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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Seitan Bacon

So I says to myself, I says, "Dave, you could probably make something pretty darned bacony by layering seitan that's reddish brown with seitan that's kinda blonde." And I thinks, "Eureka! You'll be all kinds of Internet famous!" But then I thinks to myself, I thinks, "before you register, you should Google that idea."

At which point I found that Tracy Williams did it a couple years ago.

She posted a method, but she didn't post a recipe, at least not one that I could find. 

Celine Steen, however, posted an interesting bacon recipe at "Have Cake, Will Travel."

Here's a modified version of Celine's, which I used to make the above- and below-pictured slices of bacon sammish-bound loveliness. 

Dry stuff, part 1:
3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup soy or garbanzo flour
2 T nutritional yeast
2-3 t smoked paprika
1-2 t garlic powder
1 t black pepper

Wet stuff, part 1:
2/3 cup water
3 T soy sauce
2 T maple syrup
1 T tomato paste

Dry stuff, part 2:
1/4 cup plus 2 T vital wheat gluten
2 T soy or garbanzo flour
1-1/2 T nutritional yeast
1/2 t garlic
1/2 t salt

Wet stuff, part 2:
1/4 cup plus 2 T water
2 t canola oil

You're making two batches of seitan. "Part 1" is the red, bacony stuff. "Part 2" is the white-ish streaky stuff.
  1. Part 1: mix the dry stuff; mix the wet stuff; mix together. This dough is easy to work by hand.
  2. Part 2: see Part 1, only do it in a different bowl (or in the same bowl after you clean it, or in another bowl-like object, or...).
  3. Divide the reddish, Part 1 dough into 3 pieces.
  4. Divide the white-ish, Part 2 dough into 2 pieces.
  5. Lay down a piece of plastic wrap. 
  6. Put one piece of the Part 1 dough on it.
  7. Lay another piece of plastic wrap over the dough.
  8. Roll the dough out until it's about 1/4" high. You don't need to worry about shape all that much.
  9. Put the rolled dough on a piece of sprayed foil.

  10. Repeat the rolling process (steps 5-8) for the other pieces of dough and stack them on the first piece, obviously alternating the white and reddish parts. If they don't stack perfectly, that's good. If you get really anal and precise about this stuff, it'll look like it was made by a machine.
  11. Put a piece of plastic wrap on top of the stack of doughs.
  12. Rest a heavy book or something on the plastic wrap for 20 minutes or more.
  13. Wrap the slab of scarily realistic bacon in foil.
  14. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 90 minutes.
Cool it, slice it thinly, eat it cold or heat it up. It fries pretty well, and it seems to stand up to nuking for 20-30 seconds.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wrong and Wonderful Sushi

I made some sushi today (Alton Brown's rice method is dead simple and perfect), just the standard spicy (fake) tuna roll, spicy and non-spicy versions of a Cali roll with fake crab and chayote instead of avo (sorry, Sherri), and random veggie roll (cheap bag o' broccoli slaw makes an excellent, crunchy mix) with tofu, plus a couple of the above with brown rice. And some of it was good. One of the Cali rolls was very tasty. But I found myself wanting something more... weird.

Tonight I did a lot of searching, finding things like Tex Wasabi's weird and gringo-friendly sushi (sans nori) and Hawaiian Spam sushi. That got me thinking, and I made a couple super-simple experimental rolls.

Roll 1: vegan ham (seitan), mayo, and broc slaw mix

Roll 2: breaded vegan chicken patty, mayo, veggie ham, and broc slaw mix

Both were super tasty, particularly after I toasted the nori in the toaster oven for 20 seconds. And I could almost hear the graves of the ancient sushi chefs vibrating as their occupants spun crazily. My sushioija board spelled Breaded vegan chicken patty -- on SUSHI?!

But I don't care. I'm all into non-traditional sushi, now, plus twisting some American classics. For example, I'm thinking I might try a mock Philly roll with Tofutti cream cheese and veggie ham in place of the smoked salmon.

Isa has some interesting sushi ideas on her site, including the "Elephant Roll" with oily peanuts, which sounds fantastic! I'm betting Trader Joe's blister peanuts would be perfect, though maybe too crunchy.

So I put this question to the other clubbers and our non-existent outside readers: what other supremely non-traditional ingredients would be good inside a sushi roll?