SPECIAL NOTE: Unfortunately many people don't know a lot about food and cooking. So - if you want to change the way anyone (or society) eats - don't talk to them about what NOT to eat. Teach them what TO eat. Give them options.This first blog is about a seasonal cooking class taught at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers Market. The market is a wonderful place to spend a Saturday - if you're around San Francisco and haven't gone yet - make a date to visit soon. The market is run by the nonprofit group - The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) See CUESA.org.
The theme of the class (and the recipe) came from my recent book, Cool Cuisine - Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming.
The day started with a market trip shopping for the freshest, local ingredients around. All farms at the Ferry building are a 150 miles to the market or closer. What a dramatic improvement from the 1,500 mile trip that the average meal travels to get to your dinner plate.
Today's recipe is Autumn Tempeh Salad (recipe at the end of blog). It starts with Kabocha squash, known to be one of the sweetest winter squashes.
Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds (you can bake and eat them just like pumpkin seeds) and take off the skin.
Cut into 1" squares, toss with olive oil, fresh rosemary and salt, and roast on a baking sheet in a SINGLE layer. This is ideal because where the squash and pan touch is where the most caramelization (sugar enhancement) of the squash occurs.
Next step is to marinate our protein - tempeh. Tempeh is made from soybeans like tofu, but it is less processed, fermented and has a stronger, nutty flavor. If we want to fight the Global Warming Diet and move toward a Cool Cuisine - learning more about meat alternatives is important. Livestock add at least 18% to world wide green house gas emissions. Cutting down the amount we eat is key.
Once tempeh is marinating, prep the other veggies. Celery stix offer the best "mouth feel" if we "string" them before we eat them.
When cutting peppers, cut down right where the white "vein" attaches to the outside pepper. This technique leaves a "pepper skeleton," which requires no further cleanup and is easy to compost.
Dicing of onions is also assisted with proper technique. Cut onion in half, slice each half vertically and horizontally to create a checkerboard, then slice into a dice. Watch the video on http://www.globalwarmingdiet.org/resources for a closer look at this process.
Preheat a pan and saute the tempeh in olive oil to form a crispy crust.
Wow! For best results, get your pan really hot. If it gets too hot though, add A LITTLE wine, water or verjus to cool it off and release the "fond" (the brown flavor-filled stuff that attaches to the bottom of the pan.
Verjus is a delicious "not-so-sweet" cooking liquid / juice made from "non ripe" grapes.
Always show your students what the food looks like. This is the best way for them to learn.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and voila! - Autumn Tempeh Salad!
Autumn Tempeh Salad
Adapted from a recipe by chef Carolyn Peters
1 1/2 # Kabocha or other winter squash, cut into 1” cubes
1# turnip or rutabega, cut into 1” cubes
1 T olive oil
1 ts. salt
1 ts. each dried rosemary, thyme and sage
1 10-oz package tempeh, any style
2 T. soy sauce
3 T verjus (see note)
1 T olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
½ red pepper, chopped
½ red onion, finely diced
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 T. dried currants or raisins
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Toss root vegetables with olive oil and salt and dried herbs; place in a baking dish in one layer. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and stir squash. Return to oven uncovered and bake another 15-20 minutes. Check for doneness; fork should easily pierce squash, but not too soft that it’s falling apart. Set aside to cool.
2. While squash is baking, cut tempeh in half and steam for 15 minutes. Remove from steamer and let cool. Mix together remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add tempeh, cut into 1” cubes. Toss in cooled squash and taste for seasoning. Serve.
NOTE: Verjus is a tart, slightly sweet, fresh juice made from unripe wine grapes. It is used for things such as deglazing pans, in sauces, dressing and for poaching fish. Similar to wine, it adds acidity and flavor to a dish.
650-855-7100 www.laurastec.com Laura@LauraStec.com