So I'm trying not to eat so much red meat.

I know. It tastes amazing. I still love beef and REALLY love pork (more than anyone should love the meat of any animal that doesn't sweat), but both are pretty bad for you and pretty bad for the environment and generally better left as "sometimes food".

(Having said all that, I do have plans of one day building a structure on property I do not yet own specifically dedicated to curing my own ham. I'm especially interested in crafting my own proscuitto or serrano, and would love to make nice, salty country ham, too... but I digress...)

Still, cutting down on red meat has me trying some fun new things with fish, chicken, and... tempeh.

Now, for those who consider tempeh a pretender to tofu's crown as the top of the meat substitute heap, I say nay. Tempeh is a nice source of body and substance in a vegetarian dish, but should NOT be considered a meat substitute. It's nutty and hearty and really nice marinated and pan-cooked. It's got texture ENTIRELY different from tofu, which is good. Tofu is usually fairly gross.

My favorite lately is this:
Take tempeh (which, if you have a Trader Joes nearby, especially, is really inexpensive. 1.69 or so per package) and slice it into strips, each maybe a quarter to a half inch in thickness. Marinate that in some soy sauce, adding plenty of cinnamon, ground mustard, and paprika to the mix. Cook that in a nice hot pan for a few minutes per side, trying to get a nice crispy outside on the tempeh. ( use a non-stick pan with no added oil, but that can sometimes get a little problematic with the soy runoff burning in the hot pan. It doesn't hurt the tempeh, just might make your kitchen a little strong-smelling for a bit.)

Take some nice bread (I like a sourdough or tuscan pane) and put a little chevre or other creamy goat cheese on each slice of bread. Don't overdo it on the goat cheese, but make sure each slice has a nice coating. Add the cooked tempeh, make a tasty sandwich, and then grill that, either in a sandwich press or in a pan. Cut in half. Enjoy.

Flavorful. Filling. A nice meat-free dish is which even I, a raving omnivore, don't miss meat in the slightest.

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