The blog has been a low priority over the last week since I started my new nine-to-fiver. I’m slowly adjusting back to the real world, and am realizing how hermit-y I was becoming working from home. One day towards the end there I was walking around the house and Joe asked “have you even showered yet today?” — I had, but it apparently wasn’t showing. Getting up and having to see other humans is probably a good thing for me.
We delved further into Vegan Yum Yum this week, making Lauren Ulm’s Broccoli Almost Sweet-and-Sour Tofu (not pictured) on Friday night and the Apple Cranberry Salad with Country-Fried Seitan last night. Friday night’s meal was supposed to be an easy one — but for some reason the sweet-and-sour saurce was kind of a bitch to make. I couldn’t get it to thicken, and kept adding more cornstarch — but it was still runny. I was pretty aggro anyway that day, so I handed the reigns over to Joe, which meant a whole bunch of other stuff was thrown in (I saw him squirting maple syrup into it at one point). Since I’m a recipe purist and bad at improv-ing like that, I didn’t take photos. It tasted pretty good, even with the maple syrup.
Last night I journeyed into the wild world of homemade seitan (sentences like that make me realize my life is not exciting). I tidied up the kitchen beforehand, anticipating frustration while making the stuff and knowing clutter would further rile me up. But it was actually quite easy to make. In the recipe, Ulm says to “squish, pound and pull” the gluten wedges until you have the proper thickness — and I did. I found that punching them at full force got them to do what I wanted, plus it kind of felt good and I’ve been feeling really effing angry lately. So that was fun.
The picture off to the left shows the final little fritters — don’t they look legit?! As a former fried chicken lover (there were a few incidents in college where my drunk ass mowed through many a late-night helping of Safeway fried chicken – ew) this hardly tastes like the real thing — but they were still really tasty! The texture is what got me here: it’s a little rubbery and kind of — and I know this is going to sound weird — wet. The dough felt a little sweaty… and I think that may be because I let the broth boil during the braising process when it was supposed to be simmering. But Joe ate it — which always means wasn’t offensively sweaty or bad.
We tossed slices of my gluten-fritters in a salad of cranberries, Granny Smith apples and a mustard-based dressing — and it reminded me of a Farmer’s Market Salad I’d had years ago. We have a couple of gluten cutlets left in the fridge, and the frying process was fairly easy so I think this could turn into a regular weekday meal for us. Usually a salad like this — apple, cranberry, greens — would get a handful of Oregon-zola crumbles before heading to the table, but I didn’t think the salad suffered without them. If cheese becomes a regular part of my diet again, I can guarantee I’ll still make this salad — but it’ll probably get some cheese-friends thrown in.
I’m still working on getting good lunch ideas to bring to work. Leftovers are usually what I rely on, but it would be nice to have some healthy ideas (please send if you have them — even meat-based meals that I could veganize). The other issue I’m having —and this isn’t necessarily a cheese-related issue — are snacks. Joe and I watch a movie almost every night, and we always have snacks. Lately it seems like we’ve fallen into a snack-black-hole. We’ll go in the kitchen and stare into the cupboards and fridge, waiting for some epiphany to rile us. But nothing. So now I need snack ideas, too. Crap!