Sloppy Janes

Sloppy Jane.jpgIt’s Memorial Day weekend, and many of us will be attending BBQs, potlucks, and other early-summer food parties. If you’re looking for a grill or BBQ alternative, sloppy janes are an easy, and delicious option. I cook part-time at a Quaker retreat center that focuses on local, organic and plant-free menus, and we recently made these “sloppy joe” – type sandwiches with crumbled and fried tempeh instead of meat. If you’re new to tempeh, remember to boil it before cooking, otherwise it can have a bitter aftertaste. Then crumble, and fry like you would hamburger for sloppy joes. I fried the above tempeh with onions and garlic, and then added my own special sauce, a spicy vinegar-based BBQ cut with tomato sauce, some spices, extra cider vinegar, and a touch of mollasses. The fried tempeh can then be stirred right into the sauce, until you achieve your desired “sloppy” consistancy. Easy! Like traditional sloppy joes, this is also an easy dish to throw in the crock pot and take along to a BBQ or potluck.

I served sloppy janes on a crusty sourdough roll, with carmelized onions, cheddar, and plenty of mustard and hot peppers, but these sandwiches go great with any kind of traditional BBQ sandwich topping, including pickles, hot sauce, sourkraut or coleslaw – the list goes on! Add some mac & cheese and some greens and youve got a great Southern-Style BBQ meal. Enjoy your holiday weekend!


I like it Raw – raw cabbages salad

It is beautiful in Philadelphia, sunny, breezy, early-summery and also sometimes hot and humid. The vegetables are overflowing the raised beds and tumbling out of the CSA box and my fridge is packed. And I’m loving every minute of it. But I need to eat a lot of vegetables to keep up, and lately I just haven’t really felt like curries or stirfry or braises or casseroles. Why turn on the oven?

So I’ve been enjoying a whole lot of raw salads. The secret about raw salads is that you can eat almost any green raw. If it is particularly tough, just marinate and massage it a bit. I currently have lots of vegetables in the cabbage family, so I thought it would be fun to combine them for varying textures and colors. The above salad I made one evening and ate un-marinated, then poured the dressing over top, marinated overnight, and took for lunch the next day. For lunch (and the above photo) I added some cubed and fried tempeh chunks, and half of an avocado. YUM.

Raw Cabbages Salad

4 heads baby bok choi, sliced thinly
1/4 purple cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
3 kholrabi, loosely diced
1 cup sprouted mung beans
2 garlic scapes
2 tsp. toasted black sesame seeds

3 Tbs. tamari or soy sauce
4 Tbs. rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. safflower or other light oil
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbs. diced fresh ginger or 1 tsp. dried ginger
pinch of roasted chili powder or flakes

Combine vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing on top or, for a “softer” salad with less crunch, add dressing, mix well (use your hands!) and allow to rest for at least an hour. This recipe allows for 4 large servings. For a heartier meal, add tempeh, tofu, or avocado!

Pan-fried mung beans with Tempeh

Another winning recipe from Super Natural everyday, this quick dinner involves soaking the mung beans ahead of time (canned would be way to mushy). If you’re not familiar with mung beans, you can usually buy them at a co-op or whole foods, and they also make great sprouts! If you start soaking them in the morning and they are still too hard by evening, just bring them to boil and simmer them for about 10 minutes – but leave them al dente! Add broccoli, lemon zest, and friend tempeh and you have a nice one bowl dinner. If you can help it, don’t skip the greek yogurt – it bring a whole next level to texture and flavor of the dish.

Tempeh sandwich with sprouts and avocado

It started at as a tempeh BLT, but I couldn’t find any decent tomatoes (no surprise). And then I didn’t have any lettuce, but I did have some lovely sprouts, and a perfectly ripe avocado. And a whole wheat english muffin and some olive oil mayonnaise. So I marinated the tempeh in some “smoky” sauce with a dash of whisky, soy, garlic and steak sauce, fried it up, mashed the whole thing together, and loved every little bit of it.


During my junior year of college, I lived in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (on the island of Java) and while there, fell in love with Indonesian food. Hardena, a small warung (or casual dining place) in South Philadelphia has been recieving great foodie press for years, but I’ve been putting off a visit until I could take along another person I spent time with in Indonesia. On a balmy weekday night, my friend Monica agreed to make the journey, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.

While you can order dishes individually (don’t worry, the woman who works the hot food counter speaks English if you can’t read the Indonesian menu posted on the wall), it’s much more fun to just order a “plate” – 3 dishes of your choice for $6.  On any given day, Hardena offers 3 or 4 vegetarian dishes, and 4 or 5 meat-based dishes (think spicy fried fish and goat curry).  Pictured above is a boiled egg curry (one of my all-time favorites) a vegetable and tofu coconut milk curry, and a sweet fried tempeh with peppers over white rice. I just couldn’t resist the tempeh goreng cake (a large, thin slice of tempeh, dredge in egg and flour and deep fat-fried) so I added that to my platter for an extra dollar. I also added some sweet sambal (the orange color), but Hardena’s deep red sambal is one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

The set-up is just a step up from the traditional good carts with mini tables that are popular in Indonesia. A small store-front, little tables covered in plastic, styrofoam plates and plastic silverwear, and a cooler of cold water, but you won’t be dissapointed in the food, or the price.  Memberi makan!

Winter Shepard’s Pie

Winter Vegetarian Shepard's Pie

Hello Friends! The March GRID magazine has hit the stands, and I encourage you to pick up a copy. I contributed a vegetarian shepard’s pie using in-season vegetables. Beautiful to look at, delicious to eat, and easily made vegan. If you’d like to make a faster recipe, skip the lentil crust – it’s just as delicious. I’m going to include the recipe below, but do your best to track down the issue, or read in online, to enjoy all the other seasonal recipes!

Winter Shepard’s Pie

Potato Topping
2 Yukon gold potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
1/3 c. milk
1 Tbs. butter
12oz. crumbeled tempeh
2 cups water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 bay leaf

1 cup green lentils
1.5 cups water
salt and pepper
4 Tbs. flour
1 egg


2 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
4 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
½ cup red wine
4 carrots, diced
2 parsnips, diced
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
mushroom stock or bullion
6 oz. shredded aged sharp cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and dice potatoes and boil in salted water until soft, about 15 minutes. Place potatoes in the bowl of your mixer. Add salt and pepper, milk, and butter and beat until smooth.
2., In a small saucepan, boil the lentils with water, salt and pepper until soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
3. In a dutch oven or cast iron skillet, crumble the tempeh. Add the water, soy sauce and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and the simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the onions and garlic and fry until lightly brown. Add the celery and mushroom, and brown. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the tempeh, reserving the liquid and discarding the bay leaf. Add the tempeh to the vegetables. Add the herbs, salt and pepper. Add enough water or mushroom broth to the reserved liquid to make 3 cups. If you have no mushroom broth, add a cube of mushroom bullion. Whisk 2 Tbs. of flour into the broth. Add the liquid to the vegetable and tempeh, simmering until the mixture thickens slightly.
5. In a small bowl, combine the lentils and flour, stirring until the lentils are coated. Whisk the egg and oil together, then stir into the lentils. Press the lentil mixture in the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish. Cook the lentil crust in the oven for 10 minutes.
6. While the crust is baking, shred the cheese. Remove the casserole from the oven and top with the tempeh vegetable mix, followed by the chedder cheese. Evenly spread the potatoes over the top of the casserole. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the casserole bubble and the potatoes slightly brown.
7. Remove from the oven and let cook slightly before slicing and serving. If you wish, serve with hot sauce and additional cheese.

An Impromtu Fall Dinner Party

fall dinner
fall dinner

Fall has arrived! My CSA is bursting with delicious Fall vegetables, and I was so excited to roast a big pan of vegetables, I had to throw an impromtu dinner party. A giant pan of yellow potatoes, sweet potatoes, and red onions, roasted with some garlic cloves, olive oil, pepper and salt. A salad of spinach and dandelion greens with cherry tomatoes – all from my CSA! SoyBoy (local) tempeh glazed in maple syrup and mango juice, and a slice of metropolitan whole wheat bread on the side. A few german chocolates over our last glasses of Spanish red, and the meal was perfect.