cooking

No-Chicken Chicken Nuggets – Seitan (Wheat Meat)

Gluten warning! (If you are gluten intolerant, please do not try this recipe out; seitan is definitely not gluten free).

So, Seitan – also known as wheat meat. Seitan is basically wheat gluten (the protein that makes bread chewy). In itself, it is pretty flavorless, but it is definitely good for when you want something that has a bite to it. Seitan might also be where vegetarian/vegan food get a bad reputation (along with tofu, which I also thoroughly enjoy). The wrong brand of gluten sometimes has an off flavor, the texture might be really strange, and it might not be worth the hassle. This wheat meat, however, is very light but packs a lot of protein and also a lot of B-vitamins due to the nutritional yeast. What is this nutritional yeast? (I buy both of these in bulk online – pretty affordable). Nutritional yeast is a bit different from, although the same species, as Baker’s yeast and Brewer’s yeast. This yeast has been deactivated. It contains a lot of B vitamins – especially B12 (which is a little hard to get from plants). This gives the nuggets that savoriness and adds a nice complexity to the taste. The recipe below is for approximately 70 nuggets and only 3 ingredients (maybe 4 if you include flour for coating). You can make these as big as you want, flavor them however you want, and cook them any way you want.

Basic seitan

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2 cups of vital wheat gluten/gluten flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill (I’m not endorsed by them), but I found that their final product does not have that off flavor I was talking about). You can also add a little bit of this to your next bread and it’ll come out even better!

1/2 cup of nutritional yeast

about 1.5 cup of vegetable broth (I do this through bouillon, but you can definitely use your own or use different types of vegetable stock)

(Flavor these however you like; you can add poultry seasoning, soy sauce, vegan worcestershire sauce, etc…)

-You will also need an addition 6 cups of stock to cook the nuggets in. You can also change the flavor of the stock to change the taste of your seitan. This basic recipe will be delicious regardless. *Heat this while you are making the nuggets!

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All you have to do is mix the dry (the vital wheat gluten and the nutritional yeast) and then add the stock. Form a dough and break off little balls (a little smaller than golf ball size). The dough should not be very wet, but should still be a little tacky. Very easy!!

Drop these into simmering vegetable stock (again, flavored as you would like) and simmer for 30 minutes. In this time, they will expand a little. At the end of 30 minutes, drain.

While this is simmering, preheat the oven to 350F.

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When these are drained, coat them with some seasoned flour or bread crumbs. When all coated, place onto a lined baking sheet and then bake for 30 minutes. If you are going to coat these with sauce, I would recommend flour. If you are going to eat as is, I would recommend bread crumbs).

When finished baking, you can coat these with sauce. If you want to save some for the future, this would be the time to put them into a ziploc or a plastic container and freeze them. I baked mine with flour and then coated it with some honey barbecue sauce, and they were awesome! These are great anytime!

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This recipe is highly versatile, and you can treat these as you would any other type of nugget. If you want something a little sinful, you can even fry these!

Winter Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, Leek Soup

As the only CBC member left in Ithaca (congrats to our founder Carmen for her early graduation!), I have to tell you it is FREEZING here (actually well below….)- which means, it is the perfect time for a hearty, healthy, tasty, winter roasted soup! This soup’s recipe is vaguely flexible, feel free to add or subtract vegetables (or liquids) to taste- I always do.

p.s. this would go GREAT with David’s corn muffins from last week! 

pot of soup!

Ingredients:

3lbs of butternut squash

2 apples

3 leeks

1 head of garlic (thats right I said head)

Olive oil

Herbs/seasonings (I used rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper)

Chicken stock (about 2 cups)

White wine ( a generous splash)

Apple cider (to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375

Peel and cube squash and apples (squash can be bought pre-cut), and slice the leeks (only the white parts). Then, peel every clove of garlic on the head (every single one).

Take garlic cloves and the cubed vegetables/fruit and spread on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Toss vegetables lightly in olive oil and season with your herbs and salt/pepper.

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Put the vegetables in the oven, and cook for about 45 minutes (or until the squash can be easily pierced by a fork).

About 10 minutes before the vegetables are done, combine liquids (stock, wine, and apple cider), and bring to a boil. (In total there should be about 2 1/2 cups of liquids in the pot- so whatever proportion of liquids you want to do- go nuts!)

Take the vegetables out of the oven and put them in the pot with the liquids. Let the vegetables and broth simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Finally, take your immersion blender (or pour your pot of soup into a conventional blender), and puree away!

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Enjoy your soup with parsley or chives, and goat cheese for garnish!

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