Monthly Archives: February 2012

Simple Gluten Steaks

Some people call it seitan, and that’s fine too. But around here we’re simple folk and generally just call it what it is: gluten.

Gluten Steaks

Gluten is not strictly an Adventist thing, but you’ll hardly go to a potluck where somebody hasn’t brought a pan of gluten steaks with gravy or gluten steaks in casserole or some other format. Some people even use the steaks on sandwiches.

I’ll be honest, I really don’t care as much for them as a steak as I like them cut up and used in other recipes, such as pepper steak (I’ll share a recipe for that next week) or other recipes where non-ground beef is called for such as fajitas or stew.

Gluten is high in tryptophan, as well, which makes it a good food for those who, like me, have bouts of depression. (But if you’re caeliac, of course that’s not an option and you’ll have to get your tryptophan other sources. Not to worry: there are many other ways to get your tryptophan. This is a topic for another post I’d like to write one day.)

This is the method my mother-in-law uses and they come out very tender and tasty made this way. Here’s what you need to make them:

3 cups water
3 cups high gluten flour (also known as vital wheat gluten or “do-pep”)
1 tbsp Vegeta or other seasonings according to preference
1 tbsp Kitchen Bouquet

In one bowl, pour 3 cups water and just enough Kitchen Bouquet to make the water a Coca-Cola brown (approximately 1 tbsp).

In a second bowl, put 3 cups gluten flour and Vegeta. Add in whatever other seasonings you prefer – steak spice, onion powder, etc.

Pour water into dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Knead together and roll into a log. With a sharp knife, slice the log into patties, shaping them a little as needed.

Put patties into pot of boiling water and boil 30 minutes.

Place patties on a board or cloth to soak up excess moisture. Dip in a flour, salt, and steak spice blend to bread them and then pan fry.

Refrigerate or freeze until needed.

Categories: entrees, lunch, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, substitutions, vegan | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Cinnamon Rolls of Pure Delight

True Fact: Nobody, anywhere, makes a cinnamon roll like a Mennonite.

Freshly glazed cinnamon rolls hot out of the oven

Freshly glazed cinnamon rolls hot out of the oven

I’ve had considerable experience sampling Mennonite cinnamon rolls from various individuals and bakeries. Nothing else, anywhere, comes even close, and I’ve tried several different recipes from other sources with no luck.

So I decided to stop fooling around and study at the feet of these cinnamon roll masters, and with the aid of a few handy connections came into possession of two recipes to work with. I’ll be honest, I’ve yet to try the second one because the first one was so perfect. As of last week I successfully veganised it without sacrificing any of the fluffy, soft, incomparable goodness that defines a Mennonite cinnamon roll. And now I will share it with you.

The amounts in red are for a doubled batch. A single recipe will make about 12 rolls.

First, get out 1/3 c (2/3 c) Nucoa margarine to start softening in a bowl.

For eggs: Grind up 3 T (6 T) flaxseed (or if you have pre-ground, just measure it out) and stir that in 1/2 c + 1 T (1 c + 2 T) hot water in a small bowl. Let it sit until it gels.

To the bowl with the margarine, add:

1 c (2 c) non-dairy milk

1/3 c (2/3 c) brown sugar

1 tsp (2 tsp) salt

Using a hand mixer, whiz it all together until the margarine is in small bits.

Dissolve:

1 T (2 T) yeast in 1/4 c (1/2 c) warm water

Stir into margarine mixture. Pour in the flax eggs.

Stir in:

1-2 cups whole wheat flour (go easy on this; to get a fluffy cinnamon roll you can’t have a ton of wheat flour weighing it down. Remember, this is dessert, not health food!)

Continue to stir in white flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is able to be handled. (You will use around 5-6 cups total for a single batch.) It will feel silky joy to knead it. Silky, doughy joy. After several minutes of kneading, when you poke it with your finger and it springs back, it’s ready to start rising.

Spray your bowl with cooking spray, plop your nicely formed ball of dough in it, and spray the dough with cooking spray too. Set it in a warm place (I find that my gas oven with pilot light on is perfect) and cover with a cloth. Let it rise about 45 minutes.

When your timer goes off, let the dough sit a few more minutes while you prepare your pans (a single batch fills 2 9″ pie pans, with 6 buns per pan) by spraying with cooking spray.

Now get your filling ingredients ready. I suggest:

1/2 c (1 c) brown sugar

1 T (2 T) cinnamon

Raisins to personal taste (if desired)

1/2 c (1 c) finely chopped nuts (optional)

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Now, take your bowl of risen dough out of its rising place and punch it down. (If you’ve made a double batch, use a sharp knife to cut the lump in half and do one half at a time.)

Press with your hands or use a rolling pin (or both) to get the dough into the semblance of a rectangle, about 1/2″ thick. Spread the sugar/cinnamon evenly on the rectangle first, making sure to get all the way to the edges, then sprinkle the raisins and/or nuts, pressing down on them slightly so they stay put while you’re rolling up the roll.

To roll the rolls, start with the long side nearest you and roll away from yourself. It can take some practise, but it’s not that difficult. Try to keep it as tightly rolled as you can, and pinch the dough closed when you get to the other side.

Now take a sharp knife and cut the log into 12 equal pieces, which you will then transfer to your pans. They may need a little reshaping; this is normal and okay.

pre-baked cinnamon rolls

This is what they look like before they’re baked.

Preheat the oven to 350 while you let the rolls rise for 20-30 minutes. When they have doubled in size, you’ll bake them 20-30 minutes.

To glaze, mix 1-2 cups of powdered sugar with a tablespoon or so of milk and just enough water to make a thick gooey mass. You will glaze the rolls hot out of the oven, and the heat will thin out the glaze, so you want to start with it being very thick.

Enjoy. Enjoy to the fullest. I hope you have as much luck with this recipe as I’ve had.

Categories: dessert, nut-free, recipes, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cookbook Review – More Choices: Eat Well, Live Well

Today I’m going to share a review for More Choices: Eat Well, Live Well by Cheryl D. Thomas-Peters Ph.D and James A. Peters.

One of my friends gave me this cookbook back in the days when I was still only borderline interested in vegetarianism. It sat on the shelf for a long time, but in the last year and especially in the last few months I’ve taken to trying stuff from it and finding it a treasure trove of deliciousness.

Six recipes I’ve tried:

  • Breakfast Scones: Very tasty
  • Mexican Chili Burgers: Very good, although I felt they needed a little more salt.
  • Oven-Baked Mexi-Fries: Delicious! I’ve done many seasoning variations to go with different main dishes with this recipe as a base.
  • Italian Vegetable Soup: Yum!
  • Hearty Rice Skillet: Good.
  • Mexican Baked Potatoes with Bean and Corn Salsa: This was excellent and a big hit when I served it to our Friday night Bible study group.

Pros:

  • Lots of photos, a clean layout, and a decent index.
  • 12 lifestyle guidelines for better health including information on fresh air, avoiding refined foods, sleep, and other such things.
  • Lots of valuable information on calcium, iron, and the vegetarian diet.
  • Nutritional analysis in the back of the book for all the recipes.

Cons:

  • It’s not strictly vegan (if that’s a con), since it has the option of using eggs and milk OR the vegan substitutes.

This book is an excellent choice for:

  • Someone who’s still in the transitional period between traditional diet and healthier diet
  • Someone who’s undecided about being vegetarian, or just wanting to dip their toes in and see how it goes
  • Someone who simply wants some healthy recipes to improve diabetes, cholesterol, or another health issue

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, you can head over to Amazon.

Categories: Cookbook Review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Stir fry

The nice thing about stir fry is that you can really use just about any produce, saute it in oil and soy sauce, plop it on rice, and call it good.

Here’s a picture of one I did some time ago:

Another stir fryIt’s been a long time, but it looks like I used a lot of steamed veggies in this one (broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, carrots, red onions, and seasonings).

Changing up the way you prepare the veggies for cooking can add interest. Instead of always slicing carrots, for instance, maybe slice them on the bias sometimes, grate them, or julienne them.

If you’re using a lot of chunky veggies like in the picture above, you’ll want to saute your onions and then add a little water and steam the veggies before adding things like cabbage or other quick-cooking types of produce.

Today I did this (well, today by the time you read this will have been weeks ago):

I sauteed 1 onion, chopped, until it started to turn golden brown.

I added 2 thinly sliced carrots, 1/2 cup frozen lima beans, and approximately 1.5 cups of julienned cabbage, and 3 slices of frozen tofu that I cut into smaller slices. (Freezing tofu gives it a kind of spongy texture ideal for soaking up marinades!)

I crushed in 2 cloves of garlic.

I stirred in a drizzle of soy sauce, 2 spoonsful of peanut butter, some ginger and cumin, and a dash of cayenne.

And this was the result:

Stir fry

It was Most Delicious.

Categories: entrees, lunch, recipes, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Sandwich Spread Salad

Garbanzo Salad

This is like a cross between tuna salad and chicken salad and I ❤ it on sandwiches.

1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (or 2 cups of home-cooked garbanzo beans)
2 Tbsp leeks or green onions, minced
2 Tbsp vegenaise or mayo of choice
1 Tbsp Dill Relish or finely chopped pickles (I like Bubbies pickles)
Celery salt to taste

Mix ingredients. Serve with lettuce and tomato (or whatever other fixings you fancy) on a whole wheat bun.

Note: Garbanzos from a can tend to be harder than home-cooked ones, so I recommend smooshing the beans a bit before mixing the other ingredients together. Otherwise, they have this slightly annoying tendency to band together to start an anti-consumption revolution and roll right off your sandwich onto your plate.

Categories: recipes, salads, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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