Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lemongrass Paste, Tempeh and Tofu

There is something oh so comforting about a life long friend, they fit like a favorite pair of old shoes and you never want to give them up. That's how I feel about my friend Helen, one of my oldest and most treasured friends. She and her partner moved away about four years ago and while I don't like the physical distance one bit, our friendship has more than sustained the distance. We have know each other since grade school, struggled with some of life's most difficult challenges together, like the death of our mother's which occurred within 6 months of each other, coming out and a few other remarkable events. When Helen and her partner come into town I pull out all the stops, no matter how busy. Helen is a vegan, Sarah does not eat sugar, I am gluten free and Tina, well Tina is a meat and potato kind of gal. Needless to say, I have my hands full to meet all of our needs but I love the planning, the challenge and most of all visiting over a great meal.

My foray into tofu continues and this time I experimented with some tempeh. The menu included kabobs marinated in lemongrass paste, including tofu, tempeh and beef, grilled bok Choy with a peanut sauce, grilled polenta with sweet red pepper and onion wedges and Tina made Apple Crisp that we all could enjoy! It was festive, colorful and tasty.

Lemongrass paste is a wonderful paste for grilling, adding an asian flair to meats, tofu or tempeh. It works on just about anything lamb, shrimp, pork, beef and of course tofu or tempeh. I smeared the lemongrass paste over everything that was going on my kabob skewers, vegetables included, the night before grilling. I especially wanted the tofu to have a chance to absorb the paste.

Lemongrass Paste

2 stalks lemongrass (I use 4)
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Cut off and discard the dried grasslike top half of the lemongrass. Trim the base of the bulb and then remove and discard the tough outer leaves. Using only the white and light green parts, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut crosswise to mince finely.

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. I use an emulsion blender. Use immediately, or transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for three days or freeze for 2 months. Smear paste on what ever you want to grill, let it sit for a few hours or overnight and then grill.


HB III said...

It is making my mouth water just looking at it (again)! On the way home I said to Sarah ... "I think Cari makes tofu better than I do." She agreed.

Tina did not just make blueberry cobbler. For this crowd, there was a vegan, gluten free and regular version.

Great friends and delicious food. xxooxx Helen

Anonymous said...

Vegan apple crisp? Sounds amazing.

sweetpea said...

Vegan Apple Crisp - I think she just used earth balance instead of butter.

GF Gidget said...

Amazing! This one is bookmarked!