Sunday, March 30, 2008

Seitan the Second

Many moons ago, I tried the Simple Seitan recipe from Veganomicon with much success. More recently, I tried the Seitan Cutlet recipe from the same book with significantly less awesome results. However, I paired it with the fantastic Sauteed Spinach and Tomatoes so all was not lost.

I don't know if it was the nutritional yeast in the Simple Seitan that made the difference, but this seitan looked and felt different right from the start. It was very elastic and wouldn't really knead, even when I added some extra water. When it was time to put the cutlets in the baking pan, I couldn't even flatten them out into cutlet shapes; they just snapped right back to being blobs.

When I tried to eat them, cutting was a chore and they stretched almost as much as hot melted cheese (though they got less stretchy after sitting in the fridge for a while). I was able to feel the lemon zest in them, but didn't know that was what it was at first, and kept picking it out of my mouth. Even when I knew what it was, it still felt gross in my mouth. I made these a few weeks ago and still have four (of twelve) in the fridge. I ended up ordering take out on two days because I didn't want to eat these. I suspect the last four will go in the trash, but I'm hoping some sort of saving inspiration will strike before that happens.

Spinach confuses me. For about a billion years, I was told spinach is high in iron and if I'm not going to eat meat, I have to eat my spinach and my broccoli. Then I read that spinach contains a compound that blocks iron absorption. The more I Googled, the more confused I got, so I brought the question to the PPK and here's what I learned, in brief:

Cooking the spinach helps break down the compound that blocks iron absorption.
Vitamin C aids iron absorption so eat it with tomatoes or orange juice or something.
Kale is better*.

This recipe gave me two of the three: the spinach was cooked and some tomatoes were thrown in, so I think it was OK, ironwise. That's good news because it's amazing, tastewise. It's chock full of onions and garlic and awesome. And it's super fast to make, so please do.

When good seitan goes bad:

Doesn't that look tempting (the correct answer is no)?

*At the time I made this dish, I hadn't cooked kale yet, but I have now and they were correct. I now love kale. It'll be a June wedding.


trina said...

I was so excited to hear the news about you and the kale! Congratulations!

(And I gotta say, that's some really special looking seitan. I had forgotten, until now, that you could buy lambs' brains in the freezer case when I lived in France.)

Paula Dines said...

I am so disappointed in your cutlets experience. I was looking forward to trying those. Maybe I'll give them a go anyway.

Spinach love...spinach love! I never knew what you found out about it, though. Thanks for the tip.

JAB said...

On the bright side, if you ever need to make props for a zombie movie, you know where to go. BRAAAAAIIIINNNS.

Seitan Said Dance said...

trina, that was the funniest thing I've read on the Internet all day. Thank you.

Paula, try it yourself, I probably messed it up.

Ha! Good point, jab. Thanks!

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