Macrobiotic Nishime Style Vegetables with Crispy Tempeh

Most of us know we should eat more vegetables. Macrobiotic niishime style vegetables are slowly steamed or braised until the cooking liquid has evaporated, leaving the vegetables sweet, flavorful, and creamy, but not overcooked or mushy. Here, we take it up a notch by adding some crispy pan-fried tempeh. Traditionally, this dish is a Japanese dish served at New Year’s or to people healing from an illness.

There is an art to making this dish– you must use the minimum amount of water so that you don’t lose nutrients or flavor into the steaming liquid, you avoid burning the bottom of the pot. Ideally, you will steam the vegetables just long enough that no liquid remains. This can be achieved with patience– you must slowly bring the pot to a boil, covered, until you see steam coming out the sides of the pot. Do not lift the lid when you see the steam, simply turn the burner down as low as it will go, and let steam for about 20 minutes before checking for doneness.

I used Flying Tempeh Bros. tempeh available at Wheatsville Coop in their freezer section.

Tempeh should be a nice golden brown on at least 2 sides before seasoning with shoyu or tamari.

crispy pan-fried tempeh

Dried lotus root is a specialty ingredient in this recipe. You can substitute another vegetable such as green cabbage, but lotus root has a delicious and unique flavor (almost like a very flavorful, less starchy potato) that you’ll want to try sometime. In Austin, you can buy this at Central Market. For an extra special touch, try pan frying the lotus root (after it has rehydrated) before putting into the pot with the other vegetables.

Another specialty ingredient used in this recipe is kombu sea vegetable. It adds flavor and minerals to the vegetables and also helps prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pot. You can find Atlantic varieties of kombu at Wheatsville Coop such as the Ironbound Island or Maine Coast Sea Vegetables brands.

kombu

Macrobiotic Nishime Style Vegetables with Crispy Tempeh
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Vegetable Side Dish
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces tempeh, cubed
  • 2 teaspoon untoasted sesame oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • shoyu or tamari, to taste
  • 2 small squares kombu
  • 1 cup kabocha, butternut, or delicata squash, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into ½-inch chunks or roll cut
  • 1 cup yellow onion, large dice
  • 1 cup daikon, cut into ½-inch rounds
  • ½ cup dried lotus root slices, rehydrated (soak in water overnight)
  • spring or filtered water
Instructions
  1. Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat and add oil. Pan fry tempeh for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate and sprinkle generously with shoyu or tamari. Set aside.
  2. Place kombu in bottom of heavy pot with lid (such as a Le Creuset round oven) and cover the bottom with about ¼-inch water. Layer vegetables on top of kombu and sprinkle evenly with a few pinches sea salt. Add pan-fried tempeh.
  3. Cover pot and place on medium heat until it comes to a boil and a good steam is generated (you will see the steam coming out of the sides of the pot). Do not open lid at this point.
  4. Lower the flame and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables become soft. Check for doneness by piercing a carrot or daikon chunk with a fork to see if it is tender.
  5. Season lightly with shoyu or tamari, turn off flame, and cover for a few minutes (or simmer for a few more minutes if needed).
  6. Toss pot gently with the lid on (do not stir) to distribute juices and serve.

Mmmm… Now eat your veggies!

Nishime style vegetables with crispy tempeh

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans and Pomegranate

Yesterday, I was part of a “Friendsgiving” photo shoot for Austin Food Magazine with amazingly talented Austin caterer Suzanne Court. “Friendsgiving” is the term for getting together with all of your friends for a potluck Thanksgiving meal. In this case, many local chefs, restauranteurs, food bloggers, and wine folks gathered at our friends’ beautiful house in Rollingwood. It was one of most delicious meals I’ve ever had, and I met so many friendly people in the local food scene. The article will come out in Austin Food Magazine on Monday, November 23rd.

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans and Pomegranate
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Vegetable Side Dish
Cuisine: Holiday
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
Toasted Pecans
  • ⅓ cup pecans, broken into pieces
  • ¾ teaspoon tamari
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar reduction
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pecans on sheet pan and toast in the oven for 6-8 minutes. When fully toasted, remove from the oven into a mixing bowl. Drizzle with tamari and let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Trim brussels sprouts and cut in half (or in quarters if very large). Place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper.
  4. Spread brussels sprouts out onto large sheet pan (or two smaller sheet pans) and roast in the oven for 12 minutes.
  5. While roasting the brussels sprouts, combine maple syrup and garlic. After 12 minutes, give the brussels sprouts a stir and add maple syrup and garlic mixture. Continue to roast until golden brown, about 15 minutes more.
  6. Remove brussels sprouts to a platter. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
Note:
  1. For this large platter mounded with brussels sprouts, I used 5 pounds of brussels sprouts.

This recipe is fairly simple, but does require knowing how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate. I use the method presented in this video (cut the pomegranate in half and tap one half at a time with a wooden spoon or hammer until all seeds pop out).

roasted brussels sprouts

Here are some of the dishes from our Friendsgiving feast:

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This salad from Suzanne Court Catering was so wild and fresh!

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Beautiful pork dish with roasted squash, toasted pecans, and arugula by Chef David Garrido of Dine Raddison Austin.

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I highly recommend putting a dinner like this together with your friends. Just set up a shared google spreadsheet so everyone can sign up for a dish, or just take your chances that you will have a varied meal! I made maple-roasted brussels sprouts for the event. Try them this holiday season, as they are simple to make and have the perfect colors for a festive side dish!

Roasted Brussels Sproutsphoto of maple roasted brussels sprouts

Almond Butter Dipping Sauce

I created this recipe to use at “foodie week” at my daughter’s summer camp last year.

The children learned how to make Healthy and Delicious Spring Rolls, Almond Butter Dipping Sauce, and homemade smoothies, which they served out of hand-made “food trucks” to the parents at the end of the week.

Below is the recipe for the dipping sauce, which is creamy, tangy, and a little salty. Enjoy!

Almond Butter Dipping Sauce
 
Author:
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup almond butter, Once And Again brand recommended
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons spring or filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons tamari, Eden brand recommended
  • 2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl until smooth and sugar is dissolved