Sunday, February 10, 2008

Seitan sausage with a side of mashed cauliflower

Kate Harding at Shapely Prose has been writing about intuitive eating. As a dancer, I know how important it is to listen to one's body. I trust my body completely. Recently, for instance, I've been desiring iron-rich foods — broccoli, raisins, and, most strangely for me, sausage. It's lambing season, you see: the parents of one of my friends have a farm in the area where they raise sheep, and are harvesting the boys right now (the girls are kept for breeding and wool). I might ask her for some meat, but I don't know that I could bring myself to eat it without visiting her farm and meeting the lambs first.

In the mean time, I will soak some white beans and make something with olive oil and lemon juice (iron from vegetables is not absorbed well except in the presence of vitamin C, although broccoli, spinach, etc., are high in both). And, to satisfy my sausage craving, I made seitan tonight.

This is a foolproof recipe form the Post-Punk Kitchen, although I've varied it slightly.

Preheat oven 325°F. In a large bowl or the bowl of the standing mixer, whisk together dry ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp fine-ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin (I only had whole, so ground mine in the mortar and pestle)
  • 1/8 tsp cayanne (I had large red pepper flakes, ground in the mortar and pestle)
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano, ground in mortar and pestle
  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt
  • (We are out of allspice, but PPK suggests 1/8 tsp)

In a smaller bowl, whisk well the wet ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1 ice-cube (2 Tbsp) of frozen home-made vegetable broth
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and knead well. Form the brains into a log, and wrap tightly in foil, twisting ends. Bake 75 minutes (325°F) and enjoy.

We also had sautéed greens — collards (de-stemmed), cauliflower leaves, and some very old rocket (arugula), chopped into couple one-inch pieces, and placed in olive oil that has been heated in the wok with garlic salt, oregano, and fresh-ground black pepper, and stirred until greens have been coated and turned a consistently bright green.

The cauliflower florets and peeled stems were used in a mashed cauliflower dish. Boil cauliflower for at least ten minutes, until a fork pierces the cauliflower easily. Drain in a sieve or colander, and mash in the standing mixer with the paddle blade on medium-high. While the blade is running, add a touch of good olive oil, a handful of salt, and a few turns of fine-ground fresh black pepper. Cauliflower prepared this way is extremely creamy and sweet, but has no butter added; it's a very good vegan side-dish.

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