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salute to seitan

November 11, 2008

as i read more and more vegan blogs i am inspired to continue on my journey.  i have found go-to meals that work over the regular course but i haven’t tried anything new in a long time.  basically, i have gone veg lazy.  i am doing pretty good, not to be discouraged.  at the same time, i want to continue to do more to embrace the process.  once again i am excited to do better. 

areas for improvement – i haven’t even started to let go of seafood.  i would like to do so one day.  although i don’t really plan to before 1) arriving in Portland or 2) finding a suitable protein alternative that i successfully build into my diet with consistency.  here in Hometown, i find it’s way hard to eat out, in groups, stick to vegan and not be a zealot.  my lifestyle includes eating out a lot in groups.  maybe this is just an excuse to keep seafood, but keeping seafood has given me a good start.  i have cut all the other meats, for the most part cheese, and maintained my general lifestyle. i haven’t been hard core on avoiding the residuals – mainly eggs and marginal amounts of dairy (butter) used in meals i do not prepare for myself (again, avoiding the zealot thing).  now for the lazy, in Portland there are an abundance of Vegheads so staying true to this lifestlye will  be easier.  this does not mean i should sit on my couch eating local BBQ and wait to do better until Portland.  it means, i should look for high protein alternatives that work for me, consider less fish, and stay excited about ease of these choices once i get to Portland.  

so begins my search for vegan high protein in love.  for a while i had taken to tofu but i lost that new found tolerance and once again find myself turned off by it.  the texture of tofu bothers me.  i have been picky about foods my entire life so this does not surprise me.  the tofu thing probably needs more time.  i will keep trying while i look at other things.  something that does work is lentils.  i eat the hell out of some lentils.  like this soup i’m having right now as i type – 28 grams of protein goodness, not to mention fiber.  mmm, lentils.  mmm, lazy.  i should experiment with other lentil uses, like the lentil burger recipe i’ve been eyeing for months… maybe next week.

so far i haven’t taken to alternative meat products nor have i been super interested in exploring them.  no tofurky for me, please.  i am grateful that i do not miss the flavor or the texture of fleshy meat.  sometimes i miss the richness ? materiality?  ahhh, those are not the right words but it’s the substance part i miss about a piece of meat.  i also miss certain meals, like tacos and enchiladas.  i tried to like this faux taco meat i found at the store but after second and third go round it’s been placed on the no list.  but i need me some tacos… what’s a girl to do?  

this weekend i experimented with seitan.  here’s the recap:

simply enough, seitan is a high protein soy-free meat alternative product derived of wheat gluten.  OMG, it’s high in carbs?  nope!  the starch is rinsed away in the formation process leaving a doughy protein blob to work with.  hmmm…

i had originally decided i would make seitan from scratch.  the recipe is easy enough.  but once i was standing at the grocery store, totally confused by the packaging, i decide to buy the prepared seitan for my first go.  boy am i glad i went that route.  i had no idea that seitan would be a mushy goopy firm-ish silly putty like substance.  all the recipes i looked at were for seitan cutlets so i was expecting something more brick like… something i could slice, not just mush around.  it was, well, weird.  but i kept an open mind and went ahead with my plan to make seitan parmesan.  rather than large pieces i smooshed out some smaller nuggets, breaded them, seared them, and combined into my baking dish as i would have done with bird.  damn.  it was delish.  i will definitely be doing more with seitan.  tacos are on the short list.

back to the enchiladas reference above, it’s cheese i miss the most.  i cannot find a suitable alternative.  i have tried all the brands my store carries to no avail.  the texture is weird.  it doesn’t melt like it should.  the taste, bleah.  i will keep looking.  the vegan blogs suggest some things i have never seen before, some that can be ordered online, so i will continue with my search.  cheese is where i screw up the vegan lifestyle the most.  i love me some cheese.  i was thrilled to learn that this vegan parmasan alternative hits the jackpot on taste.

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