Tag Archives: tempeh

CLOSED Austin Java Tarrytown Redux + a GIVEAWAY!!!

UPDATE 2-10-2014 Austin Java Tarrytown suddenly shut it’s doors forever over the weekend. The word is that the veg options are going to move to the Barton Springs locations.

Almost exactly a year ago a new all vegetarian Austin Java opened up in Tarrytown. We went and, like the other Austin Javas I’ve been to, the food was pretty disappointing. There was a lot of confusion about what was vegan and what wasn’t and it seemed like no one really had any idea about how to make delicious vegan food. Folks from the neighborhood were really disappointed and the reviews were kind of depressing since everyone was blaming the bad food on the fact that it was vegetarian. I still held out hope that things would change and sure enough a new manager was brought in, Maddy, who seems to be doing everything right. First she consulted with local vegans, the ladies behind our local tempeh company the Hearty Vegans, to help her out. And help they did! The menu is definitely pared down and, if I’ve learned anything from watching Kitchen Nightmares, it’s that that is a good thing! There is a lot more focus on making things in house from whole foods rather than store bought substitutions. A group of us were invited to try out the new menu on the house and if they can recreate our meal for their paying customers I think that it is going to be very successful with both vegans and omnivores. In fact, Maddy said since developing the menu she learned to love vegan food so much that she’s now eating that way most of the time!

We started with some agave & lime marinated cucumber tapas that were topped with avocado and pico de gallo. This is something I would never normally order but I really enjoyed it. The marinade took the edge of the cucumber and I could see this being a great app in the summer when it’s 5,000 degrees. I enjoyed them with a glass of delicious chardonnay, I never would have thought of Austin Java as a place for wine and I’m glad I tried it since they often have happy hour specials.

Next we were brought a couple of samples of pasta. The pasta primevera is something that I get from time to time at the Austin Java on 12th because it’s one of the few vegan meals they have and I am always super disappointed with the mushy noodles, oily overcooked vegetables, and bitter taste. The pomodoro at the Tarrytown location was totally the opposite of that. I think the other locations would be blown away by the difference that an al dente noodle, a well cooked vegetables, and a light sauce makes. Also viva la vegan parmesan a fresh basil.

We also tried the jalapeno mac & cheese which has avocado and pureed peanuts as it’s base. I loved this dish, in fact, I’ve been trying to make my own version of avocado mac over the years and it never worked out nearly this well. Not everyone at the table was sold on the peanut butter but I didn’t really notice it, I thought it was delicious and creamy and I’d order it the next time I go back for lunch. I loved the basil and the corn. I’ll be curious to see what other people think.

Next we were brought some sandwiches. The curried tempeh wrap was my favorite. It was kind of sweet with pecans and maybe even dried fruit but on a thick salty pita. I thought it worked really well, and again, I hope this sandwich comes to 12th street because I could easily eat it a few times a week.

We also sampled the southwest veggie burgers that are made in house and also gluten free. We tried them on a GF bun that’s made locally by  Misty Morning Bakery which I think is popular with the GF-vegan community. The burger stayed true to it’s veggie roots and wasn’t trying to be a meat replacement so I think it will be popular with the non-vegans too.

I think next came the black bean chili which was very similar to a chili I used to sell on the lot a million years ago. It was a little sweet and had pops of corn. I really liked it, a nice wholesome dish. They should enter the Lonestar Veggie Chili Cook-off next year.

Next came the tempeh “street taco”. Since we were just getting samples ours were on fried tortillas and I should have asked if that’s how they will always be. I liked it, it reminded me of homemade nachos. The tempeh ground beef was delicious and I think we all really enjoyed the filling. In fact, I do believe it was Nanette’s favorite dish.

Finally we were brought pancakes and I didn’t even take a picture since I was so full at this point that I could barely manage and also you all probably know what a pancake looks like. These were damn near perfect. The batter was agave and banana sweetened and topped with a cinnamon butter and maple syrup. We all loved them. Molly said they were the best in town and I already want to get them again.

She sent us home with cupcakes and cookies and, honestly, we thought the chocolate chip cookie was one of the best in town. I’d put it right up there with Celeste’s Best & The Big John from Whole Foods.

I’m so happy with the new menu and so glad that Maddy reached out the Hearty Vegan and that they were so helpful. It’s nice to have well prepared tempeh on a menu because tempeh is really unique and delicious and you can’t get it many places in town. They even have a tempeh scramble that you can sub in the migas. Nearly everything on the menu can be veganized and there were a lot of GF options. They haven’t printed out new versions of the menu yet so be sure to ask for vegan things when you go (like the pancake). And of course, let them know what you think. I think really one of the best things for veganism is to have great vegan food all over the place and I’m happy to add Austin Java Tarrytown to the list and I hope it all goes really well for them.

This contest has closed, due to unforeseen circumstances Austin Java won’t be able to honor the winner for a while.

TO WIN A FREE MEAL

Generously, they have offered a free meal to two lucky readers! If you would like to win please comment below. Let me know what you are most excited about trying on the new menu. Make sure you comment with an email that you check so I can notify you if you are the winner.

Last Meal

My friend Krys asked what we would eat if it was our last day on earth. She said she would “fill up on a plate of Southern fried goodness: deep fried cajun spiced tofu, mashed taters w/gravy, fried okra, and corn on the cob. And of course dessert, something lemon”. I liked the sound of that! I immediatly thought of the meal Mr. Smurf made for us the other night, all recipes from the Veganomicon, Mac Daddy, smokey grilled tempeh, and delicious greens. We ate it on the back porch after the sun had gone down, it was immaculate perfection. If it was my last meal, though, I said I would add BBQ black-eyed peas, tots,  olive poppers and a Michelada to drink. And some sort of decadent chocolate dessert that is, like, chocolate with chocolate surround by chocolate.

Mmmm last meal.

Vegan Dad’s Tempeh Ribs

As time goes on I like tempeh more and more, does that mean I am getting a vegan palate? I really had a craving for BBQ for the last few days but I didn’t want to make anything difficult so I made my sauce and just cooked the tempeh in it. I didn’t even grill it as Vegan Dad suggests but I will make it that way the next time I have the grill out. It is such a smart idea to make the sauce in the cast iron on the grill while you make everything else! I also made my own barbecue sauce that was terrific! No recipe though, I had to freestyle. I made cornbread muffins from Vegan Lunch Box but I used blue cornmeal and they turned out way too sweet. I don’t think it was from the blue cornmeal but the 2/3 of a cup of maple syrup I put in. It seemed like too much but I will never learn to trust my instincts when it comes to following baking recipes in a book. I also made macaroni with earth balance and fresh herbs that was good but screamed I can’t wait to get paid.

Taco do Sul

OK, this picture is so awful but the tacos were really good and easy, a great summer taco, so I had to post about them!  First I made a quick marinade of a tablespoon of  Mexican oregano, 10  Kalamata olives, a small sweet orange pepper, and 1/2 cup of red wine. I steamed the tempeh for ten minutes then marinated for about and hour. Meanwhile, I made an orange-onion salsa with red onions, cumin, and oranges. Then, an hour later I sauted the tempeh in oil until it browned, added the marinade to the pan, reducded for a minute or two and then piled the tempeh into corn tortillas with spinach, and the orange-onion salsa. The olives rebounded so well with the peppers and the cumin sang its little cumin song of happiness in the background while the tempeh grounded everything in the way that only tempeh can. If someone makes these tacos and takes a better picture I will replace the picture and send you a gift from Lazy Smurf’s headquarters.  So make them! Eat them! and Enjoy!

Tempeh Salad Sandwich

Yesterday was another wonderful trip the Sunset Valley Farmer’s Market. I couldn’t believe that tomato season appears to be ending, there were only a couple let (I might have just gotten there later than usual). Everyone seemed to have tons of produce however and it was really difficult to make decisions. I got some beautiful carrots, spring onions, peaches, tomatoes, and I can never resist mushrooms and Kombucha.I also had some inari sushi that was fabulous and the guy assured me that it was vegan.

For lunch we were busy doing things around the house so I wanted something very simple and decided since I had veganaise for another recipe I would try to make chicken salad sandwiches with tempeh. I was never a big fan of chicken/potato/tuna salads in my pregen days (unless my grandma made it) because I don’t like raw celery. So in my version I used carrot instead and fresh herbs and vegetables. It was pretty great, totally unlike what you get at the store which once again goes to show, if you want good food it is best to make it yourself.

And look at that tomato! My god, I love summer. Tempeh Salad

8oz of tempeh, cubed
1 carrot, grated
1/3 cup veganaise
1 scallion, minced
4 Tablespoons of fresh parsley, minced
2 leaves of sage, minced
1/4 tsp of fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp vegeta broth powder
salt & pepper

Simmer to tempeh in enough water to cover it with 1 Tablespoon or so of soy sauce for 20 minutes. Drain and let it cool, I was in a hurry so I put some ice cubes along with the tempeh in the freezer and it was cold by the time I was ready for it. Prep all the vegetables and herbs and toss until they are well incorporated. In a larger bowl measure out the veganaise and whip it with a whisk or a fork until light and creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients together and carefully toss. Enjoy!

Cinco de Mayo is coming, its practically here!

Last year on Cinco de Mayo, I listened to a local radio station lament the fact that people ignorant of Mexican culture don’t know what Cinco de Mayo is all about and yet they still celebrate by knocking back a couple of Cuervos and maybe having some nachos. What was absurd, to me, was that they went on and on about how this was such a travesty and yet they never once mentioned what Cinco de Mayo is all about. For one thing, I don’t even think it is a national holiday in Mexico. According to Wikipedia it is mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla but they fail to mention that it is probably more intensely celebrated in Mexico’s former territory: Texas. The date commemorates the defeat of the French by Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín and was also the last time the Americas were invaded by another country. In Texas, and the rest of the US, however, we primarily use the holiday to celebrate Mexican culture which in my mind means eating Mexican inspired food and yes, drinking beer and eating nachos. I thought I would do a round-up of some tacos that I have posted about to inspire some taco ideas other than the standard American version.

The Southern Taco

Tropical Tempeh Tacos

Sesame Tacos with Blood Orange Tacos

Vegan Al Pastor Tacos

Tequila Sausage & Cornmeal Crusted Plantain Tacos

Escondido Tacos

Peanut Crusted Seitan with Blood Orange Salsa

I would love for any other bloggers to link below to any of their favorite taco creations!
And have a happy International Worker’s Day

Tropical Tempeh Tacos

I made these tacos and they were pretty good and really fast but I will have to work on the recipe before I post it. All I did was boil the tempeh with soy sauce while meanwhile sauteing the onion, garlic, and red cabbage. After the tempeh cooked for 10 minutes I added it to the saute and then finally the pineapple. I topped with with green onions, lime juice, cilantro, and a little bit of the parsley pesto I had left over. I think when I try again I will grill everything instead of sauteing. They were really good, fast, and easy. I ate too much.

Do you like Tempeh? Mr Smurf adores it, he can eat it plain and still cold and wonders why it isn’t more popular at restaurants. I thought about it and I couldn’t remember ever coming across it at any Austin restaurants, even the Indonesian place.  I like to buy it because of the health benefits and  because it has a really unique taste but I would love to try a restaurant version. How do you like your tempeh?