onion. In a small bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Pour over tempeh and toss well. Cover and chill a half hour to three days.

Wacky Cake
Simple Vegetarian Pleasures

1-1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp distilled white or apple cider vinegar

Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat to 350, 325 if using Pyrex. A good ten minutes later, start cake. Place flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt in an 8 x 8 cake pan. Stir with a fork until uniform in color. Pour on water, vanilla, oil, and vinegar and immediately stir with the fork until completely blended. Use rubber spatula to help get anything in the corners. Place in oven and bake 30 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Cool cake completely on wire rack, about two minutes. Don't unmold. For the glaze, combine sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa in small saucepan and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to a lively simmer and stir constantly for two minutes. Remove from heat and stir five minutes or until cool. Add vanilla, then pour glaze on the cake. Let cool completely before serving, about an hour.


Laura Bergus said...

Who knew you could make Wacky Cake from scratch? This was something kids brought to grade school on their birthdays when I was little. It always tasted EXACTLY THE SAME so I figured it was from a mix. Thanks, Judith!

Emily said...

I've heard of wacky cake and have always wanted to try it. Maybe I'll make it after work tonight...

The tempeh spread sounds sooo good.

Lilli said...

That tempeh looks great!!! I was just craving some sort of bbq tempeh concoction the other day. I'll have to give this a try. Cake looks delish too! Thanks for sharing :)

Judith said...

Laura! You know, I think this is probably one of those things you just don't know about if you don't live in the Midwest, like scotcharoos and puppy chow and snicker doodles.

Emily, the tempeh spread is definitely sooo good, I highly recommend it. And thanks for stopping by! I love your blog.

Spice Rack said...

I love you Barbecued Tempeh Spread. You are so mouth watering.

Maija Haavisto said...

Anise chocolate cake? Sounds interesting. Licorice and chocolate is a fairly common combo here in Finland, but never thought about anise and chocolate (licorice and anise are quite different flavours, after all).

spice racks said...

Looks delicious, Maybe I can add some spice up with my spices in my spice rack collection.