Tag Archives: Seitan

Thanksgiving- the meal that, thank god, lives on as leftovers

Our Thanksgiving this year was pretty awesome. I decided to have it much later than usual which was a disaster because I was so hungry that I felt like I was going to pass out and it was dark so the pictures turned out terrible. But the eating….oh the eating…was amazing.

I made the vegan turkey roast from Everyday Dish first, I added some smoked paprika and basted it with soy sauce, liquid smoke, and oil which made a really nice coating. It was super easy and will be great for Thanksgiving sandwiches.

The Brussel Sprouts with chorizo were really tasty, but not as good as the sprouts we usually have. Next year it is back to tradition!

My favorite part was the Oaxacan Dressing but I didn’t take a picture! It looked just like the one from the recipe on Saveur so I am posting that, it had chiles, fennel, prunes, and cumin and was so delicious. The only thing I did was replace the eggs with ground flax seeds blended with water and it worked perfect.The Roasted Cranberry Sauce with cinnamon, cardamom and jalapeño was also a winner. It had port in it so it was sweet and delicious with a little bit of spicy. We all really enjoyed it.

And here is the shot of my full plate with the mushroom gravy, the mac daddy, and everything. As you can imagine I did not have seconds and we spent the rest of the night on the couch or the floor. It was perfect.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Drunken Beans and Seitan Chorizo

I think Mr. Smurf started working on dinner around noon yesterday. Actually, no, it was the night before when I reminded him to soak the beans. The only drawback, really, to working with beans is the soaking. You always have to be prepared. Once he and I traveled across the country selling burritos along the way and we had beans soaking in the back of the station wagon at all times. It was just so cost-effective to make the burritos from dried beans that we had to do it and we didn’t have time to cook them all day without soaking over night. That often led us to some backwoods campground filling up our giant stockpot to start soaking beans at 2am. It was, honestly, the best time ever. We traveled from Illinois to California up through Washington, across the middle, all the way down to Charleston South Carolina, then up through Maine and came back through Canada where we had a big pot of beans with us as we crossed the border. Sometimes Mr. Smurf would take a nap the next day while the beans were cooking. 

Now we have things like running water and built-in stoves so making beans is considerably easier but it still takes awhile. Sometimes, I start them before work in the crockpot without soaking first but in some ways that is even harder for me because I have to get up two, or even three minutes earlier. In the winter (which it finally is here in Texas as of yesterday) I prefer to soak them the night before and then just cook them on the stove in a big pot over low heat.

After he started the beans at noon he made the seitan chorizo sausages so when I got home after work the house smelled amazing, like the best restaurant in the world. Sadly, it wasn’t until hours later that dinner was finally ready but it was so worth the wait. The recipe yielded a giant pot of beans that will last us the rest of the week. And the beans were delicious. They would have been just perfect with some pico de gallo on top but I didn’t have any. As it was, they were only fantastic. I loved the chorizo especially. The texture of it cooked in the beans was exactly what you would expect from the spicy Mexican sausage.

If you haven’t checked out Viva Vegan yet, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Even if you aren’t even close to vegan you will find so many recipes that are just so well thought out and explained from all over Latin America that you will discover all sort of new techniques and ideas. And if you like vegan meat the recipes in Viva Vegan are the best I ever tried. If you have the book and haven’t made arepas yet do yourself a favor and learn to make them, I have made breakfast arepas, barbecued arepas, and Venezuelan arepas because they are so easy to do. And if you are curious about what all is in the book check out Kitteh’s blog because she has made so many of the recipes and she does it all without gluten and soy! 

Irish Sausages & planning a party

It has been busy days at the Smurf house. Although it is IDEAL hammock weather I have been as busy as…. someone that isn’t me…. with all sorts of activities. I have also been planning for my birthday extravaganza that is going down really soon. I have friends coming in from all over the country and we are going to camp out so I have been trying to figure out what I should make for ~20 people over several days.

Since nothing says Texas like a bowl of red I thought I could make frito pie one night but I was completely stumped for the second night. Then it dawned on me that what kind of Serbian-American vegan would I be without making sausages! They are the only thing that makes sense, I can prepare them ahead of time and then cook them on the grill and I have a million different recipes that I have tried. I liked the Korean dog I had at TaKorea and then I LOVED the Thai sausage taco I made a couple of weeks ago so I could just do it in dog form. And then I thought I could make Irish sausages and top them with caramelized onions and mushroom gravy. What do you think? Maybe I should call them something Irish though like O’sausages or Lil’ laddies, luckily there is till time to think more about that.

These sausages are kind of riffing on a tester recipe and they turned out fab. We cooked them with collard greens and garlic and ate it with some noochy grits. It was a fantastic quick meal.Irish Sausages (makes 8 )

1 cup cooked lentils
2 cups broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of ginger, cayenne, and pepper
Tear off 8 pieces of foil. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl with your hand and knead a little bit. It will probably be pretty moist but you want everything sticking together. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a log and then wrap in foil twisting the ends like a tootsie roll.

Thanksgiving Dumplings

We had the best Thanksgiving Dinner ever! I have been working on a recipe for seitan dumplings all week but they didn’t come together perfectly until the actual meal, they were awesome and everyone really liked them more than I thought possible! Here is a picture of one of the earlier versions before I realized that I should wrap them in cheesecloth.The version on thanksgiving was stuffed with a cornbread chorizo dressing that I just loved. I made the stock the day before I made the dumplings so that I would have more time and also because I learned that it is really important to use COLD stock when making seitan. If you want to make this recipe, you could use powdered broth cubes mixed with water but the roasted vegetable stock made a big difference in the final taste of the seitan. I made the dressing while I made the stock and refrigerated overnight. It is easy to make the dressing while stock is simmering because than you can easily add the liquid whatever amount of liquid you need.I didn’t put specific quantities of everything for the stock because I didn’t measure. It will work out regardless, you don’t need to add everything on this list if you don’t have it.
Roasted Vegetable Stock
2 leeks, edges cut off and split in half
2 onions, quartered
3 carrots, halved
3 parsnips, halved
4 stalks celery
bay leaves
thyme sprigs
sage leaves
peppercorns
white wine
soy sauce
water
parsley
vegetable odds and ends (onion skins, garlic tops etc)

Lay the vegetables on a greased cookie sheet. Spray with olive oil and top with thyme sprigs, salt, and sage leaves and place in the oven at 350 degrees for about a half hour until starting to brown. Put the vegetables in a pot along with the other ingredients and cover with water and add the other ingredients. Simmer for an hour and refrigerate over night.

If the cornbread isn’t a day old you can put the cubes in the oven and toast them for a half hour while roasting the vegetables

Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing
1 recipe of day old cornbread, cubed (I used a recipe from “The Dirty South” it was great!)
1 cup of vegan chorizo
1 TBSP oil
2 onions, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 TBSP garlic
1 roasted skinned and seeded poblano, chopped
1 TBSP fresh cuban oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 TBSP ground flaxseed mixed with 3 TBSP water
~1/2 cup of vegetable stock

Saute the chorizo in a large saute pan and cook about five minutes, until it changes color. Add the oil, onion, and celery and cook until the vegetables are soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and poblano and stir for about a minute and then add the cornbread, tossing the mixture to get it covered. Add stock if necessary to stop the cornbread from sticking and keep the whole thing from drying out. Once the mixture looks softened and like dressing add the herbs, salt if necessary, and the flax-egg.

Thanksgiving Dumplings
Yields 12 dumplings

3 Cups Vital Wheat Gluten
1/4 Cup almond meal
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
6 Cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 Cup olive oil
2 cups stock + 4 cups for baking
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Add the oil and 2 cups of stock and mix with your hands and knead until the gluten becomes activated and stringy. Separate into 12 small balls. Using either a tortilla press or two pieces of parchment paper and a rolling pin, squash the ball of gluten flat. This can be kind of difficult because the gluten isn’t going to want to stretch out. The best way I have found is to press it flat for a minute, and then put something heavy on top of it while you prepare the cheesecloth and the stuffing. Cut a square of cheesecloth that has at least two or three layers folded and is about 6X6 inches and lay it flat. Grab a handful of stuffing and roll it into a ball, about the size of a golf ball, and keep it in one hand when you remove the weight or tortilla press off the flattened gluten. Quickly place the stuffing in the middle of the round and grab the edges surrounding the stuffing with the gluten. Form a ball with your hand, part of the stuffing will probably be uncovered where the edges meet, but that is just fine. You don’t want overlap because than you will have a really thick piece of gluten. Put the opening side down on the square of cheesecloth grab the four corners and twist them together and tie off tightly with a piece of string. Place all 12 balls in a roasting pan, I squeezed them into an 9X9 pan, and cover them completely with stock. Cover with foil or a lid and bake at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours. Unwrap the dumplings and enjoy!

For the rest of the meal, we made jalapeno gravy with roasted poblanos, holiday cranberry sauce, and the mac daddy from the Veganomicon, roasted garlic mashed potatoes,  pumpernickle apple-sage dressing, agave-miso glazed brussels sprouts with red onions,

and my friend Andrea brought a Sri Lankan Sweet Potatoe casserole that was so good.

When we finally got everything to the table it seemed like more food than we could possibly eat, like a cartoon!

The dogs took their places under the table, ready to get any food that dropped to the floor.

and then I put way too much food on my plate

this is where I realized that I would never have to eat again

But then Giovanni busted out the garam masala pumpkin cupcakes while we were playing trivial pursuit and I spent the rest of the night laying around drinking cider. It was the perfect day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Iraqi Beet Stew with Meatballs

Maybe this dish is evil. It  has been summoning me for weeks. I have copies of  Saveur magazine all over my house because it has lately become the only magazine I subscribe to. Since the food isn’t quite as American & Western Europen as other magazines it is really inspiring to veganize their recipes. They still usually put a big ole’ hunk of meat on the cover which means I try and keep my copies face down but I forgive them because Saveur even mentioned our local Boggy Creek farm as the best farm in the country. They have really amazing food photography. One of the photographers, Penny De Los Santos, is based in Austin and I love looking at the blog of her travels and photography, she is amazing.

It was actually the picture of this meal that really got my attention. I love beets and the stew was already vegan so that would make it really easy. I also liked that the meatballs had a lot of strong flavors which I thought would lead to a better seitan. For the first time I made vegan foil sausages in little balls instead of tubes. It worked phenomenally. I think I liked it better than the regular style. This was one of the best seitans I have ever made. Maybe the best! I want to make them again for an Italian style meal. I am so excited by how the stew turned out as well, usually meals that contain beets have such a strong beet flavor & you really can’t taste much else. That is great if you like beets, I love the beets and greens pasta that I make sometimes, but I have never had a beet stew where the flavors all melded together into something else entirely. This was really an amazing meal and didn’t even take that long to make considering I made the seitan. And it was healthy so I definitely want to make it again. You should too so I am going to write out the recipe. Maybe it will start to summon you.

For the beets

First, Split 6 beets into sixths & start to Cook in 6 cups of water. You can remember this at the 666 step! When the beets are soft you are going to add them to the stew but if you do that early make sure you save the beet stock.

For the Rice

Next steam your rice in a small saucepan or rice cooker I used

1 1⁄2 cups brown basmati rice
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. turmeric

For the Seitan

Next Mix the seitan ingredients, I mash everything together so it is kind of like a paste in a mortar & pestle & add the Vital Wheat Gluten last.

1/2 cup chickpeas
1 cup broth
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 Cups Vital Wheat Gluten
1/4 Cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup raisins, sliced
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 TBS pine nuts
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
salt &  pepper

Split the dough into 6ths & wrap it in foilPlace the foil balls in a steamer. I put my bamboo steamer on top of the beet pot. The seitan will need to steam for 40 minutes

For the Stew

Make a spice paste in a mortar & pestle or food processor

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1⁄2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. turmeric
3⁄4 tsp. paprika
1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄8 tsp. cayenne

In another pot heat up some olive oil and saute

1 medium onion, chopped

Once the onion is browned add the spice paste & 1⁄4 cup tomato paste & cook a couple more minutes until brown

Stir in the reserved beet juice, the juice of one lemon, and 2 TBSP sugar; simmer for 5 minutes

Once the meatballs have steamed for 40 minutes unwrap them and carefully place them in the stew potCook about 8 minutes. Skim surface of stew, add reserved beets, and cook for 2 more minutes. To serve, fluff rice with a fork and spoon it into serving bowls along with ladlefuls of the stew and meatballs; season and garnish with parsley. Invite me over and Enjoy!

Sesame Tacos with Blood Orange Salsa

I am sure I have blogged at length about my love of blood oranges and now it is the season! Get some before they are all gone and you can make this delicious and beautiful salsa. To make enough for 4 tacos I used

2 blood oranges, chopped (chop them carefully and pour the extra juice in the bowl)

1/4 of an onion, chopped finely

1 serrano, chopped

2 Tablespoons of cilantro leaves and stems, chopped finely ( pour the extra juice in the bowl)

mix together and enjoy!

For the tacos I took the “Pork” cutlets I made for the Al Pastor tacos, chopped them, surrounded them in a mixture of black sesame seeds, cayenne,  salt and pepper and pressed them between pieces of parchment paper. I sauteed some onions and garlic and then added the seitan. It was great!

Vegan Al Pastor Tacos

Mexican Al Pastor is made kind of similarly to a Gyros, the meat is on a spit and sometimes there is a pineapple on top and bits of pork are shaved off as people order. Al Pastor literally means “in the style of shepherds” which is interesting when you think of these Mexican shepherds wandering around, pockets full of chili peppers, waiting to find a spot to start a fire, and picking cilantro and pineapple for the meal. Since they didn’t have vital wheat gluten they killed one of their flock and even today, with gluten being plentiful, they still would rather use pork.  Or at least, here in Texas they use pork. I guess that means Anthony Bourdain is happy.

This vegan version I came up with obviously wasn’t on a spit, although that would be a lot of fun! But it was still really yummy. Dan was eating leftover bits out of the pan and the dogs were staring at us grunting the whole time we were eating.  It was almost perfect but not quite, something was missing so I might come back to the recipe, especially since it may just need tweaking, more smoked paprika maybe and some adobo sauce would make them perfect. But really this meal was great. If you have only had American tacos your whole life (hard shell, ground “beef” with taco seasoning, lettuce, tomato, and “cheese”) I implore you to try some alternative tacos, this will be a real treat.

I started with my favorite recipe for boiled seitan which is from joanna vaught’s site. But I changed the spices from chicken to Pastor.


Al Pastor Seitan Cutlets

dry:
2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour or chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 T onion powder
1 tsp salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 T ancho chilies powder
1 T smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp fennel
1 chipotle, ground
1 Pasilla, ground

wet:

2 cups cold water
2 T grapeseed or light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

broth:
water
fake ham bouillon
ezpazote
bay leaf

First, bring the water to a boil and then get the temperature down to a mild simmer. Mix the dry ingredients together and then the wet ingredients together and then mix everything together in a bowl. It will be tough because the vital wheat glueten soaks up the liquid really fast. Knead it for a minute or two and then tear of a golf ball sized piece. Form a ball with your hands and then place it between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll it into a flat disc and then pull it off the paper. Stretch it out as much as you can and then put it in the water. Repeat until you have no more dough. Simmer the seitan for an hour making sure to not let it boil. I try and turn the pieces over throughout the cooking process to make sure they are simmered evenly.

For the Tacos Al Pastor
cilantro, minced
pineapple, chopped
corn tortillas
red onion, 25% minced 75% cut into half moons
2 yellow wax peppers (that is what I had any pepper, even bell peppers would work)
1 Serrano, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of Coca cola
4 Pastor-Style Seitan Cutlets, chopped
When the seitan is nearly done put a large skillet on hot and add cooking oil. Add the onion that was cut in half moons and cook a minute or two being careful not to burn. Add the peppers and the garlic and fry for 1 more minute. Add the seitan, pressing the pieces against the bottom of the pan to crisp the outsides. When the seitan is starting to look crispy add the coke and deglaze the pan. Let it reduce for a minute or two and then serve immediately on warmed tortillas topped with cilantro, pineapple, and the minced onion. Enjoy!

UPDATE: the next day I realized what was missing before, what I had done wrong was that I served the pineapple raw. It is MUCH better if you cook the pineapple after the seitan is mostly done. So good.