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.

New, Interesting, Unusual Hors d’oeuvres, Appetizers and Starters

If you are looking for alternates for the usual, ho-hum hors d’oeuvres, appetizers or starters, have a look at this list of some of my favorites.

 1.  Sesame Ginger  Soba Noodles in Spoons

This is the only hors d’oeuvres on this list that is really only for small parties…unless, of course if you choose to rent or buy several spoons (see photo).  Easy to prepare and you can make them the day before. 

2.  Polenta Crostini with Balsamic Red Onion and Blue Cheese

A great alternate to the usual bread crostini.

3.  Tostaditas with Corn Salsa

This can be served chilled or at room temperature.  A nice feature if you are running out of time at the last minute.

4.  Cherubs on Horseback

I just love the name!  Its dried apricots wrapped in bacon.  Just bake and serve.  So easy.

5.  Prosciutto Wrapped Fig Skewers

A wonderful alternative to the usual prosciutto wrapped melon.

6.  Lime Marinated Chicken Skewers with Avocado Crema Dip

I made these for a party for 200 people and there was one couple that made this their whole dinner.  They were literally taking the skewers off the tray I was using to replenish the serving platter!  They didn’t even take time to try the crema.  I’m not complaining.

7.  Glazed Sesame Soy Beef Skewers

Marinate the day before if you wish.  Then just broil quickly before serving.

8.  Greek Salad Skewers

Greek salad on a skewer!  How cool!  I got this from Giada De Laurentiis’s TV show, Everday Italian.

9.  Smoked Salmon Sushi Rice Balls

An easy alternative to sushi rolls.  Make the rice balls with salmon slices a day or two ahead and garnish with wasabi just before serving.

10.   Ricotta and Sage Crepes

I love making crepes and you can freeze them for future use.  Add the filling the day before and cut into one or two inch pieces.

11.  Cucumber Cups with Blue Cheese Mousse and Bacon

Don’t let the term “mousse” intimidate you, its just cheese.  I was serving this at a party one night when someone asked me for a vegetarian version, so I just left off the bacon for her.  Still very tasty.

12.  Celery Barquettes with Stilton and Walnuts

A classy variation on cream cheese filled celery.  A quick and easy mousse with walnuts on top. 

Try a few of these the next time you have a party or are in charge of taking hors d’oeuvres to someone else’s get together.  I think they will be impressed with your fancy, gourmet appetizers.  Just don’t tell them how easy they were to make!

Email me for recipes for any or all of the above.