Saturday, September 30, 2017

Pretend Tuna Salad


I know that lately, I've been posting a lot of recipes. I promise to get back to the gardening/quilting stuff pretty soon. In fact, I have a Christmas Tree Skirt in my studio that I really need to get back to. But there's one more recipe I want to share with all of you. 

If you are vegetarian or vegan you will love this. If you make this for a vegetarian or vegan, they will love you. And if neither of those applies, you still might want to give it a try because it's:

  1. healthier than tuna
  2. easy to make
  3. did I mention healthy? Tempeh is high in manganese and copper (both important in wound healing and tissue strength), protein, riboflavin, and niacin. 

My daughter is devout (I'm not exaggerating) vegetarian, but she still pines for the taste of foods she enjoyed in her childhood.
There are many manufacturers of protein substitutes that mimic the taste and texture of beef or chicken, and most are very good. However, there are few if any products that reproduce the taste of seafood.
Canned tuna is one of those food loves my daughter still craves, and so I set out to find a way to replicate the taste and texture of tuna salad without killing a fish.

Cook Time

Prep time: 40 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 1 or 2 servings

Utensils you will need

  • steamer basket (not mandatory, but helpful)
  • box grater (not mandatory, but helpful)
  • large mixing bowl


  • 8 oz. tempeh
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup dill pickle, finely minced
  • 1 sheet noiri, crumbled (optional)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or Veganaise if making for one who does not eat eggs)
  • 1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
  1. Place the tempeh in the steamer basket. Steam over simmering water for 20 minutes. Remove from basket and set aside to cool (about 30 minutes).
  2. Grate tempeh on large hole side of a box grater or chop finely. Place in mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss lightly. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or ground pepper if desired.
  3. You may use immediately, but I think this "tuna salad" tastes better if the flavors are allowed to meld for an hour or more in the refrigerator.

What is tempeh?

According to Wikipedia, tempeh is a soy product that is originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty.
Tempeh begins with whole soybeans, which are softened by soaking and dehulled, then partly cooked.

What makes this recipe work?

  • Unlike tofu, tempeh has a firm, meaty texture which, when grated, better replicates the mouth-feel of canned tuna.
  • Many of the flavors that we enjoy in tuna salad are ingredients other than the canned tuna. Creamy mayonnaise, crisp celery, tangy dill pickle, a bit of pungent minced onion--these are the things of which a good tuna salad is made.

What to do with mock tuna salad?

  • make a traditional tuna salad sandwich--white or whole grain bread, tuna salad, fresh lettuce leaves, sliced tomato (optional), and perhaps a smear of dijon mustard.
  • Create a salad by placing an ice-cream scoop of "tuna salad" on a bed of salad greens. Surround with grape tomatoes, black olives, sliced hard boiled egg, avocado slices, chopped walnuts, and drizzle with your favorite salad dressing.
  • Spread "tuna salad" on a slice of rustic bread. Top with a slice of cheese and another slice of bread. Grill or toast in a panini press.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Giant Reeses Peanut Butter Cup (be still my beating heart!)

My younger daughter adores the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. I usually make some type of peanut butter and chocolate confection for her birthday dessert. 

Today this popped up on Facebook.

My search (for this year at least), is complete:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Red Pepper Fish Chowder

For weeks we have endured record-breaking high temperatures and a record-shattering number of days without rain. It seems that the entire western part of the U.S. is aflame, while in the south a year's worth of precipitation descended in a 48-hour period.

But today we received a brief respite--there is rain in the forecast and for once I won't have to turn on the sprinklers in an effort to keep alive the landscape we have tried so hard to build in the past quarter century.

I have many indoor projects that can now receive my undivided attention (two quilts and a basket of knitting yarn), and I have an excuse to prepare a big pot of fish chowder for dinner.
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: about 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, minced
  • 1/2 cup celery, minced
  • 3 slices turkey bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups Yukon gold potatoes, diced, but not peeled
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, (don't use non-fat!)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped and seeded
  • 3/4 pound firm white fish cut into 3/4-inch dice, (see note below)
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fennel fronds, (optional)


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onions, bell pepper, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey bacon and sauté about 5 minutes more (until the bacon is crispy and the vegetables begin to turn golden in color).
  2. In the same pan add the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the diced potatoes and corn; cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir together the cornstarch, water, and sour cream. Stir this mixture into the hot broth, whisking constantly, until the broth begins to thicken.
  4. Add the chopped tomato, fish, and black pepper. Simmer 5 minutes more or until fish is cooked. Ladle chowder into bowls and garnish with chopped fennel.

What type of fish can I use?

  • halibut
  • cod
  • turbot
  • tilapia
  • mahi mahi
  • scrod

What Makes this Recipe Work

  • Lots of vegetables!
  • Use what you have on hand
  • Quick and easy to prepare
  • A one-pot meal
  • Did I mention easy?

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Thought for Today, in the Aftermath of Harvey

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” 

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” 

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” 

“We only have what we give.” 

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn't about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same -- with charity you give love, so don't just give money but reach out your hand instead.”