12/7/11

Tempeh Egg Roll - tastes like a restaurant???

On Friday evening, Karel, Campy and me were making our 3 1/2 hour drive down south to visit my parents in the Tampa Bay area. I always enjoy talking to Karel about his youth, while growing up in Czech Republic. Karel has lived in the US for a good chunk of his adult life but after meeting Karel in 2006, I suppose I helped "Americanize" him by introducing him to wonderful things like peanut butter.

Karel mentioned that his mother just finished baking several batches of holiday cookies. Although his mom always makes gingerbread cookies, these cookies are not your typical sugar-coated "Christmas" cookies. I can't even describe the work that goes into making these cookies as she makes dozens and dozens (for weeks and weeks), all hand made, with a touch of love and holiday traditions. If you can't tell already, we absolutely LOVE this gift of love, all the way from the Czech Republic. Sadly, however, getting mail to and from the Czech Republic is not as easy as it once was so while she will likely send the cookies this week, we probably won't get them until sometime in January. Typically a bit crushed in the mail, the cookies always taste amazingly great and we cherish each and every bite and crumb.

After salivating over the anticipated cookie order, Karel mentioned something very interesting as we were talking. He told me how disrespectful it would be to tell someone that his/her food tastes like restaurant-style.

Thinking back to a holiday party, event or any food-centered function, how many times have you (or have you heard), someone tell you "Wow - this tastes so good, just like it was from a restaurant!" Rather than crediting the home-cook that likely put in a lot of love into the meal, we (American's) are quick to relate "good food" with "restaurant" style.

Karel mentioned that in Czech, you always want to credit the cook. If you were in a restaurant, it would be polite to say "Wow, this tastes homemade!".

Just another fun fact by living with a European who has opened my eyes to a better way of eating, viewing and being around food.

On Monday evening, I really out-did myself. Surprising myself that my creation tasted SO YUMMY, I couldn't wait to show Karel our dinner when he came home from work. Always a surprise to Karel, my 35-40 minutes in the kitchen, produced an eye-stopping (or at least, for me and Karel) and belly satisfying dinner.

Next time you are in the kitchen, be proud of your creation and the time you spent preparing the meal. Don't see that time as a waste for it is a necessity in your journey of developing a healthy relationship with food. As a society, "restaurant-style" eating ranks supreme when talking about food. Let's change that. Let your family (or friends at work) see your beautiful creation and be proud to show it off. Don't talk about calories or how little grams of whatever are in the dish but rather, describe the ingredients and how it makes you feel when you cook and then eat your final creation. Don't forget....the best nutrition for your body is found within a meal, not on a food label. Be proud of your wholesome creation!

Tempeh Egg Roll
WHAT YOU NEED:
Nasoya Egg Roll Wrappers
1 package Tempeh (garden/vegetable flavored)
Cucumber (chopped without skin)
Carrots (Sliced thin or buy shredded carrots)
Mushrooms
Spinach (chopped)
Chives (chopped)
Hummus
Olive oil

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Chop tempeh into thin slices.
3. In large skillet, rub olive oil on both sides of tempeh. Cook on medium heat until golden on both sides.
4. While tempeh is cooking, chop/prepare plate of veggies.
5. On a non-stick baking dish, place egg roll wrappers (1-2 per person).
6. Smear a little hummus and top with veggie toppings.
7. Top with tempeh and fold like an envelope (do not overstuff) or according to package. Wet the edges with water to help with folding/sticking.
8. Back for 10-12 minutes or until wrapper begins to bubble or turn golden brown.

*Best to serve with a side of mixed veggies or a cold colorful salad.
*I made a "topping" to go along with the roll which consisted of greek yogurt, spicy mustard (about 2 tsp) and a pinch of curry powder.

-For vegans, you could use Kale leaves instead of the Egg roll and for a Raw dish, use Kale leaves and just wrap and consume.