Whenever I tell people what I do for a living (I work in the Test Kitchen here), a common reaction is that I must have the best job in the world since all I do is cook and eat great food all day. I generally just respond that it’s a job like any other really with meetings, deadlines (like this day-late blog, sorry Kimberly.), paperwork, etc., and if the food were ALL great, then we wouldn’t need anyone to test the recipes. Which is, of course, a not-so-tiny bold-faced lie since the majority of my time is spent thinking about, talking about, cooking and, yes, eating the fabulous recipes that go into Cooking Light.

This week in particular. See, we’re powering through a mammoth stack of, quite frankly, fantastic recipes that will make up an upcoming cookbook, Mad Delicious, which is a collaboration between Cooking Light and Keith Schroeder. Just yesterday we had Buffalo Chicken Burgers, Brazilian Pork Tacos, Brisket, Thai Spinach, Lamb Chops with apricots, Beef Tenderloin with Port Sauce, Saffron Risotto, Homemade fresh Sriracha, Garlic Cream, Spiced Pecans, and Almond Baked Spaghetti Squash among other offerings.

So when you find yourself bloated at 3 o’ clock after essentially a 15-20 course tasting menu, the last thing you want to think about is dinner. So, come dinnertime, I’m looking for something low-impact time-wise, prep-wise, and (most importantly) gut-wise. And on days like yesterday, a nice salad generally fits the bill. Of course, a mere bowl of veggies is not going to satisfy, but nutrition is always a concern and the usual cheese or nut protein bulk-up was just not in the cards after yesterday’s feast. So last night I went with Tempeh, the Indonesian fermented soy cake. Made from the whole soy bean, it’s packed with protein and fiber and it couldn’t be less fussy to prepare. Just slice it and give it a quick stir-fry with a splash of soy and you’ve got great nutty and even “meaty” addition to salads.

For last night’s quick dinner, I heated up a splash of sesame oil in a heavy skillet, tossed in my tempeh (sliced like you would a flank steak) to brown for a couple of minutes on each side and then tossed it in a bowl that contained a quick vinaigrette of 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar, a 1/2 teaspoon of grated garlic and a 1/2 teaspoon of sambal oelek. Grated ginger would’ve been nice here if I’d had any. Throw in a fist-full of baby kale, a bit of cilantro, and some thinly sliced radishes toss it all around around and shake some sesame seeds on top and you’ve got a nutrient filled, light dinner in 10 minutes flat.

CALORIES 120; FAT 6.9g (sat 1g, mono 2.7g, poly 1.6g); PROTEIN 6.9g; CARB 8.4g; FIBER 3.9g; CHOL 0mg; IRON 1.5mg; SODIUM 108mg; CALC 88mg