Monday, June 25, 2007

Tempeh Facon and Pan-Fried Tempeh

At several restaurants in New York we found on the menu one version or another of facon, vegetarian bacon, made from tempeh. As a general rule, I am quite repulsed by vegetarian food that tries to taste like meat. If I were to ever desire to eat something that tastes like meat, I'd rather actually eat meat. Anyway, pictured above, from Sacred Chow, is Roasted Indonesian Tempeh. It had a crispiness and smokiness that was reminiscent of bacon, without actually feeling or tasting like bacon. So, I liked it in concept, but it was served at room temperature, and so that diminished it. Below, Pedro and I recreated the features in our pan-fried tempeh. We cut the tempeh thin and marinated it in sesame oil and tamari (wheat-free, traditionally brewed soy sauce). Then we pan-fried them on our cast iron skillet in just a bit of oil until they were crispy.

On the other hand, we also had the Orange Barbecued Seitan at Sacred Chow (pictured below), and we thought it was disgusting. It had been a while since we had eaten seitan, and it was much meatier in texture than we find appealing. Maybe we would have liked it better if we had it in a Hero Sandwich, as was an option. Also, I should mention that we had the Sliced Ginger Soba Noodles with spicy peanut sauce and those were served refrigerator-cold, which we didn't expect. But it was Pedro's favorite thing there. My favorite was the Four Seasons Salad, containing seasonal greens, shredded beets, carrots and apples, and crunchy yuba strips, with a Dijon vinaigrette.

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