Sloppy Joy

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Sundays start at half past noon, when you hear the upstairs neighbors recounting last night’s shenanigans and there’s a cat frantically trying to get your attention because she’s hungry. Everyone’s craving brunch and coffee. A smoothie. Can someone just get me a glass of orange juice?

I just want a glass of orange juice so I can spend the rest of the afternoon watching football and screaming as popcorn flies off the couch. Maybe I’ll go for a run. Maybe I won’t. Okay, I’ll go for a walk.

I’ll probably, at the very least, get some face wash and deodorant during halftime and between the 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. games, I’ll throw a bunch of tempeh into a pot and sizzle some fennel.

And I’ll call it a Sloppy Joy because it’s vegan.

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You know how I love tempeh. I put it in sandwiches sometimes. It’s packed with enough fiber to last you at least three days. It’s a bunch of grains packed together. It’s a super duper food.

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It’s pretty hard to eat tempeh raw. It tastes like soft and squishy barley. Because that’s kind of what it is. But if you steam it or boil it for a little while, it softens up and resembles the consistency of ground beef. Except not really. At all.

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So so so so much garlic.

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Mince a prince!

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So many spices!

Sloppy Joys

2 8oz blocks of tempeh
1 red onion, chopped
10-12 cloves garlic, minced
2 6oz cans tomato paste
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cups cheap beer
4 tablespoons capers, minced
4 teaspoons cumin
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

In a large pot, place a steam basket with the tempeh and bring about one inch of water to a boil. Steam for about 15 minutes and let the tempeh cool completely. Once it’s at room temperature, shred with a box grater and set aside.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil with the fennel seeds and chili pepper flakes in a large skillet. When the fennel begins to sizzle, add the onions and sauté until they turn translucent. Add the capers, garlic, soy sauce, beer, tomato paste and the rest of the spices and bring to a low boil before decreasing the heat to a simmer. Add the tempeh and simmer until desired consistency is reached.

Serve with warm toast or on a kaiser roll. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, or anything you so choose.

Makes about 6-8 servings.

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Breakfast Panini

I’m excited.

I’m excited for picnics, avocado salads,  raised beds and the excuse to wear SPF 30 on my face. I’m excited to be outrageously sweaty the moment I wake up. Most of all, I’m excited to refill ice trays thrice a day and have endless sweet tea.

Breakfast paninis on the porch are another excuse to get some healthy Vitamin D in my sun-craved body.

All this excitement might inspire me to get a piercing. Or a hot-dang tattoo. Maybe.

German rye from my favoritest bakery is the foundation of this super duper breakfast meal.

Some sharp cheddar cheese and thinly sliced zucchini provide heartiness while the arugula gives it a flavorful punch.

Every so often I’m in a square mood. Today’s one of those days. Nerding out with computer shopping and home decorating ideas.

The eggy ingredients are cooked into a burrito-like omelette, which fits evenly onto the bread.

Butter can be replaced with olive oil to help the panini maker crisp up the bread.

Don’t have a panini maker? You can just fry this on a skillet and press it firmly with a spatula. Flip and repeat!

Zero recipe. Get creative with your panini.

Get excited for the sun.

Curried Tempeh Sandwich

I’m a big girl now.

Sure, I still tape unframed photos to the wall and go out into the cold with wet hair (I don’t have a blow-dryer, what). I still peruse Craigslist for free furniture and refuse to pay more than $600 in rent. Pizza is my go-to. So is PBR.

But soon, I will have enough money to finally get a new computer. A Kitchen Aid mixer. Shoes.

And I won’t feel guilty for going to shmancy restaurants with crudité and dessert wine cocktails.

I’ll still make the best gin and tonics, though. And I’ll still construct better sandwiches than the co-op that charges $8 for a bunch of vegetables on a slab of rye bread. What’s up with that?

Whenever I cook tempeh, I always have to mutter something about how weird and awesome it is. It’s really weird. And fantastically fibrous and high in protein. Slab o’ goodness. It’s the SPAM of vegetarians.

And I love cooking it up with weird things like coconut milk and green curry paste. It soaks up flavors like a thirsty bumble bee.

These get pan-fried in more coconut oil and de-greased on paper towels.

Oh man. I’m going to get a Kitchen Aid mixer. Stiff peaks, here I come!

Check out that spread. Mozzarella. Summer squash. Dijon mustard. Crusty bread.

It just got real.

Indoor picnics are necessary when it’s 30 degrees out. At least we had some sweet mango-and-mint tea. And small conversations.

Curried Tempeh Sandwich.

For the tempeh:
8oz (1 package) tempeh, thinly sliced
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon green curry paste (or any color)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil

For the sandwich:
Anything and everything you love putting on a sandwich. Cheese, veggies, spreads, you name it.

Bring the water, coconut milk, curry paste and salt to a light simmer. Add the tempeh and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Heat the coconut oil on a medium skillet. Fry the tempeh on one side until golden brown (3-4 minutes) before flipping. Let slightly cool on paper towels before making sandwich.

Makes about 12 slices for 4-6 sandwiches.

Breakfast Sandwich

Every so often I yearn for a routine.  When I was still in college, for about a month I would wake up, listen to Just for Now by Imogen Heap, make a cup of coffee and skedaddle out the door to my art history class.

When I got home, I’d make myself a pressed prosciutto sandwich with provolone cheese and grilled onions.

Everyday.  For a month.

Pending a new morning anthem, which may end up being this Beyoncé song I stumbled upon last night, my new routine features an evening pot of herbal tea (chamomile, hibiscus, and dried orange rind), sharing a conversation, and a chocolate chip cookie.

I may have to squeeze in this sandwich for breakfast.

Sometimes I only have time to brush my teeth in the morning.  Other times, I can make sandwiches with tomatoes, avocados, and sharp cheddar cheese.

And cook two eggs side by side and cut them in half.  Some of us enjoy open-faced sandwiches.  And earl grey tea.

What’s your routine?

Cucumber Arugula Cream Cheese Sandwich

I did a funny thing last week.

I moved back to Boston after being in Hawaii for nearly a year, taking pictures, waiting tables, using my $5 Kitchenaid mixer to whip stiff peaks in 45 seconds, and managing to grow potted dinosaur kale in a subtropical climate.

Impressive, I know.

Hardly two days into moving in and I’ve already taken photos of some croissants for Boston Home Magazine.  Lucky break, I guess.

Also, I scavenged the streets of Allston looking for free furniture left to rot by college students and felt vindicated for my hoboness by this New York Times article.  Free stuff might even be better than these croissants.

So before going to that brief photo shoot at my alma mater bakery Clear Flour Bread (CFB), I had a funky albeit refreshing breakfast that made the usual bagel-and-cream-cheese default a thing o’ the past.  I’ll call it the. . .Cucumber Arugula Cream Cheese Breakfast Sandwich.  Yeah.

I love eating bread butts.  This loaf is from the CFB.  Buckwheat walnut.  Ohmygod so good.

I ate it on the go and not ONE leaf of arugula fell out.  I’s got’s me some mad skillz.

Cucumber Arugula Cream Cheese Sandwich.

Cucumber, super thinly sliced
Arugula, ripped by hand
However much cream cheese you want (enough for both pieces of bread)
Hearty bread (Buckwheat walnut is hard to come by, but whole wheat is perfect, too.)
Pepper, to taste

Slap it all together and run out the door!