Ok, since this is ostensibly a blog about seitan, I should probably post my Seitan recipe.

  • 2 1/2 cups wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbs all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
  • 1 1/2 tps lemon zest
  • 4 ts Sage
  • 2 ts Rosemary
  • 2 ts Oregano
  1. Blend in a food processor with a dough blade. If you have very strong hands, you can kneed it, I’m told. Keep going till it coalesces in to a ball and runs round and round, threatening to knock over the blender. It might not look quite like a ball of dough, but it should be mostly clumped together.
    • if it turns into a paste, but won’t hold together, it’s probably too wet. Add a small amount of wheat gluten at a time, until squeezing makes it solid in your hand. If it won’t turn to paste, it’s too dry.
    • The longer you blend it, the firmer the seitan will be. Also, the less wet it is, the firner it will be. I make my seitan a tiny bit wetter if I want it soft.
  2. Cut it into three equalish sized chunks and put in a pot of cold water. Turn the water up, and let it boil.
    • It has to be cold and get warm, don’t warm it up first.
    • Keep an eye on the seitan – it will sink at first and sit on the bottom, but eventually rise. But it will also stick to the bottom. At some point as it’s boiling, you’ll find yourself wrestling it free of the sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. When it’s boiling, turn it down to a simmer and let it cook for an hour. Turn it off and let it cool to room temperaturish before putting it in the fridge.
    • This also helps the seitan become more firm.

I usually make a double batch, and after cooking and cooling, slice one batch up and put it in freezer bags in the freezer. Cuts up great with a bread knife, and then it fits in the freezer bags.

You can vary the spices – put whatever in there. I’ve made ‘indian’ seitan (I should make it again soon). I need to try to make it with zaa’taa for an arabic flavour. The above is sage heavy – I’ve fooled people with it. “Sausage?” they say, “But I though you were ve-“, “Yes,” I reply, “Everything they told you was a lie.”


Delicous breakfast toffin.
It’s tough to get a good breakfast in. There’s never any time to cook.

So Kate invented Toffins: tofu muffins. Minature keishes, essentially, with bits of sausage, onion and spinach. A nice dose of protein and greens, and easy to toss in the microwave when you are half asleep in the morning. I usually top them with hot sauce, and, along with a nice big cup of coffee, they make a good (and quick) breakfast.

They also freeze well: we put half a batch in the fridge, and half a batch in the freezer to thaw when we run out.

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Vegan Cheese: You have to make it.

We have been fermenting cashews to make vegan spreads. They are so good, we’ve set aside a corner of a cupboard to have a constant small batch going. Also, the rejuvelac (the liquid you culture the cashews with) is good to drink.

It’s very easy, mostly involves leaving things to sit in the dark for a couple of days. The process is really simple. [Read more →]

Marinated Breakfast Tempeh

Mornings, and breakfast, is always hurried. What to do? We’ve pretty much settled on a daily staple of this marinated tempeh recipe and Sauteed Brussel Sprouts (coming up).

A couple of times a week, I chop up a couple of Trader Joe’s Tempeh packages, and when morning comes, I just heat up a frying pan, dump them in, and start getting the coffee ready 🙂

Makes 4-6 portions.


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Zatar & pomegranite seitan


Vegan in China

So one of the reasons I haven’t been posting much (or at all this year) is that I’ve been doing a lot of travelling for work to China. I’ll admit, I was worried when I first started, as the Chinese are kind of known for their love of meat. Meat is in everything here; seasonings, sauces, broths, vegetable dishes, you name it, it’s probably got meat or meat product in it. However, I’ve learned a few tricks on how to maintain a vegan lifestyle here. It’s not impossible, but it will take some adjustments.

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I don’t know about you all, but over the holidays I indulged. I indulged in wine, beer, mai tais and rum. I also indulged in bread, fried things, vegan processed “meats” and sugar. All of which means that I gained a few pounds. Did you know that being vegan doesnt’ necessarily translate to being thin? There’s tons of unhealthy vegan foods out there. Don’t believe me? Look up the ingredients of Nutter Butters.

Carbs aren’t by nature “bad for you”. They’re an energy source. Like my in-laws, some people can consume vast amounts of rice, bread, and potatoes at the dinner table because they have this amazing metabolism, or they work out so much that they actually use these wonderful grains and sugars for energy. I don’t. I come from bread-basket Ukrainian peasant stock. The kind that didn’t die during the famines because their bodies held onto fat so much better than all those skinny dead kids. Plus, I don’t work out like Lance Armstrong, because I have a day job. So while carbs in and of themselves aren’t bad for you, they are weight-gain triggers for people like me that spend most of their day sitting in front of a computer and not walking around in the fields.

Anyway. Seeing as how The Eating Season is done, it’s time to cut the carbs (my primary weight gaining device), reduce the sugars (my other weight gaining device) and lay off the booze. Tonight I whipped up a nice big “Eggplasagna”…with no cheese, no dairy, no pasta, no gluten, and very low carb. Fortunately, it’s all flavor, sausage-y and onion-y and full of yum. Just try to keep your portions under control…just because it’s low carb doesn’t mean it’s low calorie.

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Vizza (aka Vegan Pizza), Take One: Hawaiian Pizza

No, vegans, you do not have to give up pizza. Your more socially conscious / healthy / kinder choice doesn’t include dairy but it does include pizza so good that you’ll be snacking along, only to find in the morning that you did, in fact, eat an entire pizza all by yourself. And you’re not ashamed. Because it was so good you’d do it again just to prove a point.

Jon and I make quite a lot of varieties of vegan pizza; so much in fact that we’ve toyed with the idea of opening a vegan gourmet pizza parlor named “Vizza”, where only the best wine would be paired with gourmet pizza strips, and we wouldn’t even need to advertise it as vegan because we’d be so pretentious and smug about the restaurant identity design and ingredients that hipsters would line up outside our door for blocks on end.

Anyway. This is one of many vegan pizza recipes I plan to post, the vegan take on a Hawaiian pizza (we’re headed to Hawaii in a week or so, so my brain is kind of focused on that right now).  Note: we usually use yeast in the dough, but forgot to add it this time. It turned out great anyway, so don’t worry if your brain is mush at the end of the day and you totally space on that. Just smile and act like it was all part of your Master Plan and no one will know.

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Hot & Sour Soup, vegan-style

Vegan Hot & Sour Soup

Last night I might have had a few too many drinks. OK, I know I had a few too many drinks. This was made clear to me when I woke up this morning with a rockin’ headache and a bit of a hangover. Enter hot and sour soup, my salty-soury-rehydrating hangover cure.

I’m going to add a few things in here that I didn’t put in the soup this time because next time I make this I definitely will put them in. I think this soup will be just the thing to say tsai chien (goodbye) to this wretched hangover, and hopefully I’ll make better choices in the future. But I doubt it.

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Wings of Seitan (aka Seitan’s Balls)

Seitan's Balls

(photo courtesy of Jess Judge – thanks Jess!)

For many Americans, Superbowl Sunday (and other football-ey type of social gatherings) is a tradition of food. Namely, chicken wings. For my Dad, it’s about blue cheese and sour cream dip for rippled potato chips. It’s a staple, and it just wouldn’t feel like the Superbowl without it. Going vegan has strained me in these types of situations. On the one hand, I really want to enjoy the fun social aspect as much as anyone, but on the other hand (and I freely admit this) I miss the traditions I’ve grown up with.

So once again, I took the bull by the horns and whipped up some vegan-friendly appetisers that not only have quelled my cravings for That Which I Choose Not To Eat Anymore, but as of a few weekends ago won the admiration and respect of some of my most meat-happy friends. They gobbled these up faster than I could say “Wait, that’s not meat!”. I quickly had a photo snapped before the entire dish was gone, so you’ll have to forgive the fact that it’s not as styled as I’d prefer. Next time I’m bringing out the camera before I present the meal.

I recommend these hot “wings”, or “Wings of Satan Seitan”, or if you’re more vulgar than that, “Satan’s Seitan’s Balls” for all those social food gatherings where you find yourself questioning your commitment to animal kindness, or if you’re just in the mood for spicy protein and blue cheese. And, it’s meat-eater tested and approved, so you can’t go wrong there. Unless you encounter my Catholic mother who is mortified that I’d cook with something that is a homophone for the Devil Himself.

Hail Seitan, y’all. And his tasty balls.

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