Monday, September 17, 2007

Cornmeal Encrusted Limed Seitan, Green Kale

Since I made Beet Mashed Potatoes at the end of August or when I grilled a couple of weeks ago, I feel that I have made good meals, but few exceptional ones. Today, however, I was very proud of dinner; if I ever opened a restaurant, this meal might be one that I would feature. It was based on an idea that I came up with this afternoon of making something like seitan croquettes, but with a brief saute instead of deep frying.

I started with an 8-ounce box of seitan; I tried to pick out a sample with big chunks of seitan. I cut the seitan into pieces approximately 3/8" thick and very roughly 2" square - of course it varied as per the individual piece of seitan. I put the seitan slices on a baking plate and covered it with Annie's organic Baja Lime marinade, then baked it on a low-heat 350°F oven for about 30-40 minutes; little marinade was left and the seitan had hardened a bit.

Into a metal work bowl, I put about a cup of medium-ground organic cornmeal, a teaspoon or so each of chili powder and sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons of Eat in the Raw's Parma! vegan "Parmesan cheese", and maybe 1/2 teaspoon salt. I dredged each piece of seitan, still moist with marinade, in the cornmeal mix, then I sauteed all the pieces over medium heat for about 2 minutes, before I flipped and sauteed the other side for 2 minutes, resulting in a medium brown color of the coating. The coating held on well - the marinade was a good idea (my original thought was to use maple syrup, but I'm glad I went with the marinade instead of introducing a sweet flavor - though I'd like to try that sometime). Fibrous and with many subtle flavor, it tasted great with mashed potatoes.

I also made some green kale, similarly to how I did in early Februrary, but with a sweet onion instead of kale. I hand tore the kale leaves from the stems so that the leaves were roughly 1" squares, then cut the stems into 3/4" lengths. I cut a medium-sized sweet onion into a 1/4" dice and sauteed, in a tall sauce pan, for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat till the onion was softening and becoming clear. I added 1 teaspoon cumin seed and , kale stems cut into 1"; 1 minute later, I added a vegan bouilloun cube and water to fill the pan about 2/3, allowing space for the kale leaves. I brought this to a boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes, then added the leaves for 5 more minutes. I saved the liquid (using some of it for the mashed potatoes; my wife drank a cup of it; and I saved the rest potentially for cooking over the next few days) and served the drained kale with some jerk seasoning on top.

I wanted to make tonight's dinner a particularly good one, as I haven't been able to cook for a while. On Thursday, we went out to Panzanella after my photography class - I had their yummy vegan pesto pizza, sans cheese, with artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, and fresh tomato.

We flew to Bloomington, Illinois on Friday for a Saturday wedding that I photographed. The twin cities of Bloomington and Normal number a total of only about 110,000 people. There, I enjoyed a small all-vegetarian (and almost all-vegan) grocery store, Common Ground (where I purchased some organic hand-made vegan biscotti from Amy E's Bakery, based in Moscow, Idaho; I hope that I can get our local stores to carry her products!), and a great place to hang out in downtown Normal, the all-vegetarian Coffee World Coffeehouse.

I used to live in the Midwest when I was a child; the folks are almost uniformly so kind! I enjoyed making friends with a vegan woman who works at the Common Ground and her boyfriend, a vegan who cooks at the Coffeehouse. The owner of the store asked me to bring several copies of my cookbook, and the owner of the Coffeehouse purchased a copy.

We ate at the rehearsal dinner on Friday and had spicy Indian food at the wedding. On the way back on Sunday at our layover in Atlanta, we found Nature's Table Cafe and enjoyed hearty vegan vegetarian soup, as well as salad and fruit; they had some tempting pesto pasta - the manager said the pesto had no cheese and was vegan, but he didn't know about the pasta and whether it had eggs. I also had a tasty smoothie from Freshëns with coconut milk and ten juices. It would be great if PCRM would do an updated and more detailed airport restaurant guide!


Post a Comment

<< Home