Snapshot: A Visit to Kitchen Dances

Warning! This post encourages wasting time on Flickr Picnic. I sure do.

Why you should proceed: Are you a vegan cart fanatic? Are you a tempeh reuben adventurer? Do you appreciate a damn good gravy? Are you a Proper Eats fan? Did you miss Piper? Is this simply in your google reader? Please, proceed.

It’s clearly too early to join the inevitable food cart backlash (kidding!) and just the right time to enjoy covered, outdoor seating before winter really begins to roar in Portland (kidding, again).

Despite joking about the names of the newer cart lots – Good Food Here on SE Belmont, A La Carts on SE 51st (home of a solar powered Veggie Burger cart!!), and D-Street Noshery on SE Division – my friends and I had a nice, leisurely dinner at the first last weekend.  There are a few carts  at Good Food Here with vegan-friendly options, such Numi’s vegan bowl (think: cabbage and rice, but I hear nice things), Lucille’s Balls, Aybla Grill (meh), and a couple others – but the vegans came for Kitchen Dances.

Besides everything I briefly mentioned, while urging you to proceed to this vegan cart, I’ll add that what I tried: the special nori roll and breakfast burrito, served open-faced, were both vegan comfort food at its freshest.

The Snapshots:

Jalapeno and Herb Roasted Tempeh and Broccoli

This meal brought about the usage of positive profanity. For starters, it was Mexican inspired and didn’t include cilantro.

Jalapeno and Herb Roasted Tempeh and Broccoli. Served with red quinoa, black beans, carrots and fresh tomatoes.

Jalapeno and Herb Roasted Tempeh

Jalapeno and Herb Roasted Tempeh and Broccoli

Adapted from Jalapeño Roast Chicken with Baby Broccoli

Book: Marcela Valladolid’s “Fresh Mexico,” Clarkson Potter, 2009

Makes 4 servings

Frankly, I was googling “jalapeño” and “broccoli” for utilization.

The end result were these hearty, entrée-sized pieces of tempeh immersed in a savoury broth, flavored with the warm spice of jalapeños,  and brightened with fresh basil. Broccoli florets are added to this gathering of green ingredients towards the end of roasting.

Ingredients for Paste:

  • 1 small shallot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (or handful of fresh)
  • handful fresh basil
  • 1 jalapeno – stemmed and de-seeded
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • pinch nutritional yeast

Ingredients for Broth:

  • 1 cup ‘chicken style’ broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Additional Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces tempeh, sliced into large triangles (halved if 8 ounce squares, for example)
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, divided. Slice the stalks thinly.

Serving suggestions:

  • fresh, sliced tomatoes
  • fresh torn basil or oregano
  • steamed grains, such as quinoa
  • savoury black beans
  • serve in a burrito or over pasta

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Add all liquids into 9×13 glass casserole dish. Carefully stir the pureed mixture into the large glass baking dish.
  3. Immerse the tempeh triangles into the liquid. Immediately flip over.
  4. Add the sliced jalapeno and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Increase the heat to 400F. Remove the dish from the oven.
  6. Use a spatula to flip the tempeh pieces over. Add a spoonful of the baking liquid on top of each.
  7. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven. Add the broccoli and drizzle with additional baking liquid. If you are low on liquid, add a few tablespoons of additional broth.
  9. Roast an additional 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and serve as desired.

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dinner is good: cornmeal crusted baked tempeh

Leigh and Ann’s Homemade Creole Sauce from the Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti spooned over thyme-y, cornmeal crusted, baked tempeh strips. Roasted broccoli with fresh lemon, coarse sea salt and pepper.  Steamed yam with sea salt.

creole sauce, cornmeal tempeh

I had been craving good ole tempeh. The tempeh strips were marinated overnight in tamari and the Creole sauce (so good! such a nice tangy flavor!), dipped into a water and cornstarch slurry, then pressed into fine cornmeal with thyme, garlic powder, sea salt, lots of freshly ground pepper, and crushed red pepper, and then baked at 375F for 20 minutes on one side, and then 15 minutes at 400F – for the crispin’.  Served with roasted broccoli, steamed yam, and more Creole sauce.

In my head, and mouth, this meal was channeling the great The Lone Ranger plate at Chaos Cafe.  Except without the quinoa and kale, since I didn’t have them on hand.  Out of quinoa, I know – not even an extra bag of red hiding in my cabinets.  What’s my life coming to?

creole sauce, cornmeal tempeh

In other news, I had no idea there was a tea store tucked behind SE 12th and Division.  My life has changed.  The intersection hosts the new Gorditos, a cute pet store, vegan-friendly Artemis Cafe, and The Beer Mongers (note to self – finally visit!)

Foxfire Teas: Passion Yerba Mate (drinking right now – lovely), Foxfire Herbal Chai and Charcoal Baked Dong Ding. All purchased by the ounce, loose leaf.

apparently, I live near a tea store.

Tea makes everything better.