A few months back, Our State
magazine which is a well-regarded monthly that serves North Carolina, contacted me initially to provide input for an article on the owner of the restaurant where we have our famous Thanksgiving
, the country's largest vegetarian one. I was happy to do that only a few weeks later to hear from them that they want to do an article about me. I met with a writer on July 17th, and today had the fun of being able to "talk shop" with one of their staff photographers (I'm also a professional photographer), who came to our home to photograph me for the article, due out in their November issue.
I decided to make something that would be appropriate to serve on Thanksgiving. We often have my lemon-marinated seitan; I like to use Annie's Naturals brand organic Baja Lime marinade, but couldn't find it. Instead, I tried their organic Mango Cilantro marinade. We invited the nice photographer to join us for dinner, so I cooked for three instead of two adults.
I cut up two boxes of seitan into chunks maybe 1 1/2" x 1" x 3/4" thick and let the chunks marinate along with spears of rosemary for an hour or more.
While the seitan was marinating, I heated the oven to 375°F and cut two red kuri squashes (this squash looks somewhat like a pumpkin) into halves. I removed their seeds then placed them cut side down on platters. I added water to the platters so that the squash would get some steam as they baked, and put the squash in the oven to cook for about 45 minutes.
I drained the marinade from the bowl holding the seitan and started sauteeing the seitan chunks over medium-high heat for as long as it took to get them reasonably brown and crispy, perhaps about 15 minutes. I also added about a half onion to the saute about halfway through. My thought was to remove the seitan, coat with coarse cornmeal, and saute a little bit more, but unfortunately I only had fine cornmeal. I went ahead and tried coating with this cornmeal and came out with a reasonable result, but in hindsight, I would have been much better off with the coarse as planned or just leaving out the cornmeal entirely. I then added a little extra marinade plus a few pinches of salt, stirred, and served.
I had some lobster and chantrelle mushrooms. I cut them into medium cubes, perhaps 1/2", and sauteed, along with a medium shallot cubed to about 1/4", for a few minutes till cooked and very gently browned. I then added, in a 2:1 ratio, water and quinoa, as well as a cube of vegan bouillon, and brought to a boil. I let it boil for a few minutes then covered the pan and turned the heat off. After a few minutes, once the water was absorbed and the quinoa grains showed their characteristic spiral, the dish was done.
I also prepared three ears of corn, roasting the kernels over the open flame of my gas range, then stripping the kernels. I mixed in Earth Balance margarine, a bit of fresh lime, and alder-smoked salt.
I picked up some delicious black mission figs a few days back. At Thanksgiving, we sometimes have grilled figs, but I've never grilled them before. I cut a handful or so of figs in half lengthwise, and cooked, cut side down, over low heat in the same pan that had been used for the seitan for a few minutes till the fig softened. I served the figs next to a salad with various lettuces and chopped olives and vegetables.
I think dinner came out well and proved to be photogenic! I look forward to seeing the article and pictures; I am guessing the magazine will come out in late October.