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Tempeh-rary Insanity

November 8, 2010

Hey guys! After my teaser post with the bird appetizer, it sounded like y’all were clamoring for another guest post from my other (better?) half.  Here’s Ryan with a post about the romantic dinner he cooked for me on Friday night:

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Hello again! It’s Ryan, back for another guest post. Since I proved myself as at least generally competent in my last guest post, I’ve been gunning for another crack at the blog. I figured my best chance was to cook a full on veg dinner as a shameless ploy for some coveted blogging time romantic gesture for my wife.

As you may have gathered from the blog, Anna does almost all of the cooking around the house (because she likes it and is better at it, not because I am some Don Draper-type stuck in the 50’s who expects his woman to cook and clean while he’s out earning a man’s salary. Not that Anna would mind the looking like Don Draper part). Putting me in charge in the kitchen is dangerous. Here’s a photo of the last time I tried to cook a meal on my own:

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That was almost as bad as the time I went on Hell’s Kitchen and Gordon Ramsey made me cry. Twice.

Still, I decided that my wife deserved a fancy meal, so I set my concerns aside, rolled up my sleeves, and stole a bunch of recipes from Vegetarian Times. My goal was to find recipes that seemed seasonal, complimentary, and manageable. I ended up deciding on tempeh in hearty mushroom lager sauce spread over cauliflower mash. Not only did the tempeh recipe involve 2 1/2 cups of beer, but I got to use two different types of mushrooms, shitake and cremini:

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If you would have asked me to name two different kinds of mushrooms before making this dinner, I would have said the ones that make you bigger on Super Mario Brothers and the ones that many of the kids seemed to be enjoying during our Yonder Mountain music experience last week. So this has been a real learning experience for me.

The mushrooms and tempeh made an excellent flavor combination. The meal was hearty and meaty, with some richness added by the beer and mustard gravy. It’s perfect for a cold fall evening.

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As you saw in an earlier post, I also made olive owls on crackers featuring rosemary sprigs and white bean/roasted red pepper spread. As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew it was perfect for my wife, who has something of a bird fetish when it comes to decor. Bird plates, bird candle holders, bird paintings, bird topped carafes, bird stationary, bird figures, bird statues decorate our house. She has spent roughly as much on bird decor as Nicholas Cage spent buying that fossilized dinosaur skull a few years ago, not that I’m keeping track or anything.  I don’t keep track of my wife’s spending…trust me, it’s better that way. 

Anyway, these little fellows fit right in:

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Birds of a feather, right?

I’m not gifted with manual dexterity (in high school P.E., my nickname was Butterfingers McClumsypants. The less said about middle school P.E., the better), so cutting then affixing those radish eyes and inserting the sunflower seed beak to that tiny olive was a bit of a challenge. A few of them looked like a fourth grader’s art project, but they were all delicious. The rosemary added a little kick to this creamy spread:

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I think they were a hit:

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The rest of the meal turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. Suck it, Gordon Ramsey:

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tempeh gravy

tempeh gravy 

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That fruit tart is an old family recipe. I don’t know whose family – I bought it at the bakery, but I assume the recipe has been in someone’s family for years. The bakery was offering free samples of this tart, and I’m a sucker for free samples. The bakery people did not lead me astray – the tart was delicious.

In the end, we had a nice meal, the kitchen was left standing, and I’m back on the blog. The problem is that now I’ve raised the bar and will require a more outlandish display to earn another guest post. Perhaps next I’ll try to whip up these cookies:

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Back to the kitchen, cookie cutter and fire extinguisher in hand! In the meantime, I’m going to try an ride the husband points for this dinner for a good week or so.

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Hello again! I hope you enjoyed guest post part deux…this might have to become a regular thing! 

The meal that Ryan cooked was awesome.  The tempeh and mushrooms were SO meaty…this would be a really great introduction to tempeh for someone who might be a little hesitant. 

The cauliflower mash that he served the gravy on was really great too.  It had a few tablespoons of miso mixed in, which gave it a really unique flavor (and allowed for many “miso horny” jokes throughout the course of the evening. Classic.). 

As much as I love cooking, it’s definitely a nice change to sit back and relax in your pj’s with a glass of wine while someone else cooks for you!

I hope y’all have a great Monday…I’m off to tackle my long run! See you in 10-12 miles!

37 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2010 1:06 pm

    Wow – what an amazing meal!

    • November 8, 2010 1:20 pm

      I’m so glad my posts are finally coming through your reader right when they go through!

  2. November 8, 2010 1:20 pm

    Everything looks sooo good. Very impressed! Hope you had a great run.

  3. November 8, 2010 1:45 pm

    I still cannot get over those birds – adorable!

    this all looks fabulous and tasty!

  4. November 8, 2010 1:55 pm

    How thoughtful! And – even as a meateater – looks delish! I love the cauliflower mash idea. I just posted about my husband making me dinner, too – not quite as fancy, but it was a great surprise!

  5. November 8, 2010 1:56 pm

    Looks like a perfect dinner with perfect company!

  6. November 8, 2010 1:57 pm

    Ryan is hysterical. I would expect nothing less from Butterfinger McClumpsypants–I mean, a learned educator.

  7. November 8, 2010 1:58 pm

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha….

    Thanks for my morning laugh. 🙂 [Love the Super Mario Bros. reference.]

  8. November 8, 2010 2:15 pm

    I sit in amazement and bow down to the inimitable humor and boundless talent of Dr. Weber. Love this, and love you guys!!

    • November 8, 2010 6:02 pm

      Elyssa, he’s going to get a big head when he reads your comment. 🙂

  9. November 8, 2010 2:25 pm

    This was SUCH a darling post to read. The two of you are adorable, and reading these posts makes me wish that you two could come on a double date with Arc and I! I was seriously laughing out loud at some of this, too cute.
    I think this would be meaty enough for Arc – love the beer-based sauce!

    Thanks for a wonderful lift to my Monday morning you two ❤

    • November 8, 2010 6:01 pm

      Virtual double-date perhaps? 😉

      Yes, the main dish was very meaty…I think it would be great for someone who is a little resistant to the idea of a completely meat-free meal!

      Have a great Monday!

  10. November 8, 2010 2:42 pm

    Looks so good! Good luck on your long run!

  11. November 8, 2010 2:49 pm

    Oh, yes, I agree. There’s nothing better than relaxing with a glass of vino while your husband does the cooking. Kudos, Ryan!

  12. November 8, 2010 3:41 pm

    Looks tasty. I hope you ate them all before they flew away.

  13. greensandjeans permalink
    November 8, 2010 3:49 pm

    Ryan, you are making me wish I liked mushrooms!

  14. November 8, 2010 4:05 pm

    Ryan, the meal looks tasty and I love the owl olives. Do you do weddings? 😀 Nice guest post. And as usual, great photography on this blog. Everything always looks mouthwatering.

    • November 8, 2010 6:00 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Kristen!!! Hope your wedding planning is going well! Are you up to your elbows in bridal magazines yet? 😉

  15. November 8, 2010 4:16 pm

    Love your post Ryan! Definitely made me chuckle 😀

  16. November 8, 2010 4:19 pm

    Cutest couple ever! That tempeh recipe is being bookmarked right now, but I can’t say I’ll be trying to assemble those adorable little owls anytime soon. How did you find the patience, Butterfingers?

    • November 8, 2010 5:59 pm

      Haha…they were a little labor-intensive for just the two of us, but they’d be impressive for a party.

  17. November 8, 2010 5:01 pm

    What a great hubby! An impressive meal… and funny too!

    • November 8, 2010 5:58 pm

      Yes, he fancies himself quite the comedian. 🙂

  18. Kristi permalink
    November 8, 2010 5:05 pm

    Ryan, you’re a good man!

  19. November 8, 2010 5:21 pm

    Oh Ryan, what a dinner! Anna’s a lucky lady.

    Anna, good luck with your long run! Kick some booty 🙂

  20. November 8, 2010 5:56 pm

    Your pictures are looking so great. And I love those candlesticks!

  21. November 8, 2010 6:06 pm

    Btw, what kind of camera do you use?

    • November 8, 2010 6:07 pm

      I use a Nikon D5000. I got it as a Christmas gift last year, and I lovvvvvvve it!

  22. November 8, 2010 6:35 pm

    Haha oh my god what a hilarious post! Anna, you’re such a lucky girl!

    The food is sooo drool-worthy! Gotta love guys who cook 😉

  23. November 8, 2010 7:57 pm

    Ryan now that is one beautiful dinner!!!

  24. November 8, 2010 9:43 pm

    This meal looks awesome! Way to go, Ryan! I am loving the bird cookies- he def needs to try to make them! hahaha. I hope your 10-12 went well!

  25. November 9, 2010 11:16 am

    Just beautiful! And FUN!

  26. Ginger permalink
    November 9, 2010 11:51 pm

    I am laughing out loud!! Both of you are so funny! Great guest post and I’m expecting a great meal when you come for Thanksgiving! (Anna, you’re a lucky, lucky girl…but Ryan is a lucky, lucky guy, as well)

  27. Mary Margaret permalink
    November 10, 2010 7:16 am

    Y’all are so adorable; I love it!!! Ryan, you seriously pulled out all the stops! I’m sure Anna was a gracious sous chef 😉 Ryan, you can become the pastry chef/presentation Master when y’all open your first restaurant together!

    xoxoxo

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