I would not normally be this attuned to your football watching plans, but Paul and I happened to carve out a date afternoon the Sunday before last and at the top of our list of things to do without our children was go check out the new Golden Road Brewery near the L.A. River.
It turns out that the Sunday before last was not the day for the football clueless to go to a palace of beer. We lucked into two bar stools and ordered the first two beers on the list and a smattering of snacks and mutely gazed at all the flashing tv screens and raucous fans. People were excited about the football, man.
I'm excited about Golden Road's huge train-ajacent patio that will be a perfect place for Felix and Desmond to watch the box cars, then the oil cars, then the coal cars, then the flat cars rumble past while we share snacks and a beer. The menu is promising. The banh mi was way-underseasoned, just disappointingly dull, but the big warm pretzel with a vegan pimento cheese dip was excellent.
So, all that yelling and carrying on reminded me that the Super Bowl is coming up, and while I don't care, I do care about your party snack needs. And I'd been mulling over this layered dip ever since I brought home a cute little bag of rye toasts from Trader Joe's. This dip has all the layers of your classic tempeh reuben sandwich - the warm spiced tempeh, the tart sauerkraut, the creamy pickle-flecked dressing, topped off by melty cheese browned under the broiler. I prefer mashed avocado to cheese in my sandwich, but in this dip I wanted the enticing bubbly brown top layer. The whole thing comes together pretty quick, and ready to party. Go team?
Once you get the tempeh simmering, you'll have time to get all the other ingredients together and turn on the broiler. Then your dip will come together in about 5 minutes. So easy and so good. If you cook your tempeh in a medium cast iron skillet then you can just layer your whole dip right on there and stick it under the broiler. Or you can make the components ahead of time and then layer them in an ovenproof casserole just before you're ready to serve. Like any good party dip, this totally works at room temperature, but I don't imagine it will be sitting around that long.
makes: 4 cups
takes: 10 minutes (5 active)
- 2 cups crumbled pastrami-spiced tempeh (see recipe below)
- 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut
- 3/4 cup thousand island (see recipe below)
- 1 cup grated white vegan cheese
Turn on the broiler. In a heat proof casserole dish or right in the cast-iron skillet that you cooked the tempeh, layer your dip. The hot tempeh goes (or stays) on the bottom. Put the sauerkraut in a colander and press some of the juice out of it. Spread it over the tempeh. Drizzle the thousand island over the sauerkraut. Top with the shredded cheese. Put under the broiler until browned on top. Serve with rye crackers or toasts. Some carrot sticks aren't bad either.
Hey, if you want to use this for a sandwich next time, just slice your tempeh rather than crumbling it. Use a larger skillet and arrange the slices in a single layer. Cook it just like the smoky braised tempeh.
makes: 2 cups crumbles or enough for 4 smallish sandwiches
takes: about 25 minutes (5 active)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon pickling spice
- a few cracks of black pepper
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- water to make 1 cup
- 1 8-ounce package tempeh, crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- In a glass measuring cup, mix together all the ingredients except the tempeh and coriander.
- In a medium (preferably cast iron) skillet over medium-low heat, toast the coriander seeds until fragrant. Smash the toasted seeds with either a pestle or the back of a metal spatula.
- Add the crumbled tempeh to the pan and pour the liquid over the tempeh and coriander. Bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to very low and just let the whole thing simmer away until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom is beginning to brown.
Don't get out your measuring spoons. Thousand Island does not need to be an exact science. In a glass measuring cup, just mix together a chopped up pickle, a big glob of ketchup and a bigger glob of vegenaise.
makes: 3/4 cup
takes: about 5 minutes
- about 3 tablespoons ketchup
- about 5 tablespoons vegenaise
- 1/4 cup minced dill pickle
Stir it up.