monster vs. monster

on a food roll
July 19, 2010, 2:46 pm
Filed under: food | Tags: , ,

I feel a little food spoiled. Drawing from someone else’s fully-stocked pantry with every ingredient at my fingertips, spending entire afternoons simmering grains and kneading doughs, warming the apartment with a preheated oven on foggy mornings. It’s a little bit ridiculous, how good I have it. I remember thinking so many times during the school year how I just wanted to spend a single day cooking and knitting and reading Sedgwick. Just one day. And now I have a whole string of days to do just that. My appetite has been on seriously high gear the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been pawing through BW’s cookbook collection looking for ways to entertain my tummy. Right now I’ve got some rice on the stove and some gluten sausage roasting in the oven, so my hands are free to share with you the super successful seitan I made a few days ago.

The seitan recipe I used calls for 7 cups broth, 1 cup gluten flour, 2 tbsp Braggs, and 2 tsp seasonings, which I divided evenly between sage, oregano, pepper, and a fancy “pasta” spice which was really just basil, oregano, garlic and thyme. After blending 3/4 c broth, flour, and spices together I kneaded the dough for 15 minutes, let it rest for 5, then kneaded again for 5. This is really the trick to getting a perfect consistency. In the past, my seitan has come out rubbery and squishy, with too much air trapped inside. With the extra kneading, I got a firm, solid texture – and a full arm workout.

I also added some onion slices to the broth, which I think really helped to round out the seasonings.

With half of the seitan and most of the broth, BW made chicken and dumplings which was in-effing-credibly de-effing-licious. I was a very unadventurous eater in my pre-vegan days, and chicken and dumplings is one of the many dishes I never encountered in its more, shall we say, traditional form. But now that I’ve experienced this hearty, doughy, salty comfort food (and seen how easy it is to make!) I will be adding this to my winter food repertoire. Mmmm.

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Oddly enough, cooking sucks the appetite right out of me. Generally what I’ll do is cook a meal and immediately package it up and set it in the fridge. Then I’ll wash the dishes, tidy up the stove, go and check my email, maybe pour myself a glass of wine. And then I’ll eat. I don’t know whether I act this way because I prefer cold food or prefer cold food because I act this way. Suffice to say, it’s strange, and to most people it makes no sense. What it does mean, though, is that I can do a lot of weird disparate cooking and baking all at once, since I’m going to set it all aside anyway. Tomorrow I’m going to try to bust out some cinnamon swirl bread, lemon cranberry muffins, summer squash soup, and grits with greens. Oh, and maybe I’ll work on my translation project. Maybe.


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