Friday, May 6, 2011

Merry Christmas - Wait, What?!?

Happy Seis de Mayo! Okay, so I'm a day late :( Fortunately I made some tacos last night, and who doesn't love tacos! Yay!

But let's back up a bit....

These are the Baja-Style Grilled Tempeh Tacos out of Veganomicon. I've had this cookbook for over 2 years, and I've been wanting to make these tacos for a long time. However, every time I actually sat down and looked at the recipe, I thought it seemed like too much effort. I mean, it takes up almost two full pages in the cookbook! But, I've been in the mood to try new recipes, and I decided Cinco de Mayo was the perfect time to bite the bullet and make these tacos.

There are several steps involved: you must make a taco slaw and then press it all day; prepare a lime crema and chile-beer marinade; steam the tempeh, marinate the tempeh, and finally grill the tempeh; chop up the garnishes, warm the tortillas, and then finally, make the tacos. That's a lot of work for tacos, right? However, I was pleasantly surprised at how manageable and - dare I say it, easy - these tacos were to make! The key, I found, was to do one step at a time over the course of the day.

I had about half an hour to spare before my mother's group meeting in the morning, so I decided to make the taco slaw. I grated some carrot and added it to some preshredded cabbage, along with some apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. I mixed it all together in a big bowl...

...then transferred it all to a large mason jar.

Now, the cool "press" the slaw with a heavy object all day in order to soften it and infuse the flavor.

I just grabbed a full jar of peanut butter and wrapped it in plastic wrap to keep it sanitary. Worked like a charm! I threw that in the fridge and then left for church.

After I got home, I decided to steam and marinate the tempeh while my son was eating his lunch. While the tempeh was steaming, I whisked together the marinade. After 10 minutes, the tempeh was ready to come out of the pot and into the marinade:

I let this hang out on the stovetop for a little bit while the hot tempeh absorbed the marinade and cooled down. Once it was cool, I stuck that in the fridge.

Rather than making the lime crema, I decided to just cheat and use a container of Tofutti sour cream that I had in the fridge. I knew I'd be using the sour cream in a few days anyway to make Mexican pizza, so it just made sense to use it here. One less recipe to make!

When dinner time rolled around, all I had to do was grill the tempeh in my cast-iron pan, warm the tortillas in another pan, and chop up some tomato, avocado, and cilantro. I threw a pot of frozen broccoli on to cook at the same time. In about 10 minutes, everything was done, and the tacos were ready to be assembled. Why did this seem like a lot of work? It was really pretty quick!

I placed two warmed corn tortillas on each plate, then topped them with the slaw, tempeh, chopped tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and some Cholula hot sauce.

My hubby put some sour cream on his, too. He managed to stop eating for a second so I could take an inside shot:

And, of course, no Cinco de Mayo meal would be complete without some cerveza:

I know, I know, you're supposed to have Corona on Cinco de Mayo. But we still had this Christmas ale in the fridge, so we decided to be thrifty and use this instead. Seeing that it has taken us over 5 months to drink this 6-pack of Christmas ale, we figured it would take us until Christmas to drink a 6-pack of Corona!

My son, by the way, loved the tempeh, avocado, corn tortillas, and broccoli. I didn't even attempt the slaw after his cauliflower standoff on Tuesday. I know he'll be happy tonight, though, when I make one of his favorite meals, Raw Sweet Potato Soup. Actually, all three of us love this soup, and it makes an appearance at our dinner table at least once a month. Recipe and pics to follow!

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