Wednesday, March 23, 2011

R.O.V.M - Barbecue Seitan with Potatoes and Experimental Salad which I get a new knife and really need to show it off...

In today's installment of Regular Ordinary Vegan Mealtime, I'll be taking you though the events of my day, through the course of a meal (with dessert, of course), and round and round the inside of my thought processes. For dinner tonight, we'll be serving delicious (though slightly chewy) barbecue seitan cutlets, rosemary roasted potatoes, and a salad of a strange mixture of broccoli and tomatoes served with a raspberry chipotle sauce (it sounded like a good idea at the time). Also, I bought myself a new chef's knife, and need to cut something with it. (Spoilers: I cut myself)

Today, the GF and I spent some time shopping in our local, semi-upscale, bargain store, looking for kitchen accessories. She found a neat French press mug (in which I made some truly awful coffee, my fault) while I spied a 6.3" chef's knife which was 66% off the original price of $120. There was only one problem: I didn't recognize the brand. I know it seems a bit petty to stick to brand loyalty over quality, but since I knew nothing of the quality (wrapped up pretty well in some sturdy plastic) I had to stick with my available sources of data. A quick check on the iphone revealed nothing, we went all the way home to look up reviews on our laptops--nothing. It seems I had no available data.

I bought it anyway. Forty bucks for potentially a $120 dollar knife? Easy peasy. But then, this happened.

I think the knife was on sale because it's possessed by an angry culinary demon.
That's right, the first thing cut by my brand new knife was myself. How embarrassing I must have been to all amateur, ordinary vegan chefs at that moment. There was a bit of blood, but it was a clean cut, a good sign in favor of the knife's quality. Slathering the cut with disinfectant and slapping on a bandaid, I soldiered on.


Tonight's dinner looks fairly nice, but really, it's one of the simpler meals we've made lately. The hardest part was handled by the GF, who took on the all but alchemical task of preparing seitan (she used this recipe from vegweb). We've made this spongy, glutinous meat substitute a few times in the past, but all of the previous attempts ended in utter disaster. This time went slightly better. We baked the seitan dough in the oven for a bit, rubbed it down with garlic, earth balance (margarine), salt, and pepper. Served with barbecue or steak sauce, it's a really nice meaty substitute with tons of protein.

Even easier were the potatoes. They took longer, in terms of time, but most of that can be spent on the couch while they cook. We bought a bag of tiny, multicolored, new potatoes and blanched them for 20-30 minutes to soften them up. After this, we cut them in half, threw them in a roasting dish with diced onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper, sprinkled some rosemary on top, and put them in the oven to roast up. Just before they were done, we pulled 'em out, put some butter over top (gives them a nice sheen), threw in some minced garlic and returned them to the oven for another 10 or 15 minutes.

Now, on to the "salad," which might be the most interesting part of the meal. The GF, being the culinary innovator that she is, pulled out some raw broccoli, some tiny tomatoes, cut them up into tiny bits, tossed them around in a bowl with olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar, and boom, it was done.

Keep in mind that we had lettuce, but we completely ignored it. COOKING OUTSIDE THE BOX.

I topped my salad with some nearby raspberry chipotle sauce. I can't remember where we found it, but it's sweet, spicy, and tangy in all the right ways, and went really well with our new vegetable salad.


We ate this much before it occurred to me to take a photo.
After dinner and a bit of Netflix, the GF decided to make one of her (our) favorite dessert creations: a mixed-berry/fruit grunt (it's a bit like a cobbler). To start, boil up some fresh or frozen (we used frozen) fruit or berries with a bit of water and sugar until it gets syrupy, and pour this in the bottom of a baking dish. Next you're going to make the grunty bit, or the cobblestones of the cobbler, if you prefer. Now, she always does this part, so I'm not the expert, but from what I've gathered it's basically slightly sweetened biscuit dough. Form this in to balls and place them on top of the fruit/berry mixture in your pan. You're not really trying to cover the top, leave plenty of space so the dough can expand and soak up a lot of the fruity goodness. Sprinkle some sugar on top and throw it in the oven to bake; you'll know it's done when the cobbles are crispy on top.

After dinner, I spent a bit of time cutting, dicing, and chopping everything in sight with my new knife (no casualties this time), and watched a few Jamie Oliver clips on YouTube. What an exciting life!

So, join me next time when we make something regular, ordinary, and vegan!

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