Monday, July 18, 2011

Vegan Po' Boy with Corn Fried Tempeh on Bernard Clayton's Monsieur Monfort's French Bread (The Joys of July And Gardening in 110 Degrees!)

I'm sitting inside next to the only open window I'll allow for daylight to stream in when the outside temperatures match a setting on my oven. We've reverted to "cave" mode officially. No daylight is allowed in the house after eleven or so. If I wake up more surly than usual--the blinds don't even get parted. The laptop has been given hiatus status because in my mind, why add to the misery and use up precious cold molecules to cool down a computer? If you are thinking, My god! She doesn't turn on her laptop?! No. I don't. There are days (d-a-y-s) when I do not even bother "logging" in. Sometimes I think my mind may shrivel up and "forget" all of my accumulated technological know-how. So far, that hasn't happened.

We've been eating a lot of sandwiches lately. A. Lot. It's all I can do to slap some vegan mayo on bread and begin the arduous task of sorting through the ever-growing veggie bin for something dinner-ish.

I can't get my mind off fried foods. Why is it in the heat--the absolute worst heat of the year, I crave two things: bread and fried foods? I had some tempeh hanging around in the freezer. Thawed it out. Sliced it up, boiled it for about five minutes, then set it out to dry. I put a bowl of soy milk (1/2 cup--mixed with 1/2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard) for one dipping bowl, next to a mixture of 1/4 cup of AP flour and a 1/4 cup cornmeal with some paprika and other within-reach-spices, then whisked the dry stuff together. Then, heated some oil up in a deep dutchoven--about a quarter inch of oil--dipped the pieces of tempeh in the soy milk, then dredged them through the flour, then fried them in the oil. I set them on a paper towel and fried up the other pieces one batch at a time. Trust me on this one--that tempeh totally tasted like fried (fill in the blank)--you would not know it was vegan. We gobbled these sammiches up so fast. Then the next night, feeling so good about the previous night's dinner, we had it again!  
One more little item to tell you about before the garden tour. I love this bread book: Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. All 730 or so pages of it. The bread recipe for this French Bread was a one day prep. I was in no mood for any "overnight" stuff. This bread was amazing. Simple, really. But yielded one of the best same day breads I've had. I was suspicious of this at first because I am turning into a "ferment snob". But I really don't always go to bed planning out the next day's daily bread requirements. So when I found this same day loaf recipe, I was thrilled. Mr. Clayton is no longer with us, but his breads are. And for that I am grateful. This recipe is totally worth the "little" prep time needed to yield two loaves. Here's a link.  
Seriously. . . good. . . bread.
And crust. . . it was superb!
Well, here is a photo of something that has become somewhat of a staple in our home. As you saw in the photo with the sammich--there on the plate was another cucumber salad. The cucumbers are in abundance right now. And have been for the past two weeks. I go for the simple with mine. A little white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar--whatever you're in the mood for), some sugar to taste. (There are a TON of recipes for "cucumber salad" out there!) So along side the soy milk in our fridge is the ever-present plastic container of cucumber salad. And what did I have awaiting me this morning as I ventured out to the garden?
FOUR more ripe cucumbers!
Jalapeno peppers.
Cabbage. I read that after I harvest this, you can score the stump left behind and perhaps the cabbage will yield you two more heads. Waiting.
Look closely. Yep. Tomato hornworm. Feasting! I plucked (after I screamed and jumped back a few feet) off four of these kiddos from my precious tomato plants a few weeks back. I tossed them into the tall weed area in hopes they'd foraged enough on the rest of my yard to become a sphinx moth (because that is what they turn into--this huge, gorgeous moth!). They are both beautiful and wicked. They will defoliate an entire tomato plant if you don't catch them early. I had to wear my heavy-duty, bright orange rubber dish gloves with a pair of my garden gloves on over, THEN reached for for the alien ever-so-carefully, flinging it to greener pasture. Ew.
This morning. Tomatoes abound, but not ripe yet. Soon. Very soon. The flowers and tomatoes seem to love this heat.  
And finally. Borage. A totally awesome herb for your companion planting, garden-protecting needs. I love this plant.


6 comments:

  1. OMG. You sound like me. I hate going out in this sun and avoid windows as well. It's so difficult to even water the garden.
    Your garden looks great. Funny that you want fried food in this grossness.
    But there isn't much else to do but eat!! We only have Central Air on our bottom level so I get quite a sauna treatment running up & down the stairs. You feel the wall of heat with each level......But there's a reason houses are affordable here!

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  2. Well, I saw the word "po boys" and you know I was in! The bread look su-perb. And you are a braver woman than I to bake it in this heat ... though I did make pizza the other day. Turning on the oven makes me cranky but eating pizza makes me happy so it balances out! Yeah, I would love to be a vampire right about now ...

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  3. Hi Kelly, I've been on a sandwich kick myself but making mock tuna with tempeh. Yours looks absolutely scrumptious.
    Your garden looks beautiful, I love zinnias.

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  4. Thanks, Ladies! I appreciate the notes--always! I have had trouble posting my comments so my fingers are crossed this one posts today!

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  5. I'll have to look into borage. I don't think I've ever heard of it. My tomato plants are finally starting to look like something. I have some tiny green ones, but nothing close to ripe. Your picture of the hornworm makes me shudder. I had one go crazy last year on my plants.

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  6. We are in cave mode too. But I may just have to turn on my oven to make some of this bread. I'm going to track down that book ASAP. Thank you for sharing with me, my friend! I hope you are having a relaxing Sunday. As always...everything looks delicious and lush (and I'm sure those veggies of yours taste amazing)!

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