I can’t get over how good this batch of tempeh is (technical specifications at the link), and I’m already stimulated by its taste and mouthfeel to starting planning a nice batch of chili. Just from sitting in the refrigerator in an enclosed storage container, the beans on the edges and surface that had dried somewhat and become tough are much more tender today: chewy, still, but like meat. And next time I will use a vented foil tent to cover the incubation dish to ameliorate the desiccation. (I like to use big words. :) ) The photo at right shows the condensation that I believe tenderized the tempeh’s tough parts (and at the upper right you can see a few cloves of the Russian red garlic that I’m going to roast with some daikon radish — an experiment motivated by the high potassium content of daikon. (Tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes are also high in potassium, so I am going to be using more of those. — Cronometer shows that potassium tends to run a little low if I’m not careful. See this article on how much potassium you need — and note that most people don’t get enough.)
And this batch is really excellent in terms of both texture and structural cohesion. I think by making sure the beans were dry and also somewhat acidic — and well ventilated, not in a bag — I provided an ideal environment for the mold. The photo on the left shows that the beans, once loose, now make up a slab, welded together by the mold.
So given all that, I started thinking about making a batch of chili. I mostly just make a list of ingredients for reference, so when I’m assembling the dish I don’t forget anything. I adjust amounts as I go, depending on how it looks, so the ingredients list is basically just a sketch. Here’s what I have so far:
Tempeh chili – preliminary draft
1.5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped, including leaves
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeños, chopped small, including core and seeds
1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
10 oz mushrooms, chopped somewhat large
2 ancho chiles, cut up with scissors
5 chipotle chiles, cut up with scissors
2 Tbsp Mexican oregano
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground ancho chili
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp dried marjoram
2 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp liquid smoke
1 can Aylmer’s Chili tomatoes (540ml ≈ 18 oz) — or 2 10-oz cans Ro-Tel Original
1 small can chipotles in adobo (peppers cut up using scissors)
6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (the kind without oil — Whole Foods sells them)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 square baking chocolate (or 1.5 Tbsp cocoa powder for fewer calories)
6 or 8 oz tempeh, depending on how it looks
1/2 – 3/4 cup cooked Red Fife (or other wheat), depending on how it looks
After cooking is complete:
1 bunch cilantro, chopped and stirred in
1 lemon, peel removed and blended
Normally I would also include one can of Hatch green chiles, either the small can or the large can. (I much prefer to buy the whole chiles and chop them myself than the diced chiles, which don’t hold up so well in cooking.) But I’ve not been able to find them around here. If I could, I would add them to that recipe. You can, of course, add chopped fresh peppers of other types to the recipe: that increases bulk and nutrients but doesn’t increase calories much at all: Anaheim, poblano, banana peppers would all be good and would not increase the heat.
Regarding the lemon, I’ve figured out the best way to remove the peel. Cut off the ends of the lemon, then cut it in half at its equator. Place each half on its large flat side on the cutting board and cut away the lemon’s skin. Then halve each of the halves, cutting parallel to the equator, and remove the seeds from the slabs. Blend the deseeded slabs. I use my immersion blender and the beaker that came with it. This method includes both pulp and juice to get the most nutrients possible. With a thin-skinned Meyer lemon, I think I would blend the entire lemon after cutting off and discarding the ends: skin and all. Even then, though I would cut it into slabs to make blending easier.
Between the tempeh and the mushrooms, I think meat will not be missed. More after I actually make it (sometime next week, most likely).