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I spent the majority of this past week mulling over what to make this weekend to share with you guys. I was trying to decide what felt fitting for Easter Sunday, but what also never appears on my menu on a regular day. Something I don't make often, or never have. I was pretty set on spaghetti and meatballs...seriously...mostly because I haven't made a plate of juicy meatballs and its slithery, slurpy noodle counterpart in almost two whole years. The last time I made meatballs, was in the Spring of 2013, when I visited my best friend in Queens. We made a picnic for ourselves in the back of her yard, and served meatballs, empanadas and lemonade. It didn't make sense, our combination of things, but that made the meal that much more memorable and enjoyable. That was a very good day. And remembering that, I had it in my mind that I would try to recreate some of those happy feelings again, but this time celebrating the coming of Spring and this Easter weekend. I'm so grateful for this life, this new beginning, Boston finally melting its snow and welcoming the sun, and I'm sure many people can relate to this. It's a fresh, hopefully, ABSOLUTELY ALIVE, sort of feeling. And I want to communicate those feelings through my food. But when I rolled my four-wheeled city cart to the store, and up through the meat isle, I couldn't help but replay a passage in my head that I read for Gastronomy class. There was a section that spoke about packaged meat, the idea of the deconstruction of, and separation of store meat from the animal. Its contents being so far removed from its natural state, plasticized, that we don't even think of it as "cow" or "chicken". And "God forbid we see the eyeballs of our fish! Well, we will just stick to ready-to-serve, frozen, individually packaged, tilapia fillets". And a lot of other ramblings about the ethics of animal consumption, the hidden truths of meat packing, and the industrialization of meat. My brain turned into Michael Pollan for a split second, and it started lecturing me about making better healthier more economically friendly choices. I glared at the ground beef, pressed behind the clear layer of plastic wrap, static under the blue, florescent lights. I began questioning the validity of the label, the percentage of "lean" they promised, and the ambiguity of the identity of the other 15%. I stood there, examining the rainbow of ground beef color, from pasty, chalky pink, to artificial red, and then I decided, this didn't feel fresh at all, or like "spring", or "new beginnings". So instead, I walked to the opposite end of the store, and picked out the brightest fruits and veggies my little eyes spied ...Thanks Michael?
...OR CHICKEN, OR SHRIMP, OR STEAK, OR pterodactyl?... ALL THAT MATTERS IS THE SAUCE!
THIS ASIAN BLACK PEPPER SAUCE DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE!
ALL OF MY TASTE RECEPTORS + THIS SAUCE = HAPPY STIMULATION
SO JUICY SWEEEEEEET
I made this recipe earlier in the week, and served it on top of noodles, ramen-style!. When I ate it though, I knew that the blackened tempeh-element of the recipe alone could use a little spotlight on the blog. If I died, and I didn't share this recipe before that very solemn date, it would be a failure on behalf of my duties as Food Lover! The job description of a Food Lover states clearly on line three, section 8... subsection b4:
"All recipes tasted and or created on the part of the food lover, must thenceforth be shared with those she/he loves, as love is equal to sharing, to maintain the holding of said given title, ensuring it does not suffer stagnation. Failure to do so, will result in immediate termination."
...or something like that...?
Basically translated, because I love you, and want you to be happy, I'm sharing this sauce, and you should make it. You can put it on anything too! Just replace whatever you have in mind, wherever I wrote "tempeh" in the recipe. If you're imagining strips of juicy steak, or jumbo shrimp, I'm going to encourage those fantasies, and suggest you follow your dreams! This sauce is one of my staple recipes, and it's incredibly quick to make. Like 10 minutes, total, including prep and cook time.
Yields: 2 servings
Time: "Like 10 minutes, total including prep and cook time"
Things You'll Need:
Put about 1/2 cup of cornstarch on a plate, and coat your protein of choice. Tempeh is amazing. It's a good vehicle for this sauce. Because of its mildly nutty taste and break-apart-easily-in-your-mouth texture, it doesn't detract from the sauce.
So again, cut up your uncooked tempeh, and let it go swimming in some corn starch.
Use a strainer or your hands to shake off the excess corn starch.
Fill a heavy bottom skillet pan with a shallow amount of canola or peanut oil (just 1/8th inches deep-just trying to coat the bottom). And wait until the oil begins rippling.
Fry the tempeh, being sure to cook both sides evenly, and then remove them with a slotted spoon, let them drain on stack of paper towel, and pour the excess oil from the pan into a safe, heat proof, lidded container to later be discarded.
Wipe off your pan, and melt some butter
Add the red onion (chopped)
Then add chopped jalepenos, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped ginger, and thinly sliced garlic, and cook that all together for a couple minutes.
Add the soy sauce to the pan
then throw in the sugar
And once the sauce begins to thicken, add the fried tempeh back into the pan, to get coated in the sauce
YUM. AND. DONE.
SERVE AND ENJOY!
TEA OBSESSIONS CURED WITH BAGELS
CHAI•EARL GREY•GREEN TEA• •MANGO PASSIONFRUIT• JASMINE
Hello my dear readers. I've missed you these past few weeks. Time has been racing, and non-bloggy demands have been piling high. From mid-terms, to moving Eric across the United States, the word "stress" has fogged the beginning of our March. So impulsive and wild, we dared to squeeze a 3100 mile car journey into the 10 days of freedom given to us. In addition to driving head-first into blazing sunrises and rushingly escaping heavy dawns, easing past stretches of dizzying forests, patterned cropland, and unrepressed rivers, foolishly fueled on only 1.9 oz shots of 5-hour energy, we still had to muster enough energy to move an entire home, and pack it into that tiny car, and turn right back around. My "Spring Break" ended with the nose of our hood penetrating Massachusetts' border, just as Boston claimed its record snow fall (108.6 inches) and a job interview waiting just a few hours away. But truthfully, it was an amazing adventure. Nothing I'd ever regret. It was sluggish toward the end, for sure, with no time to stop moving, until today, for me. We still have all of Eric's things that need to be unpacked, crowding the front door of our tiny 500 square foot apartment, spreading like vines into the kitchen and living room area. But the important thing is that he is here, to stay, so all is well. This morning felt like the first bit of tranquility in a bit of time, and it gave me a chance to unwind, to release my thoughts to the world who reads Chocolate For Basil, and knead some wonderfully fragrant dough (my food yoga).
Jerrelle is an artist and food lover. Her day is an true testimony of food obsession, including but not limited to a thwarting portfolio of food doodles, and time allotted for the following: • discussions about food • preparation of food •Instagraming food photos taken at lunch•the actual consumption of photographed food •post-consumption conversation with anyone willing to participate •reading food fiction novels• reading food memoirs •studying Gastronomy at Boston University •Google searches of the "best" _____ recipe •Google searches of nearby food •and hawking other peoples food plates when they don't find it too threatening. She offers her food recordings in hopes that it may provide comfort to those with similar debilitating conditions, or at the very least, offer the hungry internet-stumbler ideas on what to cook for dinner.
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