Tag Archives: crack tomatoes

Tempeh, Lettuce, Tomato Sandwiches (TLT)

THE sandwich we eat just about once a week in the summer…sometimes more frequently ūüôā I’ll let the recipe do the talkin’ this time.

Thanks to 101 Cookbooks for the base recipe.

1/4 C soy sauce
2 T balsamic vinegar, I use Tangerine flavored
2 T pure maple syrup
3 T adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers

8 ounces of tempeh, cut into 1/3-inch thick strips

1 small basket of cherry tomatoes (2 cups)
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil olive oil
1 T pure maple syrup
scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 small head of romaine lettuce, cored, then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
1-2 large avocados, mashed with a pinch of salt just before assembling
4 or 8 extra-thin slices of hearty whole grain bread, well toasted

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Whisk together the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, maple and adobo sauce. Pour 1/3 of the tempeh marinade into an 8×8 baking dish (or something comparable) – you want a dish that is just big enough to hold the tempeh in a single layer – this way it will be fully enveloped by the marinade. Pour the remaining marinade over the top of the tempeh, cover and keep in the refrigerator for a couple hours, overnight or until ready to use.

While the tempeh is marinating, go ahead and roast the tomatoes. Cut each tomato in half and arrange them in a large oven-proof baking dish. Mix together the olive oil, sugar, and salt and pour this over the tomatoes. Gently toss them a bit, making sure they all get coated, finishing with each tomato facing cut-side up. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are shrunken and sweet [I have also left them whole with no consequence].

When the tempeh is done marinating heat a large pan over medium-high heat and cook the tempeh slices for a few minutes on each side. You may need to do this in batches if you don’t have a big enough pan. Set the tempeh slices aside until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.

To assemble each sandwich take one slice of bread and slather a generous layer of mashed avocado or vegenaise. Place a small helping of the shredded lettuce on top of the avocado, a few tomatoes, then a few slices of the tempeh, and more tomatoes. Enjoy either open faced or topped with another avocado-slathered bread slice.

Note: we call these tomatoes “crack tomatoes” in our house…they freeze amazingly, so go ahead and make a triple batch. They taste great on tacos, in chili, tortilla soup, etc.

Veg Tortilla Soup

It hasn’t exactly been soup weather here in Michigan (thank goodness)! ¬†Yesterday it was 82 degrees, I’m sure we will pay for that later. ¬†I love soup so much, that I couldn’t wait until it was cold to make some tortilla soup. ¬†Heidi Swanson from 101cookbooks.com has some of the most simple and delicious soup recipes one could ask for, however, when I have extra delicious ingredients on hand or in the freezer…I like to embellish on her deliciousness. ¬†Here is my version of Veggie Tortilla Soup.

  • 6-8 corn tortillas, cut in half and then into matchstick-thin strips
  • a big splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 20 small yellow or red cherry tomatoes
  • another splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne or other spicy red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle en adobo
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • a few sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of goat cheese, crumbled (omit if vegan)

Gently toss the tortilla strips with a glug of olive oil and salt. Turn them out onto a baking sheet, arrange them across the pan and bake in a 350F degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Set aside.

I usually do this whenever I have tomatoes that have to be used up in a hurry. ¬†I call them “crack tomatoes”. ¬†They have so many uses…limitless really as a fridge staple. ¬†To make: ¬†halve (or quarter) the tomatoes lengthwise and put them in a small roasting pan, oven proof dish, or rimmed baking sheet. Toss with a bit of olive oil and a pinch or two of salt. Bake in a 350F degree oven for 40-45 minutes (less time if you use smaller cherry tomatoes), or until the tomatoes are shrunken and golden around the edges. The tomatoes keep nicely in a jar for days (refrigerated). ¬†If you are going to keep them for a little longer, douse them in olive oil and store them under the oil in an airtight container, I use a Ball glass canning jar.

For the soup itself – in a big pot over medium-high heat cook the garlic and onions in a splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt for just a minute or so. Stir in the spices and then the tomatoes, chiles, chipotle en adobo. Cook down for about five minutes or so, it should thicken a bit. For a smooth soup don’t add corn or beans then remove from heat, add one cup of the broth and puree with a hand blender (or puree in a traditional blender). Add the remaining 5 cups of broth and puree until smooth. Bring the soup back up to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. ¬†If you like chunkier soups to mop up, don’t puree, and add the corn and black beans. ¬†Serve as is.

Serve the individual bowls topped with plenty of tortilla strips, the roasted and sun-dried tomatoes, and some crumbled goat cheese. Alternately, as I mention up above, you can finish with sliced avocado, cilantro, white onions, and a squeeze of lime. If you like a creamier soup base add a splash of half and half, or stir in some extra goat cheese.

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