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Mama comes to the rescue

April 22, 2010

There are a few things that really stink about returning from vacation.  They include the process of unpacking, the ensuing jet lag and worst of all, coming back to an empty fridge.  Here’s what my fridge looked like this week.   

My empty fridge

I had a few work related lunches and dinners earlier this week so I wasn’t all that concerned.  Today however, I didn’t have that luxury and had to fend for myself.  Somehow I forgot that we hadn’t done any grocery shopping, until I opened the fridge this morning looking for breakfast.   As you can tell,  my choices were limited to:  apple cider vinegar, almond milk, coconut oil, tempeh, onions, and a crap load of beer.  Oh wait, there’s that lonely orange I’ve been neglected.  It might be consumed after all out of desperation.  

It must have been fate, because shortly after closing the fridge door and wiping my tears, the phone rang.  It was Mama Earth Organics inquiring about my organic order.   During the conversation I took my chances and asked if they could accomodate a starving client with a delivery today.   They must have sensed my anxiety because they kindly offered to include me in their schedule for the afternoon.  By 5pm, the big blue box arrived at my door.  

Here’s what I got minus one item (I was famished and ate one of the apples while taking this photo). 

My organic delivery arrives!


So at least we have some fresh produce at our disposal to keep us going for the next 48 hours.  For dinner we improvised and steamed the broccoli, cooked brown rice and stir fried the tempeh.  



What is it?   “Tempeh is a fermented food made by the controlled fermentation of cooked soybeans with a Rhizopus mold (tempeh starter)”.   Ok, so maybe the word “mold” in the definition doesn’t give this soy-based protein much appeal, but it’s nothing to be afraid of. 

Why you should eat it?   Tempeh contains many health promoting phytochemicals including isoflavones.   Some recent concerns have surfaced around the consumption of soy, but this is a non-issue for tempeh because it is fermented.  The fermentation produces natural antibiotic agents but leaves the healthy soy isoflavones intact.  Tempeh is a complete protein food that contains all the essential amino acids.   Here are some of the benefits:

  •  Isoflavones strengthen bones, helps ease menopause symptoms, reduce risk of coronary hearth disease and some cancers.
  • Tempeh holds all the fiber of the soy beans, and is easily digested thanks to the enzymes created during the fermentation process.
  •  Tempeh is free of phytates (believed to cause nutritional deficiencies by blocking mineral absorption) and other compounds that give soy a bad name.

What does it taste like?   Tempeh has a nutty flavour and a meaty texture (it’s quite a bit heavier and denser than tofu).  Substitute it for ground meat and you might just be able to fool any carnivore into eating it. 

What does it look like?  Here’s the packaged pre-cooked tempeh I bought at one of the health food stores in Kensington market.


What next?   Now go eat some tempeh!

Savoury Tempeh

  • 250 g tempeh, cut in 7mm cubes
  • 2-3 Tbs coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh chilli (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped spring onions
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a pan heat oil and fry the tempeh cubes until golden brown and crisp. Add onions and garlic and fry over low heat until soft.  Add chili and ground spices and stir fry for a minute longer.  Add salt, pepper and spring onions.Yields 3-4 servings.  Serve with whole grain brown rice.

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