Matty Matheson: A Cookbook

AbramsDinner-Party_badge[1]This is the first post sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party. I am so excited to announce that I was one of  thirty bloggers selected to be a part of this really cool partnership! That means they are sending me cookbooks to review. This is a total librarian foodie dream & I am so honored to have been selected!

As the first cookbook arrived, I must confess that I wasn’t very excited about it. I had never heard of Matty Matheson, and when I read that he was the star of a Viceland show, I mistook him for Action Bronson. Then, I read the first line and felt like he was calling out other chef authors. And on top of that, the recipes seemed really seafood and meat heavy (spoiler alert, they are).


With a negative attitude, I took a deep breath and read the whole cookbook cover to cover. What I discovered was a very raw and personal history told through food. Matty Matheson: A Cookbook is a love letter to family, friends, co-workers, and Canada. The book is cleverly laid out in two parts, taking us on a journey from childhood to adulthood. Part 1 begins with maternal and paternal grandparents and then moves on to parents, and ends with in-laws.

Every damn recipe had an introduction and that’s what I loved about this cookbook. My favorite recipe story which literally made me laugh out loud multiple times was “Dr. William Spencer’s Dried Pepper Flakes.”

The majority of the recipes are complicated and require either a lot of time or region-specific ingredients. It’s definitely a weekend project kind of cookbook. Tucked away amongst recipes of headcheese, tongue, and bologna bowls (the only simple recipe, BTW), you’ll actually find one completely vegan recipe in part two of the book. Part 2 takes us through culinary school, along with the restaurants he’s worked at. There are also a couple of vegetarian ones, including The Cauliflower, which gets a 24 hour brine before going into the oven. The vegan recipe seemed so laborious that I just made the tempeh and bbq sauce parts of it. Sorry Matty, but with my schedule, I had to alter to fit my home cook needs. You can find the complete recipe below.

With beautiful photography of food, people, and Canada, this cookbook is a collector’s cookbook and good addition to a public library with an established cookbook collection. It also serves as an introduction to ingredients and a region unfamiliar to some. It’s the perfect gift for a foodie or chef, although some may take offense to profanity scattered throughout. Regardless of the meat-heavy content, it is EP Veg Snob approved.

Can you believe this is only the second time that I cook with tempeh?!

In the prologue to the recipe, Matty says he’s indifferent to veganism and doesn’t understand the mock-meat thing. As a vegetarian, I love mock-meats because they aren’t really like their counterpart. They’re just fun foods to me. Before I became vegetarian, I reluctantly ate most meats. I just never liked it, and whenever I bit into nervy or fatty meat, it wrecked me. I’d just rather not risk biting into that texture, and eating an animal just freaks me out.  I made the tempeh and the bbq sauce, but I cut the recipe into thirds and omitted the portobellos. I also accidentally baked the tempeh for 30 minutes; according to the recipe, you’re supposed to only bake the portobellos. The BBQ sauce was good, but I would use less cumin next time.

Tempeh Clubhouse Sandwich

Serves 6

For the Portobellos & Tempeh:

  • 6 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
  • 1 cup (240 ml) good soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium knob ginger, peeled
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) rice wine vinegar
  • 6 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons sambal
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 1 pound (455 g) tempeh, sliced into 6 portions

For the RRP BBQ :

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 roasted red bell peppers, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup (240 ml) ketchup
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) molasses
  • 1 cup (240 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon dried chile flakes

For the Pickled Red Onion: 

  • 1 red onion, sliced into medium rounds
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

For the Whipped Avocado

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup (240 g) soft tofu
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 1 cup (240 ml) olive oil
  • Kosher salt

For Assembling the Tempeh Clubhouse Sandwich:

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 slices of whole wheat bread
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter Bib lettuce leaves
  • 1 heirloom tomato, sliced
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Olives, for garnish
  • Pickled hot peppers, for garnish

Make the portobellos & tempeh: Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Put the portobellos in a deep baking dish and pour in the soy sauce, 2 cups (480 ml) water, the garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, shitakes, sambal, green onions, and oil. Swish it all around, wrap the baking dish in aluminum foil, and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Put the portobellos and tempeh in a small container; ladle some of the liquid over them, cover and place in the fridge for 24 hours.

Make the RRP BBQ sauce: In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, pour the oil and cook the onion and garlic until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted red peppers, ketchup, molasses, apple cider vinegar, sugar, paprika, dry mustard, cumin, coriander, ginger, and chile flakes; bring to a boil. Add 2 cups (480 ml) water and simmer 45 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. (Make sure to fill the blender only halfway so it doesn’t explode all over you and your kitchen. If you have a hand blender, you can use that.) Let cool, then pour into a container, cover, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Make the pickled red onion: Place the onion in a mixing bowl; add the salt, sugar, lemon juice, and white vinegar. With your hands, mix and massage the onions, then submerge them (as they start to pickle, they will release water). Let sit 1 hour (you can mix until they start to turn pink). This is a very quick easy pickle. When the onions start turning bright pink, place them in the fridge.

Make the whipped avocado: Place the avocado and tofu in a food processor. Add the lime zest and juice and blend. Pour in the oil in a single slow stream, processing. Add salt to taste and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Put the pit of the avocado in the container to help with the oxidation.

Make the sandwich: Preheat the broiler and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Drain the tempeh and portobellos and put them on a baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Place the baking sheet in the oven and let the tempeh and portobellos get some color, 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn them! Add the RRP BBQ sauce on the tempeh, then return to the oven to scorch the top of the BBQ sauce. Remove from the oven and put the mushrooms on top of the tempeh.

Broil the bread, drizzle with some oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Spoon a good amount of the whipped avocado on two slices of bread, then add lettuce and tomato on the bottom; season with salt and pepper. Place the tempeh with the portobello on top, then add a bunch of pickled red onions. Top with a fluffy layer of alfalfa sprouts and the second slice of bread. Cut the sandwich in half and skewer with an olive and pickled hot pepper. Now make six of these at once without Jesse B. Harris. Good Luck.



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