Monday, May 04, 2015

Citrus Seitan, Jade Pearl Rice with Peas (No Added Fat)

As I was cycling home with my Kindergarten daughter in the bike trailer, I asked for her input on what to make for dinner tonight. I thought I'd cook with seitan. I was delighted that she came up with a unique idea that immediately clearly had value.

She suggested cutting up some oranges or tangerines and serving with seitan. What a great idea! It was especially interesting because lime-marinated jerk seitan is one of my signature dishes; it is a published recipe of mine and also has been professionally filmed. I thought that I would saute some seitan with bell pepper then serve warm or cool with citrus pieces as a salad. Here is what I did, and I got her to help!


Ingredients
  • Almost 1 cup tangerine, orange, or tangelo cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/2 bell pepper cut into 1/4" x 3/4" slices
  • App. 1/8 cup fennel cut into 1/4" cubes
  • App. 1 cup onion cut into 1/4" x 3/4" pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, finely (1/8" or so) chopped
  • 8 ounce package of seitan strips
  • 2t basil (I used frozen cubes)
  • (Optional) 1T coconut aminos (or reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce)
  • Jerk seasoning to taste (I used about 1/4 t sprinkled on top of each of my wife's and my individual servings); we have a good local product called Pluto's Caribbean Bliss jerk seasonings, and I like their salt-free blend ("Red Pepper, Thyme, Onion, Garlic and Pluto‚Äôs Special Spice Blend", but one can make one's own hot spicy blend)

Process
  1. I showed my daughter how to carefully cut citrus. We used a large Mandarin orange. I had her separate the segments then chop into 1/2" cubes (she chopped into approx. 1" cubes that I halved). Though I supervised, I also told her that it is not unlikely that once in a great while as she does more cooking, she may cut herself - I said something like, "Cry if you need to, stop the bleeding, get a bandaid, and remember to always focus on safety." She also helped with some of the other cutting, but I prepared most of the remaining ingredients.
  2. I put the garlic and onion in a Saladmaster skillet and sauteed for about 4 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion was starting to carmelize.
  3. I added the seitan and cooked for another 4m or so until the seitan was starting to get a bit crisp.
  4. I then added the bell pepper, fennel, and half the orange. I was originally going to keep the orange for the end, but came up with the idea of gently squeezing down on the orange pieces so that the acidic juice would clean up what little sticking I was; I did that as I gently scraped the bottom of the pan with my spatula, almost instantly releasing any food that was at all sticking.
  5. I cooked for about 3m until the pepper and fennel were softened.
  6. I added the coconut aminos, stirred, and turned the heat off.
  7. I added the remaining citrus and served my daughter. Normally, I'd mix in the jerk seasoning, but I just sprinkled some atop my wife and my servings.
I also made some Jade pearl rice (1 part rice, 1 1/2 parts water, pinch or two of salt, and vegan bouillon cube simmered for 20m) by first sauteeing some onion in the pan and also by including some frozen green peas with the rice, water, salt, and bouillon cube. A lovely colored tomato was our "salad".

Results

All of us loved dinner! What a great idea my daughter came up with.

Ideas for the future

The main course could have used another clove of garlic and possibly 20% or so more citrus. I would have liked the seitan more crispy and should have cooked the seitan on my cast iron pan, which, even without adding oil, crisps the seitan. I could have then added the seitan to the other ingredients after they too were cooked.

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