Sunday, September 13, 2009

Curried tempeh

Tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, zucchinis, melons, green beans, oh my! That's 475 pounds of produce from one day's picking from our community garden in the photo above. The garden is on a half-acre piece of ground and has produced so much without the aid of fertilizer or chemicals that I feel like an organic farmer. By season's end, we should have harvested 4,500 pounds of produce and 1,500 pounds of pumpkins at a value of about $4,000. However, the garden is not for profit but rather to benefit the local Salvation Army.

The fact that we have provided organic produce to families in need makes me feel especially good. I recently read an article in the Aug. 31 issue of Time magazine, "America's Food Crisis and How to Fix It." The article focused on U.S. farming practices where produce is grown with tons of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, and meat animals are dosed with antibiotics and growth hormones. The goal of the article was to get us thinking about changing the way our country grows and consumes food because right now, we are on track to scarier germs (from antibiotic overuse in meat animals), eroded farmland and higher health costs.

After reading that article, I felt even better about the organic produce our garden has yielded. It also got me thinking about the meat I eat. I've always opted for conventionally grown meat because of the high cost of organic. But after reading the article, I realized that all needed to change. I don't eat that much meat, mainly fish with chicken and turkey sprinkled in here and there. So, I decided it wouldn't break the bank to eat organic poultry. Actually, it might save me money in the long run if I stay healthier because of it.

At the same time, I decided to add more vegetarian meals to my diet. One of my new favorites is curried tempeh, pictured below. It makes a great dinner or anytime meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) for someone like me on an eating plan where carbs are kept to a minimum. It's also a great way to use up some of my garden produce (herbs, tomatoes, onions, zucchini). Note: I only recently added tempeh back into my diet because I was rechecked for candida and it was at a normal level again. Even so, I only eat tempeh occasionally. Tempeh is a fermented food and should normally be avoided by those on an ACD diet unless they have been cleared by their doctor. At least as far as I know, that is the case.

Curried Tempeh (2 servings)
1 package tempeh (I used organic, multi-grain soy tempeh.)
1/2 cup vegetable broth (Read the label for added sugar if you are doing ACD.)
2 T. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger (I used about a one-inch piece of ginger root.)
1-2 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
1 tsp. garam masala spice
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk (Other alternative milks works too.)
1 zucchini, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 handful chopped fresh basil
2 tsp. chopped fresh mint
Optional: cooked brown rice
Crumble the tempeh into a large skillet and add the vegetable broth. Heat over medium heat until broth bubbles. Then, lower the heat, cover the skillet with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the tempeh and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and zucchini, and saute. Add the tomato, cumin, bay leaves, cardamon, garam masala, turmeric and coriander, and cook one more minute. Lower the heat and add the soy milk and tahini. Stir to mix; cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the fresh herbs and heat for just a bit more. Serve over hot rice. Another option is to serve over stir-fried veggies for a more ACD-friendly meal.


Janet said...

I would love to know how you are able to eat tempeh, since I thought that was fermented. I would love to have it, but no the ACD I haven't had it in years. The other question I have is regarding the little tomatoes, which I also love. It seems I can't have a lot of those either, as they are like a fruit. It sounds like you are able to eat them though, that's great!


Sheree Welshimer said...

I've been using the tempeh with flax but I've only indulged twice because yes, it is fermented. I probably should not have posted that recipe as it is misleading to those following an ACD diet. I also was recently retested for candida and found I am clear of it but still need to follow a low glycemic diet. I do still avoid nearly all fermented foods because I don't want to risk a reoccurrence of candida overgrowth.
I, like you, love the grape tomatoes. I have volunteer ones come up in my garden each year. I only use 5 or 6 a day which doesn't use them up very fast. I still limit my fruit to one serving per day so those tomatoes would count as my daily fruit serving. Let me know if you have other questions.