Tempeh has always disappointed me. It is a fermented soy and grain product, and I always think it should taste way more interesting by itself than it actually does. The texture is interesting, but like tofu and soy milk, the taste by itself is rather bland. I rarely buy or eat it, but the other day I saw a good price and decided to try it again in the form of the veg deli standby, the TLT. I marinated the tempeh in soy sauce and liquid smoke to give it a little flavor. I thought the sandwiches were pretty good, and Jon really enjoyed them, so they might go into the rotation.
I served these sandwiches with the cabbage-apple slaw shown above. I entered that recipe into the Corner Bakery recipe contest, which does not allow recipes that have been published or posted online, so I'll hold off on sharing it. (I'm entering the contest both because it's fun to enter contests and because my mom told me about it. The grand prize is a trip to the company headquarters in Dallas. She wants me to win so I'll go visit her.)
This picture isn't quite as well-lit as the first one, but I forgot the lettuce in the first one.
For two sandwiches:
About 1/3 pack of tempeh, cut into 1/4-inch slices (five slices per sandwich was what we used)
Vegetable oil for sautéing
1/3 cup mayo
1/2 tsp Penzey's Arizona Dreaming seasoning or other chili powder, optional
4 slices of bread
1 tomato, sliced
2 leaves of lettuce
Marinate the tempeh in a little soy sauce and liquid smoke for a few minutes. Then saute in vegetable oil until browned. Set aside.
Mix Arizona Dreaming with mayo if you want to spice up your mayo a little. Spread on all pieces of bread. Place five tempeh strips and two or three tomato slices on two pieces of bread and then put the other pieces of bread on top. Melt a little butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and place the sandwiches on the skillet. Butter the tops. After a few minutes, flip the sandwiches, trying not to let the tempeh and tomato slices escape. Fry for a few more minutes and remove from heat. Add lettuce.