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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lazy Dave's $5-bread-machine Turkey-flavored Seitan

Bread machine seitan. Yes, mamawafflin' seitan in the gol-darned bread machine. As in "dump all this stuff into the thing; press button; go away." Yeah. Life is good.

We've been making seitan loaves ever since the revered Seitan o' Greatness grabbed the Net by the tubes a couple years ago. But we're simple former carnivores, so we used animal-flavored recipes instead of the vaguely Middle Eastern, a-scoshe-too-much-cinnamon SoG. "La Dolce Vegan" has some pretty good spice combos that turn ordinary seitan into chicken-, turkey-, beef-, or ham-flavored seitan. To make the "loaf" version, we just moved the spices from the boiling broth into the dough (usually doubling or tripling the spices), rolled the dough up into loaves wrapped in foil, and baked at 325F for 90 minutes. It was a bit of a pain to make, because we always made a ton and you have to turn it every 20-30 minutes to keep one side from getting hard, but the result was worth the work.


The other day, I peeked into the upstairs appliance utopia at Union Gospel Mission in Tigard and saw... a bread machine. A bunch of 'em, actually, with a gleaming, state-of-the-art (10 years ago) Toastmaster, complete with manual/cookbook, for $5. Nineteen quarters, a dime, two nickels, and all five of my pennies made that little sucker mine, all mine. It's now made much bread, acres of pizza crust, hamburger buns, bagels, and baguettes, sparking many ideas in the process.

One of the ideas, as you may guess from the title of this entry, was seitan. And tonight, despite my trepidation that it'd burn, it worked. 

(probably a modified version of the one from "La Dolce Vegan," but maybe a modified version of somebody else's recipe)


Wet stuff (goes first in my machine):
  • 4 t vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg's
  • 1.5 to 2 cups water
Dry stuff
  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten (I use Bob's)
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo flour (Bob's, again)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups nutritional yeast
  • 4 t onion powder
  • 2 t dried sage
  • 2 t dried thyme
  • 2 t salt (I use less)
  • 2 t smoked paprika
  1. Dump the wet stuff into the bowl.
  2. Dump the dry stuff into the bowl.
  3. Push the button, Frank.
My Toastmaster has a cycle called "Basic Medium" (as opposed to "Basic Light" and "Basic Dark"), so I tried that one. Seems to have worked fine. 

The resulting loaf is moist and meaty, with an interestingly crispy (not hard) skin on five faces. Because the bread machine's cycle is set up for bread (mix, let rise, punch down, let rise, punch down, let rise, bake) it lets the dough settle a couple times and then spins it again with the mixing blade. Result: the center of the loaf is stringy in an almost spooky approximation of turkey.

To serve:

Slice it; dice it; tear off a hunk and eat it raw. 

The sliced version makes tasty sandwiches (Wildwood Garlic Aioli and romaine, please) and barbecue (Bone-suckin' Sauce, if it has to come from a jar). 

The diced version makes a chewy, flavorful protein for stir-fry, curry, stew, soup, mac'n'cheese, and doro wat.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Southwestern Stew

When my afternoon plans this past Sunday were canceled I decided to make up a big pot of stew. Even though Christie was out of town, I knew this would be a great lunch when she arrived home on Monday and we'd have some great leftovers for the week.

I wanted to try a little something different from the garbanzo stews I've been making so made up a batch of black-eyed peas. The taste of those with yam and tomato evoked a more "southwestern" flavor so I went with the cumin and smoked paprika to finish the stew off.

Southwestern Stew

2 carrots, diced
2 stalk celery, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups black-eyed peas (cooked or 1 can drained & rinsed)
1 can diced tomatoes
4 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 can corn (drained)
1 large yam, diced
2 small zucchini, cut into half rounds
1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
8 stems of kale, stemmed and chopped up (about 2 cups)
8 cups water
1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder
1/4 chili powder or powdered cayenne (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sweet, smoked parprika
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

You can use some olive oil to sauté the onion & garlic or, instead of sautéing in oil, you can use water, tamari or broth for an ultra low-fat dish. Once they start to soften add the rest of the vegetables (except the kale), beans, corn, and water. Bring stew to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer until all veggies are cooked through, about 40 minutes. Add spices, yeast and the kale, simmer for another 10 minutes and serve.

We served this with some quinoa for an even more hearty dish. Add a little Sriracha and Bragg's over the top at serving, yum! Would also be great topped with some lime juice and a little chopped up, fresh coriander (cilantro) -- but I didn't have any. I did top with some fresh diced avocado and it was muy delicioso!

This makes an enormous pot of soup (about 10 servings?) - more than enough to have leftovers for lunch during the week!

Really simple, really good, really veggie garbanzo-centric utility soup/stew

This is a fast-assemble soup that is awesome with sourdough baguette/bread. I grilled some tempeh to toss on top as well...

  • 3tbsp oliv oil
  • 1 large onion (sweet/white) diced or chopped
  • 1 large bag mixed frozen veg (peas/carrot/corn, etc)
  • 2 16oz cans garbanzo beans
  • 2 24oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 12-16 cups veggie broth
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or Wondra gravy maker
  • 1 cup chopped frozen spinach
  1. Rinse and strain garbanzos
  2. In a 12 quart stockpot, heat to medium, add oil, and saute' onions for 4-5 min, or until just this side of tranlucent.
  3. Add mushrooms & garlic. Saute' for 4 min covered, stirring once or twice, until the mushrooms begin to let go of their liquids.
  4. Add in frozen veg. Saute covered for 2 more min.
  5. Add in tomatoes and their liquid. Stir well and cover.
  6. Add broth to cans, swish to get all the rest of the tomato goodness. Add all liquid to stockpot.
  7. Add garbanzos.
  8. Cover ad bring to boil.
  9. Reduce heat and simmer for a goodly long while.
  10. Before serving, gather 2 cups of liquid, strain veggies, and place in a working bowl. Whisk in corn-starch/Wondra. Add back into stock-pot. Simmer for 5 min more while soup turns to stew. Add in 1 cup frozen chopped spinach.
  11. Serve with bread or over pre-cooked pasta fusilli or rotini.
Serves more people than you probably know. I make BIG soup pots. Cheap meals for weeks.


Obviously, you can take this soup in a number of directions. It can very easily be made into a tortilla soup (add cumin & cilantro and garnish with a slice of lime), or a tuscan (add an additional can of white beans, some fresh basil or 2 tbsp of pesto paste, garnish with lemon), florintien (add two cups of frozen spinach at the outset and cook in) or spanish (cumin & paprika, plus a small tin of sliced black olives & lemon). I typically start with this base soup, then do one or more of the varriations with the left-overs.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Green Chile Stew

Some friends were bragging about real New Mexican green chile stew a while back, and I've been looking for a way to make it vegan and brag-worthy. Starting with every damned chile stew recipe on the Net (like this one), I replaced a few ingredients for reasons of availability, on-handedness, and/or laziness, and came up with a pretty good stew. I can't compare it to the original, but I'm happy (and full) with the results.

Food4Less sells some good-looking Anaheim chiles for cheap (I think my recent ones were under a buck a pound), but you can find them at most grocery stores for 2-3 dollars a pound. 

  • about a pound of diced, thinly sliced, or chopped chicken, pork, or turkey flavored seitan
  • a medium potato or a can of potatoes, diced
  • a can of tomatoes with chiles (Hatch or Rotel for me)
  • a can of Mexi-corn (corn with peppers)
  • two pounds of Anaheim or New Mexico chile peppers (oven roasted, method below)
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 1 orange rocoto pepper (or a couple of serrano or other hot ones)
  • 1-2 shallots or 1 small onion
  • 1 t garlic powder or a couple cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t Mexican oregano
  • 1 vegan "chicken" bouillon cube
  • a couple cups of water or broth
  1. Blend all the peppers. Yeah, I puree 'em. Sue me.
  2. Throw everything into the crock pot. 
  3. Stew on High for 2-4 hours or Low for the whole day. Warning: your house will smell amazing.
Serve with Spanish rice, refried or black beans, and your fave tortillas.

Method: Oven-roasting chiles

If you, like me, lack a grill or a fire pit or a blowtorch or a blast furnace or any other thing that makes big fire, you can roast your Anaheim or New Mexico green chiles in the oven kinda easily. 

Fire it up to 450 degrees F or so, lay out the washed chiles on an ungreased cookie sheet in a single layer, set the top rack as high as the oven allows, and cook for 5-10 minutes, peeking after 5 and being careful not to burn 'em. 

I also flip them at the 5-minute mark, but I'm not sure whether that helps. They should blister a lot and brown a little, and you might get some blackening on the stems. As long as the skins aren't black, you're OK.

When you're happy with the blistering or nervous that you'll burn the peppers, drop the peppers in a paper or plastic bag, seal, and let 'em sweat for 20 minutes to an hour, even a couple of hours if you like. 

At this point, you have a couple of options. Both options include rubber/latex/nitrile gloves, unless you hate your eyes and/or genitals enough to play pepper-pain Russian roulette with yourself the next time you touch yourself.

If you're as lazy as I am: 
  1. chop off the stems, 
  2. peel off the loose skin, 
  3. halve the peppers lengthwise, 
  4. throw away the seeds and loose membranes, 
  5. and blend/puree the flesh. 
If you're as industrious as one of those 50-somethings who come back to school, actually do all the homework, and bring home-baked cookies to class three times a week, you can do the PAIN-IN-THE-(adults only) method. For this one:
  1. chop off the stems,
  2. peel off the loose skin,
  3. halve the peppers lengthwise,
  4. throw away the seeds,
  5. cut out and discard the membranes,
  6. use a knife or spoon to peel the pepper flesh away from all remaining skin (a process which will take the rest of your life if you do it right and you'll waste a lot of pepper flesh),
  7. and chop/dice the (pathetically small lumps of) flesh (that survive).
Since I'm not that interested in biting into mushy pepper chunks, the puree method is parfait. Purists will hate me; I will not care. It turns this dish from an hour-plus labor into a 30-minute meal (20 of that is waiting for the peppers to sweat) that's doable in the morning before work and ready when you get home. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ma's Chicken & Dumplings/Biscuits

1 bag (or 12oz) of fake chicken of choice
1/2 white onion
3 tbsp minced garlic
1.5 cups frozen veg (peas, carots, etc)
1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
1 cup chopped celery
3 cups Imagine Potato Leek soup

3 cups Bisquick** baking mix
approx 1 cup water or soy milk

1) Brown chicken in 3 tbsp canola oil on med heat in a cast iron dutch oven (aprox 5min).

2) Add in onion, mushroom & celery & brown for an additional 5 min, or until onion gets some color. Make sure to not over-brown garlic.

3) Add in frozen veg, stir in well, cover & let cook an additional 5 min, or until all is evenly hot throughout.

4) Take soups, empty into a mixing bowl, and reconstitute with half the called-for water. Whisk together. Pour into dutch oven, and stir to combine. Allow to come to a gentle boil at med-low heat.

5) Mix Bisquick powder & liquid, making sure not to over-mix. Get to a sticky runny dough. Add spoonfulls of dough to dutch oven, making sure to leave a full inch of headroom. Add all dough until stew is as covered as need be.

6) Cook on stove-top uncovered for 10min. For dumpling topping, cover and steam for an additional 10min, or until a toothpick comes out of a dumpling clean. For southern biscuit topping, preheat oven with broiler on HI. Turn broiler to LOW. Spray dumpling top with spray oil, and place dutch oven on 2nd to bottom rack. Broil until dumplings (now biscuits) are just golden brown (approx 5-10 min, depending on your oven.

** Yes, Bisquick is vegan. Who knew!?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Garbanzo Stew Redux Me, Baby

Yes, there is a recurring theme to my Sundays, especially in the chilly, wet months. Stews, soups and thick warming dishes. The mix of garbanzos, tomatoes, and squash is so popular that I tend to just do some variations on a those three ingredients.

Today's stew is the best to date. Christie said to me while we enjoyed seconds that I had to write this one done. We tried to get a picture but discovered the camera had a dead battery.

2 cups cooked garbanzos (yes, canned is fine, just drain & rinse first)
1 smallish pie pumpkin peeled and diced (easily 4 cups)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 small sweet potatoes (I used the Japanese type)
1 medium red onion, diced
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glen's fire roasted, no salt added type)
6 leaves of chard, stems diced and leafy parts in small ribbons
5 c water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon sweet, smoked paprika
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1 packet vegetarian bullion (I used the liquid type from TJs)

You can use some olive oil to sauté the onion & garlic or, instead of sautéing in oil, you can use water, tamari or broth for an ultra low-fat dish. Once they start to soften add the rest of the ingredients except the chard and spices/nutritional yeast. Bring stew to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer until squash is cooked through, about 40 minutes. Add spices, yeast and the chard, simmer for another 10 minutes and serve.

We served this with some quinoa for an even more hearty dish. Added a little Sriracha and Bragg's over the top at serving, yum!

This makes an enormous pot of soup (about 10 servings?) - more than enough to have leftovers for lunch during the week!

Notice, other than the bullion packet (which yields one cup broth) there was no salt added at all!