Monday, May 25, 2009

Tempeh toast to summer

Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of the summer season in Maine. Now is the time of backyard BBQs, easy lakeside lunches and simple camp fare. Growing up, I remember eating salmon and peas on toast in the early summer, usually around the 4th of July.

In a nod to that traditional open faced sandwich, I created this quick lunch. The strawberries were leftover from yesterday's Opening Day picnic at my husband's family camp. Imported from California, the berries lacked intense flavor but made up for it in bold color. Any locally-grown fruit would make an excellent substitution. I also piled on my early farmers' market finds: pea shoots, onion, chives and baby kale, sauteed with garlic and tamari.

Early Summer Tempeh Toast

10 strips smoky tempeh, fried crisp
4 slices whole grain bread, toasted
2 Tbsp. sweet & spicy mustard
2 tsp. Maine maple syrup
2 cups pea shoots
2 Tbsp. chopped chives
1 small onion, sliced
2 organic strawberries, sliced

To assemble the sandwich: Spread two toast slices with mustard and two with maple syrup. Pile sauteed kale and sliced garlic on the maple syrup side. Top with a sliced strawberry. Top the other side with pea shoots, onion and chives. Eat with a fork and knife as is, or assemble, slice and serve as a sandwich. Serves 2.

>>Sauteed Kale
4 cups baby kale
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 small cloves garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp. organic tamari

Heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic, saute for 1 minute. Add freshly washed kale. Move the kale through the hot oil using a pair of tongs for 1 minute. Pour on the tamari and turn the kale for less than a minute. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Eco-chef Bryant Terry brings his soul food to Portland

SPACE Gallery in downtown Portland was packed last night for the Food+Farm talk and cooking demo by eco-chef and food activist Bryant Terry. He hails from Oakland, CA, but grew up in Memphis, TN. When he was a child, Terry's grandparents cultivated huge gardens in their backyards and used the bounty to cook southern soul food, which Terry described to us as much more plant-based than popular culture makes it out to be.

Today he teaches low-income kids how to cook and eat nutrient dense plant-based meals. He's also the author of "Vegan Soul Kitchen" and "Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen" (with Anna Lappé). While he talked he showed us how to prepare Citrus Swiss Chard with Raisin Redux.

Many of us had tried the tasty dish prior to his talk. Hanifa Washington and Jonah Fertig of Local Sprouts Co-Operative Catering cooked up a delicious vegan dinner using Bryant Terry's recipes and food from nearby farms. It was a bargain at $10 a plate.

The Johnny Blaze Cakes with Rhubarb Hot Pepper Jam (made from rhubarb picked on Munjoy Hill) were a big hit, and everything had great flavor and color. Bryant Terry gave an entertaining talk, where he not only cooked but delivered part of KRS-One's rap "Beef." It was a fun and filling evening.