I used to have a bumper sticker that read:
God was my co-pilot. But we crashed in the mountains and I had to eat him.
I really miss that bumper sticker and the irrational rage it would provoke. To this day I still wonder if people really thought I would eat their god. I think all that spite and vengefulness would make for a pretty bitter tasting deity. And besides, I’m vegan now.
My all time favorite vegan food staple is Seitan. I could sing it’s praises all fucking day long. In fact, I just might compose a little song about it. Yes, I think that would be fitting.
If I were to develop a wheat intolerance I just don’t know what I would do. Well, first I’d cry. Because seitan and me are like this… you can’t see it, but I’m crossing my fingers. Makes for awkward typing.
For the longest time I have wanted to make a vegan pot pie. But I’ve always felt daunted by the task. But today I whipped out my beloved copy of the Veganomicon and found the seitan pot pie recipe.
the Seitan that I used was from a batch of gluten dough that I had made from my regular flour that had been masquerading as VWG. More about that in a bit.
I followed the recipe to the letter and came up with this:
My observations are thus:
the dough doesn’t need the cornmeal in it. I like my crust a little smoother.
the roux doesn’t necessarily need to be made with garbanzo flour. In fact, I think regular flour would produce a smoother gravy.
and I will not be making potpies the same day that my mother is also making stew, thereby making veggies like celery & carrots in short supply.
The inside of my pot pie was not very photogenic, though it was delicious. When I try this again later I will try to write out my own recipe and get you the photo goods.
Now, I often buy from bulk bins when I can. And although the label on the bin where I had been buying my Vital Wheat Gluten said the flour had an approximate 75% gluten protein in it, this flour behaved suspiciously un-Vital Wheat Gluten-y. When I later bought VWG from the Butte Creek Mill my suspicions were confirmed. I’ll have to contact my grocer to let them know of their error.
Not one to let this flour of uncertain gluten content go to waste, I set about to turn that bitch into seitan.
The process of making seitan from scratch is simple if labor intensive. I dumped the flour out into a large bowl and added water until I had a ball of dough like you might cook to make bread. I then took the bowl with the dough in it to the sink and ran water into the bowl, kneading the dough under water. Each time the water turned milky I would dump it out and refill the bowl. After a few minutes the dough started feeling like it was falling completely apart. But I knew from previous reading that this was completely natural and just kept on with what I was doing.
Eventually the water in my bowl became less and less opaque. and my original ball of dough was now a lumpy mass of uncooked seitan about 1/3 the original size. All that rinsing had washed away all most of the starches to leave behind the elastic dense gluten proteins. From there I just cut it into chunks and boiled it in a broth suited to make chicken-ish seitan.
Now that I am rid of the fake VWG I will only be buying it from the Butte Creek Mill or my local Fred Meyer which also sells it in bulk bins, but which I happen to know actually contain VWG. Because making seitan completely from scratch is a pain in the ass. And I don’t have the wrists to endure it or the children to relegate it to.