This afternoon at the farmers' market, I found a new (to me) vegetable called celtuce
(also called stem lettuce). I bought two stems and the kind farmer threw in a third. It has a thick stem and upright lettuce-like leaves. The farmer said that the stems should be peeled and then the flesh was good cooked or raw; the leaves could be used but are bitter.
I thought that I would cube the vegetable and cook it briefly, then mix in seitan. Once home, I also found an article from this past December
I also bought some basil leaves. I found an interesting oil- and fat- free pesto recipe
that I thought that I would try. Here is what I did:
- 1 cup chopped (1/4") sweet (or other) onion - I used about half of a medium Vidalia onion
- 8 ounce packet of seitan strips cut into approximately 1" x 1/4" x 1/4" slices
- 2 stems celtuce, peeled then chopped into 3/8" cubes (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 2T coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1 1/2 cups (tightly packed) fresh basil
- 3 cloves garlic
- Vegan bouillon cube
- 1/2 cup water
- Approx. 1/2 t salt (or to taste)
- (Optional) 1T nutritional yeast
- I put the onion into a Saladmaster (or stainless or other) saute pan and turned the stove on medium. I stirred the onion for just 2 minutes or so; the onion was still not clear but was a little cooked.
- I added the seitan and cooked another 2 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
- I added the celtuce, stirred, and cooked another 2 minutes or so, again stirring occasionally.
- I added the corn kernels; they were frozen, so I mixed for another 2 minutes or so until they were warmed
- I added the coconut aminos and rubbed with my spatula against the bottom of the pan; the little bit of seitan sticking that had happened cleaned up fairly readily.
- I turned the heat off, mixed in 6T of pesto (see below, which made maybe 10T), and served.
I also made pesto based on the recipe I cited above, though I used less water and added nutritional yeast.
- I blended the basil, garlic, bouillon cube, and water, using the pusher that comes with my Vitamix blender, starting with low and going up to 3 or 4 on the blender's scale of 10. I took no more than 10 seconds or so.
- I removed the pusher, added the salt and nutritional yeast, and briefly (5 seconds or so) blended on medium (4 or 5).
I also made some some Bhutanese Red rice; it calls for 1 part rice to 1 1/2 parts water simmered for 20m, but I used a little more water (1 3/4 parts) and a vegan bouillon cube. A few slices of cucumber (I would have preferred tomato for both taste and color, but we didn't have any) with hemp seeds completed the meal.
I was a little surprised that all three of us really liked the meal. I was "okay" with the raw celtuce but my wife and daughter found even the stem a bit too bitter. But I guess the pesto (I'm so happy to have a tasty and no-oil version!) and flavorful seitan made the dish, perhaps in spite of the celtuce.
Ideas for the future
I wonder if pressure cooking would give celtuce a stronger flavor - though perhaps also more bitterness. It may be worth pressure cooking with some sweet flavors, like citrus or pineapple.
Labels: No Added Fat, seitan, Vitamix