Crispy Cornmeal Seitan

I met Bryant Terry while on a vegan health cruise last spring. I attended one of his cooking classes. I love his cooking style and his dedication to food justice. This is a take on one of his recipes. You can learn more about him and his projects on his website. Here is a Mother Jones article.

IMG_20140908_142500I cook for several families and I am always looking for new school lunch additions. With many schools going nut-free these days, the range of good options has narrowed a bit. But, these crispy seitan bites are gems. This is the type of food that is very satisfying and nourishing to high energy bodies, like children.

IMG_20140908_151916The only caution I would make is that if you are using store-bought seitan, which I did, it has a high salt content. So, that means moderation for your little ones. Their bodies just can’t handle much salt. I used Upton’s Naturals plain seitan.

You can find a recipe for these in Bryant Terry’s cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen. It’s called Cornmeal-Crusted Seitan. It’s so simple that I am giving you my “recipe-free” version.

Crispy Cornmeal Seitan

whole grain mustard (I like Eden brand)
ground cornmeal
white or black pepper
8 oz seitan (or more if you have a lot of mouths to feed!) (I used Upton’s Naturals)
grape seed oil or other high-heat oil

1.  Put a few spoonfuls of mustard in a small bowl. Put a few large tablespoons of cornmeal in another bowl and stir in some fresh ground white or black pepper.

2.  Slice the seitan about 1/2 inch thick. Seitan comes in funny shapes, though, so just do the best you can. Having random bite-size chunks is okay, too.

3.  Using your finger, spread a thin layer of mustard on a piece of seitan, then dip it in the cornmeal to coat. Set aside on a plate. Finish coating all the seitan. Set aside.

3.  In a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet, heat about 3-4 Tbsp high-heat oil to a low frying temperature. If it smokes, stop and start over with fresh oil. You know the oil is hot enough when it sizzles slightly when you add the seitan bits. Add seitan bits so they aren’t touching, but still fill the skillet. Fry on each side until light brown and remove to a plate covered with a paper bag or napkin to soak up the excess oil. Keep frying until all the seitan is done.

4.  Yum! Try them with a tahini sauce or in a tortilla with lettuce and other taco fixings.

Note:
If you use Westsoy seitan note that the package says 16 oz, but the amount of actual seitan is 8 oz. It’s hard to compare the salt content between Westsoy and Upton’s Naturals seitan because Westsoy is packaged with the liquid, but I think Upton’s is better quality.

You might also enjoy this post on Satisfying Cravings for Richness.

Pinto Beans with Vegan Sausage

I did not grow up liking sliced hot dogs in my baked beans. I was the kind of child who liked to keep my meals simple.

It was only in my macrobiotic studies that I learned the value of incorporating two protein sources into one dish. If you haven’t tried this, you can raise a simple bean dish to a new level of delicious when you add fried tempeh, deep-fried tofu or bits of seitan.

Be careful with the amount of salt in this recipe because the field roast sausage is very high in salt. You might even be able to get away with leaving the shoyu out.

More information about making beans from scratch.IMG_20140702_124752

Pinto Beans with Vegan Sausage

1 cup dried pinto beans, rinsed and soaked at least 8 hours
1/2 cup dried black turtle beans, rinsed and soaked at least 8 hours
postage size piece of kombu or kelp
bay leaf
2-3 tsp olive or grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
sea salt
1/2 tsp unpasteurized shoyu or tamari
1 field roast sausage, cut into small bite-size pieces (I used the apple sage flavor.)
2 tsp barley malt, or to taste
1/2 tsp brown rice vinegar (optional)

1.  Drain the beans and place in a large pot. Add water to cover about 1 ” above top of beans. Bring to a boil and scrape off any foam that rises to the surface. Lower the heat to simmer. Add kombu/kelp and bay leaf. Cover and cook until beans are soft. Add more water as necessary, just enough to keep the beans submersed.The beans will take about 1 to 1¼ hours to cook.

2.  While beans are cooking, saute the onion in the oil. Add the minced garlic, one pinch of sea salt and a few tablespoons of water. Lower the heat to simmer and cover. Check frequently and add a little more water if necessary. Cook until onion is very soft. You can actually cook them for as long as you want and they will keep becoming more flavorful.

3.  Add onions to the beans when beans are soft. Add shoyu and cook for 10 more minutes to help incorporate the onions and shoyu.

4.  Stir in the cut vegan sausage and cook for a few minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in barley malt and brown rice vinegar. Taste and adjust flavors if necessary.

Garbanzo Bean Crepes with Sauteed Vegetables

I didn’t think these would turn into crepes when I first saw the recipe over at Oh She Glows. But, that’s how they turned out for me.

I was looking for a quick simple dinner item and these were a hit. I used the basic garbanzo bean flour to water ratio that Angela uses, but added sautéed vegetables to the batter and spread the batter thin on the pan.IMG_20140609_164921

We made delicious roll-ups. Lena loved them. Continue reading

Feeding Baby: Minced Vegetables

I don’t always have energy to cook full, fresh meals. Often, I just make a new grain or soup and add it to the mix of leftovers available. One thing I do prioritize is having a fresh vegetable dish at every meal. This can get tricky when I am feeding adults, a four-year old and a baby. Sometimes we all have different needs.

Babies don’t do as well with the lightly cooked vegetables that most adults and children need. They need their food to be softer, especially when learning to feed themselves. We need the light, fresh quality and crunch that shorter cooked vegetables provide. If we consume overcooked, or leftover vegetables regularly it can create sweet cravings and a heavy feeling energetically.IMG_20140424_083405

So what are some of the ways I provide fresh vegetables for babies instead of just reaching for a jar?  Continue reading

Simple Brown Rice Pudding with Cinnamon

Rice pudding is an easy snack for young children. I actually only make it when I have leftover rice and it’s not enough to save for another meal. One of the great things about it is you can make it with any amount of rice, even the smallest amount. I hate food waste, so I love being able to save every bit of food I can.IMG_20140327_154049

The way I usually make it is while cleaning up after a main meal. If there is a little rice still in the pot, I add an unsweetened milk, usually oat milk, and a little water. Then I simmer it gently until it’s nice and creamy. Add more milk or water as needed. Cook for at least 20 minutes. Stir in some Ceylon cinnamon at the end and it’s done. Delicious without any added sweeteners. Satisfying. Children love it.

Other Recipes You Might Enjoy:
Pressure Cooked Brown Rice
Vegan Strawberry Mousse
Lemon Pudding