Saturday, July 21, 2012

Southern Fried Seitan!

I said I'd restart this blog and then I didn't do a thing. Well, actually, I did lots of things: pack boxes, store them in a storage unit, rejoin the gym (ahem), watch the entire first season of Game of Thrones, visit the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, canoe part of the Connecticut River ... just nothing to do with the blog. Oops. Better late than never, though.

So ...

I gave in. I got some of those Bragg Liquid Aminos. I'm still not entirely sold. I got it to try and to use as a substitute for soy sauce. Yeah, yeah: it's non-GMO and has all those healthy amino acids. But, for someone like me who is super-super-sensitive to sodium, it might be better to stick with low-sodium soy sauce. (Bragg has, as far as I can figure, 960 mg of sodium per tablespoon whereas low-sodium soy sauce has 575.) But since I now own this bottle and have to do something with it, I figured I'd use it, as so many have suggested, in the simmering liquid for seitan.

I'm feeling very Southern again today and I'm having friends over this afternoon for some champagne sipping and relaxing in the overgrown backyard (one thing I haven't done is yard work), so I figured I'd make some Southern fried seitan.

Mix and briefly knead:

1 c vital wheat gluten
1 c cold water

Bring to a boil:

4 c water
1/2 c nutritional yeast
4 T Bragg Liquid Aminos (yep, there they are!)
2 t onion powder
1 1/2 t sage
1/2 t white pepper
1 t thyme
2 bay leaves

Add the briefly kneaded vital wheat gluten to the liquid, reduce and cover. Cook at a simmer, stirring frequently, for about an hour, until most of the liquid is reduced. Remove from heat and let the seitan cool in the remaining liquid.


I'm not vegan, so I'm using milk and eggs for the "fried chicken" part, but I don't see why you couldn't easily replace that with soy milk and egg replacer. (And here I'd like to give a thumbs up to Bob's Red Mill Farm Egg Replacer. I got some the other day to make a vegan cake for a friend, and although I've seen a few reviews in which people said it tasted odd to them -and one, at least to me, odd review in which the reviewer complained it made awful scrambled eggs [because I never would have expected to use a powdered egg substitute to make scrambled eggs] - I found it worked perfectly.

Mix together an egg, a cup of buttermilk (add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to the milk, stir and let thicken for about five minutes to make buttermilk) and as much hot sauce as you like - the more, the better. In a ziploc bag (easy cleanup and yes, I do wash and reuse them), mix a cup of self-rising flour and whatever spices you like; I chose pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne, rosemary, garlic, and onion powder, but whatever floats your boat (or you have in the pantry). Dredge the seitan pieces in the egg mixture, then toss with the flour mixture. Dredge again in egg and toss with the flour mixture again to get a really crispy, layered coating. Fry in hot oil, drain, and eat.

Somehow it turned into a Southern food extravaganza, so in addition to the fried seitan, we had collard greens, biscuits with sausage gravy, deviled eggs and fried pimento cheese balls. I really was going to take pictures, but guests came early and, what with all that packing, I was hungry, so it all got eaten before I could take a photo of the side dishes.

I guess it's good I rejoined the gym ...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Back? Back!

I've missed my little blog, and now that I'm in the process of selling my restaurant, perhaps it is time to revisit it. After all, I've already begun playing around with new business ideas and I need some helpful folks to bounce ideas off of, if y'all would be so kind.

Now this idea is newly born and as-yet pretty undeveloped, but I'm thinking food truck.

Food truck in New Orleans, to be specific.

Five years in the snow and ice-filled (negative 23! negative 23!) winters of Vermont have pushed our attention towards warmer climes, and you can't get much warmer than New Orleans in the summer. Yep, we're trading those -23 degree winters for 101 degree summers. Of course, I grew up in Memphis, so I'm fine, but I am a little worried that the husband and dogs will melt. AC. We'll have lots of AC.

But back to seitan ...

I don't really want to spring into a new restaurant. Frankly, I don't think I ever want to own a restaurant again. On the one hand, it can be a very gratifying experience to cook your own creations for appreciative customers. On the other, though, the owner has so much other crud to deal with that she barely has time to cook, let alone plan menus. But I do love cooking ...

But what about a food truck? I know there are some veggie food trucks (although, I think, not in NOLA), but I'm wondering about a specifically seitanic food truck. Menu ideas (since it would be in NOLA and all) that come to mind include thinly sliced seitan roast beef po-boys with debris gravy, seitan fried chicken po-boys with creole mustard, muffalettas with seitan pepperoni, salami, ham, Swiss and provolone cheeses, and olive salad, and fried macaroni and cheese.

So, if you're reading this and would be interested in seeing those recipes (and similar) be developed, let me know and take a moment (please!) to give me feedback! And if it ever comes to fruition, well, come on down and have some foodies!