Tempeh Fajitas

I promised to post my fajita recipe today so here it is. If you aren’t familiar with it, tempeh is a soy product that is often used as a meat substitute in vegetarian recipes. I prefer tempeh over tofu as a protein source when I go meatless. Tempeh doesn’t trip my texture issues. If you prefer not to go meatless, you can substitute chicken or beef strips for the tempeh.

Tempeh Fajitas

1 TBS canola oil, divided
8 oz block tempeh, cubed
1 recipe fajita seasoning, divided
½ cup water
2 large onion, slivered
3 bell peppers, slivered
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 fajita size tortillas

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium – heat until hot. Add tempeh and cook, stirring a couple of times, until almosminutes.t cooked through, 5 – 6 minutes. Add half the fajita seasoning and water; mix well. Let the tempeh finish cooking. Transfer tempeh to a bowl, cover to keep. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet until hot. Add onions and peppers; cook, without stirring, until tender and bits start to get caramelized, 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in the remaining fajita seasoning and the garlic, cook about 2 more minute. Stir the vegetables into the seasoned tempeh, Serve mixture on tortillas.

Adapted from I Don’t Remember Where

Fajita Seasoning

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Today I started a pantry cleanse. A pantry cleanse is where I plan all my meals around things I already have in my pantry. Once I am out of something It is out for the duration of the challenge. I am only allowed to buy milk, eggs and produce. The idea is to use up all the little bits of stuff that you forget you have. My pantry cleanses usually last two weeks. The further I get into the cleanse I get the more creative I am forced to get as my pantry gets emptier and emptier.

Tonight I whipped up a fajita seasoning and made tempeh fajitas. I am just giving you the seasoning recipe today, as it can be used for other things. I will post the fajita recipe tomorrow.

Fajita Seasoning

1 TBS cornstarch
2 to 3 TBS chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a small bowl, combine all the spices. This mixture equals one packet of Fajita seasoning.

Shirred Eggs

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I have been reading Michael Ruhlman’s cookbook, Egg, A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient. I am amazed at how many ways there are to cook eggs  that I have never heard of, coddled. Mollet, and shirred to name just a few.

You would think that an egg is going to taste the same no matter how you cook it, an egg is an egg. As I experimented with different ways to cook eggs, I found each method alters the egg’s texture which in turn alters the egg’s taste. Of all the new methods of cooking eggs I have tried lately, I like shirred, or baked eggs best.

The following is  very pared down version of the shirred eggs from the book. I am not a fan of a lot of stuff in my eggs, unless you are talking about omelets. However, feel free to make these your own by adding sautéed vegetables, lightly cooked greens, sausage, ham, and other kinds of cheese.

Shirred Eggs

1 tsp butter

2 eggs

Salt  pepper, to taste

1/4 – 1/2 cup cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a small, shallow gratin  dish or ramekin that is big enough to hold two eggs.  Crack the eggs into the dish taking care not to break the yolks. Sprinkle with, salt, pepper and cheese. Bake 8 – 12 minutes or until the eggs are done to your liking.

Adapted from Michael Ruhlman’s Egg cookbook

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I really wanted to make fried chicken tonight but I forgot to buy milk after work. So instead of fried chicken for dinner, I made sweet and sour chicken. Sometimes, it is good to be forgetful.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

8 oz can pineapple chunks in juice, drained and juice reserved
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS ketchup
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 TBS vegetable oil
2 chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 green pepper, julienned
3 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces

In a medium bowl, combine the reserved pineapple juice, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, cornstarch and honey. Mix well; set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet, add the chicken. Stir fry over high heat until lightly browned. Add green pepper and stir fry two minutes. Whisk the pineapple juice it to mixture well then add it to the chicken, along with pineapple chunks and scallions. Cook, stirring, for1 or 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Adapted from I don’t remember where

Crispy Panko Fried Fish

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I accomplished a lot this weekend. I watched Fast and Furious 4, 5, and 6, in anticipation of seeing 7. I organized my posts so I can get a working recipe index for my blog. I got most of my recipes up and linked for a working recipe index and I cooked the perfect piece of fish. Cooking fish may not seem like much of an accomplishment to the average person but for me it is huge. I always overcook my fish to the point of being inedible or undercook it to the point of being inedible. Every. Single. Time. Fish is the bane of my culinary existence. So when I get a piece of fish with a coating that is golden brow and still stuck to the fish and the fish is cooked all the way through, it gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

The recipe came from Mollie Katzen’s Get Cooking cookbook. The cookbook is full of basic recipes, both vegetable and meat, for the beginning cook. Even if you aren’t a beginning cook, the recipes in this book are quick and easy, for nights you are hungry but don’t really want to cook.

The key to the successful frying of fish is to start with hot oil in a hot pan then, after adding the fish, turning down the heat and not messing with the fish until it is time to flip it. This is the hardest part for me. I always want to make sure the crust isn’t burning or the fish is cooking through. Don’t do it. Just leave it alone and let it cook. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fillets. The first few times you make this recipe experiment a bit to find how you like your fish cooked and what it takes to get it there.

Crispy Panko Fried Fish

1/4 – 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten until a uniform yellow
2 pieces of cod, about 4 ounces each
Salt and pepper
1 TBS Butter
1 TBS Canola oil

In a small bowl, beat the egg until it is a uniform yellow color. Place the Panko on a small plate. Pat the fish dry as possible with a paper towel. Dip the fish into the beaten egg. Allow the excess egg to drip off then dip in the panko bread crumbs, coating each side well; set aside. Place a pan, I Like my cast iron pan for this, over high heat. After it has heated for a few minutes add the butter and canola oil. It is ready to add the fish when a flake or two of Panko hits the pan and the oil immediately sizzles. Add the fish and reduce the heat to medium. Now comes the hard part, for the next 3 to 4 minutes, go make a salad, read the mail, the dog, kiss your significant other, anything but don’t touch that fish. After 4 minutes flip the fish and leave it for another 4 minutes. Determine if the fish is done to your liking. If it is, plate and eat. If it isn’t cook till it is then plate and eat.

Adapted slightly from Mollie Katzen’s Get Cooking