The Seitan is in the Details (Just Call Me Mama Earth)

It’s been a week of interesting eats — including two standouts that I had to share.

First, Seitan Nuggets that I swear to you — pinky swear! — taste just like those disks of crispy goodness I used to get at McDonalds. Listen, I’m a vegetarian for a myriad of reasons…but one you won’t find on the list? That I don’t like meat. I love the taste of meat. I just choose not to eat it.

So these nuggets ease some of the plant-based pain:

Seitan 2

And they’re so easy to make. For those who don’t know what seitan is, it’s made from wheat gluten and is also called by the totally gross names “mock meat” and “wheat meat.” (Surprise! If you eat regularly at Chinese restaurants, you may have had seitan and didn’t.even.know.)

You can buy seitan pre-made, but it’s a snap to make from scratch. You just need stock, soy sauce and some vital wheat gluten flour, which I buy at the regular grocery store. No specialty shop needed. I follow the Veganomicon instructions, but the PPK ladies have posted a version here. I made the seitan earlier in the week, then on Friday night cut it into pieces, tossed it in flour and sauteed it over medium-high heat in a little oil. Drained ’em on paper towels, dipped ’em in ketchup and had a Eureka! moment.

Second round of experimental-but-delicious cooking — Steamed Plantain Cakes! We had two black plantains that have been sitting in our fruit bowl for two weeks. Normally, we make sweet fried plantains for a dessert but Mr. Picky Pants started whining “they’re too ripe wahhhhh” so I had to get creative. Found this recipe and went to town. First problem? No rice flour.

(Guess what? You can make your own in a blender. I stuck about a cup and a half of brown rice in my blender, set it at the highest speed and let it go for about two minutes. Out poured silky soft brown rice flour. GENIUS!)

Once I’d strained a muscle from the self-back-patting, I made the recipe exactly per instructions, poured out the batter into ramekins and used my dutch oven to steam the cakes for about 30 minutes.

Plantain Cakes 04 Plantain Cakes 02

They’re delicious — not too sweet, dense and could be used alongside sweet or savory dishes.

Alright, if you’ve read this far, you already think I’m a hippie, so I might as well get it all out.

I started a composting bin. I KNOW! Me! City girl! Grossed-out-by-smelly-things girl! I don’t know what has come over me. Maybe it was that trip to the Vegetarian Fest?

Back to the compost. I’ve been bugging Lucas to help me make this contraption for weeks (and to be fair: 1) He’s been a wee bit busy with my other nagging request 2) I could have done this myself, power tools and all). So today, after he spent another three hours sealing floors (I take back the Picky Pants, honey!), he grabbed an old Tupperware container and his drill.

Whaddya know, another $0 project — instructions here from the oh so fabulous Young House Love folks.

Compost 03 Compost 07 Compost 06 Compost 04 Compost 11 Compost 13 Compost 18

What have you done recently that you never thought you’d do? Something out of character? Something fun?

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  1. says

    I totally thought that was meat when I first saw the pic. I’m a vegetarian but I was never crazy about the taste of meat. Sometimes I like having tofu or veggie burgers for protein though. I’ll def. keep this in mind. Thanks for the ideas!

    • says

      Mae — the compost is still going well, although it’s mostly coffee grounds and banana peels. :) One of the coolest things has been using the scraps of veggies we grew in the garden — very full circle and hippie of us!

  2. says

    I’m so making seitan! I have purchased it from the Asian grocery store but if I can make it at home and save myself the trip, hell yeah! We also have a compost in our backyard but we didn’t even think to make the bin ourselves. Suckarama!

    • says

      Retta — you have coined my new favorite phrase: “suckarama!”

      I really do love the homemade seitan but the store-bought stuff is great in a pinch.

  3. says

    I had no idea what seitan was, and OMG it does look just like meat. I have been trying to get off the meat now for about 6 months for all the right reasons but like you, I love the taste of meat. It’s been hard being the cooking mother of 3 meat eating kids… I crack! I think it would be easier if I could find a meat replacement that actually tasted good and gave me the same satisfaction that sometimes vegetables alone dont give me. I will definitely give it a try!

    I also have a compost bin in my back yard that I made the same way…rubbermaid tub and drill! LOVE IT!!!

    Have a great weekend!!

  4. says

    I love seitan! I’m with you – whenever people tell me that they aren’t vegetarian/vegan b/c they like meat I say that I loved it and steak was my favorite food. But I have so many reasons to not eat it that I never miss it. I don’t miss harming my health and taking part in killing. And if I want something meaty, seitan is awesome!

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