Friday, March 27, 2009

Seitan "Pork Cutlets;"...vegan. Spaghetti Sauce w/Seitan

Another rainy day, about the third in a row for GA, I think, altho mostly it's been an off and on sort of rain. This morning, tho, it's been coming down very nicely for about four or five hours now, and I'm delighted, of course. I absolutely LOVE rainy days, especially on my days off(perfect day for making soup!), and we still need the rain, as we're still in a drought situation.

Got a few things to mention before I get to the recipes this week. First and most importantly, I'm very proud to announce that as of Wednesday, 3/25/09, 5:15PM, I became a great-grandmother!! And I'm ONLY 61, which I think is fairly young to be a great. The baby was 6lbs., 6oz., and 19inches long. His name is Rayden Elijah Lee, and those are his first names. I won't mention his last name here. The Rayden caught me totally by surprise, as my dgd hadn't mentioned that name to me, just the Elijah Lee. Her custodial grandfather came by yesterday evening to tell me...if I'd been offline Wednesday, I'd have known as soon as the baby was born, lol...and showed my Rayden's picture. He's actually pretty good-looking, for a newborn!!! I'm looking forward to seeing and holding him.

Secondly, as of Thursday, 3/26/09, 9:30PM, I have been a non-smoker for one whole week, which means, according to www.quitnet.com, that I have made it thru "Hell Week." According to their calculator on the site, I've saved a little over $49, added 1 day and 17 hours to my life, and not smoked over 900 cigarettes...I can't remember the exact number. I'm impressed, lol.

So, this week's recipe is another seitan recipe, Seitan "Pork Cutlets," but I didn't taste any pork flavor in them at all. I also didn't like this seitan recipe as well as I ended up liking the one for the vegetarian lunchmeat seitan, but I'm still going to post it, as it gives you another option for making seitan. And, like the first one, itmakes a whole heckuva lot, so be prepared to freeze some for a later use. The recipe is from httoL..www.vegan-food.net/recipe/225/Seitan-Pork-Cutlets/

...............................SEITAN "PORK CUTLETS".................................

2C vital wheat gluten
2Tbs. nutritional yeast flakes
1tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1C cold water, 1/2C hot water mixed w/2tsp. vegemite or other yeast extract
2Tbs. EACH ketchup and soy sauce
2tsp. Kitchen Bouquet or other gravy browner, optional

COOKING BROTH:
4 1/2C water and 2-4 vegetable stock cubes
1C chopped onions
1/4????ground dried Chinese mushrooms[I'm guessing 1/4 cup]
2Tbs. ketchup, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp. EACH white pepper and paprika, 1 tsp. dried sage.

METHOD:
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk liquid ingredients together. Pour liquid into dry ingredients and mix will, until it forms a ball.
To make cutlets, divide the uncooked gluten into 12 pieces and flatten them with your hands and/or a rolling pin as thinly as you can(they will expand). For stew chunks, cut into small pieces.

Place in a casserole dish and cover with the cooking broth. Cover and bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes, then at 300ºF for another 30 minutes[SEE NOTE*]. Cool and store in cooking broth. You can also just simmer(do not boil, as this makes it spongy)on top of stove for an hour.

*NOTE: Comment from a reader who is a professional seitan maker: "It takes AT LEAST 2 hours to bake it. If it is too soft, it doesn't have enough water...just add and add and add and after the time has elapsed you will see the toughness emerge. Baked seitan gets SOFTER before it gets harder. Keep baking, keep adding water...add seasoned water, heavily salted water will help prevent too much diffusion of your flavors out into the cooking broth...be sure there is some OIL in the water, too! Like 1/2C for a large pan...."

First of all, when I added the water to my dry ingredients, somehow I added two cups of the cold water, instead of just one, as called for. So, then I had to dump in more vital gluten, and add more spices, and hope for the best. Considering my screw-up, I guess the seitan wasn't as bad as it could be, but it sure could've been better, I think. I baked half of it and simmered half of it on the stove, and both methods made the seitan very WET, so I'm guessing I did something else wrong, but don't know what it is.

I also need to tell you that I have no clue as to what vegemite is, so didn't use that or any other yeast extract, and don't know if it made much of a difference or not. Instead of the nutritional yeast flakes, I used 2Tbs. of vegetarian Parmesan cheese, and since "nooch" is used in place of cheeses, don't believe the Parmesan made too much difference.

What I did with the baked portion was to put it back into the oven, no more broth, and left it there for about another hour, at 300ºF, which dried it out considerably. The batch that was simmered is still in the fridge, still wet, and hopefully it hasn't gone bad yet, and I can salvage it, too.

With the baked and then re-baked portion, I did two things: I made a pan-fried seitan with gravy which was pretty darned good, and then I made a spaghetti sauce with chunks of fried seitan, which was excellent.

To make the gravy, I chunked up as much seitan as I thought I'd eat, and then tossed it into a hot skillet with olive oil and butter, and let it get nice and brown and crispy. Then I used the broth from the baking, about two cups I think, to make the gravy: poured it over the seitan in the frying pan and let it come to a simmer. When it was hot, I ladled out about 1/2 cup into a bowl, and put about 2Tbs. cornstarch into the hot liquid, and whisked it smooth with a fork. Then poured it back into the frying pan, and let it come to a boil and get to the thickness I wanted. It was very, very good, and I have the leftovers in the freezer.

The spaghetti sauce was easy, too. One 15oz. can each diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, onions, bay leaf, garlic, and Italian seasoning, and then the seitan chunks, let it all simmer for about 15 minutes or so. The first time, I put it over tri-coloured rotini. With the leftovers, I buttered and grilled one side each of two slices of sourdough bread, laying slices of vegetarian Smoked Provolone "cheese" on the unbuttered side. When the bread had browned and the "cheese" started melting, I transferred them to a plate and poured the heated sauce and seitan over it. Wow! It was wonderful, it truly was! I will definitely do it again some day.

That's all I have for this week, so, until next time, Happy Eating!!

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