Saturday, September 4, 2010

So How About That Seitan?


I'm a sandwich person. I think I've mentioned that before. Gimmie a plate with everything stuffed between two slices of bread and I'm one happy camper. However, I'm not much of a mock-meat type person (although I was loving me some Tofurky slices earlier this summer). I actually consider myself to be more of a "whole foods" type of vegan. You know, a beans, nuts, lentils type of person. However, I got into a sort of food rut and decided I need to start trying some new things. Among the things I've tried this year for the first time are fresh peaches (I hate canned), red and purple plums (probably my new favorite fruit), tangerines, mochi, Tofurkey, veganaise... the list goes on and on.

Yes, I know, I'm almost 23 and I'm just now trying all those fruits for the first time... But hey, better late than never!

Anywho. I've decided that my diet is very low on the protein scale (cause, well, it is). My hair has gotten a little thin and it's really starting to stress me out. Some people just say I have "fine" hair, but you know how it is. I tend to be overly dramatic and I've pretty much convinced myself that I'm going bald. I'm hoping that by including more vegan protein in my diet I'll get hair equivalent to the model's in the Pantene commercial that's strong enough to pull a school bus.

What's my magic potion?

Well, other than delicious rice protein smoothies and more beans, it's seitan!! I've never made seitan before. In fact, I've never even bought it before. They don't sell that kind of stuff around here (though even if they did, I'm pretty sure my cheap ass wouldn't buy it). However, the last time I went to the health food store downtown I noticed they had a big ol' sack of vital wheat gluten. I bought it, without any plan in mind (which means it sat in my fridge for the next two months). Well, today I did the unthinkable. I made my first batch of seitan. I was majorly encouraged by the Vegetarian Resource Group and an awesome recipe I found on Peace by Pastries. I swear, that girl is gourmet. After reading about her Chili-Coffee Rubbed Seitan Sandwiches, I knew they needed to be in my belly (I'm also pround that she's in the same geographical boat).

Of course, to begin such sandwiches, I needed seitan. After doing a little research, I decided to try the recipe at Post Punk Kitchen. The only difference between mine and their's is that I didn't have any lemon zest (though if I had it, I would've used it), I didn't use as much tamari, I put more garlic in it, and I added some liquid smoke to the simmering broth. Another difference was that I didn't use any nutritional yeast (finished the last of it the night before) and that I added 1/2 cup of garbanzo bean flour to the mix. I remember reading somewhere that adding a bean flour was good because it has more fiber and protein than just the vital wheat gluten flour, and because it helps level out your blood sugar.

I thought seitan making was FUN and EASY as well as a cheap way to get some more protein in my diet. Seriously, when I looked over at my simmering pot of deliciousness and saw a floating chunk of perfectly plumped seitan, I knew I had done good! Please note, I really love garlic and would've added more. Also, this is the first time I made it so this ingredients will adjust later (I'll probably add more liquid smoke the next time around, etc.)

Simple Seitan (based off the recipe at PPK):
2 c. vital wheat gluten flour
1/2 c. garbanzo bean flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 c. tamari
1 1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 1/2 Tb. tomato paste
1 Tb. minced garlic
1/2 Tb. lemon juice

Simmering Broth:
15 c. vegetable broth and/or water
1/3 c. tamari
1 Tb. garlic
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke

1. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients with a whisk to get it all clump free.
2. In a medium bowl, combine all the liquid ingredients with a whisk (to get the tomato paste unclumpy).
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir together with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated.
4. Turn out onto a flat surface and knead for about five minutes. I did not flour my table because I was afraid my seitan would get tough. I found that it did not stick to the table at all, so if yours sticks you just might need some extra flour.
5. Shape into a log that about a foot long and cut into three pieces. Just let it hang out on the table. I let mine rest for about 15 minutes, I wouldn't let it rest for any less than five.
6. Mix all the simmering broth ingredients in a very large pot. Don't turn it on. Let your seitan rest.
7. Add the seitan to the pot and bring it to a simmer. I never actually brought mine to a boil, I just covered it with a lid on medium high and then reduced it before it started to get to vigorous.
8. Simmer with the lit cracked for half an hour.
9. Turn the seitan over and let simmer for another half an hour.
10. Turn the pot off and let the seitan cool in the broth for awhile.
11. Place covered in the fridge, surrounded by broth, until you're ready to use it.

I don't know why people think the simmering is too tedious. Once it was at a good simmer, I just let it be. In fact, I went and took a shower while it was on the stove. Just saying. It's pretty low maintenance. It really doesn't take any longer than a good soup, and it's actually a lot easier to make!

So, the only thing left for me to do is make that Chili-Coffee Seitan sandwich, as well as my own creation: a seitan sandwich served au jus. That's right. Sandwich heaven.

Ready for the nutritional breakdown?

When you prepare my recipe in the amount directed, you wind up getting three pieces that are about a pound apiece (perfect for recipes!). If each section is divided into four servings, you get, per serving:

110 calories
3/4 gram of fat (that's like nothing!)
17 3/4 grams of protein
8% of your daily iron
3.5% of your daily calcium
1% each of your daily vitamin A and vitamin C



All inclusive deals said...

I liked your recipe for the seitan, it is quite easy to prepare and will don't take much time to make it. It will be a good protein diet for me.

GreenCaller said...

Wait a sec! You'd NEVER eaten a fresh peach before this month... WHAT!??!?? *blinks*

Then again I wouldn't blame you for not. Store-bought peaches are crap.

PS - Do you need bean burgers???

GreenCaller said...

Okay, I'm in a cooking mood today and I happen to be right next to the local health food market/section!! I want to give this a try. If I could come up with a way to make this recipe travel-stable (provided I can get John to like it, lol!), it sounds like something really good and easy to take on the road with us!

Peace, lady! Happy Mabon!!! Hope you eat something delicious today!!

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

Lol. Sorry I missed your posts. I don't have a comment-alerter thingy!

Yeah. My hatred of peaches was based on those awful canned ones in heavy syrup. It wasn't until I gave in and tried a real one that I realized how awesome they were! I still peel them though. I get like, triple the RDA of fiber anyway, so I don't think skinning a peach is gonna be that big of a deal. :)

As for the seitan, once it's cooked it needs to hang out in the fridge, but I'm pretty positive you could cut it into chunks and dehydrate it. Not only would it be shelf-stable, but super lightweight! Then all you'd need to do is heat it up in some broth or soup or something and you'd have a nice instant meal full of protein!