Sunday, October 31, 2010

Satan Stew for Halloween (Seitan Stew on the other 364 days)

Two posts on one day!?  It MUST be a holiday.   First and foremost, happy halloween, everyone!  I hope that you all fill your candy quota and have fabulous costumes.  If you're not into the whole dressing up thing, that's cool too - but I do hope you get to enjoy some delicious pumpkin flavored foods at the very least.

Now, onto the subject of this post.  Seitan Stew, which I continue to pronounce as "Satan" Stew, is so delicious it's scary.  After Sar concocted a lifetime supply of seitan, my first impulse was to make stew.  It's one of my favorite comfort foods, but since I've stopped eating meat for the most part, I haven't gotten to enjoy it.  Tofu stew just doesn't sound right...and veggie stew is good, but it's missing that certain something (beef?) that makes it such a hearty and wonderful dish.  Seitan has the right combo of flavor and texture to fit right into a vegetarian stew and the name makes it perfect for a Halloween post :)

"Satan" Stew
(Printable Recipe)
Serves 6

1 lb of seitan, cubed
1 medium white onion, finely diced
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, finely diced
2 cups of mushrooms, chopped
1 turnip, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2-3/4 cups red wine
4 cups veggie broth
1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons dried parsley (or a few tablespoons chopped fresh parsley)
salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 lb egg noodles, cooked and drained

What to do:
In a frying pan, saute the seitan until it's well browned.  In a large pot, saute the onions, celery, and peppers until softened.  Add the rest of the veggies, salt & pepper, and seitan and cook together for a few minutes.

Now pour in the wine and get the party started.

Add the seasonings and broth bring it up to a boil.  Place the lid over the pot so that it's not fully sealed, but mostly covered.  (I hope you understand what I'm saying there, because I forgot to take a picture of that part.)  Allow the stew to bubble away for about half an hour, or until the veggies are all cooked.  In a small dish, mix the cornstarch and water to make a slurry and then stir this into the stew.  You should notice it thicken up a bit after a few minutes of cooking.  This is optional if you're into thinner broth, for the record.  

Serve over egg noodles immediately.  Enjoy with a glass of the red wine, if you're feeling festive - which I always am.

This stew was delicious right off the stove, but it was even better the next day reheated for lunch because the flavors really got a chance to blend and deepen over night.  If you're a vegetarian and tend to get made fun of at work for the "weird" lunches you bring (tofu-phobes are the i right??) this is the perfect solution.  Two of my coworkers asked me if it was beef stew!  Seitan is such a trickster.

Boo x 2!

PS - Sar and I like to eat ourselves out of house and home before grocery shopping (we've never been labeled wasteful or excessive) and one morning I found myself with nothing to eat for breakfast.  No milk, no eggs, no cereal, no bread, no yogurt.  Nothing.  I heated myself up some of this stew and it was a fabulous way to start the day.

Halloween Pumpkin-Maple Rolls

Live from Brooklyn: Halloween Pumpkin-Maple Rolls!

We (Emily, Yi and I) were inspired by this Tasty Kitchin recipe.  We modified Lauren's recipe by using only a scant 1/2 cup of sugar in the dough, adding a little bit of pumpkin puree, Tazo Black Chai Tea concentrate, extra cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to the filling.

All photos courtesy of Yi.

It was not the cleanest process....

Nor was I particularly accurate in cutting the rolls equally...

Pre-icing drizzle:

Drizzle process shots:

These sticky rolls were at least as good as they look in Yi's photographs.

Next time ideas include: 
  1. Adding more pumpkin to the dough and modifying the amount of liquid (water/milk) so that we get the right consistency
  2. Rolling out the dough more thinly to get lots of layers.  
  3. And along with that, not trying to get all of the filling into the rolling process because it will just ooze out the ends anyways.  Instead, saving what looks like it will ooze and adding it on top before baking.  
  4. Make less icing - maybe even half as much.  We didn't use all and they were perfectly sweet and sticky.

Happy Halloween!  Lily is going to post about some Seitan (read Satan) Stew soon so stay tuned.  The pictures are half as good but the delicious factor is comparable.  


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Seitan - the wheat meat

For vegetarians/vegans and the people who love them - you may know of this mysterious chewy stuff called seitan.  It is similar to your tofu or tempeh because it acts as a meat substitute in a lot of different dishes.  It is NOT like tofu or tempeh (both made from soybeans) because this alternative protein is wheat based.  In my mind, making it fair game for The Upper Yeast Side blog.  

Seitan is basically just wheat gluten.  Here goes a basic (and my first attempt) at homemade seitan...

Basic Seitan
(Printable Recipe)
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
This recipe yields a LOT of Seitan - enough for 5-6 separate dishes that would serve about 3-4 people...

2 cups vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons onion powder
Season with about 1/2 teaspoon sage, and 1/2 teaspoon marjoram, or a "chicken seasoning" which will likely have both in addition to some rosemary and black pepper.  I added a dash of cayenne because I planned to use it in a mexican style dish of Peter Berley's.
2 cups water

6 cups water
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Bring broth to a boil.
Combine dough ingredients and knead for a hot second to get it all elastic-y.  Cut into little chunks (about 2x2) and toss into the boiling broth.
Let it boil for 1 hour.
Prepare as you need for your meal.
Store extra seitan in the freezer.

I bought that Bob's Red Mill bag of vital wheat gluten for about $7 at a UES health food store.  Since a package of seitan in the store costs about $6 and I made roughly 6x as much with only a third of the bag... Safe to say it pays to make homemade seitan.  

In the process of cooking this I legitimately thought this stuff was going to take over my stovetop.  It expanded to fill the entire pot from it's original size just barely poking out from beneath the six cups of liquid.

As I mentioned, this recipe yields a LOT of seitan.  Feel free to halve it or even quarter it if you aren't sure you'll love seitan.  I could have made the Peter Berley recipe at least 5 more times with the leftover seitan.  I wrapped manageable amounts of seitan in plastic wrap and put all of the bunches into one plastic bag and right into the freezer.

We made a black bean dish from Fresh Food Fast:

And we ate until we were extremely uncomfortable.

Here's the thing about vital wheat gluten.  It seems to know just when you are looking for it.  If you go to the grocery store specifically searching for this stuff, it won't be there.  The other people in the store and store workers have never heard of it.  However, if you happen to meander by the very same aisle you scoured without the intent of picking up vital wheat gluten it will magically fall off the shelf into your basket.  True story.  Not to mention, you'll start noticing this stuff in every grocery you checked previously.  Just when you aren't looking for it.  Get it whenever you can.  Store it in the fridge or freezer.  Brands I've used include: Arrowhead MillsHodgson Mill, and Bob's Red Mill.  Tell us if you find any other good ones.  

Good luck in your search for and cooking of homemade seitan!

PS The previous sourdough-oat loaf just got turned into French Toast and devoured.  Thank you Andy Jack.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oats + Sourdough (Oh my!)

Nothing like a controversial national holiday to get me back into the bread blog.  While  I was not posting I made several sourdoughs that I just did NOT write about..Oops.

For this sourdough I decided to get a little inventive.  I read a recipe in Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce (Thanks Emeric!) and decided - why not add some sourdough to it?!  Good to the Grain had been sitting on our shelf since Emeric lent it to me in July (laaame).  Plus I have sourdough to feed.

Sourdough-Oat Sandwich Loaf Inspiration from Good to the Grain
(Printable Recipe)
Yields 1 loaf
Prep time about 10 hours
Cook time 40 minutes

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
1 pinch of sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour
1 cup starter
1/4 cup water
3 teaspoons vital wheat gluten
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons molasses

1. Proof the yeast in warm water with sugar.
2. As the yeast proofs for about 10 minutes, measure out your dry ingredients EXCEPT the salt and stir them together.  Melt the butter while you are at it.
3. Add the yeast, butter, and sourdough starter and water to all the dry ingredients excluding the salt.  Stir until you can't stir anymore and then let it rest for 20 minutes.  This is called autolyse.
To learn more about autolyse click here or search "sourdough" on the top right and read up!

4. Now, add the salt and molasses.
5. Knead for about 10 minutes.
6. Allow the dough to rise for about 45 minutes in a clean, buttered bowl.
7. Shape the dough into a log and place it into a loaf pan to rise.

8. Let it rise for up to 6 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk.  I went babysitting in the meantime.  I would have loved to be available to punch the dough down but it's sourdough and it loves to retard, so I just let it happen.
9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and brush the top crust with a little water/molasses mixture and sprinkle with bran or oats before throwing it in the oven.
10. Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes.  As always, allow to cool before slicing.

Entirely unrelated, but I made these impromptu banana-bran muffins the other day.  There are four bananas in 12 muffins.  Mathematically speaking, a third of a banana per muffin.  I'd post a recipe but I didn't keep track or measure anything I did.  Classic.

These bananas were practically making themselves into banana-based treats.

Happy belated Columbus Day and 10-10-10!

PS This bread was okay.  Like any good relationship, oats and sourdough have some things to work on together.  I'll definitely revisit this medley.  The to bake (and to do) list(s) are long and the time is always short.  

Friday, October 1, 2010