Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Making Charlie's Seitan

Readers, as you know, I am always on the look out for a good seitan recipe.  Well, I found a new one on Charlie's Kitchen Blog, and it made a great batch of seitan! I have been using a mix of vital wheat gluten and chick pea flour in my recent batches, but I really liked the density of Charlie's all VWG seitan recipe. It had a pleasant texture--not too chewy! I had to do some substituting based on what I had in my kitchen, so I wrote up a version of the recipe I ended up making.

Marinate it, saute or roast it--it's recipe ready! Try it in Veggie Pho, Reuban Sandwiches, or Hakka Noodles! I have the most amazing recipe coming up for Seitan Tibs, made with berbere!

Based on Charlie's recipe
Takes 1 hour
Makes 8 loaves of seitan

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetarian mushroom flavored oyster sauce
2 Tablepoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
2 cups vital wheat gluten
6 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

In a large measuring cup, mix together the wet ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix together vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast.  Pour the wet into the dry and stir together to combine.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough is nice and smooth, about 10 minutes.  Shape into a log. Let the dough rest while you heat the water.

Place a steamer basket or wire rack on the bottom of a stock pan, and fill to just below the basket/rack. Heat on medium until steaming and just barely bubbling.

Slice the seitain log into 1-inch thick slices, and knead them a little into obloid shapes.  Place in a single layer (if you can) on the steamer rack.  Cover the pan and turn the heat down to low.

Let seitan steam for 40 minutes, turning them over after the first 10 minutes, and then once more more about 25 minutes into cooking.

Let rest for at least 10 minutes (and preferably overnight), and the seitan is now ready to be used in recipes!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pickled Carrots for Tacos (Escabeche!)

This is a hard time of year for local eating in the north.  What's leftover from last year's harvests are limp and tired, and it seems like the new spring vegetables, like asparagus and peas will never get here! I can't complain too much, the greenhouses here are producing lots of greens, and we are eating salad again!

I still depend on vegetables from last year's harvests for most of our meals, though. Thank goodness there are still carrots, garlic and onions, the main ingredients of this quick pickle. Inspired by the escabeches you get at taquerias in California, I made this for a taco party friends were throwing, the highlight of which was some pulled pork!  The pickled carrots were still good on the bean and cheese tacos I was eating!

This pickle is more vinegar-y than brine-y, and I've already eaten it on sandwiches and with Indian food for a tangy spike of flavor! It has lots of garlic plus spices like oregano, bay leaf and black pepper.

It's a very simple recipe, just add the prepped ingredients one at a time to build the flavors. Experiment with your own combinations! Let me know how it turns out!

Carrot Escabeche
Inspired by jacqievw's recipe for Zanahorias Y Ajo Escabeche
Takes 1 hour (plus 1–3 days of maturing)
Makes 1 liter of pickles

2 bay leaves
1 clove
4 black peppercorns
6 cloves of garlic, thickly sliced
1 Tablespoon oregano
6 carrots, thickly sliced on the diagonal
1 chile, sliced lengthwise (jalepeno, serrano, whatever you have, or leave out if you don't want spicy pickles!)
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons salt
1 red onion, thickly sliced
2 cups white vinegar

In a large, wide-bottomed pot on medium-high heat, pour enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot.

When hot, add bay leaves, and toast until just beginning to brown, about a minute.  Add the clove and peppercorns, and toast for another minute or so. Add the garlic, and saute until they become golden.  Add the oregano, carrots, and green chile and saute for 30 seconds more.

Add water and salt.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Don't overcook the carrots!

Remove from heat and add onion slices and vinegar.  Stir to combine, cover pot and let cool.

Transfer the carrots, onions, garlic and spices to a clean 1 liter jar.  When full, pour the brine over the pickles to cover.  Let refrigerate at least overnight.