Sunday, November 8, 2009

Macro-Southern Fusion

There are a few things that I make that regularly surprise me in that something so strange and so simple could be so delicious. One of them is the combination of tahini and miso: on toast, it tastes like a cheesy spread. On greens or roasted veggies, it makes a killer sauce.

Another strange standby is the following recipe, which (many permutations ago) came from 3 Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery. This is another fantastic cookbook: though not exclusively vegan, its recipes are simple, and they lean far towards the macrobiotic end of the spectrum whose other end is tofutti cuties or tofurkey or something. The recipes aren't quite as "weird" or ascetic as a straight macrobiotics cookbook, so it's more appealing to skeptics.

I vary this recipe depending on what I have around. Collard greens can give way to kale or mustard greens, carrots to sweet potatoes, rice to wheat berries, and black beans or black-eyed peas to tempeh. It's different every time, and the seasonings seem a bit funny and/or bland, but it always produces a completely balanced meal that tastes great.

Macro-Southern Fusion Casserole
(now accepting ideas for better name)

2 TB olive oil
1 onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
6+ large collard greens, middle parts removed and coarsely chopped
2-4 carrots, chopped
2 servings tempeh, large cubes
1 c wheat berries
4 c boiling water
1/8 c tamari
2-3 TB chipotle or other pepper paste
2 TB balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Heat oil in a cast-iron frying pan. Saute onion and garlic until fragrant. Add vegetables and tempeh and cook for 8-10 minutes, until greens are bright green and tempeh begins to brown.
2. Mix saute mixture with uncooked wheat berries in a baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients separately and pour over contents of dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350* for 45-75 minutes, or until grains are fully cooked and carrots are tender. Serves 4-6.

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