Braised Cabbage and Seitan with Roasted Vegetables

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope everyone had a great holiday.  Ours was…busy.  It always is, and I’ve come to accept that, but it still wears me out!

One of my resolutions for 2012 is to update the blog more.  I love sharing vegan grub with people.  It seems more and more people are looking to cut out some, if not all, animal products from their diets and plant-based recipes are where it’s at.  I’m continually passionate about vegan food and I hope to reflect that on the blog.

Seitan!  And cabbage!  So freaking good.  This recipe comes from Appetite for Reduction and comes together in a snap, assuming you’ve got your seitan already made.  I am kind of afraid of making any type of simmered seitan — I’ve been burned so many times by it not turning out — so I always make the Seitan o’ Greatness recipe that has been floating around the PPK for years and years.  I’ll post it below since it’s pretty much public domain at this point.

Everything is better with a side of roasted vegetables that have been drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and pepper.  Here I’ve got zucchini, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and sweet onion.

Seitan o’ Greatness
Originally created by PPK member Lachesis

1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp allspice (I never have all-spice so I leave this out)
3/4 cup cold water
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (I can never find this so I always just use soy sauce)
1-3 cloves garlic, crushed (I just sprinkle in about 1/2 tsp garlic powder)

Preheat oven to 325°.
In a large mixing bowl mix dry ingredients. Mix the rest of the ingredients (liquid ingredients) in a smaller mixing bowl. Whisk well until mixed.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well, then knead for several minutes.
Form into a log (6-8″ long), wrap tightly in foil, twisting ends. Bake for 90 minutes. When done baking, unwrap and leave out to cool all the way. Then wrap it foil or plastic and refrigerate. Slice to use as desired.

– Crystal

Arroz con Seitan

We’ve got a trip to Mexico planned for the beginning of November (what a way to wrap up MoFo, huh?) and it would be a dream come true if every place we went had food like this dreamboat of a dish here.  Wishful thinking; our plan is to gorge on local fruit while we’re there.
To build up excitement for our trip, we’ve been digging into the cookbook Viva Vegan a bit more lately.  We’ve never made this recipe before as it is pretty involved; what with the making the seitan and all.  Okay, it’s not really that bad if you make your seitan ahead of time, but we’re not so smart.  
This rice dish is laced with succulent olives and capers, juicy “chicken” seitan, cilantro, peas, green pepper, garlic, onion, and spiced with pretty staple Latin spices like oregano and cumin.
I found the recipe posted online here, but I strongly recommend you just buy the book.  There’s a recipe for churros!
Last night, we had some visitors a bit late into the evening and we didn’t even realize we hadn’t eaten dinner until 9:00pm.  What’s a couple of really hungry vegans to do?  Make epic nachos, that’s what.

Salsa, green olives, sliced jalapenos, beefy crumbles and daiya cheese on tortilla chips.  Bake and eat.

– Crystal

Seitan Sausages, Grilled Corn and Ranch-Dressed Salad

We were going to have a nice dinner on the balcony tonight but while we were barbecuing it started to rain, so we cooked everything as quickly as we could and brought it inside!

Grilled corn on the cob, garden salad (with vegetables from my balcony garden!) dressed with the Sanctuary Dressing from Appetite For Reduction, and a seitan sausage with mustard and sauerkraut.  

The sausage recipe is from the PPK blog, but I can’t find the entry right now (I had it copied to a text file) so I’m just going to post it here.  I like to make a batch of these and freeze them to use up on the grill, a couple at a time.

The recipe is also incredibly versatile and the spices can be changed up depending on what you want it to taste like.  I change it up and add garlic powder instead of microplaning garlic, I use navy beans instead of pinto because it’s easier for me to find them, and I never add fennel seed because I don’t love fennel.

– 1/2 cup pinto beans, rinsed and drained
– 1 cup cold vegetable broth
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 tablespoons soy sauce
– 2 cloves garlic, grated (with a microplane, or very finely minced)
– 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
– 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
– 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed
– 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– Several dashes fresh black pepper

1. Before mixing your ingredients, get your steaming apparatus ready, bring water to a full boil. The rest of the recipe comes together very quickly.
2. Have ready 6 sheets of tin foil. In a large bowl, mash the pinto beans until no whole ones are left. Throw all the other ingredients together in the order listed and mix with a fork. Divide dough into 6 even parts. Place one part of dough into tin foil and mold into about a 5 inch log. Wrap dough in tin foil, like a tootsie roll. Don’t worry too much about shaping it, it will snap into shape while it’s steaming because this recipe is awesome.
3. Place wrapped sausages in steamer and steam for 40 minutes.  Now they are ready to use in a recipe or put on the grill.

– Crystal

Taco Talk-o

No kiddin’, we love latin food.  We eat lots of tacos and are always trying new things to put in them.  Vive Vegan by Terry Hope Romero is for those of us who like a little latin gusto in our lives.

From that, we have our first taco, stuffed with Tempeh Asado from Vive Vegan.

Tempeh asado, shredded cabbage and carrot, vegan sour cream, salsa and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.  Super good.  See the end of the post for the recipe for the tempeh, which is super easy, nutritious and most importantly, flavourful.
Next up, a chipotle seitan and kale taco with avocado, salsa, sour cream and daiya cheese.  The seitan was the famous Seitan O’ Greatness recipe, which will follow below.  
And another latin inspired plate.  From top left, going clockwise:

Vive Vegan’s Mexican Street Corn, Vive Vegan’s Curdito salad, fried plantains, some rice and a random bbqed potato.  Seen in the far top left of the photo, lime juice and hot sauce…two perfect condiments for all of this.

Tempeh Asado

1 (8-ounce) cake tempeh

Steaming tempeh in a microwave is fast and less messy. Place the sliced tempeh in a glass microwave-safe bowl with a lid and add 1/2 cup water. Toss the tempeh to moisten. Cover and microwave on high 5 to 6 minutes, or until the tempeh has softened and absorbed some of the liquid. Drain the excess water. Your tempeh is now ready to marinate!
1/3 cup light-colored Mexican beer or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely grated
1/2 rounded teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled by rubbing between your palms (releases flavor and eliminates any coarse leaves)

1. Slice the entire tempeh cake in half length-wise, then slice it into thirds. From here you can either slice each third on a diagonal to form triangles (good if serving as an entree) or leave as rectangles for use in sandwiches or tacos. Steam the tempeh in either a steamer basket, a covered sauce pan with 1 cup of water over high heat, or a microwave as directed above. Be sure to drain it of any excess water before adding to the marinade.

2. In a square pan or glass baking dish, whisk all of the marinade ingredients together. Add the tempeh and flip each piece over a few times to help it absorb the marinade. Let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature. While this is going on, you can heat a cast iron grill pan over medium high heat. If pan-frying the tempeh, generously oil the pan with peanut or canola oil. Using metal tongs, place the pieces of tempeh on your grill or pan, taking care not to crown the pan. Brush with some of the extra marinade. Grill on each side for 3 or 4 minutes, flip and keep brushing with marinade, using up the rest of the marinade on the tempeh as it cooks. Tempeh should not cook for more than 6 to 7 minutes total, or it may become too dry.

3. Serve hot tempeh immediately. To serve in tacos, cut the tempeh into squares as directed above, grill, and coarsely chop the hot tempeh into bite-size bits. Serve in soft corn tortillas with sliced radishes, chopped cabbage, salsa, and a sprinkle of lime juice.

Seitan O’ Greatness

Can be used in just about any application that calls for something meaty, including just slicing and eating as-is.

1.5 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cups nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup cold water
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce

Preheat oven to 325°.

In a large mixing bowl mix dry ingredients. Mix the rest of the ingredients (liquid ingredients) in a smaller mixing bowl. Whisk well until mixed.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well, then knead for several minutes.

Form into a log (6-8″ long), wrap tightly in foil, twisting ends. Bake for 90 minutes. When done baking, unwrap and leave out to cool all the way. Then wrap it foil or plastic and refrigerate. Slice to use as desired.

– Crystal

Seitan Pot Roast

We love our slow cooker!  Trevor whipped this up on his day off, so I came home to a delicious, hearty meal!  He said it was really easy, too, and honestly tastes just as delicious as any Tofurky roast.  The roast made great sandwiches the next day, with some of the carmelized onions, mustard, vegenaise, and lettuce.

For those new to vegan cooking, seitan is otherwise known as “wheat meat” – wheat gluten is used to create a high protein food that can be made into cutlets, loaves, sausages, and pretty much anything meaty-textured you can think of.  It’s really delicious, and the texture is really nice and honest to god, super “meaty”.

Slow-Cooker Seitan Pot Roast
(by Robin Robertson, original recipe found here)

1 sweet yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound baby carrots
1 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 cups wheat gluten flour
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock, or more as needed
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup or tomato sauce

1. Arrange the onion, carrots, and potatoes in the bottom of a lightly oiled slow cooker. Season the vegetables to taste with salt and pepper and add the stock, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon each of the thyme and marjoram.
2. In a large bowl, combine the wheat gluten flour, onion powder, garlic powder, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of thyme and marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Add the water or stock, soy sauce, and ketchup. Mix well, adding a little more water if the mixture is too dry, then knead for 2 minutes until smooth. Shape the gluten to fit inside your cooker and place on top of the vegetables. (You can place it on top of a piece of aluminum foil or wrap it in cheesecloth, if desired, to keep its shape). Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours (or longer, depending on your slow cooker), or until the seitan and vegetables are cooked.
3. To serve, remove the vegetables and seitan from the slow cooker. Cut the seitan into slices and arrange them on a serving platter. Surround with the vegetables and spoon the cooking liquid over all or transfer the cooking liquid to a saucepan and thicken into a gravy.

– Crystal

Leftovers Dinner

What a plate of leftovers!  We have been cooking out of Appetite for Reduction a lot, so plated here is leftovers of Mushroom and Cannelini Beans Paprikas (we used navy beans) overtop of Scarlet Barley, and Braised Cabbage and Seitan, with my favourite thing ever – kale.  I love kale so much, I don’t care if it’s “rabbit food”.  I like it sautéed with some garlic and salt.

– Crystal
Trevor’s note: The paprikas and scarlet barley combo was not only incredible, but one of the most colourful dishes I’ve ever made. It makes for great leftovers, which actually tasted better having chilled in the fridge for a day.

Toronto Trip – December 27-28, 2010

Okay, so a bit of backtracking here, but we took a blog-worthy trip to Toronto as our way to unwind from the holiday season stresses.  Though it doesn’t have the notoriety as being a vegan mecca as places like Portland and New York City do, Toronto can hold it’s own in the vegan world.  We only spent a little over 24 hours there and we tried to stuff in (literally) as much vegan food as we could.

We first arrived at our beloved HoJo in the Yorkville neighbourhood (we stay there each time we are in Toronto), dropped off our stuff and then headed over to the Whole Foods next door.  I so wish we had a Whole Foods in London!  It’s a really nice experience shopping there, they have lots of vegan things.  I couldn’t imagine doing all my shopping there, though – pricey!  We hung out in the cafe there for a bit and snacked on a chocolate chip scone stuffed with bananas and peanut butter while we people-watched out the windows overlooking Avenue Road.

We also hit up Panacea Vegan Store before dinner.  This place is literally right around the corner from where we used to live in Toronto, too bad it wasn’t there when we lived there.  This place is great!  Everything in the store is vegan – no label reading required!  I loaded up on Sweet and Sara marshmallows, Sheese smoked cheddar vegan cheese, Tartex (a lovely vegan paté from Germany that I usually mail-order for…or get German friends to send me!), a Truth non-leather belt, various vegan jerkies, candies, chocolates, etc.  Junk food, basically.  Ha.   See the photo at the bottom for the full haul.

The plan was for a romantic date to the ROM to see the Terracotta warrior display, with dinner at Fressen beforehand.  We had been to Fressen many years ago, then we kind of forgot it existed for a few years…so we thought it would be fair to give it another shot.

I don’t drink alcohol, but they were more than happy to whip me up a mocktail with fresh juices.  I ended up having a pineapple/cranberry drink which was lovely.  Trevor got the Tankhouse ale.

We decided to go with the tapas menu (3 items for $15) for our appetizers – A jicama/mango slaw, Arugula/walnut/pesto salad and assorted olives.  Look at the olive plate!  Haha.  There were so many olives, we ended up taking probably 25 back to the hotel room to snack on later.  The jicama/mango slaw was probably my favourite of the 3 – the crunchy, mild jicama paired nicely with the sweet, tart mango.  Can’t go wrong with arugula and walnut together, so that was good too.

My entrée – sorry for the horrendous photo quality!  The dim, dreamy ambiance in Fressen is nice to be in, but it sucks for photos.  This was their Black Bean Seitan on a bed of vegetables – roasted asparagus is tucked under their somewhere, as is zucchini, baby potatoes, broccoli, corn.  Seen in front is a sort of corn relish which was quite good, a little tangy.  The seitan itself wasn’t mind blowing, but I can’t deny that it was nice to be able to order seitan off a menu and not have to prepare it myself.

Trevor had the Charbroiled Chimicurri Portabello.  We’re not sure if the chef accidentally dumped too much spice on his serving, but this was nearly too spicy to eat (and we love spice!)  It actually overpowered anything pleasant about the dish.  The saving grace was the vegetables, they were nice, but you can get vegetables anywhere…

The ROM was great as usual, I always feel like a wide-eyed kid when I go there.  We woke up bright and early to head down to Kensington Market for some breakfast.  Kensington is a sleepy neighbourhood!  When we got there at 11:00am, all the places we wanted to eat weren’t open yet!  So we headed to one of our favourite places ever, Urban Herbivore (64 Oxford St., Kensington Market, Toronto) for some sandwiches and fresh juice.  Boy oh boy, this place NEVER disappoints!

So we were dumb and way too busy nomming down our sandwiches to pay attention to taking photos.  I only got this one.  We ordered one each of the BBQ tofu and the smoky tempeh and shared each.  Holy WOW.  To the right is the smoky tempeh sandwich.  The BBQ tofu was great, too, but the smoky tempeh really takes the cake.  Go here now, run, don’t walk. Just go.

I had wanted to order one of their fresh lemonades (they have a few different varieties, but I like the kind with mint in it best), turns out they only do that in the summer.  The girl at the counter whipped me up a fresh orange juice though, and that hit the spot.

We also got 6 of their big-as-your-head muffins to bring home.  We got 3 kinds – apple-oatmeal-cinnamon, some sort of berry kind, and sweet potato-date.  Best of the bunch was sweet potato-date, as seen for breakfast the next day back in London.

We went to this really divey little coffee place in Kensington – if you’ve been to Kensington, you know the one…right at the corner of Baldwin and Augusta.  I don’t even think it has a proper sign.  Anyway, they make a great Americano, so we stopped and got Trevor one.

Before heading home from our little adventure, we stopped off in Chinatown to hit up a grocery and see what goodies we could find.  The place we wandered into was so busy, people were frantically picking things off shelves and yelling, the whole place smelled like the live fish they were selling in the back….ahh, Chinatown!  I managed to score a bag of puffy fried tofu as well as a jar of spicy fermented tofu, which I can only describe as smelling like foul rotting death and tasting like strong stinky cheese.  I’ve mixed it in with stirfried broccoli and a few faux-cheese sauces with great success, though only when I’m the only one eating because it makes Trevor retch.

The haul!
There is so much more to explore as far as vegan food in Toronto.  We didn’t even make it to Loving Hut, a chain that has spread like wildfire all over North America and now has a couple locations in Toronto.  Obviously this calls for another trip back sometime, though we probably won’t be back until the Vegetarian Fair festivities in September.
– Crystal