Homemade Seitan

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Even though I’ve been vegetarian for over four years and have found that wheat gluten makes some of the most satisfying meat substitutes, I’ve always bought mine from the store. I’ve never prepared it from scratch. But if I had realized how easy (and worthwhile!) it is, I would have tried it before this week.

I used this recipe, generally following the instructions for the “beef” seitan. While it came out a little moister than I would have liked (I halved the recipe, but definitely need to use less than half the amount of water called for), after letting it refrigerate for a day, I was really happy with the flavor. Very sausage like. Not quite what I was going for, but really tasty… it had me craving more after frying up a piece and adding chunks to a simple spaghetti dish. Tonight, I’m going to slice up some pieces, throw them on a sub roll with some fried onions and peppers and top it with some uncheese for a l’il Philly Cheesesteak action.

So now I’m all psyched to try making different seitan recipes. Fortunately, Bryanna Clark Grogan’s posted a bunch of them over in the VegSource forums. Bryanna rocks.

Sticky Fingers

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I live in Northern Virginia, but don’t really get into DC very often. And when I do, I don’t often have time to visit any of the vegetarian restaurants in the city (though I have been to the excellent Soul Vegetarian a few times). A couple of weeks ago, though, I was fortunate enough to finally be able to stop by Sticky Fingers Bakery, a small vegan bakery just north of Dupont Circle.

I tried out a number of their goodies, including a fresh oatmeal-raisin cookie (tasty!), a half-price day-old cookie (pretty hard, but hey, half price), their creme-between-oatmeal cookies Cowvin Cookie (absolutely outstanding and sweet enough to make your teeth hurt), a muffin (great for breakfast the next day), and their soft serve ice cream (mmm… vegan soft serve). Interestingly, all that only came to $11. Eleven bucks for several days of sugary goodness? Not bad.

All of Sticky Fingers’ foods are 100% vegan and made with non-hydrogenated oils. Sweetening comes primarily from evaporated cane juice.

If you’re in the DC area, do yourself a favor and take the Metro to Dupont Circle, walk north to 1904 18th St NW, and get yourself some sweets. It’s well worth the trip.

(Sticky Fingers also does mail order for many of their items.)

VegCooking.com

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Say what you will about PETA (and I know most people have plenty to say about them), but they are simply amazing when it comes to using the web as a way to disseminate information. They have so many sites with individual designs and it’s really astounding. I’ve seen PETA’s job openings listing a few times and know they employ their own little “web team,” which is a luxury that most non-profits don’t have. But still, they continue to impress me with the breadth of their offerings.

One such offering is VegCooking.com, a site dedicated to recipes, product reviews, and restaurant information. Robin Robinson (of Vegan Planet and The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook fame) does an “Ask the Vegan Chef” column, there’s a “Chef’s Spotlight,” cookbook and product reviews, and plenty of recipes and features. Really good stuff.

I’m anxious to try out some of their simple holiday baking tips and recipes. That truffle recipe sounds really easy and I’ve got some Grand Marnier just waiting to be used.

Vegenaise

5 Comments

Every so often I think about those “indispensable” vegan foods. Ones that make life without dairy or eggs significantly easier. One of those products is Vegenaise (which up until this very moment I could have sworn was “Veganaise,” which they address at the bottom of this page), specifically, Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise.

Vegenaise is an excellent replacement for standard mayonnaise and tastes just excellent on a sandwich or sub. The tanginess is there and even right out of the jar, it’s flavor is quite similar to standard, egg-based mayo. As far as the health benefits of grapeseed oil (cancer fighting, lowering cholesterol, etc.), that’s all just gravy on top of the great taste. Not literally, of course. Gravy and mayo would be pretty gross.

Nayonaise is also OK, but in my eyes, not nearly as good. I would, however, like to try their Dijon Style.