Monday, May 16, 2011
Barbecue Tempeh and Cole Slaw Sandwich with Roasted Root Vegetables
My dad was born on Mother's Day, 1949, as the fourth child of what would eventually become nine. For his mother, this timing may have been unwelcome, but it also means that once in a while, my family gets to celebrate Mother's Day and Dad's birthday at the same time.
This year, I worked Mother's Day brunch at the restaurant, one of our biggest shifts of the year, then came home to cook dinner for my parents. I let them pick whatever they wanted from my cookbooks, and this is what they chose. It worked out pretty well, and would be easy to recreate any time you want a hearty summer lunch or dinner.
The root vegetable salad is delicious hot, room temp, and even cold. I served the meal with an iced blueberry green tea, which I made by my favorite method of putting a bunch of water and tea bags in a clear gallon jug and leaving it in the sun on the porch for a while. I have a great sun tea recipe from my mom that I'll include soon, in celebration of summer.
The recipes for the barbecue tempeh and cole slaw came from Vegan Soul Kitchen, and the roasted roots recipe is from The Candle Cafe Cookbook, both on my Favorite Cookbooks page. Unfortunately I can't reprint them, because they are the product of someone else's creativity, but I will tell you a bit about them, with my modifications.
Roasted Root Vegetables
You can adjust the proportions of these however you like, based on what you like best, but my favorite combo is one beet, several sweet potatoes, and 3 each of medium parsnips and medium carrots. The beet is so dominant that one is enough for me, but feel free to add more. Personally, if I'm going to do beets, I'd rather just go all-in and do a baked glazed beet salad. I also want to try braising beets in Earth Balance and coconut milk, but that's just an idea, so proceed with caution.
Peel and dice all your veggies, making the sweet potato pieces larger than the others, because they will get softer than any of the others. Toss all with some oil of your choosing and plenty of fresh grated ginger (or not; surely you know by now how I love my ginger)
Bake in a shallow pan for about 45 minutes at 350, turning once about half-way through.
BBQ Tempeh Sandwich with Cole Slaw
There are so many wonderful barbecue sauce recipes, and to be honest this one is not fantastic, so use whatever sauce recipe you like best. Put 1/2-inch-thick slices of tempeh in the smallest baking dish that will allow them to fit comfortably in one layer, then pour the sauce over them. Cover and bake at 350 for about an hour.
You can bake for a bit and then grill, which is great if there's other grilling going on, but I don't know that it adds enough to make it worth firing up the grill just for this. If you were going to, though, you should do the sandwiches on focaccia and grill the bread for a moment, too.
Cole slaw is not difficult to make, and it is so flexible and delicious when it's made fresh, that you should never ever buy it pre-prepared in a store. At least that's my opinion. Also, a couple of heads of cabbage are undoubtedly going to be cheaper than a little tub of flavorless, mayonnaisey sludge. Yes, I do feel strongly about this, in case you were picking up on that. Here's what I used for this one:
Thinly-sliced green cabbage
Thinly-sliced red cabbage
Dijon mustard (you could use a whole-seed mustard or other, but avoid anything too smooth or too yellow)
Apple cider vinegar (use your favorite, but I would caution against anything too dark or strong, at least for this recipe)
Sesame seeds (I am not a caraway person, but I think having little seed in there is nice, so this is a great alternative)
In creating your own slaw, you could include or substitute things like parsnips or jicama, use a little freshly-grated horseradish, or any number of other things. One theory would be to pick your spices, then let the oil, vinegar and veg elements fall into line behind it.