Thursday, September 30, 2010

Random Recipe of the Week: Two Bean Tempeh Stir-Fry

Like every other stir-fry, this dish comes together very fast in the end, but the prep takes a few minutes. Prepare the tempe, sauce and chop all of your vegetables before you even heat up your large frying pan. The trick to a good stir-fry is to not over cook your vegetables!

1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut to about 2" pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup cooked beans (I used pintos, but you could try anything)
1 package tempeh
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup arrowroot starch (you can also use cornstarch)
2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tbsp olive oil

Prepare tempeh:
If you haven't used tempeh before, don't worry, it's easy to prepare (you could actually just eat it right out of the packaging) and it never fails to surprise me how delicious it is!

1. Bring a small pot of water to boil
2. Cut tempeh into 1/2" strips
3. Place tempeh into boiling water. Turn down temperature slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Drain, then place in a heated & oiled frying pan.
5. Drizzle tempeh with a small amount of soy sauce
6. Saute for a few minutes on two sides. When browned, remove from heat.

Prepare sauce:
1. In a small bowl mix together water, tomato paste, soy sauce, starch, red pepper, and ginger. Set aside.

Start stir fry:
1. Heat large frying pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
2. When pan is hot, add onion and garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the green beans. Saute for about 5 minutes (make sure they are still crunchy!)
4. Add tempeh, beans, and tomatoes. Stir to combine.
5. Pour in the sauce and stir to cover all the vegetables.
6. Let the sauce boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 4 minutes.
7. Take the pan off the heat. Let the dish sit for couple of minutes; the sauce will thicken.

You can serve this on top of noodles, rice, or any grain. I ended up serving it over some leftover spagetti squash, which I highly recommend! It added a little bit of sweetness to dish. Delightful!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kat: Sabotage

I've said it before and I'll say it again.....I get really anxious whenever I try a new recipe or culinary technique. I have taught myself to make yogurt, sushi, and I finally got into the swing of cooking meat after having been a vegetarian for eleven years. Even though most of my attempts turned out successfully, there are occasional few that do not; which totally ruin my confidence. Taking risks makes for an interesting life, and not letting your nerves sabotage your decisions is the key to confidence.

I've been avoiding cooking a whole chicken for about a year now, just because I am scared of failing and disappointing whoever will be joining me for dinner. My curiosity has gotten the better of me, however, and I finally took the leap. I now present to you my first ever attempt...

1 whole chicken (I used a free-range, vegetarian fed, antibiotic free 3.5 lb-er)
2 tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp salt & pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp poultry seasoning (this mix included thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, pepper & nutmeg)

1. If your chicken is frozen, let it thaw in the fridge for two days
2. Preheat oven to 450*
3. Rinse chicken in cool water then pat down with a paper towel (this is supposed to remove most bacteria) & remove the bag of "stuff" from inside the chicken
4. Mix spices in a small bowl then get your hands dirty by massaging the outside of the chicken with butter and then again with the spice mixture

5. Place a small amount of butter inside the chicken along with the whole cloves of garlic
6. Put chicken on a lightly oiled baking or roasting pan
7. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven temperature to 350* and continue to cook for 20 minutes per pound of your bird

And the results after all of worried buildup...


This was probably the best chicken that I've ever eaten in my life. The trick of cooking the bird on high and then lowering the temp worked like a charm; the skin was crisped to perfection. My boyfriend was completely overjoyed and could not stop 'mmmm'-ing through the entire meal.

To round out the feast, I sauteed some fresh kale leaves and tomatoes together with garlic and leeks.

Small culinary victories like this do wonders for my spirit. It encourages me to try new things and keeps me excited about teaching myself new tricks. Maybe someday I'll be able to pick up the spatula with the confidence and not worry about failure.

Question for the readers: What culinary technique intimidates you the most??

Jenna: Sabotage

I have a definite tendency towards sabotaging's undeniable. I cut things off at the pass before they have a chance to truly get going. I undertake a personality my future roommate and I have coined as "crazy girl" and ask too many questions, make too many assumptions, and live out the beginning, middle, and sordid end of dating scenarios in my head before they have any chance to play themselves out in real life. I usually just make the decision that things are probably not going to work out anyway and it takes all of the pressure off my subsequent behavior. Which is defeatist and ridiculous in nature because I'm usually more scared of things actually working out than anything else. This nature is synonymous with neurotic Jew from Brooklyn with a fear of commitment. But I digress.

I was working on another internet date. Rather, an actual real life date with someone I'd been conversing with via the internet. I was still not paying for dating on the internet, but I hadn't given up on it completely, and being a part of the scene at the Onion personals isn't all that much to be ashamed of. As a matter of fact, this present prospect seemed kind of promising. He got in touch with me, we'd exchanged a few emails, the banter was good, and he seemed intelligent and confident. He earned brownie points for asking lots of questions and seeming interested in what I do as an artist. I'm kind of psyched to meet this dude, he seems pretty cool.

Enter dramatic irony. Or grand coincidence. Or the world being way too small sometimes. My online friend, in our correspondence, had been offering pertinent details about his life, as well. Including a general description of his job and the fact that he worked in Brooklyn. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say, from his description, I figured out that he worked for the same establishment as my mother. Not just at the same place, but in the same department/area/field...meaning that my mother MOST LIKELY had some kind of daily (or at least bi-weekly) interaction with this dude. Clearly, this is a fact that I must keep to myself. At least for now. Better to go out with the guy and see what's up before I get into the, guess what you totally know my mother nonsense. Not to mention the threat of guilt by association. But as the week and a half crawled by, I found my impatience getting the best of me. I wanted to know if my mother did, in fact, know the guy and, if so, what she had to say about him. Despite the fact that I knew I'd be opening a can of worms and unleashing my mother with this knowledge in the work place. Something I would probably regret. I knew it was a bad decision. I knew I should keep my mouth shut. But patience has never been among my virtues and the absolute worst thing about going on a 'blind' date is not having ANY idea what to expect. The uncertainty drives me INSANE. So, I break down and call my mom, explaining the coincidence and inquiring about the gentleman in question. She's uncertain of his identity (though she has a feeling who he might be and has only nice things to say), but confirmed that she'd do a bit of incognito reconnaissance. My mother is not the most subtle person. I beg and plead with her not to say or do anything that might imply that we've had the conversation we just had. I implore her on behalf of potential happiness. I know I've done a bad thing, one that I will probably live to regret. But I get bored without a challenge, and heaven forbid my mother should blow up my spot, the kind of guy I'm looking for would be able to laugh at the whole situation, right?

Maybe not. Maybe I'd just look crazy. Or my mom would look crazy. Or all of the above. Suffice it to say, the story never came to meaningful fruition and I actually never wound up going out with this guy. The point is that sometimes it's best just to let things lie. And not try to muck them up before they ever have a chance to play themselves out on their own. I really ought to stop betting against myself as far as these things are concerned...maybe then I'll have more control over the odds.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We're Bringing Sexy Back...

Ladies and gentlemen...back by popular Table for One!

My sincerest apologies to all who have been anxiously awaiting our return. Much has changed, life does that thing where it moves too fast and you look back a year later and wonder what on earth has happened for the past several months.

We went on crazy vacations, Kat went back to school, I traveled the world (well, Greece and Israel, at least), and we're both having a grand old time. Growing up is weird, huh?

But we're back again this fall, with more crazy adventures and food for you to read all about. Some topic you'd like to see us cover? Zany suggestions? Things we can do to make this blog more fun for you to read? Email us at or and let us know.

Get ready for a whole lotta table for one. Coming back atcha.