Archive for the ‘Seitan’ Category

Sunday Green Board: Pasta with Veggie Marinara

06 February 2011

Yeah, I know, it’s a cop out. It’s pasta in marinara sauce with some veggies thrown in … but that doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome, and when the clouds are hanging heavy and the streets are covered with an inch of salt and three inches of slush, it can really hit the spot and help you forget about all that.

Basic Pasta w/ veggie loaded marinara

Farfalle in Marinara with Seitan, Crimini Mushrooms, Onions, and Basil

Forgive the picture, it doesn’t do it justice.

The exact amounts you need will depend on how much you want to make, but you’ll have to collect the following:

  • a basic marinara sauce, like we talked about in part one of the Italian Wonton post; we used about two cups
  • some chopped onion; we used half of a medium-sized yellow onion
  • around 4 ounces of ground beef-style seitan; we used Upton’s Naturals, but substitute anything you want, even real meat if you aren’t committed to the idea of the Sunday Green Board, or just like it better that way
  • some crimini or other tasty mushrooms, cleaned and thickly sliced, equal in volume to the amount of onion you are using; we used 8 baby bellas
  • some olives, about 1/2 the amount of the mushrooms; we used 8 pitted kalamata olives
  • fresh basil and freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese to taste; we used a dozen basil leaves and a good 12 tablespoons of cheese
  • your favorite dried pasta, or at least something you have in the cupboard already; we used around a pound or so of farfalle from Trader Joe’s. It would have been better using fresh pasta, but we were lazy today … it is Sunday, after all.
  • a bigger pot than you think you need, 2/3 full of boiling, salted water
  • sea or kosher salt, freshly ground black or white pepper, and decent olive oil

On to the business …

  1. Get that water going in the big pot … the more water, the better. Salt it so it tastes salty like the ocean, but not briny like something you would see in a grade school chemistry experiment.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a sauce pan over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, add the onions, reduce the heat a bit, and sweat them for a couple minutes. Add the seitan, mushrooms, and olives. Cook, stirring occasionally, so that everything heats evenly.
  3. When the onions are soft, add the marinara, stir, and cover. Continue heating, stirring every so often. Taste and then adjust the seasoning if you need to, but keep in mind that with the olives, you likely won’t need any more salt.
  4. After around 20 minutes, drop the pasta into the boiling water and hit it with a splash of olive oil to help reduce the odds of an over boil.
  5. When the pasta is cooked al dente (read the label but usually between 8 and 12 minutes), remove the pot from the heat and drain, allowing the pasta to dry for a few minutes in the colander or strainer before returning it to the empty and now dry pot. Hit it with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and stir if it’s sticking together.
  6. We’re serving 1970’s Italian-American style, so for each serving, plate a cup or so of pasta (more or less depending on whether it’s a starter or a main course) onto a warm plate, spoon over some of the veggie marinara, and top with torn or chopped basil and some grated cheese. Pour a chianti or some other rustic, tomato-loving red wine to keep it company.

Note: If you have a red checkered tablecloth, now is the time to break it out.


Sunday Green Board: Seitan Tacos

30 January 2011

Every Sunday, or as often as we can, we’ll be posting what we call the Sunday Green Board. The “Sunday” part is obvious, that’s when we publish the post. The “Green Board” refers to the fact the whole dish can be prepared on a green, as opposed to a red, cutting board … meaning there is no meat involved … as in vegetarian … as in, for those of you who know any of us personally, pure lunacy. Hell, we would put sausage on our corn flakes if we could get away with it, and one of our favorite vinaigrettes replaces the olive oil with bacon grease.

Anyway, back to red versus green … we can get a little forgetful in a busy kitchen, or after a few glasses of wine, and in order to prevent cross-contamination, along with the unpleasant and possibly dangerous consequences, we prep meats on a red cutting board, and fruits and veg on a green board.

Red Board = any raw flesh

Green Board = CLEANED fruits and vegetables

You may laugh, but you haven’t tried cooking after one of our martinis … so we use this simple visual cue to help avoid food poisoning, and lawsuits for that matter, so long as we remember to keep our hands clean and utensils and knives from crossing the red-green divide.

Side Note, AKA the Rant … if I see one more commercial of people cooking crap and taking the damn spoon they just used to taste their crap out of their, or their friend’s, or some kid’s, mouth, and immediately returning it to whatever pot they are cooking their crap in and resume stirring, I am going to throw a brick through the television. Seriously, start counting how any of these you see. Same damn reason I won’t eat birthday cake once you let someone spit all over it, ummm, I mean, blow out the damn candles.

Ahhhh, that’s better. Back to the Sunday Green Board … Seitan Tacos!

Seitan Tacos

Taco with Upton's Naturals chorizo-style seitan, onions, and red peppers, spiked with a Sriracha-cilantro cream

If you use the normal 6-inch corn tortillas, the following ingredients will get you about 5 tacos … more or less depending on how much filling you use, and of course everyone knows that the size of your tortillas matters.

  • corn tortillas, or if you prefer, flour tortillas, pita bread, naan, lavash, whatever you like; hell, you could put this on a bun and it’d be awesome.
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, sliced into quarter moons (cut 1/4″ wide rings, then cut the rings into three or four equal-sized pieces)
  • 1 medium-sized red pepper; cored, seeded, and sliced into 2 inch long, 1/4″ wide strips
  • 4 ounces of Upton’s Naturals (or similar brand) chorizo-style seitan … if you can’t get this, you can season your own seitan accordingly; start with some powdered ancho and chipotle, hot paprika, garlic, oregano, black pepper, salt, and maybe a little vinegar. Alternatively, you can just use actual Mexican chorizo, but it won’t be a green board dish.
  • kosher or sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, crème fraiche, sour cream, or crema fresca
  • a little bit of heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Sriracha or other spicy (NOT JUST HOT) chili-based sauce
  • a lime or two and some more chopped cilantro to garnish

Once you get your ingredients together and prepped, you can start on the dish.

  1. Mix together the yogurt and the 2 tablespoons of cilantro, and adjust the consistency with some heavy cream until it’s liquid enough to drizzle. Add a pinch of salt and stir.
  2. Add Sriracha to taste … start with a few drops, stir, taste, and adjust. Note: we like to puree the sauce in a blender or food processor to get a smooth, consistent texture. You can, though, just mix it by hand so long as you finely chop the cilantro — it’ll just look more rustic, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  3. Heat a neutral oil in a pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and peppers and cook until the onions are translucent and just starting to caramelize.
  4. While the onions and peppers are cooking, prepare your tortillas whatever way you like — over a flame, in a hot pan, or in a microwave or toaster oven. Keep them warm and soft.
  5. When the onions are starting to turn golden, add the seitan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. When the seitan is warm, taste and adjust the salt and pepper accordingly.
  6. When the seitan mixture is hot, taste and adjust the seasoning one last time, and then remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Lay out your tortillas on a flat surface … like a CLEAN green board, maybe?
  8. Drizzle each tortilla a with a splash of the Sriracha-cilantro cream, top with a few spoonfuls of the seitan, peppers, and onion mixture, and garnish with a pinch of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
  9. Roll or fold the tortillas, plate, and serve with some of the leftover Sriracha-cilantro cream and some more hot sauce.

Enjoy, and send us your pics, substitutions, and questions!