Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home Sweet . . . LA

I am back from a wonderful week in Santa Fe!  If this were a different type of blog, I might go on and on about the fraught relationship between newness and historicity in that place--attempts to locate any "authentic" Santa Fe are contradictory and enact things like effacement and surrogation: for example, the fake-but-regionally-appropriate "Pueblo" architecture that all dates from the past century, the marketing of indigenous cultures to a white tourist population, etc...

But instead, I will just note that this town held surprisingly few food adventures for a vegan from LA.  I've  gotten spoiled by living in this city, where the variety of things to eat is enormous.  One notable exception in Santa Fe was ChocolateSmith, whose sake-soaked-and-dark-chocolate-dipped ginger and spicy-chili-pistachio dark chocolate bark made my day.  What I will remember more about Santa Fe is its smells: dust and mud and snow, evergreen, campfire and BBQ smoke, burning sage, cedar, pinon.  The most achingly perfect smells for a cold, bare, sunny place.

My first day back in LA involved some tasty brunchings. But, this stuff could just as easily serve as a hearty roast-style dinner.

The tempeh was basically a combination of this recipe for tempeh sausage with this cooking method (recipe below).  This was smothered in the mushroom gravy recipe I posted earlier this year.  I cannot get enough of this gravy; it tastes like Thanksgiving.  Potatoes were easy and delicious, though there's a danger of undercooking them if they aren't all the same size.

NB: I prefer this method for tempeh sausage

Tempeh Sausage Triangles and Roasted Rosemary Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy, Mixed Green Salad with Avocado, Toasted Walnuts, and Balsamic Vinagrette
Tempeh Sausage Triangles

8 oz. tempeh, cut into bite-sized triangles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp dried sage
1 bay leaf, ground
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
ground black pepper
1 TB tamari
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
water as needed
generous canola oil for pan frying

1. Heat oil in large cast iron skillet.  When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tempeh and garlic and fry for 5 minutes, or until golden underneath. Turn and cook the other side for another 5 minutes, or until golden.
2. While tempeh and garlic are frying, combine remaining ingredients separately.  Add water to make 1/2-2/3 c of liquid.
3. Pour liquid into the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes, until all the liquid has evaporated or been absorbed.  Serve warm, topped with mushroom gravyServes about 3.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
about 1.5 lbs little waxy white potatoes (7 or so)
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
sea salt
ground black pepper

1. Wash potatoes and cut into bite-sized wedges.  Toss with all other remaining ingredients and spread out on a baking sheet.
2. Bake at a high temperature for 20 minutes or so.  When potatoes begin to soften and sizzle, broil for 3 more minutes to get the skin crispy.  Serves about 3.

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