May 28, 2010

Lightlife Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips

We finally made it to the co-op, so there should be a whole bunch of new reviews heading your way over the next couple months. Hooray! First from the new bunch, Lightlife Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips. On the package, it also says "Fakin' Bacon" so I went ahead and planned on using it like bacon.

I was making some twice-baked potatoes for dinner that evening, and thought some fake bacon crumbled on top would make a lovely addition. While baking the potatoes, I started frying up the tempeh strips. The directions say to fry the strips in a moderate amount of oil until edges are crispy. No indication of how long that might take, so I had to wing it. No problem. I fried them for a while, flipping them over occasionally. Eventually, the edges started to get a little darker (maybe 8-10 minutes?) but didn't seem crispy. I thought maybe it would be like bacon where it doesn't get crispy until you drain off some of the fat, so I laid out most of the strips on a couple layers of paper towel.

I kept the rest of the strips in the pan to see if they would ever get crispy. I think they were on the heat for an additional 10-15 minutes, and finally started to blacken a bit. I pulled them out and laid them on the paper towel where they crisped up nicely.

I broke (tore, really) off a piece of the non-crispy strip and tasted it. It definitely had a smoky flavor, but it was nothing like bacon. The texture was kind of… wet-cardboard-y? Not terribly pleasant. Then I broke off a piece of the burned-yet-crispy strips and tried that. Still smoky-tasting, of course, but the texture was much improved. The crispiness is really important for this product. Be sure to be patient with it, if you plan on trying this out yourself. I'm not sure burning it is the answer - there was probably a point between the first batch and the second batch where it would still crisp up without being burnt.

I crumbled up the crispy pieces and scattered them on my cheesy, creamy, twice-baked potatoes. Man, I make good potatoes. Anyway - the smokiness and crunchiness were a nice addition to the potato. I would not say it was like using bacon, however. I kind of wish that Lightlife hadn't printed "Fakin' Bacon" on the package. It really sets the consumer up for disappointment. If they had stopped at "Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips" I think I could have given it a better grade. But no, they had to play the bacon card.

The experience:
Texture - soggy if undercooked; crunchy, almost crumbly when burned - probably a happy medium in there. I'll have to try these again sometime to see if I can find it.
Flavor - smoky, yes. bacon? no way.

Final grade for this attempt: C

1 comment:

  1. Have you tried the Turtle Island Smoky Maple Bacon tempeh strips yet? The flavor is something. Food Fight in Portland has them.