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Cozy Collards & Tempeh

Posted By IsaChandra On March 8, 2011 @ 3:56 am In Entrees,Gluten Free,Recipe,Sides | 34 Comments

Serves 6
Time: 40 minutes || Active time: 20 minutes

I love to travel, but sometimes even more than that, I love coming home. Yeah, the Caribbean is nice, but I miss my kitchen.

My kitchen is hardly perfect. It needs better lighting and storage, and it could be laid out more efficiently. The fridge, well first of all it’s white, but beyond the cosmetics it also leaks and vibrates in a disturbing way. And the counters…they aren’t quite gray and aren’t quite Formica but they definitely aspire to be.

So it’s not ideal, and I’m hoping someday it will be. I’d love reclaimed wood counters and a stainless steel fridge. Open shelving and, I don’t know, a backsplash made with vintage tiles or some such crapola. But it isn’t the stuff that makes a kitchen. Sure, a nice coat of paint helps and I’ve rigged up some temporary shelving to keep things organized. But really, it’s the life you breath into it. The way your favorite spices are never really put away, the lists that accumulate, the pages of recipes torn from magazines and clinging for dear life to the fridge with an “I Love NY” magnet that can’t quite handle it. And of course, there’s the cooking!

After being gone for 3 weeks I needed to bring the kitchen back to life in a big way. Music helps. And I threw together some of my favorite aromas — as tempeh cooks it smells like freshly baked bread. I was craving some sausagey flavors and homey greens, and of course nothing says home like scents of garlic and shallots. Roasted red peppers are like a big hug from 20 fluffy kittens and to finish it off, some cilantro and lemon to brighten up the flavors.

This was totally satisfying as is, but would also be faboo with some mashed sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes and cauliflower (my beloved Caulipots.) Home is definitely where the tempeh is, leaky fridges be dammed.

1 1/2 pounds collards (one big bunch)

1 lb tempeh (two 8 oz packages)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari if you’re gluten-free)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup water

1 tablepoon olive oil
1/2 cup sliced shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
A few dashes fresh black pepper
2 roasted red peppers (storebought or homemade), cut into bite sized pieces
Salt to taste
Lemon wedges to serve

First, rip the leaves off the stems of the collards, rip them into smaller pieces and wash them. I like to fill my sink with cold water and let them soak in there, then drain when I’m ready to use.

Place the drained collards in a large pot (at least 5 quart) and submerge with water and a big pinch of salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In the meantime, crumble the tempeh into bite-sized pieces and place in a large skillet. Add water, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Cover and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 10 minutes, or until all of the liquid has absorbed or evaporated. This makes the tempeh plumped up and succulent and gives them flavor.

Lower the heat and push all the tempeh over to one side. Drizzle the oil into the other side of the pan and saute the shallots and garlic, along with a pinch of salt, for about 3 minutes. Then just flip them into the tempeh and mix together. Saute for about 5 more minutes, until tempeh is browned. Add a little extra oil if needed.

Mix in cilantro, fennel seed, red pepper flakes, black pepper and roasted red pepper. Lastly, mix in the collards and let everything cook together for about 10 more minutes. Add a little water or veggie broth it it begins to get dry. Taste for salt and pepper and serve with wedges of lemon and hot sauce.

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