There comes a point in the summer where the sun suddenly sets a little earlier, the evenings grow cooler. You can no longer dilly dally around the way you did in July and August, enjoying the garden before you get down to the business of making dinner. No, instead you might sit out on the patio as the darkness settles in, lingering over your glass of wine, ‘til all at once it’s too dark to fire up the barbecue, too cool to wait around. This happened to me the other night. Even worse, it happened on Labour Day. Just as I realized I needed to whip up dinner for a visiting friend, I also realized that every blessed grocery store in town was closed up tight. Instead of panicking, though, I poured us both another glass of cheap Malbec and settled back into my lawnchair. I’d figure something out, I knew, once darkness fell.
And fall it did, so into the kitchen we wandered. I threw together a harvest-inspired dinner combining ingredients foraged from my own semi-successful vegetable patch and from the farm stand at the top of my parents’ hill. The recipes below, when paired with a couple of cobs of fresh corn, make a perfect, light, vegan dinner. They’re super easy, though they do require a bit of a wait between prep and eating, to allow the flavours to settle in. All the more time for another glass of wine under the glow of the fairy lights I put up in the Rose of Sharon bushes along the back fence. Summer may be nearly over, but Indian summer’s right around the corner. There’s still plenty of time for puttering around, as long as you don’t mind putting on a sweater.
Sesame Tempeh Steaks
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1-2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1-2 tbsp chili sauce (optional but really good for added spice)
- 1 hot pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 brick tempeh
Slice the tempeh brick in half, then slice those halves in half. Quarter the slices into triangles. Place tempeh slices in a shallow glass or ceramic baking pan. Pour marinade ingredients over tempeh and shake dish a bit to mix the marinade around. Leave to soak for 30 minutes to one hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Add a splash more sesame oil and a bit of chili sauce, if using. Bake tempeh for 30-40 minutes, or until golden and a little crispy. Add more chili sauce or some salsa, if you like.
- 1 bunch of kale, stems trimmed off, chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 apple, chopped into matchsticks
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
Combine prepared veggies in a bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in a mason jar; cover and shake till combined. Drizzle dressing over veggies (you won’t need all the dressing to start with) and massage into the kale. This helps tenderize the raw leaves and soften their texture. Set aside for 30-60 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast sunflower seeds in a frying pan, stirring often until golden brown. Set aside.
When ready to serve, add seeds to greens and add more dressing as desired.
I’ve always loved Indian summer–the surprisingly sunny days, the brisk evenings, those last gasps of brightness before autumn settles in in earnest. In preparing this post, Dana found another definition of the term: A period of happiness or success occurring late in life. I love the romance of that, the inherent possibility. The warmest days may be behind us, but there’s still plenty of sunshine yet to come. Cheers.Add to favorites