Monday, August 24, 2009

Thai Seitan-Portabello-Rice Noodle Saute with Homemade Pesto

Yesterday, I had purchased a quarter pound of fresh locally-grown basil. After dinner, I got to work making some pesto. I simply used an electric spice chopper/grinder and, in batches, ground down the basil and some olive oil. I would have liked to have added garlic, but was out - so I used roasted garlic juice. I also added some walnuts, salt, and vegan Parm! "Parmesan cheese". The pesto ended up not being as smooth as when I make it in a food processor, but cleanup of the chopper was much easier than it would have been for the food processor.

I intend to make a number of dishes with pesto soon, starting tonight. I was thinking of making a pesto pasta, but then though that Thai food often is served with basil ... we love Thai rice noodles ... hmm.... So I started a saute not with onion, as I usually do, but with a box of seitan, chopped into large pieces (maybe 1 1/2" rectangles that were 1/2" - 3/4" thick).

I let the seitan get well cooked over medium high till it was medium brown, perhaps six minutes or so. Then, I added about a teaspoon of chopped ginger, about a third of a very hot banana pepper (cut into very large chunks so as to flavor the dish but be easily left out at the plate), and two portabello mushrooms, cut in half then in perhaps 3/4" slices. I cooked a few more minutes, then added a quarter purple onion, cut into half moons, and a full red bell pepper, cut into thick slices. I cooked just a few more minutes, letting the onion clarify a bit.

I had been soaking a handful of rice noodles in hot tap water for perhaps 10 minutes. I drained the noodles and mixed them in to the vegetables and seitan, mixing well. After two minutes or so, I reduced the heat and added two tablespoons or so of the pesto, and just let it cook, stirring, another minute or so, then served.

The cauliflower soup that we had yesterday was so excellent, that I thought of it several times since last night. There was enough left for two small servings, and that, along with some spinach and a large piece of Meyer lemon (for the spinach and the saute) accompanied the saute.

We loved dinner! It was one of my tastiest in a while. It turned out the granular nature of the pesto worked very well with this Thai dish. There were no leftovers!


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