Sesame Chile Tempeh with Gingered Watermelon Salsa Recipe

This is probably one of those, “I am the last to know” situations, but I wanted to tell you about a really great cooking show that I recently discovered.

I get only basic cable tv at this time, so I find some shows and channels coming through that I have never heard of before. One of those channels that I can’t get enough of is create tv. It is also online at One of the cooking shows on the channel is Christina Cooks (online at Christina Pirello, MFN, CCN, “creates” an entertaining show by actually teaching a class that is informative and laced with humor. I love her personality. Check out her interesting and inspiring story on her website. And please watch her show, it is one of my very favorites right now.

I’ll share with you here one of her recipes that I am making for the second time tonight because I love it so much. It is by far, the best recipe with tofu that I have ever had. Let it marinate for a couple of days rather than just one hour and it gets even better! I’m going to add brown rice with it tonight. Enjoy!

Sesame Chile Tempeh with Gingered Watermelon Salsa Recipe

2 tablespoons organic soy
1 tablespoon Thai chile paste
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil, plus more for frying (I used canola oil)
8 ounces tempeh, cut into 2-inch square pieces


2 cups seeded watermelon
1/2 yellow bell pepper
3-4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon finely minced cilantro
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
sea salt
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced

Combine soy sauce, chile paste, garlic, sesame and avocado oils and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a zip-top plastic bag and place tempeh inside to marinate for at least an hour in the refrigerator.

While the tempeh marinates, prepare the salsa. Mix together, watermelon, pepper, scallion, cilantro, ginger, mirin, lime juice, salt to taste and jalapeno. Toss carefully to combine, taking care not to break watermelon.


To prepare the tempeh, place a generous amount of avocado oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, fry marinated tempeh (reserve any remaining marinade) until golden brown, turning once to ensure even browning, about 2-3 minutes per side.


To serve, lay tempeh on a platter and spoon any remaining marinade over top. Mound salsa on top and serve immediately.


Makes 4-5 servings.

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto Recipe

I made this fantastic Spinach and Mushroom Risotto recipe the other day and wanted to share it with you!

Risotto is made with the short-grain Italian rice Arborio, using the technique of gradually stirring hot stock into a mixture of rice and onion to create a creamy and chewy consistency.  The broth can be meat, fish, or vegetable based.  It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy.  Risotto’s origins are in northern Italy, where rice paddies are abundant.

Usually risotto is a primo (first course), served on its own before the main course.

Risotto is considered labor intensive but stirring is what its all about and no big deal really… and oh so worth it.  Pour a glass of wine, turn on the music and enjoy the process.


5-6 cups of vegetable, chicken, fish or beef stock

Heat your stock and keep it simmering on another burner

In a heavy-bottom saucepan, melt 1 Tablespoon of butter or EVOO

Add ¼ cup diced onion

 Add 1 clove minced garlic  

Cook until soft, about 5 minutes

Add 1 ½ cups Arborio Rice

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

 Stir 2 minutes

Pour heated stock into rice ½ cup at a time as you stir constantly. 

When liquid is absorbed, add ½ cup more always maintaining a gentle simmer.

Continue adding ½ cup of stock at a time for approx 20 minutes (will depend on cooking temperature and altitude).

With the last addition of stock, add ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, vegetables (if any), and 3 T fresh chopped parsley.

 I sautéed fresh portabella mushrooms and spinach to add to my risotto.

Enjoy!  Let me know what you think.

What to Stock in Your Pantry

Have a look at these items that I suggest you keep in your pantry at all times.  It will make your life easier for your daily cooking, and for those spur of the moment meals.  If you see something you never use, then leave it out, and be sure to add your favorite things. 

cayenne pepper 
bay leaves 
ground cinnamon 
sweet paprika 
dried rosemary 
crushed red pepper flakes 
dried thyme 
dried oregano 
kosher salt 
black peppercorns 
fine sea salt 

soy sauce 
Tabasco sauce 
Worcestershire sauce 
pure maple syrup 
Dijon mustard 
unsalted butter 
sour cream 
large eggs 
cheddar cheese 
white wine 

extra-virgin olive oil 
vegetable (or canola) oil 
chicken stock 
peanut butter 
dried pasta 
red wine vinegar 
balsamic vinegar 
rice vinegar 
arborio rice 
long-grain rice 
canned tomatoes 
tomato sauce 
green beans 
black beans 
garbanzo beans 
kidney beans 
dried lentils 
canned tuna 
all-purpose flour 
bread crumbs 
granulated sugar 
brown sugar 
baking soda 
baking powder 
pure vanilla extract 
chocolate chips 
cocoa powder 
red wine 

pine nut 
fresh ginger