(Can we pretend like I published this last week when I wrote it? I'm even backdating it because I'm a super-cheater. P.S. I'm still pregnant.)
My current favorite seitan cutlet is waiting to be dolled up or just eaten.
I feel like this blog is waddling along with as slow and labored a pace as I am right now. I'm 36 weeks pregnant. And my bag's in the car. This baby is somewhat anxious to join us, and I have to say, me too. Well, me too next Thursday. I'm throwing a big huge baby shower for my best gal on Sunday (She's due a month after me.) and then I scheduled the child birth refresher course for next Wednesday. So actually, if you want to visualize me going into labor next Wednesday about 9:00 or 9:30 PM - it'd be a big help - we'll be at the hospital already.*
Paul's been stocking the freezer with simple foods to prepare in those crazy new baby weeks. There are bags of beans in 2 cup portions, and bags of brown rice (those two things I always intend to have in my freezer, but rarely do), there are 17 individually wrapped burritos, and about a dozen pupusas. There's some soup, but it turned out kind of gross. We followed this recipe for caldo de habas because as we cleaned out the pantry we discovered a ridiculous quantity of dried fava beans, but I think the combination of fava beans, chipotle, and fresh mint is an acquired taste that we don't have. Hopefully we'll feel differently when we pull it out of the freezer, but right now I'm saving it for Paul.
And this afternoon I'm going to make about three batches of my current favorite seitan cutlets. I already did this once. About a week ago, there was a freezer bag full of them that has now dwindled to one measly cutlet. That won't get us far. Especially since the boy will happily steal one or two off the counter to eat just plain. And they make a great barbecue sandwich - either quickly grilled and slathered in sauce between two slices of toasted bread, or shaved fine and sauteed with onions and simmered in diluted barbecue sauce to make some quickie pulled seitan.
They were also flippin' delicious last week for dinner when I quickly seered them in a hot pan, and then made a jammy sauce from a few cherry tomatoes and melty red onions, a swig of balsamic vinegar, and a bit of soy cream. Next to some simple spaghetti dressed with parsley, garlic, nutritional yeast, and salt, we had a serious Tuesday night dinner.
So the cutlets are almost gone, and I'm going to start over real quick before this baby comes. You may not have the same pressing time constraints, but I highly recommend you do the same. With a mild flavor, and satisfying texture, you can use these in any recipe that calls for a chicken breast. And doesn't it make you feel like a vegan domestic goddess to be able to make that stuff for yourself?
Brown rice, pinto beans, steamed spinach and savory sauce may sound pretty perfunctory, but The Sauce makes it delicious.
You start with the savory sauce. This is that creamy white sauce that is slathered on bowls of rice and beans and greens at Green Temple and that originally came from The Spot in Hermosa Beach (You can find the recipe in their cookbook as well.). So maybe tonight you make a batch of The Sauce. It will be huge. If you follow the recipe as written you will have enough sauce to top several bowls of rice and beans and greens (or my favorite - Tofu with Tofu Sauce because we're just that vegan - marinate some cubes of extra firm tofu in Bragg's or soy sauce, lemon juice, and olive oil. Steam some brown rice. Throw some spinach into the top of the steamer for the last five minutes. Toss the tofu and marinade into a hot pan until lightly browned. The rice goes in a bowl topped with spinach and tofu and sauce.)
Tomorrow you will have enough sauce leftover to make 3 to 4 batches of seitan. This recipe is a lot like the other cutlet recipe, but here you are using a seasoned tofu puree (the savory sauce) instead of a seasoned bean puree as the foundation to mix with the vital wheat gluten. I love making seitan from leftovers. It really simplifies the process.
Savory Seitan Cutlets
Makes 6 2 oz. cutlets
1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup savory sauce
1/4 cup water
Mix the dry ingredients with a fork. Add wet ingredients. Stir in. You may need to use your hands to really get it all together, but kneading is unnecessary. You should have a soft seitan dough. Divide the dough into 6 cutlets, patting out in your hand to a bit larger than your palm and about a quarter inch thick. Wrap each cutlet loosely in foil (you can press it a bit thinner now between the layers of foil) and steam for 20 minutes.
The cutlets are now ready to use in your favorite recipe.
My toddler pals also like to use The Sauce as a dip.
*I think I take that back - I'll go ahead and wait until these fires are over before I bring teeny tiny lungs into this city, please. How are you all holding up?