Monthly Archives: February 2009

Vegan Al Pastor Tacos

Mexican Al Pastor is made kind of similarly to a Gyros, the meat is on a spit and sometimes there is a pineapple on top and bits of pork are shaved off as people order. Al Pastor literally means “in the style of shepherds” which is interesting when you think of these Mexican shepherds wandering around, pockets full of chili peppers, waiting to find a spot to start a fire, and picking cilantro and pineapple for the meal. Since they didn’t have vital wheat gluten they killed one of their flock and even today, with gluten being plentiful, they still would rather use pork.  Or at least, here in Texas they use pork. I guess that means Anthony Bourdain is happy.

This vegan version I came up with obviously wasn’t on a spit, although that would be a lot of fun! But it was still really yummy. Dan was eating leftover bits out of the pan and the dogs were staring at us grunting the whole time we were eating.  It was almost perfect but not quite, something was missing so I might come back to the recipe, especially since it may just need tweaking, more smoked paprika maybe and some adobo sauce would make them perfect. But really this meal was great. If you have only had American tacos your whole life (hard shell, ground “beef” with taco seasoning, lettuce, tomato, and “cheese”) I implore you to try some alternative tacos, this will be a real treat.

I started with my favorite recipe for boiled seitan which is from joanna vaught’s site. But I changed the spices from chicken to Pastor.


Al Pastor Seitan Cutlets

dry:
2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour or chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 T onion powder
1 tsp salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 T ancho chilies powder
1 T smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp fennel
1 chipotle, ground
1 Pasilla, ground

wet:

2 cups cold water
2 T grapeseed or light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

broth:
water
fake ham bouillon
ezpazote
bay leaf

First, bring the water to a boil and then get the temperature down to a mild simmer. Mix the dry ingredients together and then the wet ingredients together and then mix everything together in a bowl. It will be tough because the vital wheat glueten soaks up the liquid really fast. Knead it for a minute or two and then tear of a golf ball sized piece. Form a ball with your hands and then place it between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll it into a flat disc and then pull it off the paper. Stretch it out as much as you can and then put it in the water. Repeat until you have no more dough. Simmer the seitan for an hour making sure to not let it boil. I try and turn the pieces over throughout the cooking process to make sure they are simmered evenly.

For the Tacos Al Pastor
cilantro, minced
pineapple, chopped
corn tortillas
red onion, 25% minced 75% cut into half moons
2 yellow wax peppers (that is what I had any pepper, even bell peppers would work)
1 Serrano, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of Coca cola
4 Pastor-Style Seitan Cutlets, chopped
When the seitan is nearly done put a large skillet on hot and add cooking oil. Add the onion that was cut in half moons and cook a minute or two being careful not to burn. Add the peppers and the garlic and fry for 1 more minute. Add the seitan, pressing the pieces against the bottom of the pan to crisp the outsides. When the seitan is starting to look crispy add the coke and deglaze the pan. Let it reduce for a minute or two and then serve immediately on warmed tortillas topped with cilantro, pineapple, and the minced onion. Enjoy!

UPDATE: the next day I realized what was missing before, what I had done wrong was that I served the pineapple raw. It is MUCH better if you cook the pineapple after the seitan is mostly done. So good.

Triple Chocolate Chipotle Brownies

I got the book Get it Ripe by jae steele so that I would eat healthier. So of course, the first dessert I try from the book is the extremely decadent coconut butter, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, sweetened chocolate, and sugar brownie. But hey it had spelt flour so it is better than some coffee shop brownie… right?

Anyway these are the best brownies I have ever made fudgey, chocolaty, a tiny bit coconutty with a hit of spice at the end. I adore these brownies. I would eat ten of them. I don’t want to eat ten of them though! I could probably sell these for 20 bucks a piece they are so good.Here is the recipe

Chickpea Crêpes with Roasted Vegetables & Gravy

I haven’t had a lot of luck with vegan crêpes until now. The recipe from the Voluptous Vegan will now be my go to recipe, every single one turned out perfect, no sticking, no splitting, and the crepes were the perfect consistancy. Since they were made with chickpea flour and chives they tasted super, a little Indian even.

I also used her recipe for White Bean and Garlic sauce which was fantastic. The directions didn’t say to blend it, but I thought it would make a more appealing sauce but really it tasted like the world’s greatest vegan gravy. All you do it chop two onions and cook them for 7 minutes, add 8 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for another minute, add a can of white beans, a bouquet garni of 5 sage leaves, a bay leaf, and a sprig of thyme, and 2.5 cups of broth. Let it cook for about 15 minutes, remove the bouquet garni and blend. It was easy, healthy and delicious.

For the vegetables I just chopped up broccoli, cauliflower, a red onion, a sweet potato, and some garlic, sprinkled it with seasoning and oil and roasted in a 375 degree oven.  It was a great combo but whatever mix you have will probably work. I am excited because I have extra vegetables and more crepes and more gravy so no cooking tonight! It was really a fantastic meal and so easy to do. I want to remember to make it the next time I have company and don’t have anything prepared since everything I used was a pantry stable.

another attempt…

My macamole recipe isn’t as easy as I thought it would be! Lucky for me Dan has loved every single incarnation of this so he can eat all the efforts! This one was good, but still not what I wanted. I braised an onion and garlic in broth and then processed with cashews, pumpkin seeds, tahini, avocado, cumin, chilie powder, roasted poblanos and jalapeños. The scallions on the top really added a lot.  The tofu was terrific though, I pressed it for a couple hours, breaded it with cornmeal, nutritional yeast, and vegeta and then pan fried it.

Product Review Monday

Over the weekend I was feeling really ill which led to us eating some food from the freezer, it was really good food though, so I thought I would review what I had. This is the first time I tried the Sunshine burger, it was on sale so I thought I  would check them out, I also liked that it came in very small packaging, had whole food ingredients, and were vegan (which isn’t as common as you would think in a veggie burger). The burger was pretty good, you could taste vegetables and it didn’t taste at all like meat or smoke. I think there might have been some mustard because there was a pungent aspect that I didn’t care for but I don’t like mustard so that is me and it wasn’t gross or anything. We both liked it although I did have it covered in roasted shallots, guacamole, and spinach so anything probably would have been good. With a side of tots and some grapes it was a great meal, especially since everything went into the oven together so it was minimal effort. I will buy these again.

For Valentine’s Day we had Cafferata Frozen Artichoke Raviolis. I was thrilled to find vegan raviloli at central market so I knew I had to try these. They were really good, filled with bread crumbs, garbanzo beans, and artichokes.  The really had a lot of flavor and felt like they had cheese, in fact I double checked the packaging. I would by these again for sure.

A Newflower in town

I have been eagerly waiting for the new grocery store to open close to my house and yesterday was finally the grand opening of Newflower in Austin so I ventured down there into the craziness, it turned out I wasn’t the only one excited about a new store. See, South Austin is the superior part of Austin in many ways but we are far enough from Wheatsville Co-op that I can’t just hop over there every time I have a craving for popcorn tofu. We have a lot of grocery stores but they all have their problems, sun harvest and randalls both have limited selection and are over priced. Central Market is fantastic but it isn’t a place you can just drop in easily and it is too easy to buy unncessary gourmet items (I am looking at you aztec dark chocolate at 12.99 a pound). HEB is the cheapest and they have the freshest produce and nearly everything I need but I hate going there because it is so crowded with children, shopping carts, hookers, and people doing their shopping for the next year that it can be an all day afair. And you can’t turn left from the parking lot and I don’t have a left turn signal so it is really the antithesis of fun.

It turns out that I have never been to a grocery store for its grand opening before and I don’t think it is something I would ever do again. Sure, there were some great deals (Boulder potato chips for $1.50! 10 limes for a dollar!) and we got a free reusable bag and a flower but I had to stalk a women with her children in order to get a parking spot and you could hardly manuver through the store because people were standing in line almost to the back of the store waiting to check out! And it is a big store. Did you know that they make seperate bread for men and women now?

Don’t worry gender neutral, transexual, and other readers there is bread that isn’t as gender defined as well as vegan at newflower. Their produce seemed really well priced, right up there with HEB and they had a full organic selection. In fact, the whole place kind of reminded me of an HEB if you just took out the junk food aisles, the candy aisles, the aisles of shaving cream, the aisels of holiday junk, and all the other stuff that makes it a “normal” grocery store. They didn’t seem to have any fresh vegan deli items or products but they did have the normal standbys, garden burgers, tempeh, seitan, tofutti, earth balance, vital wheat gluetan,  amy’s meals etc but sadly nothing new and exciting. The bulk section had really well priced nuts and flours and there was a small wine and beer section as well. Overall it was more of a “grass fed beef” place then a vegan place but if I can park there and not spend a million dollars on organic avocados I will be a happy vegan.

I felt silly taking a picture of my groceries!

I felt silly taking a picture of my groceries!

When I got home I didn’t know what to make. This is what happens when you go to the grocery store with no definite purpose! I decided to make something with the eggplant because sometimes I forget about eggplants and I made a Pakistani dish from World Vegetarian that used the Panch Phorum and amchoor that I got last week. I also made some Lemon Rice from Heaven’s Banquet which was good, but should have been a little less lemony.It doesn’t look beautiful even with the sunflower they gave me! Dan wasn’t impressed with the eggplant but I thought it was great. Instead of draining the eggplant while you salt it, the recipe called for soaking it in salt water which lead to a texture similar to cooked mushrooms. I also threw in the spinach because the meal was noticeably lacking in greens. The rice was really good and you don’t add the lemon until the very end so if you want to try it add a little at a time and see how you like it so next time I will do that. If anyone want the recpies just let me know and I will add them to the post.

Macamole & Tempeh Sticks

I have been working on a recipe for Green Chile Macaroni, this version was more like Macamole but it was really freaking good anyway but the real one is forthcoming. The tempeh was just marinated in apple cider vinegar and soy sauce and then dipped in cornstarch and pan fried. They looked exactly like those chicken strips at fast food places.