Tempeh and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Hash

Tempeh. Who knew it was so delicious? Well, not this guy until last night, which seems like a minor criminal offense for a foodie! My inspiration came from Katie Lee’s tweet proclaiming, “It’s a tempeh Tuesday at my house tonight….making a Tempeh Teriyaki Stir-Fry….yummmmm.” Indeed. What about a Tempeh Tuesday Hashcapade at Chez Clark?

Tempeh & Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Hash

As a newbie, I had to do a little research on tempeh to figure out: 1) What is it? and 2) How is it prepared? I used to think it was some sort of cross between hemp and tabouleh – um, no thanks, I’ll eat cardboard! But a quick search revealed a rich heritage from its Indonesian origins as a cake of fermented, minimally processed soy beans. Ok, I now have a slight clue. Next?

Tempeh is generally prepared by cutting it up, soaking it in a brine or other salty liquid and then frying it.  Chili, stew, stir-fry, soup, and salad all play nicely with tempeh. Some people even grate it and use it like ground beef for tacos – holy frijoles! One comment in the VegWeb.com forum mentioned poaching the tempeh for 10 minutes or so in vegetable broth. Say, that sounds like a fabulous idea!

Off to the store for provisions…

Simple ingredients for Tempeh Tuesday.

The obligatory what-the-hell-is-in-this-hash photo actually reminded me of a recent comparison of the cost of McDonald’s versus home-cooked meal. In it, they have photos of each and I proudly thought, “Slow Food rocks! Michael Pollan is genius! This is going to be epic!”

And so it was, but first I poached the tempeh for 10 minutes in Vegetarian Pho base. Why? It simply caught my eye on the shelf and Pacific Natural Foods is in my back yard, well in Tualatin. Locavore? Locapho? Whatever!

Next, I diced the sweet potatoes and fried them in the pan for about 10 minutes before adding shallots, ginger and garlic and cooking for another 5 minutes. Finally, I added the diced tempeh, curry, coconut milk and cilantro and let it heat through for another 5 minutes and voila – Tempeh Tuesday!

Poaching the tempeh for 10 minutes.

This hash came together quickly and easily - yusss!

Tempeh and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Hash Redux

So how did my first experiment with tempeh taste? Fabulous, if I do say so myself! The nutty, firm and dense texture was a pleasant surprise, reminding me of a crispy chicken dish I once had. Since tempeh soaks up the flavors, the pho and curry popped in my mouth next with a hint of ginger, shallot, coconut and cilantro – yum!

When I make this again, I’ll use yams with orange to offset the tempeh’s beige hue or perhaps add another vegetable like kale or green beans for even more color. Let me know what you think – other variations? Favorite ways to prepare tempeh?

Happy Hashcapades,

Clark

Tempeh and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Hash

8 oz package of tempeh
2 cups Vegetarian Pho
> Pour pho into small skillet and bring to slight simmer
> Add tempeh and poach for 10 minutes, remove and pat dry, dice into 1/2 cubes
2 cups sweet potatoes (about 2 small potatoes or 1 big one)
2 Tbsp EVOO
> While tempeh poaches, heat large pan on medium to medium high, adding with oil
> Dice sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and add once pan is hot, cooking and stirring occasionally for 10 minutes
1/2 cup diced shallots
1 tsp fresh ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
> Add above to pan and continue to cook, for about another 5 minutes or until potatoes are done
5.5 oz coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
> Turn pan down to medium low and add above + tempeh, stirring until any coconut clumps are gone and the mixture is well integrated and the tempeh is warmed through, about 5 minutes
> Season to taste and serve on plate with garnish of cilantro
Serves 2

Manifest Hashcapade at Yolk

For the hash obsessed, it doesn’t get much better than this: Don Kotler, owner of Toast, launched a food cart, Yolk. Wait. It gets better…they serve hash every day – HUZZAH! My faithful tweep, Lyndsey McBride, invited me to the pre-opening festivities and, like MacArthur, I vowed “I shall return.”

A few weeks later, @Toast_PDX let me know that Bacon Hash was on the menu. Since I had already experienced a lovely hashcapade at Toast, I knew this was fate calling me to honor my vow. “Clark. Manifest Destiny. It’s time to return to Yolk,” thundered fate. (It wasn’t loud nor in stereo because my left ear was plugged, but that’s another story.)

Yolk - located at SE Woodstock and SE 48th

And so, I drove from Bethany on the northwest side to Woodstock on the southeast side. Technically, this is reverse manifest destiny, but I didn’t care. I was totally stoked to sample as many hashes as Yolk offered! When I arrived, the cool Yolk Breakfast logo greeted me like an old friend: “Morning, Clark! I’m glad to see you! You’re buying, right?”

Toby Hash and Mary Had a Little Lamb Hash for today.

Anyway, I checked out the menu and was delighted to see Toby and Mary Had A Little Lamb. In case the writing is too small, let me break it down for you. Toby Hash has summer corn, roasted potatoes, spinach, heirloom tomatoes topped with a sunny side up egg with 3 pepper cream. Don mentioned that one of his old roommates, Toby Jones, would whip up all kinds of hash, thus the name. Mary does indeed have ground lamb, roasted potatoes, braised greens (chard that day), zucchini, tossed with mint & herbs and a sunny side up duck egg. Yes, duck egg!

Most people would choose one hash or the other, but not I. Nope. Hashcapades are serious adventures requiring stamina and conviction; the kind that Lewis and Clark embodied as they surveyed the Louisiana Purchase! So when I walked up to the counter, I ordered both – Manifest Hashcapade!

Ariel and Patrick made me feel like a king!

Ariel took my order like a pro, as if people would order double hash every day. Her cook, Patrick, fired up the grill in the background while I explained my terrible hash affliction and that I’d blog about Yolk. After taking some more pictures, I returned as the hash was being plated. “Make it pretty,” urged Ariel to Patrick. I had to smile. They made me feel like a king!

Toby Hash - this picture doesn't do it justice!

Patrick’s presentation of the Toby Hash was stunning. He used a food ring for the yummy bits, then topped the hash with two eggs (I pulled them back for the photo), and swirled saba and chipotle cream around it. The sweet corn, tomatoes and potatoes, when combined with the egg and spinach, were a pure mouthful of summer goodness – unbelievable!

Mary Had A Little Lamb Hash - No, I did!

I knew I would simply hoover the Toby Hash off the plate if I didn’t pace myself, so I stopped halfway through and moved on to the Mary Had A Little Lamb Hash. Can I just say what a brilliant combination of veggies, fresh mint and ground lamb Mary is? There were hints of yogurt sauce and perhaps a bit of curry that really hit the spot! Thank you Ariel and Patrick for a lovely hashcapade 🙂

Happily sated, it was time to make the trek back to the western reaches of Portlandia, to fulfill a different kind of destiny – a nap!

Happy Hashcapades,

Clark

A Hashcapade to Remember

“Sept 11th, 10AM at Accanto for a #hashcapade. In?” That’s how I sent out the invite to my tweeps, purposely avoiding “9/11”. Would that somehow make it less serious? Would we ignore the proverbial elephant in the room? I wasn’t sure, but I was thrilled to welcome new hashcapaders to the fold and check out Accanto.


Accanto on  the corner of SE Belmont and SE 29th
I arrived early, taking photos of Accanto from multiple perspectives. A brilliant sun was already hard at work, intending to flirt with the mid 90s later in the day – glorious! I waited for the hashcapade crew at the sidewalk table, soaking in the sun and appreciating the stillness of a sleepy Belmont avenue. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania were hours into solemn remembrance of 9/11.

Executive Chef & General Manager, David Anderson works his magic!
Meeting new tweeps is always exciting and this day was no exception – Lars, David, and Jenn joined hashcapade veterans, Matt, Ori, Vivian, Lisa and Paul. Our waiter, David Jaworski (no relation to Ron – of course we asked!) treated us like royalty as he ushered us to our table. “We have the Polenta Hash on the menu and a special, Polenta Hash with Smoked Salmon,” he informed us. Are you kidding?!?! How awesome is that – Accanto added a special hash for my posse!!!

Da Posse: Paul, Vivian, David, Jenn, Ori, Clark, Lars, Lisa and Matt
I made it clear that a hashcapade is about 1) having fun, 2) ordering what you want, and 3) see rule 1! But, in a hashcapade first, everybody at the table, except the “Rebel in the Mist” ordered hash – huzzah! While we waited for our hash, we ordered Mimosas, Bloody Marys and The Cure – all excellent. Our conversation was energetic and buzz-worthy – football, work, wine, travel, twitter, blogs (OMG – we talked about PHP and HTML!) – but nothing about 9/11.

Polenta Hash w/ Pancetta, Caramelized Onion, Roasted Carrot, Fennel & Poached Eggs
Our hashes (two different types of hash are properly called hashes!) arrived and the chatter stopped as we tucked into the hash. The pancetta was chunky and tasty and the polenta “tots” were exquisite with a crunchy exterior yielding to creamy goodness! The caramelized onions were divine, helping impart a sweetness and texture that blended perfectly with the polenta and pancetta. And the poached eggs – can I just say they were perfect?

Completely sated, I marveled at the camaraderie of the table. Once strangers, twitter brought us together over hash. Thinking about 9/11, it had brought strangers around the USA together in solidarity. And today, the world was coming together to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Why shouldn’t we?

“Where were you when you heard about 9/11?” I asked the table. Since all of us were living on the west coast at the time, the most common answer was that family or friends had woken them up to relay the horribly devastating news. Others had been watching the morning news, mesmerized by the unthinkably evil and cowardly act. Each account diverged from there with personal details, spinning individual threads of vivid memories. 

I imagined similar threads being woven by millions, perhaps billions of people around the world today in answer to my simple question. These unforgettable memories, these threads, have produced a rich tapestry, a testament to human courage and resilience. And our table, in its right and proper way, was a part of it!

This was a hashcapade to remember.

Happy Hashcapades,
Clark

Bobby Flay’s Sweet Potato-Chicken Hash

Portlandia, we have a problem…it’s too bloody hot!!! Running? Forget it, already did Leg 12 of Hood to Coast in 90-degree heat – color me toast. Cooking? Forget it, my kitchen is *not* slated to become the inner circle of hell, thank you very much. Hashcapade? See prior comment.

Wait a minute. Begin free association: Hot? Grill. Heat? Spicy. Chef? Bobby Flay. Yusss! (Imagine spirited cavorting and general silliness, which is a form of constant self-amusement for me.) Now all I need to do is pick one of Bobby’s hash recipes from my List of Celebrity Chef Hashes…ah, Sweet Potato-Chicken Hash!

Sweet Potato-Chicken Hash with Green Chile Hollandaise at Chez Clark

As you can see from the finished product in Chez Clark‘s special studio, I used a food-ring to amp up the presentation. I simply copied the version I ate at Mesa Grill in New York. For the skilled hollandaise sauce mavens, I salute you! This was my very first attempt and I barely succeeded with my cheap-o blender, but it worked by following Bobby’s directions.

Now, back to the inside scoop on grilling. I diced the sweet potatoes, drizzled olive oil on them, added a little salt and pepper, placed them on a rimmed baking sheet and into the grill at 425 for about 15 minutes. Watch out for hot spots that could crispen the taters too quickly – I mixed them around every 3 minutes or so.

Sweet potatoes on the baking sheet – ready for the grill!

Another use of the grill was pretty straight forward – place the poblano pepper in its own zone on the grill, crank it up to high and let it roast. I simply turned it every time I tended to the sweet potatoes. Once it was nicely blistered and scorched, I placed it in a paper bag, sealed it and let it sit for 10 minutes or so. This little trick makes peeling the skin a piece of cake!

Grilling the poblano chili is super easy.

My final heat-reducing strategy was also a time-saver – buy a rotisserie chicken. The grocer gets to worry about the hot kitchen while I double-down on getting to the finish line! Oh, one more tip: to get the mixture to bind more easily, I added about 1/3 cup of creme fraiche. This also helps with the food ring (no grilling of hash patties occurred).

Getting ready to mix the hash together…
Another view of the Sweet Potato-Chicken Hash with Green Chile Hollandaise

The dish was sublimely delicious and flavorful. I wish I had added more chipotle to get a bigger heat index in my mouth, but that’s why they invented adobo sauce! I scooped some more out of the canned chipotles after I shot this photo to amp it up. The combo of the sweetness from the potato & the honey and the heat of the chipotle was brilliant, just what you’d expect from Mr. Flay!

Let me know if you try this at your casa and please, stay cool!

Happy Hashcapades,
Clark

HSI – Flash Hashcapade at Circa 33

The tip came in from the Hashcapade Scene Investigator (HSI) computer lab. The crew had uncovered a disturbing facebook post: a “flash hashcapade” was in the works – but where?. I cursed under my breath as I hung up the phone and wondered aloud, “How do I stop this madness?!” Just then, a text alerted me to breaking news: “Circa 33, hurry!!!”

When I arrived, I knew it was too late. The waitress led me to the back patio where I found the table in disarray, toast halves in the coffee cup, butter pats scattered around like a deck of cards, knocked over glasses and a receipt with SOS scrawled on it. For having witnessed the entire episode, she was oddly calm as she smiled and offered, “They paid their bill and tipped me.”

The hashcapade scene…disturbing…SOS receipt…what the hell?!?!

A million questions popped into my head. “Did you notice anything odd about them?’ I asked. Rosie, the waitress and chief witness, replied, “No, typical bunch. But, now that I think about it, yes! They all ordered different types of hash! I thought they were crazy, but then again, they had quite a few mimosas, if you catch my drift!” “Show me,” I barked. Startled, Rosie shoved a menu under my nose and pointed out Circa 33’s cornucopia of different hashes.

Circa 33 Brunch Menu – Holy frijoles – the permutations of hash are endless!

“Do you really expect me to believe that you have this many hashes?” I asked incredulously. Rosie looked at me sideways and sarcastically said, “Maybe you could use a cup of joe and a donut. I’m finished talking to you. Leave me out of this!” She cut me down a few sizes, but I knew she was right. I deserved it. “Sorry. It just busts me up knowing they did this to you,” I managed to stammer. “Please, just a few more questions,” I begged like a moron.

Reluctantly, Rosie sat down, arms folded and looking annoyed. She was wearing a white apron with a sun dress and cowboy boots. I noticed her necklace and tried to gain her confidence by asking, “What kind of stone is that?” “Tourmaline,” she answered, smiling slightly at my awkward question. “Nice! (long pause) So, did it seem like one of them was the ring leader?” I inquired. “Yep, there was this guy with a camera and he  asked me to take pictures,” replied Rosie. “And what did he order?” I asked. Just then, another waitress walked by with a plate of hash and Rosie immediately pointed to it and excitedly blurted out, “That! Our Mushroom & Potato Hash with Smoked Trout. OMG, it is soooo yummy!”

Circa 33’s Mushroom & Potato Hash with Smoked Trout

Of course, I had to sample the next best thing to evidence and was impressed with the richness of the brined  and roasted potatoes, crimini mushrooms, trout and poached egg – simply delicious! “Hey, mister! Are you going to pay for that?” an annoyed Rosie asked. I snapped out of a my brief food coma and quickly apologized and then asked, “Can you show me how you make this?” She stood up, rolled her eyes in disgust and quickly went inside. “Please?” I begged as she disappeared through the alleyway.

Circa 33’s Alleyway from the back deck

Dumbfounded for a second, I ran after her, but she had vanished. The main dining room was empty as all the patrons had opted to dine al fresco on the back deck. Looking for clues, I happened upon a framed kit of kitchen instruments and mused that these were pioneer tools for making hash!

Ancient hash instruments of vegetable and meat destruction!

Suddenly, a light in a back door switched on and I ran over, pushed the door open and found Rosie sitting on a desk holding a camera in her hand with a smug look on her face. “Um, maybe you should check this out. They left it at the table, super investigator,” she teased. Unbelievable! “Rosie, I owe you!!!” I gleefully shouted. I wanted to hug her, but opted to grab the camera instead. A flip of the power button, push play and…voila!!!

The Flash Hashcapade Team?

I showed it to Rosie and asked, “Is this the flash mob? Are these the people?” I looked at Rosie. My heart sank as Rosie stared at the photo, confused. “These aren’t the people, I must have thought they left it. I’m soooo sorry,” she said dejectedly. “It’s okay,” I lied, trying to hide my disappointment. I turned and I left without saying a word. Damn – so close!

Happy Hashcapades,
Clark