Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wrestling with Seitan & other adventures

The other day, I found myself in the kitchen, wrestling with Seitan...
Seitan is a wheat protein-based "fake" meat (kind of like tofu is soybean curd). I have never had it, but I had bought some on sale at the grocery store to try it out! I made...drumroll please... Braised Seitan Cutlets in Mushroom and Red Wine Sauce - from Vegetarian Times Magazine. The ingredients...

1 8-oz. pkg. seitan, drained and halved into 2 thin cutlets
1 Tbs. unbleached flour
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped parsley

NOTE: On this one I pretty much followed the recipe. The only thing different is that I used red onion because that's what I happened to have but I would really recommend a white or yellow onion. I also used a Merlot and it was a bit too strong in the sauce for my taste. I'd almost try a cooking sherry but you can experiment. I also used about 5 or 6 garlic cloves.

I love fresh vegetables! Oh that reminds me, I added a red bell pepper to the recipe in addition to the mushrooms (Baby Bellas) and the red onion and garlic.
Here are some of the ingredients I used. You can see I like to buy stuff that's on sale! The Seitan comes in plastic-sealed packs (inside the cardboard packages), and even though the package expiration date was in May, and I kept it in my fridge until... September, it was still good. I did the sniff test to make sure but it smelled fine and upon cooking tasted great! (I promise if I open an eatery I will not use expired food!) :) The stuff in the bowl on the right front is the seitan - it was pretty tasty! The silver thing on the left is my Pampered Chef garlic press, which I LOVE. In fact I love all Pampered Chef products I have ever bought. I have had a few "parties" and gotten lot sof their products - I have their cookware, which is great, their stoneware, and lots of other things. I don't sell it, but I probably should!


1. Coat seitan pieces in flour. Heat oil in large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add seitan, and cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side, pressing pieces down to brown evenly. Remove seitan from skillet, and keep warm.

2. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic to skillet. Sauté 7 to 10 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned. Whisk together red wine, mustard, and thyme in measuring cup. Add to mushroom mixture; season with salt and pepper, if desired; and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Whisk together cornstarch and vegetable broth in same measuring cup, then add to mushroom mixture. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Place seitan cutlets on plates, top with mushroom sauce, and sprinkle with parsley.

These are ingredients of the sauce - the (organic!) dijon mustard, thyme (I freeze the fresh herbs), cornstarch, vegetable broth (I use a garden veg broth bouillon cube thing) and red wine. That's a Pampered Chef cutting board which goes with the food chopper by the way!
I decided to add something small to my vision board. I have a collection of magazine clippings in a plastic baggie for use in making my journal collages, so even though I plan to do some serious magazine page browsing sometime soon, in order to really fill out my vision board, I wanted to place something on it (other than the photo of my kids, which I love, but that was already on the corkboard). I went through the clippings and the image that spoke to me most was the one of the world/globe inside the oyster. I like the imagery it represents and the marble earth is so beautiful too. I also had this tag from some pants I bought that looks like a map, and I have always been drawn to maps. It has "passport stamps" on it as well so it went on the board too.

In The Artist's Way book, Julia Cameron says that as you continue to read it and do the exercises within, as you reconnect with your creativity, you may find yourself doing new things, wearing new or slightly different clothes (or resurrecting old ones). That has happened to me again as it did in the last time I did this a couple years ago. I mentioned that I've been making changes around the house - like painting my kitchen wall yellow, painted my bathroom ceiling, etc. I also rearranged my closet to make it more spacious - and I LOVE to see the difference every time I go in there (it was quite cluttery before). In the process of rearranging the closet, I found some old skirts I hadn't worn in a long time, and I've been wearing them lately.

Related to making small but practical and helpful changes to one's life - one thing I've wanted to do for a while now is to start air-drying my clothes to save energy. I used to have a wood drying rack like this but it broke and I never replaced it. Until the other day! When I was at Target I bought this metal one.
I've used it twice now. Savie did not like the way her clothes felt all scratchy... I used to actually think that way too when my exes' mom used to dry the clothes out on the clothesline, but I have found I don't mind anymore. They smelled really good and fresh! And I'm helping the polar bears.

Speaking of polar bears, I have two articles out that I want to point out and link to. Please check them out if you can, and leave comments there. I love comments!

  • My September blog post for Adventures in Climate Change went live-
    Saving Polar Bears, One Light Switch at a Time

  • 9/11 Tribute Traps 10,000 Birds - This post on my weekly Animal Planet blog has already gotten over 12,000 visitors in just a couple days! It has received a lot of comments, too, which are very illuminating. By and away most people say they'd like to not have a 9/11 memorial tribute that contributes to the death of more creatures. Granted it's Animal Planet so the audience may be skewed but in the other hand many non-regular readers have gone and visited the blog since this post was Dug on, and posted on Reddit and got Retweeted around the Tweetosphere (is that what it's called?!)

The last thing I'll mention is that tomorrow 9/16 there's a Free SARK and Marney Dream Boogie telecall *How your Inner CEO and Inner Spirit can get along* at 9pm ET - or you can get an mp3 to listen to at any time!

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