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Moving + Tempeh Buffalo Wings

We moved!  It’s been an incredibly long process after nearly a year of waiting to hear “Go!”  But we’ve made it and we’re just trying to get comfortable in our new home, which has actually been damn near impossible for a number of reasons.  First, our new house needed to be cleaned, like it was disgustingly filthy, and discovering the grunge and grime made us uncomfortable and uncertain about our purchase.  We bought the house sight-unseen, which has turned out fine except for the gross factor, which was our first impression.  Yuck.

We got down to business and had three full days to clean before our goods were scheduled for delivery.  We also assessed the aesthetic choices that look fine in photos, but are actually awful.  For instance, the room that had been an office and is now to be the Toddler’s room is painted yellow and orange with two pull-down shades that have been handpainted houndstooth orange of all bloody things.  Again, fine in photos, bad in real life.  This is also the case with what have turned out to be homemade curtains throughout the house.  They look fine until you examine them closely, then you see unhemmed selvages, ribbon accents that are longer than the rest of the panel, two panels side-by-side that are different lengths, etc…  Anyway, everything will be replaced and that will take time.  Everything will also be painted, but most of it can wait except the Toddler’s room, which is too bright and receives too much afternoon sunlight.

The second issue has been the utter incompetence of our packers and movers.  When we got our move scheduled the moving company sent two girls in their mid-twenties to do the packing.  The idea is that their “professional” packers get everything ready and then movers come to put everything on a truck.  This is meant to minimize damage and protect against liability.  Well, the two girls who did our packing were awful, the worst, most unfit, useless people at their job I’ve ever encountered.  Of course, we didn’t realize this until our stuff got here when we opened boxes and found things just thrown in without wrapping (like a crystal rose bowl that belonged to my mother-in-law) and boxes poorly or wrongly labeled.  Imagine schlepping a heavy box upstairs to the baby’s room because it says “Baby room” on the outside, then opening it to find wrapping paper, a pressure cooker, rain boots, and some hangers from the baby’s room.  Oh, and having to open and dig out every box trying to find your bed linens, which takes two days because they’re in a box labeled “Books”.  Are you effing kidding me?  A few items were actually damaged and now we have to file a claim, but in the meantime, our dining room is stacked with boxes of books because our bookcase is ruined!  A week after receiving our stuff and the house is still a mess because we can’t find anything!  This makes both of us very tired and my brain itches from the mess.

Before we moved, I made our final use-’em-up meal: tempeh buffalo wings.  This is a copycat meal from a restaurant we used to like.  When we put the brakes on eating out I started cooking the dishes we liked so much from the restaurants we frequented.  This is one selection that has been a hit and it’s fairly easy.  The wings are baked instead of fried to save calories and mess, and they don’t take long.

Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that is high in protein, calcium, and iron.  It’s not what you’d call a “pretty” food, but when prepared right, it’s delicious.  Prepared right means boiling first to remove some of the tang that develops from the fermentation process.  You want some tang, but too much overpowers the other flavors.  I used to hate tempeh because I didn’t know how to prep it, but now it’s a standby in my kitchen.  The soybeans are blended with grain, usually, so it’s also high in fiber.  All around a pretty great food.  So, get a pot on the cooker and boil up some water!

Here it is, tempeh, in all its glory.  See what I mean about being fugly?  This is why it’s not served bare bones, but mixed into stir-frys or coated in sauce.  It can also be sliced thin and baked with smoky flavors to make tempeh bacon, which is pretty awesome.

While your water comes to temperature, cut your tempeh into one-inch fingers.  Fan them out to admire all the nutritional goodness…just kidding.

Into the water, reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook for ten minutes.

In the meantime get your coating ready.  Three bowls: one with soymilk (or any non-dairy beverage of your choice), one with flour (again, whatever flour you have on hand or prefer), and one with panko breadcrumbs.  I had some almond meal in the freezer, so I mixed that with all-purpose flour just for fun.  Panko breadcrumbs are Japanese and they’re extra crispy, which doesn’t get destroyed during frying or baking.  Regular breadcrumbs will do, but you should make them yourself by blitzing fresh bread in a processor.

Afer your tempeh has cooked, remove the pieces from the water and allow to cool on paper towels for a few minutes.  Preheat your oven to 375˚.  To dredge your tempeh, start by coating in flour, which helps the other coatings adhere, then move to the soymilk, then to the breadcrumbs.  Make sure to coat the pieces thoroughly and place them on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.  To make this process tidier, have one wet hand and one dry hand, i.e., with one hand dip the tempeh in the flour, coat it, then pick it up with the same hand and drop it into the milk.  Using your other hand, coat the tempeh with milk, lift out, and drop into the breadcrumbs.  Using the first hand (the dry hand), coat the wing and place it on the sheet pan.  Both hands will be messy, but less so than if you just used one hand or both hands willy-nilly!

Bake the wings for 10 minutes, then flip them over and bake another 5 minutes.  They should be golden brown and crispy.  Allow them to cool for 5 minutes, then coat them in buffalo sauce by dipping and stirring them in a bowl.

Serve them with vegan ranch (Just Ranch is delicious).

Now that we’ve moved I’ll be cooking with a gas stove again, which I’m looking forward to more than most normal people, I would guess.  I also have some kind of basic cooking class for YouTube in the works, but we’ll see how that develops (if it does at all).

Happy Wednesday, loves!

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