Posts Tagged seitan

VeganMoFo: Native Foods

When I signed up for a conference in Newport Beach, I didn’t know much about the town other than the fact that it was the setting of Arrested Development.  Then, I found out there is a Native Foods there.  Then, I found out it was right across the street from the hotel hosting the conference.  Then, I found out it was under a ten minute walk from the hotel to the restaurant!  I had never had the opportunity to eat there, but could tell from their menu that it was the type of place I would like.

I ate there all four days of the conference, and I was really excited to post about it.  Then, my phone was stolen, along with the photos of my meals.  Sad face!

I’m going to tell you about the dishes I tried there anyway, because they were all so good!  Luckily, it seems like I can borrow other photos from the internet.

photo source blog.nativefoods.com

I first went for a late lunch on the day I arrived, after flying west across the country.  I wasn’t feeling my best and although everything sounded delicious, I knew that something on the healthier side would hit the spot.  I went with the Sesame Kale Macro Bowl – Grilled Native Tempeh atop steamed kale, brown rice, creamy ginger sesame sauce, tangy sauerkraut, gomasio and toasted sesame seeds. Green onion garnish and crunchy cucumber seaweed salad on the side.  I’m a sucker for sauerkraut, and my only complaint was that I could’ve used about triple the amount they gave me.

photo credit – blog.nativefoods.com

I also got an Oatmeal Creme Pie to take back to my room.  It was less authentically Little Debbie-esque than the one I had in Austin, but still very good.  The cookies were thick and a little crumbly, and the filling was like whipped cream.

photo credit – blog.nativefoods.com

Next, I tried their Classic Deli Reuben – thinly-sliced, deli-style Native Reuben Seitan piled high on grilled marble rye.  Topped with homemade sauerkraut, Native Horseradish Cheese and a slather of Russian dressing.  Told you I’m a sucker for sauerkraut.  I’ve had many variations on a vegan Reuben from many different restaurants, and never met one I didn’t like.

The seitan really is pink!  And, like this photo, I also ordered a side of potato salad, which was very tasty and not too heavy, with plenty of fresh dill.

photo credit – http://www.ocmenus.com

For an early dinner Friday evening, I went with what I really wanted: the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger and sweet potato fries.  Thinly sliced Native Original Seitan, melted cheddar, caramelized onions, and crispy Native Bacon on a bun slathered with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, romaine, carrots, onions, and tomato. Topped with crunchy battered dill pickle chips.  This beast of a sandwich really was piled up that high, and was difficult to put together.  It didn’t really taste like a “burger” since the meaty part was seitan, but it was still really amazing.  Every bite had a different texture and flavor; the warm, melty cheese, the crunchy, smoky bacon, the cool dressing, spicy BBQ sauce and crunchy veggies.  And I adored the fried pickle chips.

Despite making it through that massive sandwich, I had room for dessert.  The Strawberry Shortcake Parfait is vanilla cake layered with almond creme and fresh sliced organic strawberries.  I like a biscuity texture for shortcakes, so the cake didn’t quite hit the spot for me, but the almond creme was kind of mind blowingly delicious.  It was smooth and fluffy and the delicate almond flavor played nicely with the vanilla and strawberry.

photo credit – http://www.ocmenus.com

For my last meal there I had to try one of the entree salads, namely the popular Ensalada Azteca – fresh avocado, cucumber, and jicama salsa atop quinoa, romaine, and an award-winning mango lime vinaigrette. Topped with currants, toasted pumpkin seeds, and cilantro.  It was a massive salad, definitely enough for a full meal.  There were lots of great contrasting flavors and textures going on.  And yes, it did come with a big mango slice and a whole sprig of cilantro like this picture!

I really love their approach at Native Foods.  They make everything in house, including the buns, cheeses, seitan and sauces, and you can tell that a lot of care is put into each plate.  If there was a location near me I would make an attempt at trying every menu item!

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VeganMoFo: Seitan Hot Dog

I love veggie dogs, any brand really, but they’re very much the definition of processed food, which I try to avoid.  I also really like seitan or soy sausages like Field Roast and Tofurky, but they tend to be a little calorie-heavy for what I want in one sandwich.  So when I saw the Seitan Hot Dog recipe on My Vegan Cookbook, I knew I’d be making it for tailgating season.  I really enjoy My Vegan Cookbook’s recipes; he doesn’t post very often, but when he does you can tell he’s put a lot of work into perfecting the recipe.

The dogs steamed up perfectly, with a firm but smooth texture.  The beans and wheat germ make them more tender than sausages made from just wheat gluten, and the nutritional yeast, liquid smoke and other seasonings give it a nice savory flavor.  They don’t taste quite as hot-doggy as the commercial variety, but they do taste great!  When I make them again, my one change will be to leave out the Old Bay.  I love Old Bay in general, but the celery seed flavor didn’t jive with everything else in my opinion.

with ketchup, mustard, relish, and grilled onions & peppers

They grill up beautifully, and freeze very well.  For tailgates I would take one out of the freezer in the morning and put it in the cooler.  By the time it was time to cook it would have thawed just enough.

As suggested in the recipe, I used the rest of the beans to make a chili dog (bowl), scooped up with toast points because we ran out of buns.

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VeganMoFo: OBR Week – Almost Vegan

I hadn’t seen Almost Vegan before I met Amber at Vida Vegan Con, and her charming ways immediately won me over.  Amber eats an “almost vegan” diet, and from what I can tell most of the recipes she posts are vegan, with a focus on raw food. She actually just turned in the manuscript for her first cookbook, an all raw cookbook.  Plus, her boyfriend Matt performs some mean karaoke.

A lot of her recipes were tempting, but on the day I was choosing this one-two punch of Latin food sounded fantastic.

This is Yellow Cilantro Rice, Venezuelan Black Beans and Cuban ‘Ropa Vieja’ Shredded Seitan, which were all adaptions from Viva Vegan.  Amber made this meal in three hours, I made this meal in…three days.  The first step was cooking the sofrito, a mixture of onion, peppers, garlic and oil.  I reduced the oil by half, because that’s what I do.  I also made seitan, from the recipe in Veganomicon.  The next day, I soaked and cooked the black beans.  Then on the third day, I finally prepared the meal!

The yellow rice is supposed to get its color from annatto oil, but Amber didn’t have any so she used turmeric, which worked just fine for me.  The black beans were seasoned with bay leaf, sofrito, tomatoes, cumin and brown sugar, and they were very delicious.  The seitan ropa vieja involved the same sort of seasonings, and reminded me that I don’t eat seitan often enough.  That’s some wilted swiss chard with onion in the back.  This was a darned delicious meal, and the recipes made a ton of food.  The flavors were mellow but good and harmonious, perfect for spicing up with Tapatio.

I’ve got my eye on more of Amber’s recipes, particularly the Single Serving Raw Blondie.

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Pot Likker

Lately, my blog hasn’t quite lived up to its name.  It’s been more like Vegan Stuff I Ate That Other People Made Outside My Home.  So here’s something I actually made, complete with a recipe!

Way back in February when I went to see Isa’s demo at the Ferry Building farmers market, I made a point to stop by Rancho Gordo’s booth.  Rancho Gordo sells lots of great stuff including beans, corn, chiles and rice, but I only had eyes for the beans.  I must’ve looked perplexed by the selection, because the guy working the booth offered some suggestions.  He highly recommended the Snowcap Beans, and mentioned that they’re good in pot likker.  Needless to say I bought them, and then had to find out exactly what pot likker is!

Pot likker (or liquor) is essentially the liquid left behind after cooking greens.  Here’s a very concise wikipedia description, and a much longer article that I did not read entirely but you might find interesting.  Because it’s a scrappy southern dish the traditional versions involve some sort of pork product or meat broth, so I set about making a vegan version.  I wanted mine to be a full meal in a bowl, with potatoes, turnips and seitan ham.  I couldn’t find a seitan ham recipe that seemed perfect, so I made up my own, based on the seitan recipe in Veganomicon.  The flavor of the seitan is perfect but the texture is a little soft, so if you have a tip for nice, firm seitan use it, and let me know!

Pot Likker

I used Rancho Gordo’s Snowcap beans, but any dry or fresh field peas or lima beans should work.  If the beans are very dry or old the cooking time may need to be increased.

2 Tbs canola oil
1 recipe Ham-ish Seitan, cut into bite-sized pieces (recipe follows)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb dry beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 bunch collard greens, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch turnips (about 4), cut into 1/2-inch dice, greens cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
6 cups water
1/2 cup dry vermouth
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
hot sauce, to serve (optional)

1. Place the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the seitan and saute until browned, about 8-9 minutes.  Transfer seitan to a plate and set aside.
2. Add the onion, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt to the pot and saute about 6 minutes, until the onions are tender.
3. Add the remaining ingredients (beans through vermouth), and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat to simmer, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, until beans and potatoes are tender.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot, topped with hot sauce.

Servings: 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 434.84
Calories From Fat (13%) 57.13
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6.53g 10%
Saturated Fat 0.71g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 384.95mg 16%
Potassium 1606.2mg 46%
Total Carbohydrates 63.54g 21%
Fiber 13.8g 55%
Sugar 6.1g
Protein 29.3g 59%

Ham-ish Seitan

1 cup vital wheat gluten
3 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs chickpea flour
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs olive oil
1/8 tsp liquid smoke

Cooking Liquid
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 tsp liquid smoke

1. In a large bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour and black pepper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, olive oil and liquid smoke.
3. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix well with a wooden spoon, until completely combined.
4. Knead for 3 minutes, then let rest a few minutes.
5. While the dough is resting, combine the cooking liquid ingredients (vegetable broth through liquid smoke) in a large pot.
6. Cut the dough into three pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball and flatten a little.
7. Put the seitan pieces in the cooking liquid.  Cover and bring to a boil.
8. As soon as the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to simmer.  Partially uncover the pot to vent, and simmer for one hour.
9. Turn the heat off and let the seitan come to room temperature in the liquid.

Servings: 6
Yield: about 1 lb

Amount Per Serving
Calories 139.8
Calories From Fat (19%) 26.81
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.07g 5%
Saturated Fat 0.38g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 462.45mg 19%
Potassium 119.96mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 10.65g 4%
Fiber 1.9g 8%
Sugar 2.96g
Protein 18.64g 37%

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Roasted Seitan Fajitas & Chimichurri Tofu

That CSA delivery that I posted about last time and said I didn’t remember what I did with it?  I remember now, at least what I did with some of it.  Gosh, I’m so organized these days!

I had a bunch of little bell peppers on my hands, so I thought that I ought to make fajitas.  Fajitas are, after all, delicious as well as being a fantastic use of peppers. Fajitas, however, are not my friend in the way that I always put too much stuff in the saute pan and it ends up all crowded and hard to stir and doesn’t saute as much as cook down and get soft.  Also, you have to keep stirring the stuff around.  So I thought to myself that I could try sticking them in the oven to see if the oven would do all the work for me.  Work it did, indeed.

I also had a bunch of peaches and even though I love peaches the most just as they are, I decided I would try to make a peach salsa.  I looked at a few recipes online and decided in the end to just put what I thought would taste good in a bowl and see what happened.

The fajita filling turned out fantastic.  The veggies were cooked but still firm, the seitan a bit crispy on the edges, and the oil and mushroom juices were just enough to keep the whole thing moist but not dripping.  I show you a picture of just the filling because…

I didn’t really make fajitas.  I only had larger tortillas, so I went for a fajita burrito.  Just as good, and possibly less messy.  In the front we’ve got cucumber and jicama slices, Amy’s refried black beans in the back, chunky guacamole and peach salsa on the burrito.  The jicama was really awful and almost inedible.  Maybe it’s not jicama season?  Apart from the jicama, this was a really tasty meal.  The peach salsa was fantastic, if I do say so myself.  I didn’t even miss the tomatoes, although there were tomatoes in the guac just incase.

Roasted Seitan Fajitas

2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried oregano
dash each of onion powder, garlic powder & cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp sugar
1 lb seitan, sliced into strips
1 large or 2 small bell peppers (red or green), sliced into strips
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
1/2 lb mushrooms, halved or quartered
2 Tbs olive or canola oil
small tortillas

toppings
lettuce
salsa (regular or peach salsa, recipe below)
guacamole
vegan sour cream
shredded vegan cheese
fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Combine all spices (chili powder through sugar) in a small bowl and mix well.
3. Place the seitan, peppers, onion and mushrooms in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the oil over and stir to coat. Sprinkle on the seasoning mixture and stir well, making sure ingredients are well combined and coated.
4. Line a baking pan with foil. Transfer seitan mixture to the baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once after 15 minutes.
5. Spoon filling into tortillas and top with your choice of toppings.

Serves 3-4.

(I used the basic seitan recipe from Veganomicon, doubling it and freezing the rest for later use.)

Peach Salsa

4 small or 2 large ripe peaches, cut into small dice
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbs minced red onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp salt
heaping Tbs chopped fresh cilantro

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Refrigerate and allow flavors to combine.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

I also had a big bunch of parsley that needed using, and while I love parsley pesto, I was in the mood for something different.  I had heard of chimichurri sauce but never tried it, so I decided that was the way to go.  I had also seen pictures of a baked chimichurri tofu floating around on some blogs, a tester for the forthcoming Vegan Latina cookbook, so I at least knew it would work on tofu.  Upon Googling, I found that there are about a bajillion ways to make chimichurri, and they all claim to be authentic.  I also came across this recipe for Grilled Tofu with Chimichurri Sauce, which looked perfect enough to make just as is.

I was intrigued by trying the dry rub technique on tofu and worried that it wouldn’t work, but it actually worked really well.  This is not a recipe for tofu haters – aside from the dry rub and the chimichurri sauce, it’s really just a slab of grilled tofu.  That’s fine by me though, I love me some tofu.

I forwent the garlic bread called for in the recipe and stuck with toasted, thick-sliced whole wheat bread.  In the end the recipe was easy to make, relatively healthy (didn’t need all the oil called for), and downright delicious.  I am now a fan of chimichurri.  Also, I don’t know why I felt the need to include two green veggies with my green-sauced meal, but that’s steamed spinach and roasted brussels sprouts up there.

That’s it for tonight, folks.  I’ve got planned posts to catch us up on laptop lunches, as well as a massive one to document the last four weekends, which were packed with food and fun.

On a personal note, I just acquired the entire NKOTB discography and will be listening like mad before I see them in concert next week.  I never got to see them when I was younger, so I’m pretty excited!  Don’t judge me.  I also finally sent in my application to a certain school that I really want to attend this Fall, and should hear back within a few weeks!

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Chicken n’ Beer

I couldn’t think of a better title for this post, so I’m going with it.

My thinking for this meal went:  I have four tart apples from my CSA that aren’t my favorite type for snacking on, I should make applesauce.  People put applesauce on pork chops, right?  I should put applesauce on some sort of meaty thing.  Seitan cutlets would work, but I really didn’t like the recipe from VCON.  How bout this recipe for chicken-style seitan cutlets?  Okay, and I’ll have baked acorn squash and steamed collards on the side.  That’s a whole lot of sweet in one dinner, what about something bitter to balance it out?  I had good luck with the balsamic reduction for my stromboli, I wonder what a beer reduction would be like?

Thus was born Grilled Chicken-Style Seitan Cutlets with Savory Applesauce and Pale Ale Reduction.

It turned out pretty good, all in all.  You can’t really see the reduction, the color blended into everything else.  The seitan cutlets are great, I would highly recommend them.  Good texture, and rolling them out with a rolling pin is MUCH easier than trying to stretch them by hand.  There are some leftover in my freezer right now, and that makes me happy.  The applesauce ingredients were minced red onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, lemon juice and peeled apples.  It was very, very tasty.  I loved the fresh ginger flavor that came through.  The beer reduction…well…I wouldn’t recommend anyone make a reduction from beer unless they really like beer flavor to begin with.  I used a pale ale, which was pretty hoppy and might not have been the best choice.  It became very bitter as it reduced, so I added a bit of sugar and salt to help it out.  It was okay.  If I try a beer reduction again I’ll use a lighter, less bitter beer, maybe like a hefeweizen.

Speaking of beer, I was tickled to come home one night and find this selection of beer looking out from our fridge.

I have to admit that we normally keep a pretty decent amount of beers in the fridge, but not this kind of amazing selection.  These were all either gifted to us, left at our house by a friend, bought as a single or the remainder of a six pack.  As Homer would say:  Mmmm, beer…

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Sweet Potato Chili & Thanksgiving

All my posts as of late have an “&” in the title.  I will try to find time to post more often and avoid the “ands”!

Last week I wanted to make a big pot of deliciousness.  It’s definitely chili weather here and it’s been at least a year since I last made chili, so chili it was.  I use this as my basic veggie chili go-to recipe.  If you follow the recipe you’ll have a tasty, meaty omni-friendly chili, and it’s great for variations.  It’ll taste good pretty much no matter what you do to it.  I’m trying to stay away from processed food though, so instead of faux meat I diced a huge sweet potato and tossed it in.

To go with the chili I made my whole wheat cornbread and wilted some arugula.

On to Thanksgiving!  This was my first Thanksgiving with bf’sfamily, so I didn’t want to get to crazy with the “weird” vegan food and I stayed fairly traditional.

When I made the cornbread above I doubled the recipe so that I could make cornbread stuffing, using this recipe from Vegan Chef.

This was very tasty!  Everyone else kind of looked at it funny, but that’s fine – more leftovers for me!  The only thing I might change next time would be to use a little less parsley and green onion, and a bit more broth to make it all mush together.

The best green bean casserole, from Fat Free Vegan.  This was a hit with everyone.  Well, at least everyone who likes green beans.

Robin Robertson’s Cranberry Relish.  I’m not a huge cranberry sauce person, but I got two bags for 99 cents, and this recipe looked really interesting, with additions like shallots and red bell peppers.  I liked it a lot, but it’s still not something I can eat a lot of.

My cashew miso gravy.  So good.

It’s very hard to get a decent picture of just gravy.

My plate.  BF’s mom left some potatoes on the side for me to mash with Earth Balance and soy milk.

For my “entree” I made seitan cutlets from VCON.  I have to say, I’m not digging them very much.  It might just be that I left them too thick, but the texture turned out so rubbery I have a hard time eating them.  For this meal I cut one in half to make it thinner, coated it in flour and pan-fried it.  It was pretty good this way, along with gravy and everything else on the plate.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the rest of them that are currently stashed in my freezer though.

Here’s another view of my plate, just because I think the picture turned out better.

For dessert I made Pumpkin Pie Brownies from The PPK, which I have been wanting to try for over a year.

They were really easy to make and the texture turned out great, but I thought they weren’t sweet enough, which is odd for me.  Normally I think desserts are too sweet!  The recipe called for bittersweet chocolate and I used unsweeted, so I’m sure that took a little sweetness away, but I was very surprised.  They were kind of an “adult” dessert, where the bitterness of the chocolate comes through.  If I make them again I will definitely add more sugar, maybe some chocolate chips in the brownies and whipped cream for the top.  Then I think they will be stellar.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am holding my very first contest!  Well…it’s not really a contest…more like a giveaway.  I am approaching 1000 approved comments, crazy!  To thank you all for continuing to come back and read (even when I’m only posting once a week), I will send a package of sweets to whomever posts the 1000th comment!  I won’t say how close I am – it may not even happen for this post.  But I will announce the winner when it happens.

Lastly, I only took two lunches for last week’s shortened workweek, so here they are.

11-24 better than cream cheese & pumpkin butter sandwich on wheat,
celery & carrots sticks, banana pieces, candy cane jo jo’s

11-25 sweet potato chili, cornbread, wilted arugula, a clementine

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is getting into the holiday spirit!

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