Well, I was going to make soup last night, but got a request from Michael that we have a 'meatloafy' type meal. Since I wasn't really in the mood to create another loaf-type meal just yet (the last one was a bit of a disaster, though fairly edible), I went for a seitan roast instead. One of the things I used to make all last winter was roasted veggies, usually with tofu mixed in, so I went with that same type of idea here, but with a badass block of seitan in the middle instead of the tofu. Here it is on our plates, in all it 'meat'-y glory.
sometimes it freaks me out how much like meat seitan really is..wheat meat, woo!
I started with the seitan recipe from VWaV, but added about a tablespoon of poultry seasoning and a couple teaspoons of smoked paprika for maybe a more chicken-ish taste? I don't know. But it turned out really tasty, besides the fact that I added too much lemon zest and it was a little lemony. After wrapping the whole thing up in foil and steaming it for 40 minutes, into the baking dish (unwrapped) it went with lots of veggies! I believe there was: potatoes, an onion, some turnips, loads of carrots, some garlic, broccoli...oh and just 2 stalks of celery. I had a vegetarian (incidentally vegan as well) brown gravy mix that I stirred up with about 2 cups of veggie broth, poultry seasoning, dried thyme, and 1 tsp cornstarch. Pour this over everything, cover in foil, pop that bad boy into a 425F oven and forget about it for about an hour. Actually, after 40 minutes, I took the foil off so that the veggies would brown a little, then put it back in for 20 minutes. If you make this, let it sit for about 15 minutes before you serve so that the gravy sets up. It won't be really thick, but it'll be smooth, not ultra liquidy. (I keep using -y on things today. sorry.)
the seitan is like a king in the middle of a sexy vegetable harem
Slice, serve, eat.
we tried to get a cutting in action photo, but neither one of us had the patience... we were hungry and this smelled deeeeelightful.
Seitan's really filling. After 2 slices, I was totally done. But that means, leftovers! I had my part of the leftover roast today for lunch between slices of multigrain bread, some cheezy sauce I'd made Sunday, guacomole, and a big handful of spinach. For being a strange combination of flavors, it was pretty damned awesome.
Tonight I'm making the leek and bean cassoulet from Vcon. I'm a little late on the uptake on that one. I've wanted to make it since before I even got the book... I was hoping it'd be rainy and chilly this evening for it, but...it's like 70 degrees and beautifully sunny outside instead. Oh well.. my only real concern is that it's going to be a lot like dinner last night. But I have my heart set, so I'm just gonna suck it up and do it.
So... something I was thinking about earlier: since becoming vegan, I am literally obsessed with food. I think about it constantly. As soon as I'm out of the shower in the morning, I'm thinking what to have for breakfast (i.e. what to put in my oatmeal that morning. today it was frozen strawberries and maple syrup). Around 11am, I start mentally doing inventory of my kitchen to think of what I can make really quick for a great lunch...or salivating over leftovers from the night before. 4 pm and wham! I'm hungry again and wondering what we've got at the house for a nice snack. Then around 8 it's time to start dinner, of course. This all seems fairly normal, except for the fact that every single moment I'm at my desk I'm looking through food blogs or I'm on the PPK or VegWeb talking about food, thinking about what would be good to make soon, copying and pasting and printing recipes. It's to the point that I have more recipes printed out than I could ever make in a year, probably. I'm always thinking about food, in some way. And I'm starting to think that's a little weird.
I don't have much to do these days, so maybe that's part of it. And I love vegan cooking and seeing the cool results I can get from sometimes still-strange ingredients. But before I was vegan, I didn't think about food much until I got hungry. Then it was just like, ugh, what can I eat to get my stomach to shut up? I mostly survived on canned beans (microwaved with cumin and a slice of cheese), bags of minute-rice with soy sauce, and spaghetti with plain jar sauce, even as an omni. (I've never really cooked with meat, it always grossed me out to handle it.) I mean, I ate good food still. My mom and dad and grandma are all awesome cooks and I grew up eating some seriously tasty stuff. I guess something happened when I went to college where I just stopped giving a shit about food. It was annoying that I had to make it myself all the time or pay for it when I went out. So my diet became that of what I described above and chicken sandwiches from Wendy's (I stopped eating red meat when I was about 19). Blegh! I didn't want to put in the effort to nourish myself properly. As long as I could get up in the morning and get my work done, I was fine with that. I seriously neglected my tastebuds. And honestly, most of what I ate made me feel guilty because it was so unhealthy. I craved all the stuff that's not good for you.
And then one day, I met Michael. And he was vegan. And he wouldn't talk to me about it. So I looked it all up online and that's where it started. I wanted to bake him something. Because he lived off of veggie sandwiches from various craptastic restaurants around town and spaghetti that he'd make in a slow cooker (sorry, hunny, but pasta loaf is gross). So I made him lemon squares. Then I wanted to cook him something. So I made a vegan lasagna. And they were both fricking awesome! And the best part was that I didn't feel guilty eating them. I knew what I was putting into the food. Soon after, I became vegetarian. I was only eating chicken or fish maybe once a week, and when I did, it felt wrong. So out it went. It took a lot longer for me to realize that cheese made me feel like shit too. But eventually I was eating less and less dairy (I had cut out milk and eggs long before because I knew they were gross), especially after Michael moved in and I was cooking for him a lot more. Then, one day, I was over it. I'd read some stuff. It made me ill. And once I stopped eating cheese...well... What was the point of not being vegan? I'd stopped my M&M addiction a few weeks earlier, so there was no draw to the crappy candy that we call 'chocolate' here in America. I mean, I still love good dark chocolate, but milk chocolate and candy bars were gone from my life.
And that's when this real obsession started. Because I wasn't just cooking for Michael anymore, I was cooking for me. For the first time in my life, I started giving a shit about what I was feeding myself (or not feeding myself, in some cases). I stopped caring about being thin, for once, and started focusing on being healthy. Goodness knows I haven't lost any weight as a vegan. I've gained a few pounds. And I'm totally fine with that. Because I get to eat a lot more and not feel guilty about ANY of it. Well, maybe once in awhile I feel some guilt after eating oreos or nachos, but not really. Not that bad. I'm nourishing myself in a way that I never have before. And I love it. I'm getting to eat real meals with the added benefits of my food being sustainable, cruelty-free, and pretty damned nutritious. I've only been vegan for 5 months, even though I'd cooked vegan for Michael for much longer than that. And I'm healthier and happier than I've ever been. Not once have I been sick (this is coming from a pretty sickly person before). I am more conscious of the world around me, in terms of environmentalism and what is and is not basically right in my mind. I am living as much of a cruelty-free life as I have control over.
So if my obsession with food is a little much...forgive me. I'm still relatively new, I'm enjoying my healthy relationship with food, and I'm still excited about how much more awesome I am now that I'm vegan.
Enough of that. I didn't even expect to do that. Sorry if it was a bit long. I promised to link to a pizza crust recipe, I believe. Here you go. I usually add a dash of oil to the yeast mixture after it's done getting foamy. It seems like a big crust, but as you could see from the pictures of my pizza, I take that extra and fold it up on itself to make a nice doughy crust for the edges. Enjoy!