Saturday, October 23, 2010

Breakfast of champions: tempeh sausage on scallion biscuits

A few weeks ago I wrote that skillet smashed potatoes topped with leftover ratatouille topped with an over easy egg was the best breakfast I'd ever had, and I'm going to stand by that, but this is another new favorite. Tempeh is made of pressed, fermented whole soybeans, and it's supposedly better for you than more processed soy products like soy milk or tofu. I used to think it was sort of an acquired taste, until I learned from Isa that I was cooking it all wrong (i.e., I wasn't simmering it). On a warm biscuit straight out of the oven, it's enough to make me forget about Chick-fil-a breakfast forever.

Tempeh Sausage Biscuits

1 package of tempeh
2-3 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
Red pepper flakes
Fresh or dried sage
2 cloves of garlic minced
canola oil

I like to cut the tempeh into three rectangles, then set each rectangle on its side and slice it in half crosswise to make a thin square that will fit nicely on a biscuit. Then add the tempeh to a medium pan, with enough water to nearly cover it. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until most of the water is absorbed (the tempeh should be a bit pliable). Drain the rest of the water, add oil and other ingredients, and cook until they are a bit brown on either side.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole-wheat flour (or just 2 cups of AP)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3.5 tbsp butter
scant cup of plain yogurt
lightly caramelized sliced scallions (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and pinch it into the flour until it's blended. Add the scallions if using and then stir in the yogurt until you can form everything into a ball. It should be relatively dry but cohesive (we had to add a few splashes of soymilk to incorporate all the flour). Turn out onto a flour surface and knead just a few times (~10) until smooth. Press the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle, and use a glass to cut it into rounds. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 7-9 minutes.

Serve with good yellow mustard (crucial!)

Digression: I find the discussion of meat substitutes slightly interesting... With something like a lentil burger that really has almost nothing in common with a hamburger, it probably does a disservice to someone trying it for the first time (really it's just too bad that "patty" is such a gross word). Even worse are things like "vegan meatballs" (which I very infrequently am very grateful for). But at the same time, the lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, ketchup, and mustard on a bun is at least as important as the burger (q.v., In-n-Out grilled cheese) to the extent that calling it anything else would be a sham. Same thing goes for the spices in sausage, if you can call turkey sausage sausage, I think we're pretty safe with this one.


  1. Oh that looks amazing. Have you played with liquid smoke yet?