Following the March Dole Blogger Summit sponsored by Dole Packaged Foods, there were a lot of ideas floating around about ways to highlight Dole products. This one was easy, and maybe because it includes the item most associated with the company–pineapple. OK, so maybe that’s no major reach or brainstorm worthy of mention, but the final result was fantastic. That should be good enough, right?
The sauce itself was a no-brainer. A nearly half-empty jar of apricot preserves sat in the fridge, and there was a can of pineapple chunks in the pantry. The two together seemed like a great match for grilled shrimp, but there was a goal to eat meat and seafood-free for the week. The protein substitute of choice was tempeh. The grain-based tempehs are rich, nutty and ready to take on any marinade you throw on it. Similar to tofu, you need a little time to prepare it. The suggested method is allowing it to sit in the marinade, then simmer the tempeh to break down the grains and release some of its natural bitterness. For many recipes, a combination of these two steps will set you up for tempeh success.
Due to the slightly more delicate state of the simmered tempeh, the idea of placing it on the grill seemed like a fail waiting to happen. Instead, each triangle was pan fried very golden brown and crispy, thanks to natural sugars in the marinade. Let’s be real. Everyone who eats tempeh knows that crispy and flavorful is the only way to eat it. Paired with a sweet and spicy sauce, which includes blended chunks of pineapple and pineapple juice, this is a vegetarian meal with a slight tropical edge. Fresh ginger, garlic and jalapeno pepper add heat, while rice wine vinegar, lime juice and a bit of salt provide balance on the other side of the scale. It’s the kind of sauce that you could easily pair with poultry, seafood or an array of vegetables as well.
Just a reminder! The last day to enter this summer’s Dole California Cook Off is May 19…just 3 more days. Rack your brain to create an original gas grill-prepared recipe featuring at least one Dole product and a max of ten additional ingredients. On June 28th, three finalists will cook their respective dishes in less than 60 minutes in front of a live audience, as well as several judges, including author and Chef Ben Ford from Ford’s Filling Station. The winner will take home a check for $25,000, plus bragging rights for at least a year. If you’d rather sit on the tasting panel of judges, enter for a chance to win a paid trip to L.A. and $1,000 cold hard cash. Just three more days to enter! And here’s a little secret: You’ll see me at the event as a Dole Cook Off Blogger Sous Chef, helping the finalists on their big day. Fun is on the way.
In the meantime, here is a great recipe that may help to get your creative juices flowing.
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 1/3 cup pineapple chunks
- 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño or Serrano peppers
- 1 scallion, white and green parts
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 8 ounces grain-based tempeh, halved horizontally then cut into 8 triangles*
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups cooked rice
- Fresh sliced scallions, optional
- Fresh chopped cilantro, optional
- For the sauce, blend the apricot preserves, pineapple, pineapple chunks, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, jalapeño or Serrano, scallion and lime zest and juice in a good processor until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the salt and water, then set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, soy sauce, smoked paprika, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Place the tempeh into a large saute pan, add the marinade and set the flame to medium high. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 7-8 minutes. Flip the pieces over, and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, and cool the tempeh in the pan and marinade for about 20 minutes.
- In a separate saute pan, heat half of the remaining grapeseed oil over medium high heat. Fry half of the tempeh for 2-3 minutes per side until browned and slightly caramelized. Repeat with the remaining tempeh and the last half of the oil.
- Serve the tempeh over rice, and spoon the apricot sauce over the tempeh. Garnish with scallions and cilantro, if desired.