24 October 2013

Maggie's Seitan au Jus

This October has been (apparently) a bit insane for me, even though I'm not sure why that's been the case. In any event, I hope to make it up to you, dear readers, by telling you about another one of Shana's all time favorite dinners - seitan au jus. This dinner is a vegan version of a roast beef au jus (or "French Dip") sandwich, crossed with a Philly cheese steak sandwich, and inspired by the Vietnamese Seitan Baguette with Savory Broth Dip found in Veganomicon. It sounds like a bit of a sandwich mash-up, but it turns into something positively delicious! So let me explain a bit more about how I got here.

First, let's start with the French Dip. Like this decidedly non-vegan sandwich, seitan au jus has a savory dipping sauce from its own juices, softening the bread and adding extra flavor. Second, Philly cheese steak. Many years back, Shana and I went to the Reading Terminal Market while visiting her family in Philly. We wandered around trying to decide what to eat for lunch when I saw a place that sold vegan cheese steaks. Having never had one, I decided on the spot to try one. I was sold! This sandwich has most of the ingredients you'd find in a cheese steak ("meat," onions, and peppers). Third, the recipe from Veganomicon. When I got this cookbook, I read it cover to cover (as one does with cookbooks), marking recipes as I went along. I marked this one, but was a bit uncertain about how all the flavors (five-spice powder, mayo, cucumber, onion, cilantro, seitan, etc.) would work together. Regardless, it got my brain turning and this recipe emerged.

You can see the "au jus" in the bowl and the roasted cauliflower we had, too. 

08 October 2013

Crockpot Almost Irish Stew

We had a line of autumn storms move through here a couple of days ago. In their wake, they left perfect cool, fall weather. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you should be unsurprised that this cool weather leads us to soups and stews. I mean, they really are the most perfect foods! This particular stew is one that I've been waiting to post for a while, as there was a bit of groundwork necessary. Specifically, I had to make sure that you all (lovely readers, you) were comfortable with me talking about seitan.

This crockpot dinner is a fabulous fall or winter dinner. The only veggies in it are ones that you can easily get year round and the flavor profile is hearty and full of earthy tastes. In addition, putting seitan in the crockpot with some liquid gives the seitan such a wonderful texture. Plus, if you don't like seitan, you can simply switch it out for some beans (see the Helpful Hints).

Two quick blog-related items. First, I'm very sorry for my resent absence. I've been working hard and traveling a lot this semester. Neither of those things seem to be changing for the near future, but I promise that I haven't forgotten about LesVegan. Second, I've made a new page for vegan substitutions and am working on switching the links within recipes over to the new page. Eventually, the old substitutions post will go away, so if you stumble upon a broken link, please pass a message my way.

Finally, on an unrelated note: after dinner tonight we went for a walk to enjoy 60 degree temperatures, the crunchy leaves, and lovely evening ambiance. On our way out the door, we stopped to admire the lovely work the neighborhood squirrels are doing to one of the pumpkins we put out front. Apparently it's a delicious pumpkin (but the other one isn't...?). Who knows. I'm not distressed about the pumpkin consumption, as it has been fun to watch