Monday, November 22, 2010

Cold-Weather Cravings

This is my first meat-free winter. Summer was easy-breezy but with this cold weather, the meat cravings have set in. My dreams have been filled with meat and sex, but mostly meat. One dream was nothing but the search for the perfect hamburger. These cravings have forced me to not cook at all these past few days - knowing that some cheap facsimile would be worse than nothing than all.

If you are a veggie eater who finds that cold weather leaves you yearning for something meatier, I recommend making your own seitan. Don't buy the store stuff, it's gross. It's pretty easy to make, and will save you a pretty penny vs the store-bought version. And your own home-made seitan, fresh from the oven, will definitely hit the spot.

There are hundreds of recipes out there and they are all pretty similar. Mine is an amalgam of different versions I've tried and liked. I like to make seitan loaves - they slice well for winter sandwiches, roasts and burgers.

I woke up yesterday morning knowing that this burger was just what my dreams were demanding (minus the sex) for dinner.
Yowza - look at that baby. Fresh, warm, savory seitan, garlicy greens and mushrooms, bakery roll. Add a cold beer and does it get better than this?

I think not.

Seitan Burgers with Garlic Greens and Mushrooms
serves 4

Seitan Ingredients:
2 c vital wheat gluten
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 Braggs liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Other Ingredients:
4 bakery rolls
4 tablespoons Vegenaise 
3 cups kale, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tablespoon Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, pulse dry ingredients for seitan just until mixed. Mix wet seitan ingredients in separate bowl. With processor running, pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until dough forms a ball. Continue to mix for about 30 more seconds. Remove from processor and knead by hand for about 30 seconds. If you don't have a processor, you can mix it all by hand, just knead for about 3 minutes. Dough should be very elastic. Form dough into a loaf. Wrap tightly in greased foil and place in a baking dish. Bake until firm and risen, about 45 mins to an hour.Remove from oven and set aside to cool a bit.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms are softened, about 3 minutes. Add kale, broth and Braggs. Saute until kale is fully wilted.

Spread 1/2 tablespoon Vegenaise on each roll half. Place 1/4 of kale mixture on bottom half of each roll. Place 2 1/2 inch slices of seitan on top of the kale mixture. Place top half of bun. Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Embracing fall

Nice to see you all again! I apologize for not posting in forever - this fall weather can be quite demotivating up here in the Pacific Northwest. It's so dark.

But it's getting cold! Why does that make me excited? Because I'm a knitter. I've been doing a lot of knitting these past couple of weeks. We had a holiday bazaar at my work last week and I sold most of my items, but I have some new ones and I put them on my Etsy store!

You should check it out and maybe pick something up to keep your extremities warm and stylish.

I've been trying to welcome fall instead of burying myself under yarn. My nieces came over last weekend and the kids definitely brought some mess life to the house.

In order to get this loud and adorable group of kids out of my house some exercise, I sent them out back in search of fall leaves. When they came back we traced them on construction paper, colored them, and made a nice fall wall display. It really is a nice touch.

What a great way to liven up a boring, white wall. Once we were done coloring and cutting, we made cookies.

These are the Banana Everything Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. They are quick to make, and  a great way to use up small bits of goodies in your pantry. Oh, and did I forget to mention that they are delicious? They are warm and hearty and perfect for fall.

My kids hate oatmeal and nuts, but 2 dozen of these babies disappeared in one day. I promise I didn't eat them all. I highly recommend that you make some. The oats and nuts make them a good work snack to boost flagging energy levels (or as the commercials say, "that 3pm feeling").