So all this talk about H1N1, a.k.a. “the swine flu” has me nostalgic for pork chops. Yes, I am a sick and twisted person!
My mom used to make pork chops with some regularity- usually coated with egg and breadcrumbs, then pan fried, served with apple sauce, a starch and a vegetable. Sometimes they were baked, sometimes they didn’t have the breadcrumbs, but that was the basic idea. Tasty, fatty, salty, artery-clogging pork chops.
Tempeh is sort of “the other soy product” much like pork is “the other white meat,” so I decided it would be my pork substitute. It holds up quite nicely for this purpose. To start, I cut the tempeh into triangles (cut across the width, splitting the block into two thin layers; cut in half horizontally, then cut the halves in half, then into triangles), them I steamed it in a casserole dish in the microwave with apple juice, water and a little salt for 4 minutes (I know salt seems weird, but it’s the chemistry aspect that you use it for here, not the flavor). While this is going on, heat up your oven (oh, say 400F. Maybe) and start making your breading. I used some ground pecans in with the bread crumbs. Then I went to town with spices. I used fresh rosemary, along with dried lavender, crushed red pepper, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and maybe something else I forgot. I used a coffee grinder to grind it all together, so the consistency was that of breadcrumbs.
Let the tempeh cool until you can handle it. I then coated it with a little mustard, then dipped it in the crumbs, and laid out each piece on a oil-sprayed cookie sheet. Once they’re all coated, spray the tops with oil, and then bake for 7-8 minutes, flip them over, and then bake a few more minutes, till they’re nice and brown. Alternately, you could fry them in a pan, but that’s a lot of oil.
I served mine with some brown rice (with some pecans and most of the same spices mixed in), cinnamon apple sauce and “creamed” spinach.
Just like mom would make if she were vegan and liked to use lots of different spices.