Candle Cafe’s Wheat Ball Heroes – and a Pita Pizza!

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

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I’m pretty sure I don’t eat enough sandwiches. Or at least not compared to my high school years. I used to have a sammie a day, like clockwork, and now I’m lucky if I make one or two a month. Adulthood, man. (On the plus side, I eat so much pizza and ice cream that my mom would be appalled if she knew. IF ONLY.)

I decided to rectify this oversight with the Wheat Ball Heroes from Vegan Holiday Cooking – one of the last recipes I’ll try before finally getting around to a review! (Just in time for the holidays, yay!) The recipe involves making both your own wheat balls and marinara sauce from scratch, but seeing as I had a bunch of homemade sauce in the freezer, I took a bit of a shortcut there. fwiw, the Candle Cafe’s marinara sauce recipe looks pretty solid; I’m sure it’s delish.

As for the wheat balls, they’re really tasty, but also rather troublesome. They’re made of seitan (homemade, using the Simple Simmered Seitan recipe from Vegan on the Cheap!),

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fried onions and garlic, bread crumbs, and assorted seasonings. After mixing the batter in the food processor, it turns into a crumbly mixture, which you’re supposed to form into little balls and bake. The dough didn’t hold together quite as well as I hoped, even after adding a little extra oil and a splash of water. Some balls took multiple tries, and still imploded while in the oven. To wit:

(More below the fold…)

Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew and Oven Pommes Frites

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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Continuing with our “enough onions to cry a small army to sleep” theme is this Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew from Vegan Eats World. This one’s got 3 yellow onions – a full pound and a half! My eyes were aching for hours after dinner, no lie. Even though I cheated and just used two onions. I KNOW I AM THE WORST.

Also present: carrots, homemade seitan, dark beer (vegan, of course!), mushrooms, and various spices and seasonings including but not limited to thyme (a ten on the savory spectrum), brown sugar, and tomato paste.

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The broth is quite gravy-like, making this stew the perfect topping (or dip!) for oven-baked fries. I don’t know why I don’t make my own fries more often, y’all; do it right, and they are tastier than the frozen stuff by far.

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Shane was nice enough to make the Seitan Coriander Cutlets ahead of time, along with a batch of 5-Spice Seitan for his own snacking needs. (He likes to put them in burritos, along with some rice and beans.) The former are oven-baked while the latter recipe uses a steamer. He was happy with the results, but wasn’t so crazy about the amount of aluminum foil he burned through. Experiments with boiling the cutlets are forthcoming. Stay tuned!

Waffle Wednesday: Chick’ N’ Waffles Party

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

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It’s Wednesday, y’all! You know what that means!

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So Imma change things up this week with a savory waffle treat. Weirdly enough, I don’t think we’ve ever seen Leslie eat a waffle that wasn’t sweet. Usually – arguably – overly so. (Waffle sundaes, anyone?)

Instead of syrup and whipped cream, this one’s got meat and gravy.

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(More below the fold…)

Seitan Brew Stew (now with homemade Savory Seitan!)

Monday, March 4th, 2013

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As I was throwing this together – and I use that term casually, as though it didn’t take me a good 45 minutes to prep all the ingredients! – I wasn’t entirely sure I’d like the combination of beer with tomato juices. The tomatoes were the last thing to go in, and at that point the stew seemed so perfect – just the right amount of smoky and savory – that I was worried about fudging it up. That, and something about beer and tomato juice just sounded sketchy to me. But hey, I’m a fussy eater; it’s in my nature to turn up my nose at just about everything!

Which begs the question, why this recipe? Well, Shane made a batch of seitan in the slow cooker last weekend, so I had four half-pound loaves to use up. (This stew calls for a pound, and I froze the rest.) Necessity.

Turns out that beer with tomato juice, rosemary, and thyme? Pretty tasty! Throw in a pound of potatoes and some carrots, and you’ve got yourself one hearty pot of stew!

The ingredients are reminiscent of Dinty Moore’s Beef Stew, which I loved as a kid. Omit the tomatoes and replace the beer with vegan beef broth, and it could be a dead ringer. You know, minus the actual death. Note to self: must try sometime.

Both recipes – the Seitan Brew Stew and the homemade Savory Seitan – are from American Vegan Kitchen, which I reviewed last week. And I’m still motivated to try new recipes: that should tell you just how much I love this cookbook!

fwiw, the seitan was really easy to make, and doubly so since we went with the slow cooker variation. Not only is it less hands-on than the baking method (wherein the cutlets are fried prior to baking), but you don’t have to waste any aluminum foil either. It does take 7 hours longer to bake though, so planning ahead is key. Shane started his a bit late in the day, and had to stay up past his bedtime to remove the roasts from the crock pot. Don’t be Shane!

Seitan and Herb Dumplings

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

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From American Vegan Kitchen!

I can’t even remember the last time I had dumplings, y’all. Back when I was a wee little thing (okay, not so little; my nickname was Jelly Belly Kelly for a reason, you dig?), my mom used to make sauerkraut and dumplings for my grandmother – complete with a side of liver (ew!), which stunk up the house something awful. I don’t remember liking it much: not the sauerkraut, not the dumplings, and certainly not the liver.

Besides, I thought dumplings were stuffed with goodies, instead of being baked in them? Kind of like pierogies plus!

Point being, I was curious to try the Seitan and Herb Dumplings recipe in AVK, just to see if my feelings vis-à-vis dumplings had changed any in the intervening twenty-five years. Besides, if I didn’t like it, there was a big fat bowl of leftover fusilli sitting in the fridge with my name on it.

Turns out, dumplings aren’t half bad. Since I have no idea what a dumpling is supposed to taste like, I can’t be 100% certain that I nailed it. The outsides of my dumplings were soft and mushy, having absorbed all the stewy juices they’d been simmering in. Makes sense! It was hard to tell if the innards were done, though. They seemed a bit…spongy, maybe? Not bad, but dense. I think I like ’em, but in moderation. Maybe five to a bowl? Yeah, I’m specific.

The stew (or is this a soup? idk!) is really hearty and flavorful – quite good! Surprising, given that there aren’t too many spices in it. Must be the thyme. And the seitan – I lazed out and used store-bought, but AVK does include a few homemade seitan recipes – is reminiscent of the beefy chunks in Dinty Moore Beef Stew. (Oh, how I loved that stuff in my omni days! One Christmas my aunt even gave me a huge Costco size as a stocking stuffer.) Even if I don’t go for the dumplings, I’ll most definitely make the stew again.

Belly, full. Pants, off. Or at least exchanged for sweatpants. I’ll leave it to your imagination, reader.

Italian-Style Seitan with Linguine (Sike! It’s really fettuccine!)

Friday, January 18th, 2013

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Can you believe that this is my first time trying seitan? Wacky, right? Limp and pallid, a seemingly undifferentiated mass of gluten – uncooked seitan just never looked all that appealing to me. Cooked it looks so much more appetizing, but I never had the impetus to get to that point. Until I started drooling over the Italian-Style Seitan with Linguine recipe in American Vegan Kitchen, that is.

All in all, this dish is a lot like some of my old pasta favorites: veggies sauteed in oil (and other savory liquids) and served atop a steaming plate of noodle-shaped carbs. In other words, delizioso! With kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, red peppers, mushrooms, garlic, basil, and oregano because this is Italian style, yo!

The recipe also calls for spinach, but I skipped that step because I’m an adult and can totally do that. I adjusted the amounts of some of the other veggies to my liking (read: pile on the olives and tomatoes like they’re going out of season!) and added veggie broth AND white wine. The recipe calls for either or, but I mixed the vegetable bouillon in with the pasta water before adding it to the veggies. Double the savory goodness!

For some reason I was expecting the sauce to be more, ahem, saucy – hence the rolls, to sop up the extras – but the pasta and veggies absorbed most of the liquid. Still tasty though!