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Coming to terms with tempeh

My past attempts to use tempeh have left me rather disgusted, but, strangely 
enough, and to my husband's mortification, I want to try again. I am hoping 
to gain some insight, in general, about tempeh, from some of you that are 
well-seasoned "users".   It is one of the last vegetarian challenges I have 
yet to conquer.  Do I understand correctly that it is fermented beans of some 
type?  Is anyone able to comfort me in any way about its appearance (I think 
you know what I mean)?  I have a small block of it in my refrigerator's 
"meat" drawer and don't know quite what I should do with it.  Please hurry, 
as it is dated March 10th!   It is made by White Wave, and is labeled "Five 
Grain".  If your suggestions don't fit the rules of the list, please e-mail 
privately, as I am very open-minded.

Thanks in advance,

Ruth in the sunny ,albeit blustery Chicago 'burbs, (where'd that darn January 
wind come from, anyway, this is February for goodness sakes, we're looking 
for balmy!)