Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pick 3 for dinner.

Of this week's market veggie haul--which included asparagus, cauliflower, kale, and broccoli--I asked Kevin what appealed to him most for dinner. He picked collard greens, red cabbage, and cremini mushrooms. I took this combination as a challenge: I like to have at least a tiny spark of inspiration when I cook, and I was feeling a bit underwhelmed at the prospect of my new favorite stewed greens with garlic, soy sauce, and liquid smoke, which could take on the mushrooms and cabbage easily but: booooring.

So I thought. And I paged through recipe search results and a variety of cookbooks. And then I put that all aside and made these.

Orange-soy glazed tempeh and mushrooms
  • 1 8-oz. package of tempeh, diced into 3/4" cubes
  • 1/2 lb. small cremini mushrooms, sliced in half
  • juice of 1 mandarin orange
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. sriracha (or to taste)
Put the tempeh and mushrooms in a bowl. In a small container, mix together the rest of the ingredients, then pour over the tempeh and mushrooms. Toss together and let it sit for at least half an hour, or however long it takes to prep the other dish, occasionally giving it a quick stir.

In a large skillet, pour a thin layer of cooking oil and turn the heat on high. Pour in the contents of the bowl, marinade and all (there shouldn't be too much excess liquid). Bring it up to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium high. Let the sauce get bubbly and reduce significantly. Try to stir it as little as possible--you want to let it caramelize and brown just a bit, which takes time. Once the pan is nearly dry, turn off the heat for a few minutes, then turn it back on to medium high or high in order to achieve a nice crust. (Though...it might burn a bit. Mine did. Still good, though.)

Ginger-garlic collard greens with cabbage and carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1" peeled fresh ginger root
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1 large carrot, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
Prepare the broth first. Using a microplane zester (or small box grater), mince the hell out of your garlic and ginger. Stir together with the rest of the liquid ingredients and set aside.

To prepare the greens, cut off the raggedly bottom inch or so of the stems, then separate the leafy portion from the rest of the stem. Chop up the stems into about 1 to 1-1/2" pieces (bite size) and place them in a pot. Roll up the leaves and slice them into ~2" sections, then rough chop the whole thing and set aside.

Pour the broth into the pot with the stems and turn the burner on to medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then add the collard leaves. Turn down the heat to medium, stir, and partially cover. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the leaves are bright green and starting to cook down. Add the cabbage and carrots and continue to cook until everything is tender and you're ready to eat.

These two dishes taste really nice mixed together with a mound of brown rice.

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