Usually, when I eat tempeh, it’s fried up, sauced up, grilled up, or sliced wafer-thin and marinated to bejeezy.
Tonight I sat down with a simpler tempeh. Unspoiled, like the girl in that book who later got way into speed—before the speed, when she still made her own clothes and helped her little sister with her homework. Tonight’s tempeh was simply steamed in a bit of Bragg’s, liquid smoke, cayenne, and garlic powder for just a few minutes, then browned in a skillet with a touch of olive oil.
If you’re new to tempeh or just have never been crazy about it, this may not be for you. I, however, adore its naturally nutty flavor, so throwing it on a bun with onion, pickles, and lettuce does the job for me. (Tom added mustard to his, but that’s ’cause his senses are clogged with allergies and he can only taste half of what he eats.) With the steaming, the texture is light and tender—and there’s no question what you’re eating. It’s not a super-processed veggie burger.
I don’t know if you can get it where you live, but my co-op (People’s) has giant slabs of tempeh that I cut up into meal-size portions and freeze. It’s way cheaper than the 8-ounce blocks and it tastes fresher too!