Vegan MoFo Day 25: Preserved Lemon & Friends

I want to start this post by mentioning something I did not make but wanted to: tempeh. Years ago, we saw a demonstration by someone who had created a complicated system for homemade tempeh; it involved fish tank equipment, among other things I didn’t want to buy, and at least two dozen PowerPoint slides of instruction. Then I watched the East Meets Kitchen’s video in which she made mung bean tempeh wrapped in banana leaves. It looked doable. Also, despite my general distaste for actual bananas, I love things cooked in banana leaves, so, like many of her videos, I got hungry just thinking about it. Anyway. Maybe another time.

A much more achievable “international food product” with my current energy level is preserved lemon. So I made that last month–it needs to ferment and chill for a couple weeks before using, after all.

Above: Lemons, salt, jar. Woo.

Preserved lemon is an ingredient in some tagine recipes, so I figured I’d attempt one of those. I’d made vegetable stews that were Moroccan-“inspired” before, but not necessarily with much knowledge of those cooking techniques. So I read up a little and modified (veganized) one of the recipes I found.

Above: Veggies, aromatics, and chickpeas, layered and stacked neatly in my Dutch oven.

A key difference from how I’d cooked this *handwave* general-ish type of food before is that ingredients are purposefully and carefully stacked and arranged inside the cooking vessel, then simply simmered until cooked to desired doneness. That is, instead of sauteeing and adding ingredients over a cook, it all goes in the pot. Making a little mound of chickpeas and layering slabs of zucchini and bell pepper was a nice, pretty bonus.

Above: Preserved lemon.

The preserved lemon was also nice and tender and tangy. I’ve got a whole jar of ’em, now, too, so I’ll need to continue to experiment…

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